Just in: Berlin Philharmonic names Peter Sellars artist in residence

Just in: Berlin Philharmonic names Peter Sellars artist in residence


norman lebrecht

April 28, 2015

The orch announced its new season this morning. Rattle will conduct a Beethoven cycle six times over as part of his heavy schedule of 64 concerts and 10 opera performances.

Three new conductors will make debuts – François-Xavier Roth, Juanjo Mena, Matthias Pintscher  – and the American director/provocateur takes a stellar role.

Press summary below.

peter sellars

Information on the 2015/2016 Season

The Berliner Philharmoniker will present a total of 123 symphony concerts and 10 opera performances during the 2015/2016 season:

83 concerts in the Philharmonie with

32 different programmes

6 concert/semi-staged opera performances (2 programmes)

1 concert in the Waldbühne

35 concerts on tour

4 concerts at the Easter Festival in Baden-Baden

4 opera performances at the Easter Festival in Baden-Baden

Sir Simon Rattle will conduct 64 concerts and 10 opera performances with the Berliner

Philharmoniker, including 30 concerts and 6 opera performances in Berlin, plus 31 concerts on tour

as well as 4 opera performances and 4 concerts at the Easter Festival in Baden-Baden.

Programming Highlights Beethoven and France

The focus of the season will be the cycle of the complete symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven, which

the Berliner Philharmoniker under Sir Simon Rattle will present twice in Berlin in October before taking

it on tour. The complete cycle will be performed in Vienna, Paris, New York and Tokyo, with single

concerts in Frankfurt am Main and Taipei.

Another emphasis, which will extend over the entire season, is French music from Lully to Boulez.

Along with Sir Simon Rattle, many of the guest conductors will also present French repertoire.

Conducting Debuts

François-Xavier Roth (29/30 November, 1 December 2015), Juanjo Mena (26/27/28 May 2016) and

Matthias Pintscher (12/13 September 2015) will make their debuts conducting the Berliner

Philharmoniker during the 2015/2016 season.

Guest Orchestras

The Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation has again invited guest orchestras for the 2015/2016 season:

The Junge Deutsche Philharmonie (Young German Philharmonic Orchestra), conducted by Jonathan

Nott (5 October 2015) and the Bundesjugendorchester (National Youth Orchestra of Germany) under

Sebastian Weigle (5 April 2016) will appear.


45 concerts will be presented in the Kammermusiksaal featuring soloists and ensembles, including

scholars from the Orchestra Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker as well as guest artists and

ensembles. 14 chamber concerts will also be given in the Philharmonie, including 3 Late Night

concerts (16 January 2016, 20 February 2016, 4 June 2016), 5 organ concerts and piano recitals by

Krystian Zimerman (6 November 2015) and Maurizio Pollini (30 May 2016).

42 Lunch Concerts will be given in the Foyer of the Philharmonie on Tuesdays at 1:00 pm.

Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic

The series Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic continues in its fourth season with 4 concerts.

Artist in Residence

Theatre director Peter Sellars has been invited by the Berliner Philharmoniker to serve as Artist in

Residence during the 2015/2016 season. The director has maintained a close association with the

orchestra since 2010; in particular, their intense collaborations on the St Matthew and St John Passions

still evoke vivid memories. Peter Sellars will direct 3 productions of the Berliner Philharmoniker

Foundation during the coming season. Please see the attachment for a detailed biography and further

information on the concerts.


  • J. says:

    No Dudamel, no Chailly, no Paavo – they are out of the race, I suppose.

    It’s going to be between Jansons, Nelsons and Thielemann.

    • DESR says:

      Not sure Sellars will last long once Thieleman is in charge.

      • SDReader says:


      • Daniel Farber says:

        I’m not so sure: both of them share an antipathy to Jews, and there’s nothing like common Jew-hatred when it comes to breaking down other barriers. Berlin just took two steps forward and five steps back.

        • Jonathan Grieves-Smith says:

          How can you conceivably accuse Peter Sellars of anti-Semitism?

          • Danish says:

            I’m sure it has something to do with his association with the MET Klinghoffer faux outrage…

          • Gene Gaudette says:

            Because he was an artistic co-conspirator in productions of John Adams’s “The Death of Klinghoffer” — that opera in which the only sympathetic characters are the ill-fated Jewish gentleman in the wheelchair and his wife… oh, wait, what?…

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Only two guest conductors are scheduled to conduct two concert programs: Nelsons and Thielemann. Could that be a giveaway?

    (Mehta also visits twice, but the second visit is for an 80th birthday concert that’s played only once.)

  • Derek Castle says:

    6 times 9 Beethoven Symphonies – now there’s innovation for you!

  • herrera says:

    So this is Berlin’s vision, have Sellars repackage the classics in (historically dubious) new trappings. Yesterday it was Bach Passions with singers and choruses acting out the text, tomorrow it will be Beethoven’s 9th with singers and choruses acting out the text? or will it be the musicians reenacting the funeral march of Beethoven’s 3rd?

    • J. says:

      Well, Sellas will stage La Passion de Simone, by Kaija Saariaho. Not exactly “repackage the classics”.

      Oh wait, sorry: I was expecting that people here actually read the programs. It’s not very hard, you know.

  • marguerite foxon says:

    Personally, I’ve found both Bach stagings deeply moving. I look forward to seeing what the three productions are that he is working on with the orchestra.

  • Danish says:

    I’m sure it has something to do with his association with the MET Klinghoffer faux outrage…

  • MacroV says:

    The Bach passions were extraordinary; I really can’t watch them any other way now. So I’ll look forward to what he’ll do (hopefully all available on the DCH).