Berlin Philharmonic concertmaster is standing down

Berlin Philharmonic concertmaster is standing down


norman lebrecht

May 31, 2021

The orchestra is saying its goodbyes to Daniel Stabrawa, who is reitirng this summer after serving as concertmaster for 35 years.

Stabrawa, 65, was recruited by Karajan in 1983 from the Polish radio orchestra in his home town, Krakow, and promoted within three years to concertmaster.

The orchestra has made a little documentary with his parting thoughts.

Trailer here.


  • erich says:

    a fabulous concertmaster and chamber player and a lovely man. I wish him a long and happy retirement.

  • The Polish Radio Orchestra is in Katowice.

  • Concertgebouw79 says:

    Goodbye to this great artist!! I have chance to have seen him once in concert it was more intersiting to see him than the conductor this day, Yannick. I have to say. He was the soul of the Waldbühne concerts. He ‘s like Ken Hakii the viola of the Concertgebouw. An artist who served his orchestra several decades with passion.

  • Thomasina says:

    I regret that there was no applause by the audience at his last concert. I don’t understand German, but I was almost in tears at his last greeting.

  • Rob says:

    One of the greats.

  • FrankInUsa says:

    A wonderful career. Says interesting things in the trailer. Have to buy a subscription. Would love to hear the entire documentary.
    NL, can you contact BPO
    For a discount code. I’d go for a 7 day pass.

  • John Grant says:

    Good luck for the future and thank you for 35 years of beautiful music!

  • Alexander T says:

    He must have a story or two to tell about various conductors.

  • MacroV says:

    He’s a lovely violinist, and clearly is still playing very well, but the BPO rule was once described as “Equal Injustice for All.” You have to retire at 65, end of story.

    He was on one of the post-concert Facebook chats last year (after the tribute concert they did) and said it was time; the young people need to take over. Hopefully he’ll keep busy with some solo and chamber gigs.

    • David says:

      It seems a shame to force out such talent, however, making room for fresh blood is wise and good for everyone.

    • Tom Hase says:

      It’s not a specific BPO rule – mandatory retirement is a general rule in Germany which applies to everyone from construction worker to academic (and, with few exceptions, at the same age for everybody regardless of profession, which is somewhat questionable). For once, musicians are not excluded from this rule. In this specific case it is of course a great loss, but overall it seems to be a good idea to give the next generation a chance- in systems without mandatory retirement there seem to be more people who overstay their welcome than those who retire too early. Needless to say that retirement does not have to mean the end of all activities – in this case, I very much hope that Stabrawa will continue to play chamber music and maybe intensify his conducting. I would pay to hear him conduct Beethoven after all the insights he has after playing the complete string quartets so many times. Talking about string quartet, does anyone here know whether the Philharmonia Quartet Berlin will continue to exist in some form? It would be a shame if the untimely death of Christian Stadelmann was the end of this great ensemble.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Yes, he’s a very familiar presence in the BPO. Best wishes for a long and healthy retirement. Well earned.

  • Patrick says:

    The best!

  • grabenassel says:

    A wonderful musician and human being….and the most humble person in a position like this I ever met….happy to had the opportunity to play with him…

  • Pedro says:

    The last of the long and great line of Karajan’s concertmasters: Schwalbé, Brandis, Spierer, Yasunaga… with Rainer Sonne taking care of the second row. I have heard them all and very much miss them.