Berlin Philharmonic

Founded in 1882, the Berlin Philharmonic has thrived through revolution and war. All the while, however, it has cultivated a sound—rich, powerful, and precise, with a lustrous sheen and a limitless depth of expression—that makes it both the supreme embodiment of the great German symphonic tradition and, for many, one of the enduring wonders of the musical world. In part, that’s down to a series of formidable chief conductors, steeped in the Austro-German repertoire: Arthur Nikisch, Wilhelm Furtwängler, and, most famously, Herbert von Karajan, who took a war-battered orchestra and transformed it into a global media brand that dominated postwar classical recording. These days, thanks to the progressive spirit of its more recent conductors, such as Claudio Abbado, Simon Rattle, and Kirill Petrenko, you’re just as likely to hear the orchestra play Messiaen, Bernstein, Bruckner, and Beethoven. And it does so with a refinement, a seriousness and a deep, multilayered beauty of sound. Here, you can browse some of the most legendary recordings and formidable conductors in the orchestra’s history, alongside exclusive playlists, music from the names lighting up this season, and much more.

Discover More on Apple Music Classical

You can explore more from the Berlin Philharmonic on Apple Music Classical, the brand-new app designed for classical music, included with your Apple Music subscription. Tap the button to explore the app now.

Featured Albums

Enjoy a selection of recordings by the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Kirill Petrenko, featuring core symphonic repertoire and lesser-known gems from the 20th century. Each album, recorded in superb native atmos and mixed by the orchestra’s expert team of sound engineers, brilliantly captures the unique acoustics of the Philharmonie Berlin.

Herbert von Karajan

Decades after his death in 1989, Herbert von Karajan remains arguably classical music’s most iconic conductor. His powerful mix of commanding stage presence, musical prowess, and a passion for emerging recording technologies won for the Berlin Philharmonic an unrivalled international stature. Experience the sheer power of some of the hundreds of recordings that Karajan made with the orchestra, among them no fewer than three complete Beethoven Symphony cycles.

Claudio Abbado

Claudio Abbado arrived at the Berlin Philharmonic in 1989, soon after the Berlin Wall had been torn down. In this period of new beginnings, Abbado made changes of his own, banishing the cult of the feared maestro and ushering in a more personal, affectionate connection with his musicians. The Italian conductor also adopted a fresher musical approach, uniting his love of the orchestral greats with an ambition to venture into the contemporary landscape. Explore below a handpicked selection of Abbado’s magisterial recordings with the Berlin Philharmonic.

Simon Rattle

When, in 2018, Simon Rattle departed the Berlin Philharmonic after 16 years as its principal conductor, he left behind a transformed ensemble. While cementing its reputation in German Classical and Romantic symphonic music, Rattle considerably widened the orchestra’s repertoire: Baroque was back in, while new works were thrust center stage. Below, you can thrill to the sheer scope of repertoire magnificently recorded by one of history’s most powerful musical partnerships.

The Berlin Philharmonic in Spatial Audio

Discover albums by the Berlin Philharmonic in Spatial Audio. Offered in addition to Lossless in Apple Music, Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos is an incredible three-dimensional experience. Music comes to you from above and all around you, clearer and crisper than ever, with every note feeling almost close enough to touch.

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