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Wiener Philharmoniker

Back in New York, mein Schatz and I regularly attended classical concerts at Carnegie Hall.  In fact, at the peak of the concert season (February-ish), it wasn’t too unusual to find ourselves there on a weekly basis.  With the best orchestras from around the world making regular appearances, it was the perfect wintertime entertainment!  And thanks to day-of-ticket sales and discounts using our university affiliations, we rarely ever paid full price.

One exception, however, was a concert by the Vienna Philharmonic, one of the very top orchestras in the world.  A highly coveted event among classical music lovers in New York, I bought tickets months in advance.  Long story short, however, mein Schatz was offered a job interview in Hamburg exactly on the date of the concert.  So we sold our tickets and bought our flights to go check out the Hansestadt.  And you know how that ended up.

But that’s not the end of this story.  Not too long ago, nearly five years after landing in Europe, I noticed that the Vienna Philharmonic was scheduled to play a January concert in Berlin.  The tickets went on sale online one Sunday morning at 8am.  I carefully set my alarm, readied my credit card, and scored two great seats. (I apparently wasn’t the only one with this idea, because the website crashed several times during the process. Who knew?)

Berlin Philharmonie
Berliner Philharmonie. Photo by David Bank.

So on Tuesday of this week, at long last, we finally were able to see the Vienna Philharmonic live.  Georges Prêtre, an 88-year-old Frenchman, conducted the orchestra, which played Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, Strawinsky’s Firebird, and Ravel’s Bolero.  And the music was just absolutely beautiful.  We ate it up, including two lovely encore pieces.

I’m not by any means an expert, but these pieces are pretty well known and are standard classical fare.  Pretty classical classical music, you’d have to admit.  But I guess rather conservative tastes come with the territory, seeing as how the Vienna Philharmonic only started admitting female members to its orchestra 13 years ago.  It was quite shocking to see that they only have a handful of women playing with them, so I did a little research after the concert.  Apparently it’s not something they feel they have to explain or do much to change.  Several spokesmen in the past have been so bold as to claim that the orchestra sounds better played by all men.  Total Quatsch, if you ask me…

Descanso en la Filarmónica de Berlin (2)
Inside the Berliner Philharmonie. Photo by francescc.

But, anyway.  It was still a lovely night out and a great excuse to get dressed up.  So we’ve sworn to ourselves to see at least one or two more concerts this season at the Berliner Philharmonie, but maybe next time something more modern and dynamic!

Are you a fan of classical music?  Or maybe even play an instrument yourself?


  1. Cool! (Although that’s crazy about the women thing!) But it sounds like fun, and the Berliner Philharmonie looks so lovely!

    I am going to a concert soon at the Laieszhalle. My husband plays the cello in an orchestra (just for fun) and they are playing again in two weeks. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the vote for next semester – I really want them to play Schubert’s 9th symphony, which has a special significance for my husband and I. (It’s our song! Kind of romantic for our song to be a symphony, don’t you think?)

    • Hope you have a great time at the concert at Laieszhalle — it’s so beautiful! How neat that your husband plays in orchestra. I am so in awe of musicians. :) And a symphony as a your song is awesome, I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

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