The Berlin Philharmonic (“Berliner Philharmoniker“) is currently offering free access to their collection of concerts and films as a public service to all of us staying home and self-quarantining during this coronavirus pandemic. There’s one small catch – you have to become a registered user of their digital concert hall service, which is free and without any obligation. Once you do that here, you can – and log in. Then you can redeem the code BERLINPHIL and use the Digital Concert Hall free of charge for 30 days.

Berliner Philharmoniker free streaming concerts

I just signed up myself, and while there are a few confusing aspects to it* … for example, it seems like the first concert I tried to watch hasn’t even happened yet – it’s scheduled for June – but once I correctly found the archive, I accessed a concert featuring conductor Herbert von Karajan with the Berlin Philharmonic at the Grosses Festspielhaus in Salzburg from 1979. They are performing Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Missa solemnis in D major, op. 123,” with Soprano: Anna Tomowa-Sintow; Alto: Ruza Baldani; Tenor: Eric Tappy; and Bass: José van Dam Bass. It’s easy to wonder “how good is the quality going to be from footage and a recording that is 41 years old?” While the video is not “high def” in the current definition of the term, it looks good, with some dramatic lighting, and the sound is fantastic. I will definitely utilize this complimentary service over the next month!

* One other confusing aspect to the website was that after I signed up, I received a confirmation email, and once I verified my email, it took me to the site and allowed me to start watching and listening. However, in another browser window, my original registration took me to a payment page, which I did not fill out. I’m guessing it’s the typical thing where you need to enter billing info even though you won’t get billed for the free 30 Day Trial, but you’ll probably need to go back and cancel your subscription to avoid being billed before it starts on Day 31 (after the free 30 days) … it’s not clear to me, because it doesn’t state that in the email … and, I’m listening without giving any credit card info. So, with this in mind, I can’t advise you on this aspect. But hey – if you really enjoy what they have, you might not want to cancel after your initial trial period – they have several different plans and ticket options for you to consider. You can also give access as a gift! FAQ are here.

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