The Waldbühne in Berlin, one of the most appealing outdoor amphitheatres on the European continent, is the home of the Berliner Philharmoniker’s yearly summer concerts. Each year, this concert features guest conductors, including Simon Rattle, Mariss Jansons, James Levine, Daniel Barenboim, Kent Nagano, Seiji Ozawa, Placido Domingo or Neeme Järvi. With over 22.000 in attendance, they are some of the most popular classical music concerts in the world.
The Berlin Waldbühne (formerly Dietrich-Eckart open-air stage) was built in a niche in the Murellenschlucht valley during construction work for the 1936 Olympic Games. Building works were headed by architect Werner March, who followed plans drawn up by Conrad Heidenreich.
The valley forms a natural basin at the Murellenberg, against whose slopes the tiered spectator stands have been built. The layout of the Waldbühne is based upon the Ancient Greek theatre in Epidauros. As in all ancient theatres, the rows of seats get higher the further they are from the stage, which is conducive to the structure's acoustics.
The total area is 69,585m². The audience stands have room for 22,290 people. The rest of the Berlin Olympic Park lies to the east of the Waldbühne, namely the bell tower, the Maifeld and Langemarck Hall, as well as the Olympic Stadium itself. The concert hall received the name Waldbühne after the Second World War. At first it served as an open-air cinema (hosting, among others, the Berlin Film Festival), and was then used for boxing matches.
Since 1962 the Berlin Waldbühne has been used as a concert hall thanks to its good acoustics and unique atmosphere.
In 1982 the current tented roof was installed above the stage, and since then the Berlin Waldbühne has become known as one of Europe's most beautiful open-air concert halls and has turned into a veritable West Berlin institution.
The hall enjoys an excellent reputation among artists both nationally and internationally, and from May to September it is a popular venue for rock, pop and classical music concerts. The best-known of them all is probably the summer concert of the Berliner Philharmoniker, which performs there each year accompanied by conductors and soloists of international fame.