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Berlin Philharmonic Plays At Brandenburg Gate With New Russian-Born Conductor

Russian conductor Kirill Petrenko (file photo)

The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and its new principal conductor, 47-year-old Russian-born Kirill Petrenko, have performed Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 for crowds in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

The concert at the historic site in Berlin was part of celebrations marking 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

An estimated 35,000 people turned up for the performance under the open sky.

The crowd celebrated Petrenko and the orchestra with a long applause after the final chorus with Friedrich Schiller's Ode To Joy.

The concert marked the first time the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra has performed in front of the historic Brandenburg Gate.

Petrenko had already begun his time at the helm of the philharmonic on August 23 by conducting Beethoven's Ninth. He is only the orchestra's seventh chief conductor in its 137-year history.

Petrenko, who is of Jewish descent was born in Omsk, Russia, in 1972 to a musicologist mother and a violinist father who was born in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

In 1990, when Petrenko was 18, he and his family emigrated to Austria where his father played in the Symphony Orchestra Vorarlberg.

In 2014, when Russian military forces seized Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and the Kremlin illegally annexed the region, Petrenko called for a solution to the crisis that would respect Ukraine’s sovereignty.

Based on reporting by dpa and RBB-TV