Classical music comes to Berlin’s underground train stations in sonic makeover

25 March 2022, 15:36 | Updated: 25 March 2022, 15:46

Classical music comes to Berlin’s U-Bahn
Classical music comes to Berlin’s U-Bahn. Picture: Alamy / Getty Images

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

A new project launched in U-Bahn stations across the German capital is turning commutes into concerts...

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Berlin is a famously cultural city with a rich musical heritage.

It was the work place of some of history’s greatest composers such as Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Felix Mendelssohn, Richard Strauss, and Arnold Schoenberg.

Today, the city is home to one of the world’s leading orchestra’s, the Berliner Philharmoniker, as well as a range of historic concert venues, including three opera houses.

But these concert venues are no longer the only place you can hear classical music. As part of a pilot project between Berlin’s BVG (main transport company) and Klassik Radio, city commuters will now be able to hear classical music across four underground stations: Unter den Linden, Strausberger Platz (U5), Südstern (U7), and Moritzplatz (U8).

Read more: An 800-year-old Icelandic hymn sung in a train station is utterly haunting

State Opera House, Unter den Linden, Berlin, Germany
State Opera House, Unter den Linden, Berlin, Germany. Picture: Alamy

A different playlist of music will be played at each station; Unter den Linden, one of the most elegant stations on the network, will have a playlist of ‘Piano Classics’, while commuters at Südstern station will be treated to a selection of ‘Lounge Beats’.

The locations have been chosen by BVG as they all vary in size; the experiment is partly to find out what works sonically for each different type of station.

Passengers travelling through the stations will be polled on their views of the pilot project, and depending no the results, classical music could be introduced at more stations across the city.

Read more: Tiny model train breaks a world record by playing epic classical medley on passing glasses

Classical music has found its way to other train services across the world, including the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof, where Vivaldi’s Four Seasons has been a staple since 2008.

In London, classical music is part of a 40-hour playlist played at 65 of the 270 stations on the underground tube network.

Read more: Why is classical music played on the tube?