Martin Hoffmann has been general manager of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra since 2010.
Before that, the fifty-four-year-old was managing director at the commercial broadcaster Sat.1 and CEO of a television production company. On “Talking Germany,” we chat with former lawyer Martin Hoffmann about the watersheds in his life; why classical music isn’t right for commercial television; and how he’s getting young audiences interested in the Philharmonic.
Martin Hoffmann was born in 1959 in Nussloch, near Heidelberg. After graduating from high school in Heidelberg, we studied law in Saarbrücken, Lausanne and Hamburg. He came to the attention of Leo Kirch when he prepared an expert legal opinion for the media mogul. Kirch hired him in 1994 to work for his Sat. 1 television station, and Hoffmann quickly rose to become managing director. He left the company in 2003, following its takeover by investor Haim Saban and became the CEO of the MME television production company. When the Berlin Philharmonic was looking for a new general manager, Hoffmann – a passionate lover of classical music – applied successfully for the position. The orchestra considers it an advantage that Hoffmann doesn’t come from a typical classical music background. It expects the experienced and well-connected businessman to ensure a greater public profile while interfering less with artistic decisions than his predecessors had. Martin Hoffmann is married and lives in Berlin.