A concert hall with a history
The inauguration of the Laeiszhalle took place on 4 June 1908 and at that time the Laeiszhalle was the largest and most modern concert hall in Germany. The well-known Hamburg shipping company owner Carl Heinrich Laeisz had left instructions in his will that the company F. Laeisz should donate 1.2 million German Reichsmark for the construction of »a place worthy of the performance and for the enjoyment of noble and serious music«. The sum was later increased by his widow Sophie Christine Laeisz. The architects Martin Haller and Erwin Meerwein – who had already made a name for themselves as architects of the impressive Hamburg town hall - erected the neo-baroque concert hall that remains, to this day, one of the most beautiful in Europe.
The Laeiszhalle Hamburg has had its role to play in musical history right from the very beginning. Famous artists such as Richard Strauss, Sergei Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky, and Paul Hindemith all performed and conducted their own works here. The 12 year old wunderkind Yehudi Menuhin played his violin at the Laeiszhalle in 1930, and Maria Callas' legendary concerts at the Laeiszhalle will never be forgotten. After World War II the Laeiszhalle, having survived the bombardment of Hamburg without damage, experienced an unusual intermezzo: the British Forces used the building as broadcasting studios for the military station BFN and stored over 60,000 jazz records in the Brahms-Foyer. Chris Howland started his career as a radio DJ at the Laeiszhalle.
Today the Laeiszhalle continues to welcome stars from the international music scene. It is the centre of Hamburg's musical life and home to the city's professional orchestras, such as the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the NDR Symphony Orchestra, the Hamburger Symphony Orchestra as well as the Ensemble Resonanz, our »Ensemble in Residence.« Audiences value such quality and high profile concerts: more than 400,000 people visit the Laeiszhalle every year.
The Laeiszhalle will remain at the centre of Hamburg's musical life, joining forces with the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. That both concert venues are under the single artistic management of Christoph Lieben-Seutter is the guarantee for their joint artistic goal.