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Video on demand from 09 May 2020

Elphi at Home: Elbtonal Percussion

The percussion ensemble plays marimbaphone classics and Radiohead

Video available until 09 May 2021

The Artists

A truck full of drums, vibraphones, gongs, objects borrowed from everyday life and strange trash instruments – this is all the percussionists of Elbtonal Percussion need to make a racket at the highest level. The four Hamburgers have been touring the world with creative programmes between classical, world, jazz and rock music for a quarter-century now. And in between times they also appear in concert with top orchestras and other leading percussionists such as Stewart Copeland of »The Police«, or join forces with an actress like Martina Gedeck, with John Neumeier's Hamburg Ballet or with Christian Brückner, the actor who dubs Robert De Niro into German. And they even record film soundtracks into the bargain – for example, for »Kirschblüten – Hanami« or »Der Baader Meinhof Komplex«.


Concert streams, children's programmes or virtual tours: the Elbphilharmonie digital programme at a glance.

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The Programme

Matthias Schmitt (*1958)
Ghanaia / arr. Elbtonal Percussion (1996)

Keiko Abe (*1937) / Kaoru Wada (*1962)
The Wave / arr. Andrej Kauffmann (2000)

Daydreaming / arr. Jan-F. Behrend (2016)

Elbtonal Percussion

A lot of people only expect percussionists to produce mindless, repetitive drumming. But they're quite wrong. After a concert, people from the audience often come up to us to say how surprised they are that a percussion performance can be so enjoyable.

Andrej Kauffmann


Jan-Frederick Behrend
Andrej Kauffmann
Stephan Krause
Sönke Schreiber

The Music

Matthias Schmitt: Ghanaia

»Ghanaia« is among the pieces that belong to the absolute marimbaphone core repertoire. More than 150 versions can be found on Youtube, and it is one of the required works at international competitions from Tokyo to Paris. Würzburger composer Matthias Schmitt originally wrote »Ghanaia« for his own use. »The West African 12/8 groove etched itself into my memory at drum workshops and dance courses. I then took it a a basis for improvisation.« In 1997 Schmitt gave it to the then first percussionist of the Munich Philharmonic, Edgar Guggeis, for use on his solo tours, and this helped the piece achieve its breakthrough.

Elbtonal Percussion
Elbtonal Percussion
Elbtonal Percussion
Elbtonal Percussion
Elbtonal Percussion
Elbtonal Percussion
Elbtonal Percussion
Elbtonal Percussion

Keiko Abe / Kaoru Wada: The Wave

Keiko Abe is one of today's leading marimbaphone virtuosi. The Japanese composer and musician had a decisive influence on the construction and playing technique of the modern marimbaphone.

Her piece »The Wave« dates from the year 2000, and oscillates between meditation and immense elemental force. The marimbaphone soloist is surrounded by other percussion instruments such as wind chimes and glass harmonica, temple blocks, clapped rhythms and calls, which all build up towards an ecstatic finale.

Radiohead: Daydreaming

Shrouded in celestial, minimalistic percussion sound, the four musicians end their gig with the Radiohead ballad »Daydreaming«. The British alternative rock band led by Thom Yorke has been making its mark on the international music scene for decades. Famous for its stylised, introverted rock elegies, the band is constantly changing its style, from Britpop to experimental electronic numbers.

Text: Laura Etspüler (Stand: 7.5.2020)

Thom Yorke

Radiohead's lead singer at the Elbphilharmonie.

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