With a ceremony held before high-ranking guests, the celebrations to mark the opening of the Elbphilharmonie were launched on 11 January 2017 in the Grand Hall. Speeches were given from the podium by German President Joachim Gauck, the Mayor of Hamburg Olaf Scholz, Jacques Herzog of the architects' office Herzog & de Meuron and Elbphilharmonie’s General and Artistic Director Christoph Lieben-Seutter.
Among those attending the ceremony were German Chancellor Angela Merkel and many other guests from the worlds of politics and culture.More information on the Grand Opening concert programme
»THE ELBPHILHARMONIE IS A POWER STATION THAT FANS FRESH AIR INTO THE LOCAL MUSIC SCENE; A PLACE THAT CAN BECOME A CENTRE OF CREATIVITY, RECOGNISED AND ADMIRED THE WORLD OVER«
During the opening concert, the Elbphilharmonie facade itself became the screen for a unique light show: the music being performed in the Grand Hall was translated in real time into colours and shapes and was projected onto the side of the building.
The Opening Festival
And after the inaugural concerts, the celebrations continued: for another three weeks, top-class musicians from a wide variety of genres appeared at the Elbphilharmonie as part of the opening festival.
Among them were the resident ensembles of the Elbphilharmonie and the Laeiszhalle; there were guest appearances by some of the world’s top orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic; the first piano recital with Artist in Residence Mitsuko Uchida; classical music from all over the world with Dhruba Ghosh; the first organ recital; a family day, and last but not least, a true »endurance test«: two concerts with the legendary avant-garde band from Berlin, the Einstürzende Neubauten.The Opening Festival at a glance
Ensemble Resonanz made its debut as Ensemble in Residence of the Recital Hall with works by Bartók and Alban Berg, plus the first performance of a new piece by Georg Friedrich Haas.
High-ranking visitors: the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under maestro Riccardo Muti gave not one but two concerts during the inaugural weekend.
Benchmark for contemporary music in quartet form: with compositions by Lachenmann, Rihm and Kagel, the Arditti Quartet gave the first chamber music recital in the Elbphilharmonie Recital Hall.
Mitsuko Uchida is one of the »grandes dames« of the keyboard: she chose the pianos used at the Elbphilharmonie herself, and christened the first Steinway during her solo recital.
»A first-class contemporary music ensemble«, as front-man Blixa Bargeld describes his band, made a guest appearance in the Grand Hall on the second weekend after the opening. The Einstürzende Neubauten used drainpipes and metal trays to see just how many decibels the Grand Hall can cope with.
The Indian sarangi master Dhruba Ghosh rolled out Oriental carpets in the Recital Hall, presenting his colourful string instrument as the opener for the series »World Classical Music«.
A visit by a top-flight orchestra and a big reunion: Ingo Metzmacher, for many years Director of Music at the Hamburg State Opera, conducted the Vienna Philharmonic.
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma began his residency at the Elbphilharmonie with a chamber music recital together with Kathryn Stott.Portrait Yo-Yo Ma
Elegant: star baritone Thomas Hampson brought back to life turn-of-the-century Vienna and 1930s New York in the Grand Hall – with music by Johann Strauss, Fritz Kreisler and Cole Porter.
»East meets West« was the motto of cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s second concert during the opening festival. The programme, which at the same time offered a small preview of the Salām Syria festival, included a work written to commission by the Syrian clarinettist Kinan Azmeh.
Iveta Apkalna, the Elbphilharmonie’s titular organist, gave the first organ recital in the Grand Hall with a programme of music from all eras.
For the final event of its opening festival, the Elbphilharmonie opened its doors to families: concerts and workshops for all age groups were on the programme of this voyage of discovery, which led on the Family Day from the Kaistudios up to the Kühne Sky Lounge.More impressions from Family Day