The policy of Hamburg’s new concert hall can be summed up in two words: good music – an overview of the opening season
A Concert Hall For Everyone
When the project was conceived, the aspiration of the Elbphilharmonie was to be a concert hall for everyone. Besides focusing on high-quality productions and performances, this involves making music as accessible as possible. But is it not inevitable that a music programme on the very highest level only ever appeals to a certain sector of society?
On the contrary: one of the characteristics of great art is that it speaks to audiences on a number of different levels. If a Beethoven symphony is played beautifully, it carries everyone along – be they classical music aficionados or newcomers surrendering themselves intuitively to the energy of the music.
At the Elbphilharmonie you can experience and enjoy a diverse programme that includes all kinds of music. Starting as we mean to go on, the opening season features performances by the best musicians from all over the world. Moreover, there is a huge range of concert-related events that bring audiences closer than ever to the musicians and the music.
A Great Sound
The traditional symphony orchestra is the most important ensemble in classical music. Alongside the resident NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra, a number of top international orchestras are also visiting Hamburg to give guest performances. One very special highlight is the visit by the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar, which will be performing all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies in March 2017: ¡Viva Beethoven!
Even though it is not an opera house, a lot of singing goes on at the Elbphilharmonie. We are bringing world-class singers such as Cecilia Bartoli, Joyce DiDonato and Ian Bostridge to the Elbe to perform in vocal and semi-staged productions. Furthermore, stars such as Diana Damrau, Simone Kermes, Philippe Jaroussky and Thomas Hampson are giving aria concerts in the Grand Hall. Last but not least, there is the most intimate form of singing in the lieder recitals.
In classical music, the term »chamber music« refers to a performance by fewer than 10 musicians. The Recital Halls of the Laeiszhalle and the Elbphilharmonie are particularly well suitable for this kind of concert. In the intimate surroundings of these halls, the audience is seated close to the musicians and can follow every detail of the interaction on stage.
Masters of the Keys
The piano is such a versatile instrument that it can replace a whole orchestra. The list of exquisite pianists who are visiting Hamburg this season is a long one indeed – whether they are performing with an orchestra, a chamber music ensemble or taking the stage on their own for a piano recital. This season’s »Pianomania« series has a fascinating theme: in the Elbphilharmonie Recital Hall, four outstanding pianists tackle those pieces which cause students such difficulties - études. The nimble-fingered professionals make light work of these exercises and perform them to captivating effect.
King of All Instruments
It takes a long time to get to know a complex instrument such as the organ down to the last stop. That is why there is a wonderful tradition in churches and concert halls of appointing a titular organist. In the Elbphilharmonie, this position is filled by the Latvian organist Iveta Apkalna, who officially inaugurates the organ in the Elbphilharmonie Grand Hall at the end of January. Her colleagues from Hamburg’s five main churches then welcome the new instrument, which was made by the Bonn-based company Klais, into the Hamburg family of organs during the end-of-season »Long Night of Organ«.
Back to the Future
In a concert hall with such visionary architecture as that of the Elbphilharmonie, it is inevitable that contemporary music will occupy an important place in the programme. This includes several premieres of works specially commissioned for the Elbphilharmonie. A series of concerts is devoted to each of three leading contemporary German composers: Wolfgang Rihm, Jörg Widman and Matthias Pintscher.
Jazz, World & Pop
With its long and venerable tradition, jazz is in no way inferior to classical music. The Elbphilharmonie Grand Hall is the home of »Jazz at the Phil«, while the »Jazz Piano« series is held, as ever, in the Laeiszhalle Recital Hall. There is also plenty of room for pop, rock and electronic music in the Elbphilharmonie, with the Einstürzende Neubauten already lined up for the opening of the Elbphilharmonie. Finally, the »Around the World« and the »World Classical Music«series present both classical and non-classical music from every corner of the globe.
These projects do not fit into any pigeonholes and make an even more striking impression as a result: the sound installation »The Ship« by the ambient pioneer Brian Eno; the new piece by choreographer Sasha Waltz, who takes over the Elbphilharmonie Foyer with her company at the beginning of January; the production »Call me God«, featuring charismatic Hollywood star John Malkovich as an abdicating dictator; and a performance of Joseph Haydn’s »Creation« by the Catalan theatre group La Fura dels Baus.
Good music for everyone also means good music for young ears. The Elbphilharmonie offers a range of concerts, workshops and other formats to help children discover the glorious world of music. A special emphasis is placed on active participation, as we know from experience that taking part is much more fun than sitting on the sidelines. Young listeners can also look forward to an entertaining and age-appropriate programme of children's concerts.