Musical Focus of the 2017/18 Season
The traditional symphony orchestra is the most important ensemble in classical music. Alongside the resident NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester and the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra, a number of top international orchestras are also visiting Hamburg to give guest performances, including orchestras from London, Amsterdam, Cleveland and Philadelphia. Also, some of the foremost German orchestras of our time from Leipzig, Bamberg and Munich will be guests in the Grand Hall: one very special highlight is the visit by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, which will be taking up a residency.
Festivals and Themes
Elbphilharmonie festivals put music traditions from across the world under the microscope: this season our gaze drifts towards the Caucasus region, in particular, the highly diverse musical styles coming from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan; in »Czech it out!«, five concerts are devoted to the long music history of the Czech Republic. And the keys to the Elbphilharmonie are handed over to selected musicians for a whole weekend in the new »Reflector« series. The highlight of the season is the Hamburg International Music Festival, which celebrates its third season in 2018 under the motto »utopia«.
Current Contemporary Music
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. A series of concerts is devoted to »Monoliths« of the twentieth century – works that are so monumental, they are scarcely performed today. Peter Eötvös, one of contemporary music’s formative protagonists, visits the Elbphilharmonie as residence artist – to kick-off his residency, Eötvös unveils a specially commissioned work.
Even though it is not an opera house, a lot of singing goes on at the Elbphilharmonie. International superstars like Diana Damrau, Jonas Kaufmann und Joyce DiDonato give guest appearances of aria and leider in the Grand Hall; baritone Matthias Goerne features in seven concerts in different roles, including one in Hans Henze’s scandalous oratorio »The Raft of Medusa«. And in the »Oper konzertant« concert series, operas by composers from Telemann and Berlioz to Kurt Weill can be enjoyed as semi-staged productions or in concert version. Thus the core of the art form – the music! – can be enjoyed more intensely than ever.
Top-Class Piano Recitals
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: Daniil Trifonov, one of the best pianists in the world, can be heard in a portrait series; piano legend Murray Perahia plays a concert cycle of Ludwig van Beethoven’s piano concerti; and Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich and Sir András Schiff take the stage on their own for a piano recital. The strictly-themed »Pianomania« series is devoted to the variation this season.
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 at the Elbphilharmonie, with Benjamin Clementine already lined up for an appearance in the Grand Hall. Finally, the »Around the World« and the »Klassik der Welt« series present both classical and non-classical music from every corner of the globe.
»This sound really embraces people«, raved Iveta Apkalna, titular organist of the Elbphilharmonie. The concert organ in the Grand Hall’s massive spectrum of sound and dynamics particularly moved her. And Apkalna’s organist colleagues will surely share this enthusiasm at their guest concerts – Kevin Bowyer, for example, who performs a mammoth eight-hour concert dedicated to British composer Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji. The Finnish punk accordion player Kimmo Pohjonen has composed a kind of double concerto for himself and the organ. And Jean Guillou, the longest-serving titular organist in Paris, also honours us with an appearance.
Exquisite Chamber Music
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 suited 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. The 2017/18 season brings together the stars of the classical music scene, including: the Belcea Quartet, the Quator Ebène, the Jerusalem Quartet, and musicians like Vilde Frang, Emanuel Pahud and Nicolas Altstaedt.
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.