Focus Mandolin

Say goodbye to the mandolin’s status as the shrinking violet of plucked instruments: »Focus Mandolin« celebrates the exciting diversity of music coaxed out of this small but beautiful instrument by virtuosic artists

Hamilton de Holanda
Hamilton de Holanda © Felipe Diniz

The mandolin, a plucked instrument with eight strings that is tricky to play, is often underappreciated. However, it is a wonderful solo instrument that has worked its way from Baroque to bluegrass. Having been named Instrument of the Year 2023 by the German federal state councils for music, the mandolin is really coming under the spotlight. Some of the world’s most creative and technically impressive mandolin players deliver strong arguments supporting that choice in the Elbphilharmonie.

In the opening concert, Chris Thile from the USA – who has already delighted the Elbphilharmonie audience more than once – demonstrates that you can deliver thrilling solo concerts on the mandolin. Avi Avital takes the instrument’s role in Italian Baroque as a basis for many spectacular expansions to the repertoire. In Hamburg he gives a guest performance with his Between Worlds Ensemble and the Rustavi Choir from Georgia, which delve into European and Near-Eastern musical traditions.

In their programme »Routes of Discovery«, Hamilton de Holanda, one of the top stars of música popular brasileira, and the pianist Nduduzo Makhathini trace the musical interconnections between Brazil and South Africa that go back to slavery. And the classically trained Caterina Lichtenberg performs a programme built around the theme of love with the folk musician Mike Marshall.