Hamburg International Music Festival

From 6 May to 6 June 2021 the digital music festival offers a wide range of top concerts from the Elbphilharmonie.

Every year the Hamburg International Music Festival provides one final highlight in the concert calendar at the end of the season. In 2021 the festival takes place entirely online and presents many programme highlights with all major Hamburg-based orchestras and top-class guests.

Numerous top concerts available to stream

The digital festival opens on 6 May 2021 with the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra under conductor Kent Nagano playing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and the first performance of a work by Swiss composer William Blank. The main focus of the festival are three concerts by and with the American baritone Thomas Hampson. He recently added a new chapter to his long-term project »Song of America« entitled »A Celebration of Black Music«, which he will perform for the first time on European soil together with numerous guest singers. The programme features songs and works largely by black American composers of the 20th century who have been heard far too rarely in the concert hall up to now.

Among the other highlights are Ensemble Resonanz together with Iveta Apkalna, Thomas Hengelbrock and his Balthasar Neumann ensembles, the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, once under the baton of chief conductor Alan Gilbert and conducted in another concert by Paavo Järvi, the unconventional violinist and Artist in Residence Patricia Kopatchinskaja, and last but certainly not least the Belcea Quartet, which gives two recitals of chamber music by Johannes Brahms.

Note: All Hamburg International Music Festival 2021 concerts are available to stream free of charge. Once premiered, each concert stream can be accessed for the whole festival period.

Supported by:

Week 1 :3–9 May 2021

Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra

Thu, 6 May 2021 : Digital Music Festival: Opening Concert

The Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra and Kent Nagano with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and a William Blank premiere performed by a top line-up kick off this year’s festival.

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Paavo Järvi

Fri, 7 May 2021 : Paavo Järvi & NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester

The Estonian star conductor and the orchestra present Tchaikovsky’s highly Romantic string serenade together with the rarely-heard Second Symphony by Carl Nielsen.

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Patricia Kopatchinskaja

Sat, 8 May 2021 : Death and the Maiden

The unconventional violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja joins forces with the Camerata Bern to present a dark and imaginative concert film. Available until 15 May 2021.

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Week 2 :10–16 May 2021

Iveta Apkalna

Mon, 10 May 2021 : Iveta Apkalna & Ensemble Resonanz

The titular organist plays works by Poulenc and Bach; on the rostrum: early music expert Riccardo Minasi.

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Duo Shalamov

Fri, 14 May : Shalamov Piano Duo

In a concert stream from the Elbphilharmonie, the award-winning duo presents the German premiere of a challenging new work by Sofia Gubaidulina.

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Thomas Hengelbrock

Sun, 16 Mai 2021 : Händel: Israel in Egypt

Thomas Hengelbrock and his Balthasar Neumann ensembles perform Handel’s mighty oratorio.

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Week 3 :17–23 May 2021

Ensemble Resonanz

Mon, 17 May 2021 : Xilin Wang: Musik eines Überlebenden

Unter the baton of Johannes Kalitzke, the Hamburg-based Ensemble Resonanz plays a symphony by the revolutionary freethinker in an atmospheric concert stream.

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Veronika Eberle

Wed, 19 May 2021 : Veronika Eberle & Kent Nagano

The famous violinist and the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra present the world premiere of a work by Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa together with Brahms’s Third Symphony.

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Thu, 20 May 2021 : Symphoniker Hamburg: Oden an Napoleon

The Laeiszhalle’s resident orchestra live from the Grand Hall with a programme of music by Beethoven and Schoenberg.

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NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra

Sat, 22 May 2021 : Alan Gilbert dirigiert Dvořák & Mahler

Under the baton of its principal conductor, the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra is joined on stage by guest soloists Gautier Capuçon and Anna Prohaska.

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Belcea Quartet

Sun, 23 May 2021 : Das Belcea Quartet spielt Brahms I

The string quartet is joined by Amihai Grosz, solo viola in the Berlin Philharmonic, for a programme of Brahms’s chamber music.

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Week 4 :24–30 May 2021

Belcea Quartet

Mon, 24 May 2021 : Das Belcea Quartet spielt Brahms II

The quartet joins forces with viola player Tabea Zimmermann and cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras to perform the Brahms string sextets.

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Having fun during rehearsal in the Grand Hall

Thu, 27. May 2021 : Twinkle Concert XXL: Himmelblau (Sky-Blue)

How does freedom work? A staged concert for young people aged 14+.

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Fri, 28 May 2021 : Phantasmagoria

The meaning of nonsense! Patricia Kopatchinskaja presents a fast-paced film version of the key work of Dadaism by Kurt Schwitters.

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Klaus Florian Vogt

Sat, 29 May 2021 : Klaus Florian Vogt & Kent Nagano

The star tenor and the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra perform songs from »Des Knaben Wunderhorn« and works by Franz Schubert.

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Sete Lágrimas

Sun, 30 May 2021 : Magellan’s Journey: The Last Ship

With its programme »The Last Ship«, the Portuguese ensemble Sete Lágrimas follows explorer Ferdinand Magellan as he becomes the first man to sail around the world.

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Week 5 :31 May–6 June 2021

Thomas Hampson

Wed, 2 Jul 2021 : A Celebration of Black Music I

The first concert of the three-part series places Afro-American poet Langston Hughes in the spotlight with settings of his verse by European and American composers.

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Leah Hawkins

Fri, 4 Jun 2021 : A celebration of Black Music II

»I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings« – this is the title of the second Elbphilharmonie concert given by Thomas Hampson and his guests.

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Roderick Cox

Sun, 6 Jun 2021 : A Celebration of Black Music III

Accompanied by fellow American artists and by the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Thomas Hampson presents songs and orchestral works written by Afro-American composers.

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The concert recording will be broadcast on at a later time. : Schumann: Ballads & Requiem

In a concert stream from Paris, the French Insula Orchestra and the Accentus Choir conducted by Laurence Equilbey present works by Robert Schumann.

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Mediatheque : More stories

Bachs »Weihnachts­oratorium«
Play Video

Video on demand from 7 Dec 2023 : Bachs »Weihnachts­oratorium«

The NDR Vokalensemble gets everyone in a festive mood with a performance of Bach’s famous »Christmas Oratorio« in the Elbphilharmonie Grand Hall – featuring the world-class tenor Julian Prégardien.

Elbphilharmonie Innerview: Randall Goosby

»Access to music education can change lives« – the young violinist talks about his career, the unique power of music and finding the right balance in life.

Christmas carols to sing along to

The Christmas karaoke from the Elbphilharmonie – sing along to the organ in the Grand Hall.