Opening Night 2023: Joshua Bell & Alan Gilbert

The NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra opens the season with works by Dutilleux and Stravinsky, and the premiere of a brand-new work. Concert stream from 01.09.2023 no longer available

It’s a matter of great pride for the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and their chief conductor Alan Gilbert to be joined by their new Artist in Residence Joshua Bell for this season opener. The orchestra and the star violinist start their collaboration with the premiere of an extraordinary work, for which a number of composers were commissioned. Also on the programme: a suite by the French composer Henri Dutilleux and Igor Stravinsky’s scandal-causing classic »Le sacre du printemps« (The Rite of Spring). A powerful and exciting concert with the Elbphilharmonie’s resident orchestra to get the season off to the best possible start.

Joshua Bell
Joshua Bell © Phillip Knott


NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester

Joshua Bell violin

conductor Alan Gilbert


Henri Dutilleux
Métaboles for large orchestra

Jake Heggie, Jennifer Higdon, Edgar Meyer, Jessie Montgomery, Kevin Puts
The Elements – Suite for Violin and Orchestra (world premiere)

– Interval –

Igor Strawinsky
Le sacre du printemps / Pictures of Pagan Russia in Two Parts

The Music

»The Elements« is a new suite for violin and orchestra commissioned by the Grammy-winning violinist from five renowned American composers. In short pieces of 6 to 8 minutes, Jake Heggie, Jennifer Higdon, Edgar Meyer, Jessie Montgomery and Kevin Puts explore earth, water, fire, air and ether – the five elements that form the foundation of the Greek philosophy of Aristotle and traditional Chinese natural philosophy and medicine.

The five elements are in a constant flux and mutually influence each other – a concept that also inspired Alan Gilbert’s choice of the other two works on the opening night programme. In another 5-movement work, Henri Dutilleux’s »Métaboles«, which was premiered in 1965, »the main motif – melodic, rhythmic, harmonic or simply instrumental – undergoes successive transformations«.

And Igor Stravinsky’s monumental work »Le sacre du printemps« of 1913 depicts in explosive sounds those elemental forces that fundamentally transform the natural world each year: the awakening of spring. »It seemed to begin in an hour, and was like the whole Earth cracking,« said the composer, describing the experience of this unique season, for which he invented innovative composition techniques and rhythms. The perfect work, then, for embarking on a season full of transformations, surprises and new experiences with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra!


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