NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra / Thomas Hampson / Alan Gilbert

Schönberg: Friede auf Erden / Weill: Whitman Songs / Ives: Symphony No. 4 – Opening Concert / Hamburg International Music Festival

This concert has already taken place! 17 | 37 | 64 | 86 | 107
This concert has already taken place! 17 | 37 | 64 | 86 | 107
Alan Gilbert
Alan Gilbert © Marco Borggreve / NDR
Thomas Hampson
Thomas Hampson © Jiyang Chen

Krieg und Frieden

»Peace, peace on Earth!« Arnold Schönberg’s message in his choral work »Friede auf Erden« is unequivocal. But it’s also an illusion: the composer was not the only one to admit as much after he had completed the score. Recent events in the political arena make this plain to us all. But the improbability of achieving peace on earth makes it all the more important to repeat these words as often as possible. And this prompted Alan Gilbert to choose this Late Romantic work to open the Hamburg International Music Festival 2024. »War and Peace« is the motto this time, taken from Leo Tolstoy’s famous and timeless novel.

The opening concert with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra sees the return to the Elbphilharmonie of star baritone Thomas Hampson to sing Kurt Weill’s »Walt Whitman Songs«, which he wrote in American exile in 1941, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Whitman – whom Weill regarded as the USA’s first original poetic talent – wrote the song texts, some defiant, some moving, during the American Civil War.

The concert comes to an end with Charles Ives’s Fourth Symphony, described by Alan Gilbert as the »big bang of modern American music«. With this 1925 work, the great pioneer of musical collages made his boldest dreams come true: how many different tempos, keys and rhythms can be played at the same time without total chaos resulting? Ives’s exciting score supplies a spectacular answer to this question. Performing the symphony is a great challenge for any orchestra – so great that the composer never lived to hear the four-movement piece played in its entirety. Now Alan Gilbert and his musicians join forces with the Prague Philharmonic Choir in this musical adventure.


NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester

Prager Philharmonischer Chor

Thomas Hampson baritone

Lukáš Vasilek choir rehearsal

conductor Alan Gilbert


Samuel Barber
Adagio for Strings, Op. 11

Charles Ives
Songs My Mother Taught Me / arrangement for orchestra by Toshio Hosokawa
Tom Sails Away / arrangement for orchestra by Toshio Hosokawa
Memories: a. Very Pleasant; b. Rather Sad / arrangement for orchestra by Toshio Hosokawa
The Housatonic at Stockbridge / arrangement for orchestra by Toshio Hosokawa
The Things Our Fathers Loved / arrangement for orchestra by Toshio Hosokawa

Kurt Weill
Four Walt Whitman Songs

– Interval –

Arnold Schönberg
Friede auf Erden (Peace on Earth) for Mixed A-Cappella Choir, Op. 13

Charles Ives
Symphony No. 4

Pre-Concert Talk

with Vincent Dahm (in German)

19:00 / Elbphilharmonie, Großer Saal

Estimated end time

approx. 22:10


Hamburg International Music Festival

Live Broadcast

The concert will be broadcast live on the radio at NDR Kultur.

Promoter: HamburgMusik / NDR

From the Mediatheque : Videos, Podcasts, Articles

War and peace in music

How does music speak about war? And what does peace sound like? An essay.

Stories with the hashtag #Singing

Videos, streams, interviews and backgrounds – around the topic of singing at the Elbphilharmonie.

Stories with the hashtag #MusicFestival2024

The Hamburg International Music Festival 2023 explores the theme of »War and Peace«.

Stories with the hashtag #NewMusic

Concert streams, interviews, interesting facts: learn more about New Music.

During your visit

Elbphilharmonie Plaza

A public viewing platform on the 8th floor of the Elbphilharmonie

More about the Plaza

Food and Drink

Before the concert and in the interval

Find out more

Coughing, clapping, chatting

Tips for your concert visit

Read now