Elbphilharmonie Hamburg presents program for inaugural season

Hamburg, 11th April 2016 (HHT) – On 11 and 12 January 2017, the grand opening of the Elbphilharmonie adds a one-of-a-kind concert hall to Hamburg and unveils a new symbol for the Hanseatic city. Today Christoph Lieben-Seutter, General and Artistic Director of the Elbphilharmonie and Laeiszhalle, together with Hamburg’s First Mayor Olaf Scholz, announced the programme for the 2016/17 concert season of both venues.The programme of the very first season that will be played at the concert hall by the Elbe will be top-class, multifaceted and open for everyone.

The grand opening of the Elbphilharmonie is the preeminent event of the Hamburg concert season 2016/17. The inaugural concerts of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock on 11 and 12 January 2017 are the prelude to an intense five-month programme that reveals the musical sensibility of Hamburg’s new concert hall. The programme speaks to music lovers and connoisseurs of classical music, while also making the world of music accessible to new groups attracted by Hamburg’s architectural landmark.

Elbphilharmonie strives to be a »Concert Hall for Everyone«. In addition to its musical offerings, the public plaza opens on 4 November 2016, offering a panoramic view over the harbour and city of Hamburg. The Elbphilharmonie’s concert programme has been carefully constructed to have a broad appeal, with special attention to variety, accessibility, and quality. With around 450,000 tickets in the opening season alone and reasonable prices, there’s something in the programme for everyone. Over 100 concerts in the Recital Hall and 200 concerts in the Grand Hall will bring the diversity of the programme to life during the first six months. The architects Herzog & de Meuron worked with renowned acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota to perfect the Grand Hall’s acoustics.

Hamburg’s First Mayor Olaf Scholz said at the presentation of the programme: “Located at the heart of the city, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg is beautiful and raw at same time. This very location alone required us to create it as a concert hall for everyone. The programme of the new season now brings this promise finally to life. The artistic approach is ambitious and provocative at the same time. Renowned artists strive for musical excellence while diversity and openness underline the social relevance of the concert hall. Especially the festivals tie a global, artistic net which is the ideal counterpart to the economic network of the city. Experiencing this new cultural dimension at the heart of the harbour –icon of the cosmopolitanism of the city – is creating a unique tension. I firmly believe: The opening of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg will not only bring music to the harbour but to the city as a whole.”

General and Artistic Director Christoph Lieben-Seutter is proud of the programme, which exhibits a heretofore unequalled constellation of outstanding concerts for Hamburg: “We’re not only hosting 15 internationally-renowned orchestras, we’ll also welcome some of the most famous singers in the world and almost two dozen notable pianists. The first highlight of the season will be the opening festival from 11 to 29 January 2017, which features spectacular guests like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.” The programme also gives ample space to contemporary music. The inaugural season includes many world and German premieres of works by important contemporary composers. The hall is also not only a space for classical music, as the abundance of jazz and world music concerts demonstrates.

The programme is the result of cooperation among the key institutions of Hamburg’s music scene: the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and Ensemble Resonanz as resident orchestra and ensemble of the Elbphilharmonie, the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra, the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, the Konzertdirektion Dr. Goette, as well as the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg’s own events.

Street artists interpret highlights from the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg’s first concert season

Sometimes oppositional and powerful creative forces find common ground. The Elbphilharmonie Hamburg itself is one of those special confluences. It’s a combination of old and new, of practical harbour and visionary cultural institution, of rawness and beauty. The other part is the combined talent of several Hamburg street artists, who have creatively engaged with particular aspects of the inaugural season’s concert program on a large scale. Street artists from the collective Typeholics have interpreted seven concerts. These visual renditions of the music are now on display on buildings in neighbourhoods throughout the city and even on bus line 111. “The Elbphilharmonie Hamburg is certainly not an unapproachable temple of culture,” says Christoph Lieben-Seutter, the concert hall’s general and artistic director. “Our aim is to redefine music and to make it accessible to everybody,” he adds. More on the street art interpretations at https://twitter.com/elbphilharmonie


The structural framework of the concert season consists of a tight sequence of nine festivals, whose programmes are anchored in the reality of societal life by means of their musical, aesthetic, historical and political motivations.

The three-week ELBPHILHARMONIE OPENING festival gives a taster of the complete Elbphilharmonie programme and is followed by four festivals geographically focused on Syria, New York, the transatlantic area between Europe, Africa, the US and South America, and Iceland: SalĀm Syria (16-18 Mar 2017), New York Stories (30 Mar-4 Apr 2017), TransatlantiC (12-17 Apr 2017) and the NDR Elbphilharmonic Orchestra’s INTO Iceland (9-11 Feb 2017). Even Maximal Minimal (11-13 May 2017) is, after closer inspection, a tribute to the New World: after all, in the US in the 1960s, composers were experimenting with a new, complex music that was interlinked in mathematics and trance. Two festivals now well-established in Hamburg return for another run: GREATEST HITS (17-20 Nov 2016), the contemporary music festival at Kampnagel, and LUX AETERNA (9-28 Feb 2017), the music festival for the soul. Even the fresh festival for young musical talent, RISING STARS (30 Jan-4 Feb 2017), presented in cooperation with the European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO), continues.

The characteristic feature of all Elbphilharmonie festivals: they are curated with open ears that are free of limitations. Genre boundaries play no role here, therefore, symphonic and jazz music, songs passed down through generations, large-scale operatic works, traditional music and the abstract pleasures of modernity are all inseparable. Meaningful heterogeneity is the guiding principle of each respective programme.

Orchestras from Hamburg and Beyond

The indispensable - a rich symphonic programme – is once again in abundance in season 2016/17. In addition to the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra relocates its Philharmonic Concerts to the Elbphilharmonie. The Hamburg Symphony Orchestra continues to operate an attractive concert programme as resident orchestra of the Laeiszhalle. The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen’s concert cycle extends itself in the future to fill both Hamburg concert halls. Furthermore, 14 world famous orchestras hailing from Europe and the US travel to Hamburg to perform in the upcoming season. The top ensembles from Chicago, London, Milan, Vienna, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, New York, Rotterdam and Munich make their debut in the Elbphilharmonie with almost exclusively their principal conductors. Three of the orchestras (Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic) arrive with two prepared concerts each; the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar from Caracas, with its charismatic Principal Conductor Gustavo Dudamel, is in Hamburg to help celebrate his ¡VIVA BEETHOVEN! residency in the spring (19-23 Mar 2017) by performing all nine Beethoven symphonies in five evenings.


Concerts for Hamburg

Proof of productive cooperation between the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and its resident orchestra can be found in the »Concerts For Hamburg«, which the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, under the baton of its Principal Conductor Thomas Hengelbrock and Principal Guest Conductor Krzysztof Urbanski, traverses in two stages (31 Jan-19 Feb and 21-25 Jun 2017). The special features: the concerts last about an hour, tickets are particularly low in price, the traditional concert dress code is completely ignored and despite the informality and bargain, the concerts retain those few things that should not be compromised: the quality of the music and the interpreters. Living up to its name, the »Concerts for Hamburg« will have a large amount of tickets available: about 60,000 tickets, on sale from 4 October 2016.


Magnificent Voices, Many Voices

Lovers of magnificent voices can experience a cast of world-renowned singers in the opening concerts on 11 and 12 January with Anja Harteros, Wiebke Lehmkuhl, Philippe Jaroussky, Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel. Cecilia Bartoli comes to the Elbphilharmonie with »La Cenerentola« (13 Feb 2017), Ian Bostridge can be heard in a staged production of Benjamin Britten's »Curlew River« (28 Feb 2017) and in the role as Ariodante in Handel's opera of the same name is Joyce DiDonato. From Haydn's »Creation« and Arnold Schoenberg's »Moses and Aron« (28 Jan 2017) and »Gurre-Lieder« (18-19 Jun 2017) to Gustav Mahler's Eighth Symphony: many equally great works for large ensembles and vocalists resound. Evenings dedicated to arias bring Diana Damrau, Simone Kermes, Philippe Jaroussky and Thomas Hampson to Hamburg; lieder recitals with Pyotr Becala, Georg Nigl, Jonas Kaufmann and other singers are also on offer.

Jazz, World Music, World Classical Music, Pop

John Zorn, Brad Mehldau, Branford Marsalis, Chick Corea, Mariza, Tomatito, Anoushkar Shankar and The Gloaming: these are some of the big names in jazz and world music that are essential components to the Elbphilharmonie programme, just like Einstürzende Neubauten, Paolo Conte and Anohni. The latter has developed a new project with the New York ensemble yMusic for the Elbphilharmonie. Some of these concerts are the building blocks of themed festivals like NEW YORK STORIES, TRANSLATLANTIC or the ELBPHILHARMONIE OPENING. The umbrella genres world and jazz music make a point of their importance with their own individual series »Elbphilharmonie World« and »Elbphilharmonie Jazz« respectively. The Laeiszhalle remains faithful to the series »Jazz Piano« with jazz greats like Uri Caine, Jason Moran, Pablo Held and Anke Helfrich. Additionally, concerts in the new series »World Classical Music« bring audiences closer to the centuries-old traditional music of non-European cultures.

Extravagant Productions

Four events go far beyond the purely musical: Brian Eno, British musician and legendary producer, transforms the Kaistudios into a sound laboratory with his installation »The Ship«, parallel to the Plaza-opening in early November 2016. The world-famous choreographer Sasha Waltz, her dance company and musical guests take over the foyer spaces of the Elbphilharmonie for a few nights shortly before the grand opening in January. The Catalan musical theatre professionals La Fura dels Baus - always up for an over-the-top surprise - take on Haydn’s »Creation« (5-6 Jun 2017) and the US actor John Malkovich, who was previously in Hamburg to present two of his incomparable music theatre imagination pieces, joins Michael Sturminger and Martin Haselböck again to stage their brand-new production »Call Me God« (8-10 Mar 2017), commissioned by the Elbphilharmonie.

Subscriptions for season 2016/17 can be booked from Monday, 11 April 2016; individual concert tickets from 20 June 2016.Tickets will be available at www.elbphilharmonie.com, ticket hotline: +49 40 357 666 66.

Registration for 1,000 randomly drawn tickets for both Elbphilharmonie opening concerts on 11 and 12 January 2017 starts on 9 May 2017. On the same day, a section detailing all formalities relating to the draw will be published on the website www.elbphilharmonie.com.


Media contact – International press inquiries:

Hamburg Marketing GmbH

Natalie Ruoß

Projekt Manager Media Relations Elbphilharmonie

+49 40 41 11 10 - 641





Press contact - Germany:

Hamburg Musik gGmbH

Tom R. Schulz, Elena Wätjen, Julia Mahns 

Press and Public Relations

Tel: +49 40 357 666 258/-249/-245




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