The First Edition of »Elbphilharmonie Visions« on 2–12 February 
Hamburg, 8 November 2022: In an age in which the future of music is often viewed with great pessimism, the Elbphilharmonie sends a powerful message: »Elbphilharmonie Visions« is a new biennial festival for contemporary music that will dive into the adventure of new sounds – 21st-century music, which is never more at home than in the iconic 21st-century concert hall. As he looks forward to the first edition of »Elbphilharmonie Visions«, which will take place in Hamburg on 2–12 February 2023, the festival’s initiator and chief conductor of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra Alan Gilbert describes it as a »snapshot of the contemporary music world«. The programme features some of the most exciting orchestral pieces of recent years, including works by Kaija Saariaho, John Adams, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Thomas Larcher, Isabel Mundry and James Dillon. The young Swedish composer Lisa Streich is the recipient of the Claussen Simon Composition Prize for her new work »Flügel«, which will be premiered in the opening concert. Audiences will have an opportunity to gain unique insights into the visions of the artists since all concerts are accompanied by a variety of discussion formats. Tickets are available at

The »Elbphilharmonie Visions« programme is contemporary right from the opening concert: the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra under Alan Gilbert premieres the new work by Lisa Streich, the first recipient of the new Claussen Simon Composition Prize. That is followed by the oratorio »In This Brief Moment« by the Australian composer Brett Dean, which thematises the destructive influence of humanity on Planet Earth (2 Feb). The Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra under conductor Sylvain Cambreling is performing »to an utterance« by the multi-award-winning composer Rebecca Saunders, followed by »Core-Turn-Boost«, an orchestral triptych by Dieter Ammann (3 Feb). Jörg Widmann is represented with his trumpet concerto »Towards Paradise«, and Sofia Gubaidulina with her transcendental composition »The Rider on the White Horse«. The two works are performed by the WDR Sinfonieorchester under David Robertson (4 Feb). The NDR Radiophilharmonie under Andrew Manze turn their focus to the grande dame of the Finnish music scene Kaija Saariaho and her clarinet concerto »D’om Le Vrai Sens«. That is followed by the premiere of a new piece by the Austrian composer Thomas Larcher (5 Feb). Ensemble Resonanz dedicates an evening to the music of Isabel Mundry and Helmut Lachenmann (6 Feb). Georges Aperghis and Enno Poppe come under the spotlight in the Ensemble Modern’s concert on 7 February.

The Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir (b. 1977) is one of the most interesting composers of her generation. Her 20-minute work »Catamorphosis« thematises the »fragile relationship with our planet«. The Guardian called Hans Abrahamsen’s song cycle »Let Me Tell You« »the best classical work of the 21st century so far«. Both pieces are performed by Alan Gilbert and the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra (9 Feb). The four-part cycle »Pharmakeia« by the Scottish composer James Dillon sounds like an eerie, otherworldly fairy-tale. That work is programmed alongside Matthias Pintscher’s »NUR« for piano and ensemble, which is led by the renowned Ensemble intercontemporain (10 Feb). Alan Gilbert and the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra bring the festival to a close with John Adams’s »Scheherazade.2« for violin and orchestra, and the mini string quartet »Homunculus« by Esa-Pekka Salonen. The versatile and innovative Salonen is currently the focus of a two-season spotlight series in the Elbphilharmonie (12 Feb).

Christoph Lieben-Seutter, General and Artistic Director of the Elbphilharmonie and Laeiszhalle Hamburg, is looking forward to »music that is very much at home in the Elbphilharmonie. There is no venue more suited to the exploration of new musical worlds than the Grand Hall. This is down to the clear, three-dimensional acoustics and the atmosphere of the space. The ›Elbphilharmonie Visions‹ programme features a huge number of the most amazing works composed since 2000.«

Alan Gilbert, chief conductor of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, emphasises that »we should not only appreciate the works of the old masters, but also the music produced by our contemporaries. It can be exciting to discover something completely new, things that go beyond one’s own ideas of music. So we have selected compositions that were premiered all over the world and that we think are relevant.«

Composition Prize
The Claussen Simon Foundation is organising the Claussen Simon Composition Prize, which includes prize money of €15,000, in cooperation with Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra for the second time. The composition prize for young composers is awarded in the form of a commissioned work for large orchestra. The piece will be premiered in the Elbphilharmonie Grand Hall in Hamburg as part of the »Elbphilharmonie Visions« festival in February 2025, with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra performing under Alan Gilbert. The deadline for applications is 15 March 2023.
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