Hamburg, 18 May 2022: The Elbphilharmonie enters the coming season with classical music stars such as Barbara Hannigan, Cecilia Bartoli, Yuja Wang, Jan Lisiecki, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Sir Simon Rattle, and a spotlight on non-European music. On Tuesday, General and Artistic Director Christoph Lieben-Seutter, whose contract was recently extended until 2029, presented a programme featuring numerous prominent guests and several surprises. After an extended break from touring forced upon them by the coronavirus situation, the top American orchestras from Cleveland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco can all be experienced in Hamburg, while the Vienna Philharmonic gives guest performances under Esa-Pekka Salonen, Andris Nelsons and Jakub Hrůša. Paavo Järvi conducts Bruckner, while the highly sought-after French conductor Raphaël Pichon, with »Pathways to Bach«, paints a portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach’s musical milieu. Barbara Hannigan takes up another residency that will see her performing both as a singer and conductor. Numerous concertante opera performances, from »Alcina« to »Einstein on the Beach«, feature high-profile singers. Presented in cooperation with NDR, »Elbphilharmonie Visions« is a new festival for contemporary music. One spotlight series focuses on Sufi music, while another is dedicated to the phenomenon of »Afrofuturism«, featuring artists such as the Sun Ra Arkestra, Ravi Coltrane and the Sons of Kemet. The Beninese-French singer Angélique Kidjo is in charge of an »Elbphilharmonie Reflektor« series featuring numerous musician friends. In the opening concert of the season on 30 August, the Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin performs works by female Afro-American composers. Rolex has concluded a three-year contract as a new Principal Sponsor of the Elbphilharmonie. Subscriptions for the 2022/23 season can be booked now at, and tickets for individual concerts can be purchased from 8 June.
While Afro-American culture was also influenced by the wave of enthusiasm for progress and technology that gripped the world after the Second World War, its vision of the future focused on the utopia of a freer world with no limits on self-actualisation. The jazz legend Sun Ra played an instrumental role in the phenomenon of »Afrofuturism«. With the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Afrodiasporic engagement with their own past and future gained a new dynamism. Between mid-August and mid-November, several exciting representatives of this aesthetic current are giving guest performances. The legendary Sun Ra Arkestra (13 Nov) comes to Hamburg under Marshall Allen, Sun Ra’s long-standing musical companion, who will be 98 by the time of the concert. The Sons of Kemet (17 Aug), led by saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, make an assault on the future with furious yet danceable wind sounds. Angel Bat Dawid (4 Sep), a multi-instrumentalist, composer and DJ, is an exceptional phenomenon. Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah (Christian Scott) (12 Sep) reassesses the possibilities of jazz. The Grammy-nominated trumpeter Theo Croker (26 Oct) also plays freely and without heeding genre boundaries. Ravi Coltrane (15 Oct), in turn, dedicates an evening to exploring the legacy of his famous parents John and Alice Coltrane.
Born and raised in the former French colony of Benin, Angélique Kidjo is probably Africa’s most extraordinary and influential singer. In March 2023, the five-times Grammy Award-winner is in charge of a four-day »Elbphilharmonie Reflektor« festival (9–12 Mar), complete with a predominantly female programme. In Dobet GnahoréSomiLuraShungudzo and Oum, Kidjo has invited some of the best young female African singers to Hamburg. She herself will be presenting »Queen of Sheba«, a new project to music by the French-Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf. »Les mots d’amour« is the name of a programme of songs Kidjo developed with the French concert pianist Alexandre Tharaud. And she celebrates the grand finale with her »African Women All-Stars« in the Grand Hall.
The Elbphilharmonie may not be an opera house but you can still experience first-class concert performances of music theatre works here. The spectrum ranges from George Frideric Handel’s magnificent Baroque operas to minimal music by the American composer Philip Glass, whose hypnotic work »Einstein on the Beach« (27 Nov) spectacularly suspends the sense of time. These opera performances feature great voices such as Cecilia Bartoli (Mozart: La clemenza di Tito, 3 Dec), Magdalena Kožená (Handel: Alcina, 13 Feb), Julia Lezhneva (Mozart: Così fan tutte, 27 Mar) and Jakub Józef Orliński (Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice, 5 Oct/Handel: Tolomeo, 7 May). Ensemble Resonanz under Riccardo Minasi performs Bellini’s hit opera »Norma« (27 Jan). Sir Simon Rattle conducts Wagner’s »Siegfried« (8 Feb) with a cast of soloists that is spectacular right down to the supporting roles. And the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra performs Gershwin’s »Porgy and Bess« (26/28 May).
21st-century music in a 21st-century concert hall: the Elbphilharmonie regularly hosts performances of contemporary works and they always meet with an enthusiastic response. In the 2022/23 season, the new, biennial »Elbphilharmonie Visions« festival (2–12 Feb) − whose premiere in 2021 was postponed due to the coronavirus situation – is dedicated entirely to the adventure of contemporary music. Initiator and NDR chief conductor Alan Gilbert describes it as a »snapshot of the contemporary music world«. The festival is an opportunity to hear some of the best orchestral works composed in the 21st century, by composers such as Helmut Lachenmann, Rebecca Saunders, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Hans Abrahamsen and John Adams. The young Swedish composer Lisa Streich is the recipient of the Claussen Simon Composition Prize for a new work that will be premiered in the opening concert.
Three prominent representatives of contemporary music also come under the spotlight during the course of the new season. With his 400+ works, the Karlsruhe-born composer Wolfgang Rihm has created a universe that is almost impossible to pigeonhole. His 70th birthday is now taken as an opportunity to highlight his multifaceted work in the Elbphilharmonie. Right at the start of the season, Franz Welser-Möst and his Cleveland Orchestra (1 Sep) dive into the tone-colour abundance of the series »Verwandlung«. Baritone Georg Nigl performs the song cycle »Vermischter Traum« (24 Oct) and Ensemble Modern presents the concerto »Séraphin« (22 Oct).
»I simply want to compose as freely and naturally as possible«, explains the composer Thomas Larcher, who was born in Innsbruck in 1963. As a teenage pianist, Larcher soaked up the sounds of Mozart, Bach and Schubert, and was later fascinated by free spirits of jazz such as Ornette Coleman and Gil Evans. A series of his most captivating works is now being performed in the Elbphilharmonie, from the premiere of his latest string quartet by Quatuor Diotima (15 Jun) to the German premiere of a new work for large orchestra as part of the »Elbphilharmonie Visions« festival (5 Feb). »The Living Mountain« (12 Dec) perfectly exemplifies the importance of the singing voice in Larcher’s oeuvre.
The performances of the universal musician Esa-Pekka Salonen in the Elbphilharmonie always meet with euphoric acclaim. He gave multiple guest performances in Hamburg in spring 2022, kicking off a portrait series that will stretch over two seasons. The »Multiverse Esa-Pekka Salonen« series now continues: Salonen, conducting the Vienna Philharmonic, presents the epic »Turangalîla-Sinfonie« by Olivier Messiaen (5 Sep). They are joined by pianist Yuja Wang, who can also be seen performing piano concertos by Sergei Rachmaninov and Magnus Lindberg. Salonen presents two programmes with the San Francisco Symphony, whose chief conductor he became in 2020 (15/16 Mar), and two with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra (5/7 May and 11/12 May). A number of his own compositions are also being performed, including the string quartet »Homunculus« (12 Feb), the tone poem »Nyx« about the Greek goddess of the night (15 Mar), the Bach-inspired »Fog« (23/26 Mar), and a spectacular new organ concerto written for and performed by Iveta Apkalna, the Elbphilharmonie’s titular organist (11/12 May).
The mandolin is often underappreciated. But the wonderful plucked instrument is now coming under the spotlight because the German federal state councils for music have named the mandolin Instrument of the Year 2023 – and the Elbphilharmonie is dedicating a special series to it. Chris Thile (31 Oct) from the USA demonstrates that you can deliver thrilling solo concerts on the mandolin. The Israeli mandolin player Avi Avital (15 Feb) presents spectacular expansions to the repertoire. In their programme »Routes of Discovery«, Hamilton de Holanda, one of the top stars of música popular brasileira, and the pianist Nduduzo Makhathini trace the musical interconnections between Brazil and South Africa (25 Apr). The classically trained Caterina Lichtenberg performs a programme built around the theme of love with the folk musician Mike Marshall (28 May).
»Love« is also the theme of the Hamburg International Music Festival, through which the Elbphilharmonie harnesses the vibrancy of the local scene once again in spring 2023. The Elbphilharmonie also welcomes outstanding international guests such as the Vienna Philharmonic, the La Scala Theatre Orchestra from Milan and the Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam. And once again this year, there is a special focus on a composer with strong Hamburg ties: Alfred Schnittke, who was of German descent, moved from the Soviet Union to Germany after the fall of the Iron Curtain and lived in Eppendorf until his death in 1998. The opening concert with the Hamburg State Philharmonic Orchestra under Kent Nagano features a new work by the American composer Sean Shepherd with words by the poet Ulla Hahn (28 Apr).
Over the course of the season, the best in their field come to the Elbphilharmonie in an endless stream: Jan Lisiecki was long known as a piano wunderkind, and by now he has developed into one of the most independent and mature pianists of our time. In the coming season, the Canadian presents showpieces from his repertoire in the Elbphilharmonie. Raphaël Pichon, one of the most exciting Bach conductors of the younger generation, comes to the Elbphilharmonie and the Laeiszhalle. Over three concerts, he and the singers and instrumentalists of his Pygmalion Ensemble approach the Bach cosmos, and also explore the Baroque master’s models, predecessors and descendants. In early 2016, Teodor Currentzis and his musicAeterna orchestra gave their first performance in Hamburg. At that time, the Laeiszhalle audience was entranced by his stage presence and his radically subjective interpretations. Currentzis has given around twenty concerts in Hamburg since then – including appearances with other orchestras, but all in the Elbphilharmonie. This coming season, however, he returns to the Laeiszhalle for a series of concerts around Easter (4–8 Apr). The programme features great choral and orchestral works such as Bach’s Mass in B Minor and sacred music by Rachmaninov, rounded off by chamber concerts, workshops, masterclasses and film screenings.
Sufi Festival (25–27 Nov) in the Elbphilharmonie presents various musical facets of Islam’s mystical and spiritual expression, in which trance and transcendence lie side by side. The festival brings together prominent artists of various Sufi orders, who provide insights into the diversity and complexity of the Islamic cultural sphere, from Pakistan and Turkey to Morocco. The ANIM Ensemble (Ensemble Safar), for example, plays classical repertoire from Afghanistan. Naghma-E-Israfil is a women-only ensemble that performs music from Gilgit-Baltistan. Mehdi Qamoum performs a trance ritual lasting several hours with captivating music and tea breaks – a custom that has a special social function for the Gnawa minority in the Maghreb. The festival’s closing concert opens with Persian love songs penned by the great poets Rumi and Hafez. The sons of the grand master Ustad Saami then bring their father’s ecstatic Qawwali singing style into the present.
US jazz has traditionally been very well represented in the Elbphilharmonie: from an overdue venue debut by pianist Kenny Barron (10 Aug) to the groove guitar authority John Scofield (4 Mar), who is coming to Hamburg with his quartet Yankee Go HomeWynton Marsalis (3 Jul) is back, Chucho Valdés (24 Nov), the Cuban piano legend, is joined by the Yoruban Orchestra for a performance of his »La Creación«, while the pianistic powerhouse Hiromi (4 Apr) is accompanied by a string quartet. And the NDR Bigband has also put together some delightful programmes. The Laeiszhalle hosts the next round of the popular »Jazz Piano« series, and the Jazz Trumpet spotlight continues in the Elbphilharmonie Recital Hall.
Electronic music is not only for dancing in clubs, it’s also an exhilarating experience in the concert format, as the »ePhil« series has been demonstrating for many years. In the new season, the series extends around the entire Elbphilharmonie for the first time: in the Grand Hall, Nils Frahm (18 Oct) conjures minimalist poetic sounds, and Carsten Nicolai, aka Alva Noto (22 Apr), performs with a string orchestra on an elaborate stage. Icons such as Moritz von Oswald (9 Nov) and Frank Bretschneider (10 Dec), and the exciting young musicians Maya Shenfeld (18 Nov) and Rosaceae (23 Mar), perform in the Recital Hall and the Kaistudio.
As part of the Harbour Front Literature Festival, »Harbour Front Sounds« explores the special interrelationship between music and literature once again in the 2022/23 season. One of the writers making an appearance is Yurii Andrukhovych (11 Sep). The Ukrainian author began his career as a poet – essays and novels later followed. He has since become one of the best-known contemporary European authors and his work has appeared in 20 languages. As part of Harbour Front Sounds, Andrukhovych and his band Karbido stage a musical version of his most recent novel »Radio Night«. Jan Müller, bassist with the band Tocotronic and a popular podcaster, and Rasmus Engler have written a novel together: »Vorglühen« (Pre-drinking) takes the reader back to Hamburg of the 1990s – to St. Pauli, to a string of pubs and gigs, and to a very special shared flat (10 Sep). Other highlights include evenings with Wolf Biermann (12 Sep) as well as Tupoka Ogette and the singer Celina Bostic (13 Sep).
The Elbphilharmonie is continuing to put a lot of energy into the work of its Education department, which is one of the biggest in the world. Twinkle Concerts bring productions for young people from all over Europe to Hamburg. There are also numerous school concerts and kindergarten concerts. The »Sound Mobile«, with its collection of instruments, stops off regularly at the city district cultural centres. The Elbphilharmonie World of Instruments offers a wealth of attractive workshops. Two remarkable concert experiences are targeted specially at young adults: in »Circling Realities« (13 Jan), listeners and artists encounter each other in a constantly changing spatial setting with hypnotic music ranging from minimal to classical. And »Disco« (30 May) transforms the Grand Hall into a club with a fully analogue mixture of electro, dub and ambient. Both formats are presented by the award-winning Orchester im Treppenhaus. The Elbphilharmonie’s six join-in ensembles – the Audience Orchestra, the Family Orchestra, the Chor zur Welt, the Creative Orchestra and the two Gamelan ensembles invite you to join in too.