The Festival

In this fourth edition, the Hamburg International Music Festival once again offers an action-packed music programme for a brilliant conclusion to the artistic season. »Identity« is the motto of the 2019 festival – a complex theme that applies to the music programme in many different ways. Even today, in this age of globalisation and worldwide migration, the complex term is hotly debated. Perhaps the Hamburg International Music Festival can help shine a light on the darkness...

The Highlights

As is tradition, the festival presents itself as a close alliance between the major players of Hamburg's music scene. The Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra under the baton of Kent Nagano contributes with György Ligeti’s Requiem and Gustav Mahler’s Second Symphony for the festival’s opening concert. The most elaborate production, the opera »Le Grand Macabre«, is the result of a close collaboration between the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and its chief conductor-designate Alan Gilbert. Further highlights include a rare piano recital by Krystian Zimerman, and the Staatskapelle Berlin under its principal conductor Daniel Barenboim. Also on the programme: Britten‘s »War Requiem« performed by the Orchestre de Paris with Christian Gerhaher and Daniel Harding. The Bamberg Symphony perform Bedřich Smetana‘s »Má vlast« (My Homeland); in »Big City Blues« four ensembles present the music of their native country. Philipp Maintz’s new chamber opera »Thérèse« is given four performances. Nicolas Stemann stages Philippe Manoury’s »Lab.Oratorium« with a first-class line-up in the form of François-Xavier Roth with the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln and the Elbphilharmonie’s project choir »Chor zur Welt«. Barbara Hannigan is welcomed back to the Elbphilharmonie for the festival’s finale: the ensemble Ludwig and the choir Capella Amsterdam appear in the Elbphilharmonie Grand Hall under her direction for a performance of Igor Stravinsky’s opera »The Rake’s Progress«.

György Ligeti

A major focus of this year’s festival programme is the music of György Ligeti. The Hungarian-Austrian is one of the 20th century’s most influential and important composers; he contributed to Hamburg’s identity as a music hub during his time as professor at Hamburg’s Hochschule für Musik und Theater. Alongside »Le Grand Macabre«, chamber music works by Ligeti can be heard in a total of 12 concerts: Pierre-Laurent Aimard plays his 18 »Études pour Piano«, Matthias Pintscher and his Ensemble intercontemporain bring the Chamber Concerto for 13 Instruments; further contributions are offered by Sharon Kam, the Arditti Quartet and Christian Tetzlaff with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra. The titular organist of the Elbphilharmonie Iveta Apkalna includes Ligeti‘s disturbing – at the time of its premiere in 1962 – »Volumina« in the recital programme.

HALLO: Festspiele

In the east of Hamburg, in the industrial district of Hammerbrook, where the Bille flows into the Elbe, you’ll find the old Bille coal power station. First connected to the grid in 1901, it has been many years since the power plant has produced electricity and it stands empty for the most part today. Since 2015, HALLO: e.V., with its annual HALLO: Festspiele, has been working on giving the public access to this space through concerts, art installations, panel discussions, theatre productions, performances and workshops. »Off« culture is an extremely important source of creative energy for a city's identity, thus the 4th Hamburg International Music Festival is cooperating for the first time with the HALLO: Festspiele. In close cooperation with festival, the HALLO: Festspiele will also place the spotlight on »identity« in the coming year. The complete programme will be announced at a later date.

Hyper! Sounds

No, Scooter won't be appearing at the Hamburg International Music Festival 2019. Nonetheless, the title »HYPER! Sounds« makes direct reference to the Hamburg techno band's hit »Hyper Hyper!«. Scooter's song texts, which have no actual meaning whatsoever, have inspired Hamburg painter Albert Oehlen, who grew up and came to fame in the city during the punk era, and he has been using quotes from Scooter songs in his works since about 2005. Author and art curator Max Dax, himself thoroughly familiar with Oehlen's work, has taken the interaction between music and art, or to be more exact, the influence of music on art, as the occasion for an exhibition in the Deichtorhallen in spring 2019 that will present a wide variety of artistic positions inspired by music. The musical programme accompanying the exhibition, likewise curated by Max Dax, will be put on in the Elbphilharmonie Recital Hall on three separate evenings. Among the artists appearing are Kreidler, Kristof Schreuf, Arto Lindsay, Sven-Åke Johansson and the Hamburg New Wave legend Palais Schaumburg. Each concert will feature three bands, and will be presented by artists Rosemarie Trockel and Thea Djordjadze, the Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and Albert Oehlen.

Festival Brochure

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Kindly supported by the Kühne Foundation, the Stiftung Elbphilharmonie as well as the Förderkreis Internationales Musikfest Hamburg.