Tomorrow, on Tuesday 11 January, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg celebrates its fifth anniversary with a gala concert devoted exclusively to music of the 20th and 21st centuries. The concert will be given in the Grand Hall under 2G+ conditions before an audience consisting of invited guests plus hundreds of people who won their tickets in a raffle. This was also the case at the inaugural concert five years ago. The NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra under the baton of chief conductor Alan Gilbert will be playing works by John Adams and Esa-Pekka Salonen as well as the Piano Concerto by Thomas Adès with its dedicatee Kirill Gerstein as soloist. The gala concert is being given exactly five years after the official opening of the Elbphilharmonie on 11th January 2017 and will be available to stream live online.

A matinee given by the Philharmonic State Orchestra Hamburg under its principal conductor Kent Nagano on Sunday 9 January already marked the beginning of a series of concerts surrounding the anniversary that go on until 17 January. Owing to the pandemic, it was not possible to perform the large-scale oratorio Arche as planned, which Jörg Widmann composed for the opening of the Elbphilharmonie. Instead, Widmann himself played some of his clarinet pieces, while the orchestra put the audience into a festive mood with other works by Widmann and by Beethoven. In the evening, there was a guest appearance by saxophonist Charles Lloyd, one of the living legends of American jazz. Other concerts bring rostrum star Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra to Hamburg, likewise the Staatskapelle Berlin under its chief conductor Daniel Barenboim. The Ensemble Resonanz appears together with viola virtuoso Tabea Zimmermann, American jazz guitarist John Scofield gives one of his rare solo recitals on the acoustic guitar, and after his triumph with Beethoven symphonies in the Laeiszhalle in October 2021, Jordi Savall appears in the Recital Hall, playing the viola da gamba in a chamber-music ensemble. In addition, both the Philharmonic State Orchestra Hamburg and the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra repeat their concerts (on 10 and 12 January).

Programme variety and artistic excellence in every genre of music presented belong to the Elbphilharmonie's DNA. For five years now, the building's unique architecture and the noticeable proximity of the audience to the performers in both halls have been yielding concert experiences of a very special calibre. The pandemic meant that the public regrettably had to go without live concerts for many months. But during this period the concert hall came up with all kinds of imaginative streaming concepts, sharing with music lovers all over the world special audio-visual projects via the internet. In the first three years between the official opening and the Corona lockdown at the beginning of March 2020, some 2,500 concerts had already been given at the Elbphilharmonie before a total audience of 2.9 million people. Since the reopening in summer 2021, delighted concertgoers have been returning to their favourite venue, filling the seats as allowed under the current regulations, while the Plaza, the public observation platform on the 8th floor, expects to welcome its 15 millionth visitor in spring 2022.

As a sign of the Elbphilharmonie's strong affinity with other genres of art, the Elbphilharmonie was planning to celebrate its fifth anniversary with a sensational visual and musical event, featuring a work commissioned from the Dutch artist duo DRIFT. Owing to the pandemic, the premiere of the art installation Breaking Waves has been postponed until 28 April, the opening date of the 2022 Hamburg International Music Festival. But the exhibition Drift: Moments of Connection in Hamburg's Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (museum for arts & crafts), which opened a few days ago, whets the appetite for the work of this hugely successful artist duo on the Elbphilharmonie fa├žade (6 January to 8 May 2022).

The Mayor of Hamburg, Dr. Peter Tschentscher, praises the concert hall's charismatic appeal: The Elbphilharmonie is a new emblem of our city, known all over the world. It is a lighthouse of Hamburg as a centre of music and culture, standing in the HafenCity for both the city's maritime tradition and its departure into the 21st century. I want to offer my warm congratulations to the Elbphilharmonie and all its staff on their fifth anniversary!

A press conference with representatives of the international media will be held in the Elbphilharmonie Recital Hall at midday on 11 January (1 pm CET), with Hamburg's Senator for Culture and Media Dr. Carsten Brosda, the Chief Conductor of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra Alan Gilbert and the General & Artistic Director of the Elbphilharmonie, Christoph Lieben-Seutter, on the podium.

The discussion will focus on enhancing further Hamburg's status as a cultural centre, where the Elbphilharmonie has a central role to play. As Senator for Culture Dr. Carsten Brosda puts it: Hamburg has a long tradition as a cultural centre. Christoph Lieben-Seutter and his team know how to cooperate with many local figures to produce unforgettable cultural events in the city with immense enthusiasm and creativity. The Elbphilharmonie is so much more than just a successful concert hall. It creates meaning and brings people together. It is a cultural lighthouse that casts its bright beam over all culture in Hamburg. The last five years of cultural exchange make one hungry for more.

The chief conductor of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra Alan Gilbert sums up the programme of the gala concert and the current status of his orchestra's artistic development: The Elbphilharmonie is a wonderful performance space that lends itself beautifully to spacial music. We chose this program in part to celebrate the sense of wonder and experimentation that has been a homemark of the Elbphilharmonie during its short but dazzling existence.

The event is being hosted by Christoph Lieben-Seutter, General & Artistic Director of the Elbphilharmonie and the Laeiszhalle: I couldn't be more delighted that the concerts marking our fifth anniversary can take place before a full house, with only a few compromises: it was touch-and-go for quite a while! The week that lies ahead offers me and my team the chance to look back on the exciting years since we opened, and to celebrate in the company of many companions, friends and supporters the fact that the Elbphilharmonie has met and even exceeded the high expectations placed in it.

Link for streaming the gala concert www.elbphilharmonie.com

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