The Beginning of Hamburg’s New Concert History

Europe’s new and spectacular concert hall, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, will be opened tonight at 18.00 with a opening concert to be broadcasted live by the national radio and television as well as online streamed via this link.

The 18 storey Elbphilharmonie, built on top of a former Cocoa warehouse, houses numerous concert halls with the main one counting 2.100 seats. It was built in the harbor of the river Elbe with an initial opening plan set for 2010 and evaluation of costs at 186 million euros. After perennial postponements, legal issues and revisions, the total costs the city of Hamburg paid for the concert hall, reached 798 million euros, which sparked diverse political debates and public protests.

However, already in November, when it was opened for public, the Elbphilharmonie attracted more than half a million people who visited Plaza – its observation platform. It became one of Hamburg’s main attractions, already being compared with the opera in Sydney or the Guggenheim museum in Spain’s Bilbao.

All concerts taking place between January and June have been sold out in advance,  including the concert of Chicago Philharmonic led by Riccardo Muti, a recital by Mitsuko Uchida, a performance by the band Einsturzende Neubauten or the concert of pianist Brad Mehldau, whom we listened to at 12th Jazz Fest Sarajevo in 2008.

Among sold out performances is also the John Zorn concert on 30 March when he will present The Bagatelles, one of his current projects which had its historical European premiere performance in Sarajevo at the 20th Jazz Fest, where Zorn together with 25 musicians gathered in 11 ensembles, held the Bagatelles Marathon Sarajevo. Almost five months after the concert in Sarajevo, John Zorn’s Bagatelles will be introduced in Paris on 02 April, at the big Pierre Boulez concert hall.

The opening of the Elbphilharmonie concert hall is a first class cultural, social and political event. The opening concert in the new venue will be held tonight by the NDR Symphony Orchestra, recently renamed into NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra led by Thomas Hengelbrock, performing a repertoire kept a secret until tonight.

For a virtual tour of the Elbphilharmonie click here.

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