The Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra opens its new season on August 14/15, 2021 with two open-air performances on Rathausmarkt. The extension of the event to two days is new this year: after the symphonic beginning on the first evening, the second features a homage to Jacques Offenbach performed by State Opera ensemble members. Both programmes will be played twice, due to the coronavirus, in an attempt to allow as many as possible to enjoy the performances despite the restrictions which will presumably still be in place.
After the season launch under an open sky, an Academy concert follows on August 22/23, 2021 under the baton of Kent Nagano at the Elbphilharmonie, as well as a cycle honouring Alfred Brendel on his 90th birthday. This cycle is part of the Philharmonic Academy, and the artist will play the role of a mentor. The other guest artists, pianists Mari Kodama, Paul Lewis and Till Fellner, are former Brendel students.
With confidence and optimism, General Music Director Kent Nagano and his orchestra have programmed concerts for the duration of the 2021/22 season which – after the long period of restrictions on concert life – consciously feature large casts, exploring the history of humanity and nature: Mahler's Symphony No. 3 (April 30/May 2, 2022), Shostakovich's Symphony "Babi Yar" (February 6/7, 2022) and Jörg Widmann's oratorio ARCHE, which is revived as part of the celebrations of the Elbphilharmonie's 5th anniversary (January 9/10, 2022), are examples. These are flanked by classics of concert literature by composers such as Beethoven, Brahms and Schumann. Guest artists include conductors François Leleux, James Conlon, Andreas Spering, Marzena Diakun and Frank Beermann as well as soloists such as Gidon Kremer, Denis Matsuev, Alexei Volodin, Arabella Steinbacher, Elena Bashkirova, Iveta Apkalna and Layla Claire.
The Philharmonic Orchestra's chamber music series juxtaposes works by popular composers such as Dvořák, Beethoven and Schubert with rarities by Hindemith, Eisler, Viktor Ullmann or Hans Krása. Contemporary compositions by the Philharmonic's own double bass player Stefan Schäfer and a world premiere by the young Chinese composer Yijie Wang are also part of the series. The series "Music and Science" combines chamber music performed by orchestra members with lectures by scientists of the Max Planck Society representing disciplines such as meteorology, astronomy and computer sciences (January 31/February 1 and 2, 2022).
For children and teenagers, the Philharmonic State Orchestra plays the Family and School Concert "Das Konzert mit dem Horn" at the opera stabile early in the season (August 27-31, 2021) and combines issues of environmental protection and classical music in the programme "Rettet die OHRwürmer!" on May 8, 2022, the latter part of the International Hamburg Music Festival at the Elbphilharmonie. The successful "jung" series Tonangeber and PhiSch ("Philharmonic in Schools") continue to offer live and digital events for students – at the State Opera and in the classroom. The Tonanbeger series is sponsored again this year by the Freundeskreis of the Philharmonic.
The main supporter of the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra is the Kühne Foundation. Through a major donation spread over five years, it supports the expansion of the orchestra and enables it to launch new projects and concert tours. This also reflects on the Hamburg State Opera and its musical reputation. The Philharmonic State Orchestra is grateful to its main sponsor, the Kühne Foundation, for its support.