The Hamburg Symphony Orchestra has since its inception in 1957 been a unique presence in the musical life of the city. The orchestra is known for concerts of the highest artistic standard, its uncommonly broad range of education and outreach activities, and its traditional home: the Hamburg Symphony is the Orchestra in Residence of Hamburg’s celebrated Laeiszhalle.
After almost 60 years, the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra is an essential part of Hamburg’s musical life and of the city’s vision to establish Hamburg as a musical metropolis. Since the beginning of their collaboration in 2009, Artistic Director Daniel Kühnel and internationally renowned Principal Conductor Jeffrey Tate have won praise for their innovative programming. Stimulating and distinctive repertoire has become a trademark of the orchestra’s concerts and has contributed to a significant increase in audience numbers.
The singular profile of the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra has also attracted attention beyond the borders of Hamburg and Germany. As a “thinking orchestra” from an emerging musical metropolis, the orchestra is establishing an international reputation. Highly acclaimed tours have taken the ensemble to Great Britain, Italy, France, Spain, Scandinavia, Turkey, Poland, China, and the USA.
The orchestra is known for providing a podium for outstanding talent: the exceptional violinist Guy Braunstein is currently Artist in Residence, and since the beginning of the 2014/15 season, the acclaimed conductor Ion Marin has been the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor. The unmistakable artistic character that the orchestra strives to cultivate speaks to listeners from all walks of life in Hamburg and beyond. For this reason, the orchestra does not perform exclusively in the Laeiszhalle, but also in the Hamburg Hochschule for Music and Theater, the Hamburg State Opera, and in numerous concert halls in the surrounding area. Educational programs for children and young people – both in the Laeiszhalle and in local schools – are a particular focus of the orchestra’s activity.
The Hamburg Symphony Orchestra works together with the city’s other musical organizations to give Hamburg a unique musical identity, and plays an active role in current social and political discussions. New accents in the city’s musical landscape underscore the orchestra’s aspirations for quality, originality, and accessibility. The success of these ideas demonstrates Hamburg’s potential as a modern and lively musical center and encourages the orchestra to continue the course it has undertaken.
The first Principal Conductor of the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra was Robert Heger. He was followed by Gabor Ötvös, Wilfried Boettcher, Heribert Beissel, Carlos Kalmar, Miguel Gómez Martínez, Yoav Talmi, Andrey Boreyko and, since 2009, Jeffrey Tate. Important guest conductors have been Sir Charles Mackerras, Christian Thielemann, Peter Ruzicka, Horst Stein, Sebastian Weigle, Ion Marin, and Philippe Jordan.
Foto: J. Konrad Schmidt