Sun, Dec. 17, 2023, 11.00 am | Elbphilharmonie, Grand Hall
Charles Ives: "Central Park in the Dark"
Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 7 in E minor
Ingo Metzmacher has led productions at many of the great international opera houses including the Vienna State Opera, Opéra de Paris, La Scala, Teatro Real and the Zurich Opera House. Highlights of recent seasons include new productions of operas by Nono, Rihm and Enescu at the Salzburg Festival as well as the world premiere of Staud’s Die Weiden at the Vienna State Opera, new productions of Strauss‘ Salome at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, Enescus Œdipe and Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk in Paris and Braunfelds Die Vögel (The Birds) at the Bavarian State Opera.
He has conducted leading orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Russian National Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
His current season includes concerts with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, SWR Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Ensemble Modern. He is conducting Verdi's Falstaff at the Salzburg Festival, the world premiere of Plate's Liberation with the NDR Radiophilharmonie as well as Schoenberg's Pierrot lunaire at the Festival d'Automne à Paris, directed by Marlene Monteiro Freitas. In May 2023, he presents the eighth edition of the KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen under his artistic direction.
From 2007 to 2010, Metzmacher was Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, where his innovative thematic concert cycles – among them From the German Soul, Breakthrough 1909, and Temptation, as well as a new series titled Casual Concerts – made a lasting impact on the city’s musical life. Various tours led him and the orchestra throughout Europe and Asia.
From 1997 to 2005, he was General Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera, where he led a series of internationally acclaimed productions, many of them in collaboration with stage director Peter Konwitschny. Subsequently, he was named Chief Conductor of the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam. Highlights of his tenure there include performances of the three Mozart-Da Ponte operas, Henze’s The Bassarids, Korngold’s Die Tote Stadt, Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten, and Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise.
As a pianist, he has appeared in recitals with Christine Schäfer, Christian Gerhaher, Matthias Goerne and Georg Nigl at the Aspen Music Festival, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, the Salzburg Festival and the KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen.
Metzmacher’s wide-ranging discography includes live recordings of his legendary New Year’s Eve concerts in Hamburg from 1999 to 2004 entitled Who’s Afraid of 20th Century Music?, a complete recording of Hartmann’s symphonies with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the world premiere of Henze’s Ninth Symphony with the Berlin Philharmonic, Olivier Messiaen’s Eclairs sur l'Au-delà… with the Vienna Philharmonic, Pfitzner’s Von deutscher Seele, and Humperdinck’s Königskinder with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, as well as live recordings of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mzensk at the Vienna State Opera and Nono’s Prometeo at the Salzburg Festival. Most recently, he released two recordings with Ensemble Modern: Andre’s cycle riss and Beschenkt – 40 miniatures celebrating the ensembles 40th anniversary.
In his book Vorhang auf! Oper entdecken und erleben [Curtain Up! Discovering and Experiencing Opera], published in 2009, Metzmacher presents operas from four centuries and explains the making of a music theatre production. He is also the author of Keine Angst vor neuen Tönen [Don’t Be Afraid of New Sounds], published in 2005, a passionate plea for pioneering composers such as Luigi Nono, Charles Ives, Olivier Messiaen, Arnold Schoenberg, Edgard Varèse, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and John Cage.
Born in Hanover, Metzmacher studied piano, music theory, and conducting in his hometown, as well as in Salzburg and Cologne. He found his first artistic home in Frankfurt with the Ensemble Modern and at the Frankfurt Opera under the artistic directorship of Michael Gielen. His international career began in 1988, during Gerard Mortier’s tenure as director of the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, when he stepped in to conduct a new production of Schreker’s Der ferne Klang.
The Philharmonic State Orchestra is Hamburg’s largest and oldest orchestra, looking back on many years of musical history. When the “Philharmonic Orchestra” and the “Orchestra of the Hamburg Municipal Theatre” merged in 1934, two tradition-steeped orchestras combined. Philharmonic concerts have been performed in Hamburg since 1828, artists such as Clara Schumann, Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms being regular guests of the Philharmonic Society. The history of the opera company goes back even further: Hamburg has been home to musical theatre since 1678, even if a regular opera or theatre orchestra was only formed later. To this day, the Philharmonic State Orchestra has embodied the sound of the Hansa City, a concert and opera orchestra in one.
During its long history, the orchestra encountered great artist personalities. Apart from composers of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, such as Telemann, Tchaikovsky, Strauss, Mahler, Prokofiev and Stravinsky, since the 20th century chief conductors such as Karl Muck, Joseph Keilberth, Eugen Jochum, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Horst Stein, Aldo Ceccato, Christoph von Dohnányi, Gerd Albrecht, Ingo Metzmacher and Simone Young have shaped the orchestra’s sound. Renowned conductors of the pre-war era such as Otto Klemperer, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter, Karl Böhm and Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt gave brilliant performances, as did outstanding conductors of our times: suffice it to mention Christian Thielemann, Semyon Bychkov, Kirill Petrenko, Adam Fischer and Sir Roger Norrington.
Starting with the 2015/2016 season, Kent Nagano has taken on the position of Hamburg’s General Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Philharmonic State Orchestra and the Hamburg State Opera and since June 2023 also its honorary conductor. In his first season Kent Nagano initiated a new project, the Philharmonic Academy, focusing on experimentation and chamber music. In 2016, Nagano and the Philharmonic toured South America, followed by concert tours to Spain and Japan in 2019, and in the spring of 2023, the Philharmonic State Orchestra made its debut at New York's Carnegie Hall under his direction, which was acclaimed by audiences and the press. Since 2017 Kent Nagano and the Philharmonic State Orchestra have continued the traditional Philharmonic Concerts at the new Elbphilharmonie, for which they commissioned Jörg Widmann to compose the oratorio ARCHE, which was given its world premiere during the hall’s opening festivities. The concert recording has been released by ECM, for which Widmann received the OPUS KLASSIK as Composer of the Year 2019, and ARCHE was performed again in 2023 to great acclaim.
The Philharmonic State Orchestra offers approximately 35 concerts per season and performs more than 240 performances per year at the Hamburg State Opera and the Hamburg Ballet John Neumeier, making it Hamburg’s busiest orchestra. The stylistic bandwidth covered by the 140 musicians, ranging from historically informed performance practice to contemporary works and including concert, opera and ballet repertoire, is unique throughout Germany. Chamber Music has a long tradition at the Philharmonic State Orchestra: what began in 1929 with a concert series for chamber orchestra has been continued since 1968 by a series of chamber music only.
In 2008 Simone Young and the Philharmonic State Orchestra won the Brahms Award of the Schleswig-Holstein Brahms Society. The orchestra has recorded the complete Ring by Wagner as well as the complete symphonies of Johannes Brahms and Anton Bruckner – the latter in the rarely-performed original versions – as well as works by Mahler, Hindemith and Berg, and has released DVDs of opera and ballet productions by Hosokawa, Offenbach, Reimann, Auerbach, J.S. Bach, Puccini, Poulenc and Weber.
The members of the Philharmonic State Orchestra feel equally beholden to Hamburg’s musical tradition and responsible for the city’s artistic future. Since 1978 the musicians have been participating in education programmes in Hamburg’s schools. Today, the orchestra maintains a broad education programme, including school and kindergarten visits, patronage for music projects, introductory events for children and family concerts. The orchestra’s own academy prepares young musicians for their professional careers. The Philharmonic’s musicians thereby make an equally enjoyable and valuable contribution to tomorrow’s music education in the music metropolis of Hamburg.
In the 4th Philharmonic Concert, the Philharmonic celebrates the reunion with its former General Music Director: "A highlight of our time with Ingo Metzmacher were the New Year's Eve concerts 'Who's afraid of 20th century music?'" recalls Solveigh Rose from the First Violins and is pleased to continue this tradition in this concert with Charles Ives' "Central Park in the Dark". Nocturnal sounds rise from the silence of darkness, swell to the bustle of a few revellers, and fade back into the darkness - a musical drawing of New York's Central Park, followed by another nighttime piece: Gustav Mahler's 7th Symphony, which, although described by the composer as predominantly cheerful and humorous, has been nicknamed "Song of the Night." In fact, the symphony encompasses the beautiful as well as the morbid or grotesque, and how could it be otherwise: a whole world, since for Mahler symphony means "building a world with all the means of the available technology".
Venue: Elbphilharmonie, Grand Hall, Platz der Deutschen Einheit 4, 20457 Hamburg
Prices: € 83,00 / 65,00 / 51,00 / 36,00 / 14,00