The NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra was founded in 1945 as the symphony orchestra of Northwest German Radio in Hamburg and changed its name to the NDR Symphony Orchestra in 1956. It has gone by its current name as the resident orchestra of the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie since 2016. The first Chief Conductor, Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt, stood at the helm for more than 25 years and shaped the orchestra’s characteristic sound. Günter Wand led the ensemble from 1982 to 1991 and was Honorary Conductor until his death: their collaboration is considered legendary, in particular their performances of the Bruckner and Brahms symphonies, which achieved cult status during his tenure. Following Christoph Eschenbach, Christoph von Dohnányi, and Thomas Hengelbrock, Alan Gilbert took over in 2019; his contract has since been extended until 2029. Gilbert and the orchestra play a key role in shaping the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg’s artistic profile. Symphony and chamber concerts take place there, as well as such innovative formats as club and rush-hour concerts, numerous education projects, and festivals of several days’ duration. Their repertoire ranges from the Baroque to the present. In the 2024-25 season, the violist Antoine Tamestit will be artist-in-residence. Alongside its performances in Hamburg, the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra appears regularly in Lübeck, Kiel, and Wismar and plays a major role at the big music festivals in northern Germany. It has established its presence on the international scene through tours within Europe as well as to North and South America and Asia, most recently in the 2023-24 season with a trip to Japan. 

Lucerne Festival (IMF) debut on 28 August 1990 in a program of symphonies by Schubert and Bruckner conducted by Günter Wand.

July 2024