American contemporary music energizes Germany’s Elbphilharmonie

Posted on: April 17, 2017

At the recently opened Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg, Germany, “Beginning in late March, ‘New York Stories’ brought together performers including the avant-jazz maverick John Zorn, the singer-songwriter Anohni, the electronic-music wizard Tyondai Braxton, the JACK Quartet … and the New York Philharmonic (playing an evening entirely devoted to the music of John Adams),” writes Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim in Friday’s (4/14) New York Times. “Up ahead in May: a ‘Maximal Minimal’ festival, with generous helpings of Steve Reich…. The concentration of American music comes at a time when … many Germans [are] scanning the news from the other side of the ocean with a fresh sense of urgency.…  The runaway success of the Elbphilharmonie … gives [Artistic Director Christoph] Lieben-Seutter a rare degree of freedom…. ‘Whenever we have played contemporary music we have had a very positive, focused public.’ … On the New York Philharmonic’s recent tour to Europe, Hamburg was the only stop at which the orchestra felt able to offer its all-Adams program, which it had conceived for its home hall at Lincoln Center. ‘Here, it wasn’t just sold out,’ Mr. Lieben-Seutter said. ‘It was a triumph.’ ”

Posted April 17, 2017

Pictured: The New York Philharmonic takes at bow this spring at the newly opened Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. Photo by Chris Lee