The heart of any opera house is its orchestra. The Hamburg Philharmonic
State Orchestra has been making music in Hamburg for more than 175
years (officially founded on 9th November 1828). Today the
Philharmonic Orchestra, run by the City of Hamburg, plays at almost all
the opera and ballet evenings and also gives the philharmonic concerts
held in the Laeiszhalle.
Simone Young and the Philharmonic State Orchestra (photo: Dirk Messner)
The breadth of styles covered by the 130 full-time musicians has no equal in Germany. Since August 2005 Australian conductor Simone Young has been Hamburg’s Principal Musical Director. “Our programme covers the past and the future – from the music of Mozart to the very latest contemporary works”, is the way she describes her programme. As well as modern composers, such as Oliver Messiaen, Tristan Murail, Henri Dutilleux, Tan Dun and Brett Dean, major works from the classic-romantic repertoire can also be enjoyed. Simone Young integrates the concert programme with the opera programme. In this way the works of Benjamin Britten and Paul Hindemith are performed in Dammtorstrasse as well as in the Laeiszhalle – a central theme running like a thread through a diverse, exciting programme.
Annual tours and guest performances enhance the reputation of the Philharmonic State Orchestra abroad, too. In this way, in February 2003, the Orchestra toured Belgium, France, Greece, Austria and from one end of Germany to the other, and was the guest at numerous, renowned festivals such as the Lucerne Festival, the MusikTriennale in Cologne, and the BBC Proms in August 2004. In June 2005 the orchestra performed Alban Berg’s works “Lulu” and “Wozzeck” at the “Holland Festival” in Amsterdam as part of a guest performance of the Hamburg State Opera.