Excursion to the Elbphilharmonie

18 January 2017

The Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg finally opened its doors to the public last week, six years after the originally scheduled opening in 2010. The Mahler Chamber Orchestra’s Managing Director Michael Adick paid a visit to Hamburg for one of the Elbphilharmonie’s eagerly anticipated opening concerts. Through the photos below, he shares a few insights from his visit as the MCO prepares for its two upcoming concerts at the Elbphilharmonie. 

Arriving at the Baumwall (Elbphilharmonie) station
“We arrived at the subway station for the Elbphilharmonie in the late morning. We didn’t have that much luck with the weather that day, unfortunately! Aglaja [Thiesen, one of the MCO’s Directors of Artistic Planning who is originally from Hamburg] says this is a test: only true Hamburgers can make the 10-minute walk to the Elbphilharmonie in this weather, in style.”

Approaching the Elbphilharmonie
“My first impression: spectacular! We didn’t have any access to the backstage areas due to the heavy security measures, but from what I’ve heard, the musicians’ dressing rooms have floor-length windows facing the Elbe. Our musicians will certainly be warming up to a magnificent view. Let’s go inside.”

The 82-Metre Long Escalator
“Here we are, on the longest escalator in Western Europe. It takes about 2.5 minutes for us to get from the entrance to the main plaza, and this escalator connects the ‘old’, warehouse part of the Elbphilharmonie with the modern glass section. You very rarely find concert halls in Europe that are situated on an upper level. The last time I was in an above-ground concert hall was in Toyota, during our Japanese tour with Artistic Partner Mitsuko Uchida.” 

Before the Concert
“Let me make sure that I am at my seat. The print on the ticket is a segment from the hall’s acoustic panel: an important detail in every concert hall. We were asked to already take our seats ten minutes before the beginning of the concert. That’s very unusual for us: usually at this time, we are backstage making sure that everything is fine with our musicians!”

“From my seat, the sound of the hall comes across as very transparent, very direct. You can hear each musician clearly. The MCO's chamber music style of music making will fit in well here.” 

Standing Ovations
“What an enthusiastic response from the audience! I certainly hope that the audiences at our concerts will be just as warm and positive.”