Hamburg’s New Elbphilharmonie Another Reason to Visit Germany

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The Grand Concert Hall has 2,100 seats, and the Recital Hall hosts intimate concerts for up to 550. Photo by Iwan Baan
The Grand Concert Hall has 2,100 seats, and the Recital Hall hosts intimate concerts for up to 550. Photo by Iwan Baan

How to Attend a Concert at Elbhilharmonie

The introductory season is already sold out, so visitors to Hamburg should plan their trip well in advance to obtain tickets. Each season will be announced in April, and tickets go on sale in June. Information and tickets can be found at elbphilharmonie.de/en

Concerts for Hamburg is a special series of one-hour concerts designed especially for the local market. Tickets are affordable, and the traditional concert dress code is ignored. Performances cover a wide variety of genres, from symphonic to jazz to large-scale operatic works.

Even if you don’t attend a concert at Elbphilharmonie, the concert hall’s plaza is open to all. Due to popularity, free tickets are needed to ride the 80 meter-long escalator to the plaza viewing platform. Free tickets to visit the plaza are available at the Elphilharmonie’s Visitor Center at Kaiserkai 62 and near the Elbphilharmonie entrance. You can pre-book a plaza viewing ticket at Elbphilharmonie.de/en/plaza for a €2 charge.

View of Hamburg from the viewing deck of Elbphilharmonie. Photo by Janna Graber
View of Hamburg from the viewing deck of Elbphilharmonie. Photo by Janna Graber

The Elbphilharmonie is the second of Hamburg’s two grand concert halls. Laeiszhalle, an historic venue which opened in 1908, also has a full calendar of concerts and events. Hamburg’s music scene includes three professional orchestras, several solo and chamber ensembles and a wealth of jazz, rock, pop and contemporary artists and composers.

The Composers Quarter, opened in 2015 near St. Michael church, highlights the life and works of many of Hamburg's music greats. Photo by Janna Graber
The Composers Quarter, opened in 2015 near St. Michael church, highlights the life and works of many of Hamburg’s music greats. Photo by Janna Graber

From Brahms to the Beatles

Hamburg’s tradition in music runs deep. Composers like Johannes Brahms, Gustav Mahler, and C.P.E. Bach were born and worked here.

The Composers Quarter, opened in 2015 near St. Michael church, highlights the life and works of many of these music greats. Museum guests receive headphones with commentary in multiple languages to augment the displays.

The Beatles got their start in Hamburg, where they played from 1960 to 1962. Photo by Janna Graber
The Beatles got their start in Hamburg, where they played from 1960 to 1962. Photo by Janna Graber

The city’s best known musicians, however, might just be the Beatles. John Lennon once said: “I was born in Liverpool, but I grew up in Hamburg.”

The English band were teenagers and still in obscurity when they first performed in some of Hamburg’s now famous nightclubs from 1960 to 1962, helping to establish Hamburg’s legendary live music scene.

Hempel’s Beatles Tour takes visitors to some of the Fab Four’s key locations in Hamburg. Stefanie Hempel, a local Beatles expert, offers insight and stories that bring the Beatles to life. A trained musician, she can also belt out their music, adding to the Beatles nostalgia.

Hamburg’s live music scene continues today as many young newcomer and established bands play at nightclubs in the Reeperbahn at the St. Pauli quarter of Hamburg. When the Beatles first played clubs in St. Pauli, the area was best known for prostitution. Today, St Pauli is Hamburg’s top entertainment district, with many bars and night clubs.

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