Meeting place of the music scene
Hamburg’s Laeiszhalle (\laɪshələ\) concert hall is alive with the constant rotation of music’s international elite. Some of the region’s best orchestras are housed in the beautiful building by the Planten un Blomen park — recent or current resident orchestras include the Philharmoniker Hamburg, the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, the Hamburger Symphoniker and the Ensemble Resonanz. Of course, such an impressive lineup wouldn’t be possible without an audience: more than 400,000 eager visitors show up annually.
The Laeiszhalle throughout history
The Laeiszhalle was officially inaugurated on 4 June, 1908. As his last will and testament, Hamburg-based shipowner Carl Heinrich Laeisz donated his fortune to building a representative concert hall — his widow, Sophie Christine Laeisz, doubled down on the money and the largest, most modern concert hall in Germany was built. Having already overseen the construction of the Hamburg City Hall, architects Martin Haller and Erwin Meerwein were picked to design the neo-baroque Laeiszhalle. Today, the concert hall ranks among the most beautiful music houses in Europe.
The Laeiszhalle and its place in music history
The Laeiszhalle has been making music history from the get-go: prominent artists like Richard Strauss, Sergej Prokofjew, Igor Strawinsky and Paul Hindemith played and conducted their music here. The 12 year-old violinist Yehudi Menuhin came in 1930 and Maria Callas made a couple of much-celebrated appearances as well. Even more iconic to some, rock and pop music greats like Pink Floyd and Elton John stood on the Laeiszhalle stage over the years. The concert house remained unscathed throughout WWII, which meant it was fit for use by British liberation forces as the broadcasting station for the BFN radio. A good 60,000 records were stored in the lobby during that time, creating the perfect storm for launching the career of soon-to-be singer and radio host Chris Howland.
Laeiszhalle and Elbphilharmonie
On 11 and 12 January, 2017 the Elbphilharmonie was opened a mere two kilometres south of the Laeiszhalle in the HafenCity neighbourhood. The two venues complement each other perfectly. Christoph Lieben-Seutter is responsible for the directing duties of both concert halls.