Highlighting this year’s fifth anniversary celebrations of the opening of the already iconic Elbphilharmonie, the 2022 annual Hamburg International Music Festival brings together some of the world’s leading artists and orchestras in one of its great musical cities. To celebrate natural beauty and engage with current debates about climate change and the environment, this season’s overarching focus is “Nature.” In keeping with this theme, Gilbert and the NDR launch the festival with two performances of Haydn’s life-affirming oratorio The Creation, featuring soprano Christina Landshamer, baritone Benjamin Appl and the NDR vocal ensemble (April 28 & 29). Their April 29 performance will stream live at 2pm ET (8pm CET) at the NDR’s website, Facebook page & app (NDR EO), with subsequent streaming on demand on YouTube.
Next, Gilbert and the orchestra join the Prague Philharmonic Choir for two concert performances of Dvořák’s lyric fairy tale Rusalka, with an international cast starring American soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen in the title role, Ukrainian tenor Dmytro Popov as the Prince, American mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung as Jezibaba the witch, and Grammy-winning American bass-baritone Eric Owens as Vodnik the water goblin (May 6 & 8).
For their third and final festival engagement, Gilbert and the NDR perform Brahms’s First Piano Concerto, with Emanuel Ax as soloist, alongside the world premiere of Marc Neikrug’s Fourth Symphony, a new NDR commission (May 19–22). As a longtime champion of the American composer’s work, in his previous position as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, Gilbert commissioned and premiered both Neikrug’s Concerto for Orchestra and his Canta-Concerto, of which the conductor “led a glittering, animated performance” (New York Times).