The NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and its chief conductor Alan Gilbert are extending their partnership beyond 2024 to summer 2029, thus setting the course for a future together. Alan Gilbert and the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra have realised their vision of a 21st-century orchestra through outstanding concert productions, most recently at the Visions Festival at the Elbphilharmonie, which thrilled regular audiences and new concert-goers alike.

NDR Director Joachim Knuth is delighted at the long-term perspective of this successful collaboration: “Alan Gilbert is an extraordinary ambassador of and driving force behind music. Over the past years, Alan Gilbert has proactively supported the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and wowed audiences with his artistic and programming ideas, his true professionalism, and his friendly leadership style. Alan Gilbert will be with us until 2029. How brilliant!”

For Alan Gilbert and the musicians of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, the trusting collaboration is evidence of a shared musical understanding and a key to success: “It is with great joy that I announce the extension of my partnership with the brilliant musicians of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra until 2029. Making music with this incredible group has been an important part of my musical life since 2001. After more than 20 years together, our relationship is better than ever, and it feels as if we are just getting started!“, Alan Gilbert claims.

This is underlined by the orchestra itself, represented by board member Torsten Frank: “We musicians at the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra are really looking forward to the next five years with our chief conductor Alan Gilbert. We are absolutely convinced that the trust that has grown between us over the years and our mutual understanding of music will help us to achieve even more artistic feats.”

Achim Dobschall, Head of Orchestra, Choir and Concerts at NDR, praises the chief conductor’s strong artistic influence on his orchestra: “This alliance is a success story that, following more than 20 years of close partnership, promises lots of exciting chapters to come. As chief conductor, he plays a crucial and pioneering role in influencing the orchestra’s artistic development. With this long-term commitment until 2029, we can already start referring to the ‘Gilbert era’, similar to the times of Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt or Günter Wand.”

NDR Programme Director Katja Marx emphasises: “An exceptional energy vibrates between Alan Gilbert and his Elbphilharmonie Orchestra. You can hear, see, and feel it from the very first note. The chemistry is just right. The ensemble has a unique closeness to its chief conductor, which creates a huge sense of confidence. Together they accomplish artistic flights of fancy.”

Christoph Lieben-Seutter, General Director of the Laeiszhalle and Elbphilharmonie, highlights the importance of Hamburg as a cultural centre: “Alan Gilbert and his orchestra play an important role in shaping the Elbphilharmonie’s artistic profile. Alan’s signature can be clearly recognised: in the
programming, in our large-scale joint projects, and especially in the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra’s artistic development. I am really excited about his long-term commitment to our resident orchestra and the continuance of our partnership, which is beneficial for all sides.”

Alan Gilbert has long had close ties with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra: He was their principal guest conductor from 2004 to 2015, subsequently accepting the position of chief conductor in 2019. The continued partnership between the American and the Elbphilharmonie’s resident orchestra not only represents a continuity full of trust and a distinct sense of tradition, but it also demonstrates how they have their sights firmly set on the future.

Sounds Like Gilbert, his début festival back in 2019, showcased the new chief conductor’s fascinating versatility. Despite the widespread restrictions on staging concerts introduced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic a few months after he assumed this new role, Alan Gilbert managed to keep up this optimistic spirit and accomplish numerous highly respected radio, television, and streaming projects for German broadcaster NDR. During this time, for example, a concert to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra was due to be held, followed by several other TV productions, most recently the ARD New Year’s Eve Concert. He left his unmistakable mark on subsequent concert seasons with Age of Anxiety – An American
Journey, a festival he initiated with a symphony of American music from the 20th century; the latest Elbphilharmonie Visions biennial festival with important works by contemporary composers; and other concerts. Semi-staged opera productions of György Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre, Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka, and George Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess were the signature works celebrated by the conductor, who is experienced in concerts and operas in equal measure. Alan Gilbert is also passionate about supporting up-and-coming musicians. This matter is close to his heart and has resulted in the introduction of an “associate artist” and “conductor fellow” role at the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra.

Alan Gilbert was music director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra from 2009 to 2017 and has gained a world-class reputation as a performer with a broad repertoire ranging from Baroque to contemporary music. He is a popular guest conductor of leading orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony, and London Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he is honorary conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, where he spent eight years as chief conductor, and principal guest conductor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.

Alan Gilbert’s work with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra has been documented in numerous live recordings at the Elbphilharmonie. Videos are available on the German website, via the ARD Klassik television programme on the ARD Mediathek website, and at