Ingo Metzmacher renews contract in Hamburg until 2005
After little more than two outstandingly successful seasons in Hamburg, Ingo Metzmacher signed a new contract to remain as General Music Director of the City, the Hamburg Opera and Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra until 2005, adding the post of Artistic Director to his responsibilities. At the same time, a new Intendant for the Hamburg Opera was announced – Louwrens Langevoort takes over from Albin Hänseroth, now Director of the Kölner Philharmonie.

Announcing the signing of Metzmacher’s new contract, the Cultural Senator of the City of Hamburg, Dr Christina Weiss, revealed a number of important new musical developments including the re-establishing of the Hamburg MusikFest under Metzmacher’s direction in September 2000, supported by a unique partnership of City funding and private finance. Furthermore, the City has committed to the construction of a substantial new building at the rear of the opera house which will, among other things, provide for extensive new rehearsal facilities for the orchestra.

Another remarkable Metzmacher innovation this season has been his New Year Concerts. At a stroke the annual Beethoven 9 tradition was radically changed to a sequence of 16 short 20th Century works (including a world premiere) that had the audience baying for more. EMI microphones were there to record the historic event and they rush-released a CD of the concert entitled Who is Afraid of the 20th Century? only two weeks later.

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