Alan Gilbert, who has been the New York Philharmonic's Music Director since 2009 and officially leaves the orchestra at the end of this month, will become the next Chief Conductor of Hamburg’s NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra in 2019. He will become the orchestra's Chief Conductor designate in the autumn and has signed a five-year contract. Gilbert has a long history with the orchestra, having previously served as its Principal Guest Conductor from 2004 to 2015, and the orchestra took up residence in its spectacular new concert hall earlier this year.
Of today's announcement, Gilbert said: 'As I wrap up my time at the New York Philharmonic, very little would have tempted me to take on the challenge of a new position so soon. But the perfect confluence of circumstances seems to have come together with the Elbphilharmonie Orchestra. First of all, this is a group of musicians that I already know so well and love dearly. The musicians and I have shared a very special rapport and musical chemistry for many years. Furthermore, the environment surrounding the orchestra is uniquely exciting. How rare it is to find a situation in which it is not only possible to imagine pushing the paradigm of orchestras in the 21st century forward, but one in which all constituent groups are demanding that this progress happen. I’m thrilled to have found such a place.'
Gilbert follows in the footsteps of several distinguished conductors at the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, previously known as the NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg, including Klaus Tennstedt (1979–81), Günter Wand (1982–90), Sir John Eliot Gardiner (1991–94), Herbert Blomstedt (1996–98), Christoph Eschenbach (1998–2004), Christoph von Dohnányi (2004–11) and Thomas Hengelbrock (2011 to present).
As for the New York Philharmonic, their next Music Director will be Jaap van Zweden (currently Music Director designate), who takes up his position in 2018 after 10 years with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He will continue in his role as Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic.