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Hamburg's Landmark Concert Hall Brought To Life By Spectacular Light Installation Featuring Hundreds Of Flying Drones

Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta of DRIFT have created a work of art that enhances the Elbphilharmonie's unique architecture designed by Herzog & de Meuron.

Hamburg's Landmark Concert Hall Brought To Life By Spectacular Light Installation Featuring Hundreds Of Flying Drones

Thousands of people gathered on Thursday night to experience the "Breaking Waves" light installation in Hamburg's port. Created by Dutch artist duo DRIFT, the artwork comprises hundreds of illuminated drones that dance around the night sky of the iconic concert hall.

The event took place just after the opening concert of the Hamburg International Music Festival with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and Joseph Haydn's "Creation". The spectacular light installation was presented on the occasion of the 5-year anniversary of the Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg's new landmark, and will be on show three more times until 1 May.

Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta of DRIFT have created a work of art that enhances the Elbphilharmonie's unique architecture designed by Herzog & de Meuron. With a choreographed swarm of drones outside the Elbphilharmonie, DRIFT explores the movement of the water that surrounds the Elbphilharmonie, and connects that to the sound waves inside the venue. "The work is a conversation between the building and the moving light drones. It is an attempt to build a moment of connection between humans, machine and the environment", says Lonneke Gordijn. Part of the Elbphilharmonie's 5th anniversary celebrations, the artwork draws inspiration from the second movement of the Piano Concerto No. 2 by Thomas Adès, the centrepiece of the birthday concert on 11 January.

After the premiere on 28 April, the kinetic installation will be presented on the following three nights up to and including 1 May, each starting at 22:00 local time. The best way to watch the event is from the surrounding port area or from the water, and the accompanying music will be available in real time at

Dr Carsten Brosda, Hamburg's Minister for Culture and Media, commented: "With Breaking Waves, the internationally renowned artist duo Studio Drift has created an impressive installation that blends music and visual arts, nature and technology, concert hall and the Elbe, to create one total work of art. Breaking Waves seizes on the Elbphilharmonie's unique location in an inspired way and makes us aware of the world's fragility and beauty. It is the result of creative collaboration in the cultural city of Hamburg. With Breaking Waves, Hamburg is sending an unforgettable image out to the world, which is also a warm invitation to come and experience the cultural city of Hamburg in all its diversity in person."

Christoph Lieben-Seutter, General and Artistic Director of the Elbphilharmonie and Laeiszhalle Hamburg, said: "We are delighted that, thanks to the good weather, far more people had the opportunity to participate in this extraordinary project than would have been the case on the originally scheduled date in January. I viewed the light installation from the water today - it was a great thrill to see the Elbphilharmonie staged in such a spectacular manner. Of course, the artwork, linking technology and the environment as it does, fits in wonderfully with this year's festival theme of 'nature'. I would like to thank everyone involved for the successful cooperation."

Prior to the world premiere of "Breaking Waves," the sixth edition of the Hamburg International Music Festival was kicked off with a performance of Joseph Haydn's oratorio "The Creation". On 29 April at 20:00 local time, the concert's second performance by the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra under the baton of Alan Gilbert will also be broadcast as a livestream in the Elbphilharmonie's Mediatheque at Running until 1 June, this year's programme of the Hamburg International Music Festival revolves around the core theme of 'nature' and includes more than 60 events in the Elbphilharmonie and Laeiszhalle. For more information on the programme and tickets, please visit

Five years of Elbphilharmonie Hamburg: a cultural success story

Following the anniversary concert and festival on and around 11 January, the Breaking Waves light installation is another element of Hamburg's celebrations to mark the 5th anniversary of its iconic concert hall. In the short time of its existence, the Elbphilharmonie has completely exceeded all expectations, with a programme of events that stands out internationally for both its quality and diversity. What is more, the Elbphilharmonie has received more public attention worldwide than any other modern cultural building in recent years, with an amazing 3.5 million concert guests enjoying some 3,000 inspiring concerts in both halls of the Elbphilharmonie since its opening. With 1.25 million visitors per year to the Elbphilharmonie and Laeiszhalle, the concert audience in Hamburg has now tripled.

Over the past years, more than 15 million people have enjoyed the 360-degree panoramic view from the Plaza, the Elbphilharmonie's public viewing platform. With these extraordinary figures, the Elbphilharmonie even outperforms German top destinations such as Neuschwanstein Castle.

As a cross-genre collaboration between the Elbphilharmonie and the Museum for Arts and Craft Hamburg (MK&G), Breaking Waves is setting the scene for numerous other cultural highlights that await you in Hamburg this summer. For example, from 20 May, the 8th Triennial of Photography will be staging a parcours of 12 photo exhibitions through Hamburg, turning the city into an international hotspot for photography ( Taking place on 3 and 4 June, the ELBJAZZ festival will be presenting live music at unique locations in and around Hamburg's port (, and John Neumeier's Hamburg Ballet will be performing world-class ballet productions at the Hamburg State Opera during the Hamburg Ballet Days from 19 to 30 June ( From 21 to 24 September, the Reeperbahn Festival with the United States as its 2022 partner country invites you to finally experience Hamburg's legendary club scene live again. As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities for a cultural trip to Hamburg. For more information and deals, please visit

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