N. German city and port with long mus. tradition. Famous figures in its church mus. history who held office of Musikdirektor der Hauptkirchen incl. Sartorius (1604–37), Selle (1638–63), Telemann (1721–67), C. P. E. Bach (1767–88), and C. F. G. Schwencke (1788–1822). In 17th cent. Hamburg was leading centre of N German org. mus. Schnitger (1648–1719) was important org. builder and among distinguished orgs. were the Praetorius brothers, Reincken, and Lübeck. Became opera centre in 1678. Keiser, who moved to Hamburg in 1695, wrote over 50 operas for the company he directed from 1703 to 1706, with Handel as apprentice. Telemann wrote several operas for Hamburg. In 19th cent., Bernhard Pollini (Pohl) from 1874 established a Wagnerian reputation and engaged Mahler as cond. (1891–7). Later conds. incl. Klemperer (1910–12), Pollak (1917–31), and Böhm (1931–4). Opera house bombed 1943, rebuilt 1955. Conds. after 1945 incl. Arthur Gruber (1946–50), Leopold Ludwig (1951–71), Horst Stein (1972–7), Christoph von Dohnányi (1977–84), Gerd Albrecht 1988–2005, and Simone Young from 2006. Producers such as Günther Rennert and intendants such as Tietjen (1954–9), R. Liebermann (1959–73), August Everding (1973–7), and Peter Ruzicka (1988–97), lifted Hamburg to a leading place in European opera. Orch. concerts developed c.1660. C. P. E. Bach arr. concerts from 1768 for the next 20 years. Hamburg Philharmonic Orch. gave first concert in Jan. 1829 but was eclipsed from 1886 by concerts given by the opera orch. under Hans von Bülow. But Muck from 1922 transformed the playing until, when he retired in 1933, the orch. was merged with the opera orch. under joint cond. of Jochum and Schmidt‐Isserstedt. After 1945 conds. incl. Keilberth and Sawallisch. In 1945 Schmidt‐Isserstedt became chief cond. of Hamburg radio orch. which later toured Eng., Russ., and USA. Known as North German Radio SO from 1951. Gave f.p. (concert) of Schoenberg's Moses und Aron, 1954. Atzmon was chief cond. 1972–9, Tennstedt 1979–82, Wand 1982–91, John Eliot Gardiner 1991–4, Herbert Blomstedt 1996–8, Christoph Eschenbach 1998–2004, Christoph von Dohnányi from 2004.