DHL supports the renowned Gewandhausorchester on tour
DHL’s dedicated concert logistics services make sure the orchestra’s precious instruments arrive safe and on time at the various concert venues.
The Gewandhausorchester – considered the world’s largest professional symphony orchestra – is on the road for about two months each year. As logistics partner, DHL Trade Fair & Events handles the entire concert logistics when the orchestra is on tour. The partnership between the Gewandhausorchester and DHL dates back to 2005; DHL has been Official Sponsor since 2009. With the celebrated Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons now at the helm as the 21st Gewandhauskapellmeister, the Gewandhausorchester embarks on a springtime tour of Europe, beginning on April 22 in Vienna and concluding on May 6 in Madrid. The tour includes twelve performances in Munich, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Brussels, Baden-Baden, Cologne, Dortmund, Luxembourg and Paris. The Gewandhausorchester will play to a sold-out house in the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie on April 24, 2018, marking its debut performance in the new concert hall.
Handling concert logistics for the Gewandhausorchester is a huge job that demands tremendous care and expertise. DHL transports some six tons of equipment valued at approximately three million euros to each of the tour’s concert venues. Over the course of a year, DHL transports the orchestra’s precious cargo a combined distance of 13,400 kilometers. The freight consists mainly of the musical instruments, but also includes wardrobe items, the conductor’s stand, chairs, as well as music stands. The instruments are both valuable and fragile (many are one-of-a-kind specimens), and require extra special care during transport. Because fluctuations in temperature can cause the instruments to go out of tune or even be damaged, they are transported in temperature-controlled containers, which keep contents at a constant 18-20°C. The technology has vastly improved since 1951.
Two trucks will be deployed for the orchestra’s two-week spring tour. DHL also handles customs clearance for tours that take orchestra outside of Europe. “The preparations required for a tour like this are so extensive, that we begin our work up to one and a half years ahead of time,” says Simon Maris, Head of Regional Media Relations, UKI at DHL Supply Chain. During the tour itself, smooth and fast execution is critical, since there are often only one or two days between concerts and concert venues are often separated by long distances. “Even on off days, we have work to do, since we have to bring the instruments to the hotel so the musicians can practice,”says Maris.
DHL and Gewandhausorchester have been partners for over ten years – a collaboration that now extends beyond concert logistics. In October 2017, for example, DHL and Teach First hosted a meet-and-greet event for kids as part of a concert in Baden-Baden. The event gave school students a look behind the scenes at Baden-Baden’s famous music venue and the chance to meet Gewandhausorchester musicians and try out their instruments. Additional “Meet the Artists” events have been held in Houston, London, Vienna, Essen, Frankfurt and Cologne. These are organized as part of Deutsche Post DHL Group’s GoTeach program, which aims to improve educational opportunity and employability for socially disadvantaged children and young people.