Arts Festivals Summit 2019

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Media Releases Lucerne Festival: the 2019 Summer Festival preview and the upcoming 2019 Easter Festival

6 November 2018

The 2019 Easter Festival | 6–14 April 2019

Following tradition, the first half of the 2019 Easter Festival will take place in Lucerne's churches, with a focus on sacred music. It will open in the Jesuitenkirche with one of France’s most famous boys’ choirs, the Petits Chanteurs à la Croix des Bois, who will sing a program ranging from Gregorian chants to Mozart’s Alleluia. The French harpsichordist and conductor Emmanuelle Haïm, who brings her ensemble Le Concert d’Astrée, will appear as artist-in-residence, performing early sacred and secular instrumental music from all over Europe at the Franzis-kanerkirche; at the KKL Luzern, she will then present arias, duets, and instrumental movements from various operas by George Frideric Handel on a second evening titled “Desperate Lovers” and featuring the soloists Sandrine Piau and Tim Mead. And top-class local ensembles will also be heard, including the Collegium Vocale zu Franziskanern, conducted by Ulrike Grosch, and the Junge Philharmonie Zentralschweiz with the Akademiechor Luzern under Howard Arman.

Major symphonic highlights in the KKL Concert Hall are scheduled for the Easter Festival’s second half. Teodor Currentzis returns to Lucerne with Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem, which will be performed by the musicAeterna Orchestra and the Chorus of Perm Opera and the soloists Zarina Abaeva, Hermine May, and Tareq Nazmi. The Filarmonica della Scala will offer a Russian evening under the baton of Chief Conductor Riccardo Chailly: on the program are Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, with keyboard virtuoso Denis Matsuev as the soloist, and Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in the orchestral version by Maurice Ravel. The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, which celebrates its 70th birthday this year, will be led by two conductors. On their first evening, Iván Fischer will combine two symphonies by Wolfgang Amadé Mozart with the First Violin Concerto by Béla Bartók, which will be performed by the Dutch violinist Janine Jansen. And for the Easter Festival’s final concert, Bernard Haitink, who will have just celebrated his 90th birthday in March, will conduct the BR Symphony in Wolfgang Amadé Mozart's Piano Concerto in C major, K. 503, with the Austrian Till Fellner as the soloist, concluding with Anton Bruckner’s Sixth Symphony.

Orchestral residencies: the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra with Iván Fischer and Bernard Haitink, as well as soloists Janine Jansen and Till Fellner; the Filarmonica della Scala under the direction of Riccardo Chailly with the pianist Denis Matsuev

Main Sponsor – Zurich Insurance Company Ltd



First Look at the 2019 Summer Festival | 16 August to 15 September

The Festival will address the socio-political theme of “Power” from a variety of musical perspectives. The Mozart-Da Ponte Cycle will be a central focus. It will feature the three operas Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte, which revolve around three aspects of power: political, erotic, and psychological. Teodor Currentzis will conduct the musicAeterna Orchestra and Chorus of Perm Opera in the cycle, along with such soloists as Dimitris Tiliakos as Don Giovanni, Kate Royal as Contessa, Nicole Chevalier as Fiordiligi, Florian Boesch as Don Alfonso, and Paula Murrihy in two roles. Thomas Kessler, our composer-in-residence, is a Swiss composer and pioneer of electronic music whose work is pertinent to the summer theme. It reflects on musical power relations, as in the orchestral piece Utopia III, where the musicians themselves can control live electronic sound modulations of their playing. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s three “fate” symphonies will be performed, respectively, by the Lucerne Festival Orchestra led by Riccardo Chailly, the Berlin Philharmonic under Kirill Petrenko, and the Mariinsky Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev, who will also conduct Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony, a work in which the composer comes to terms with his adversary, Joseph Stalin. Further details and projects related to the theme of “Power” as well as the programming for the Special Event Day on 1 September will be announced by the end of February 2019.

For the opening of the 2019 Summer Festival, Music Director Riccardo Chailly and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra will focus on the Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, who was driven into exile by Soviet power. Denis Matsuev will perform as the soloist in Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto. This program will also feature the orchestral version of Vocalise, Op. 34, no. 14, and the Third Symphony, which the composer completed in 1936 at Villa Senar, his home in Hertenstein near Lucerne. The orchestra’s second program will combine Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony and his Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture with Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto, with Leonidas Kavakos as the soloist. Another program will feature Mahler’s Sixth Symphony.

Leonidas Kavakos will take on the position of “artiste étoile” in Lucerne this summer. For his Lucerne residency, he has chosen works particularly close to his heart by Chausson, Ravel, Sibelius, Stravinsky, and Korngold, as well as by Mozart, Prokofiev, Bartók, and Strauss for a solo recital. 

The musicians of the Lucerne Festival Academy and the Lucerne Festival Alumni will collaborate for the first time with Riccardo Chailly, Music Director of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. Their joint program will include works by Mosolov, Schoenberg, Maderna, and Wolfgang Rihm, the Academy’s Artistic Director. New works by the Roche Young Commissions prizewinners Marianna Liik and Josep Planells Schiaffino, to be conducted by Ruth Reinhardt and David Fulmer, will also be premiered as part of the Lucerne Festival Academy. Other highlights will include works by composer-in-residence Thomas Kessler, including said the shotgun to the head, featuring texts by the slam poet Saul Williams from Los Angeles, and the collaboration with composer and conductor Sir George Benjamin.

During the summer, the pianist Igor Levit will launch his cycle of all 32 piano sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven, which will extend over several festivals and be completed by the end of the Beethoven anniversary year in 2020. The first two recitals in the summer of 2019 will include the Sonatas in G major, Op. 79, A-flat major, Op. 26, and F minor, Op. 2, no. 1, as well as the Waldstein Sonata. The second recital will include the Piano Sonatas in F-sharp major, Op. 78, E-flat major, Op. 7, G major, Op. 14, no. 2, and E-flat major, Op. 81a (Les Adieux).

The London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle will join Barbara Hannigan for the räsonanz Donor Concert, a cooperation of the Festival with the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation and Bavarian Radio’s musica viva initiative. They will perform let me tell you, a work for soprano and orchestra by the Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen, as well as Messiaen’s Éclairs sur l'Au-Delà. In a second concert, the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle will combine works by Haydn, Britten, and Rachmaninoff. Among the Modern series offerings will be concerts with the JACK Quartet, Heinz Holliger (marking his 80th birthday), and students of the Lucerne School of Music, with Yuko Kakuta and Yukiko Sugawara as well as world premieres by Mark Andre and Thomas Kessler. A music theater work with the ensemble ascolta will be also performed.

A Parade of great international symphony orchestras, star conductors, and soloists

The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra returns to Lucerne with Daniel Barenboim and Anne-Sophie Mutter. The Chamber Orchestra of Europe will be led by Bernard Haitink, who will also conduct one of the two concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic; the second will be under the baton of Andrés Orozco-Estrada. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam returns to Lucerne with two programs, as does the Berlin Philharmonic with its new Chief Conductor Kirill Petrenko. Jakub Hrůša will conduct the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and Andris Nelsons will make his first appearance at the Festival with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Valery Gergiev will be on the podium with the Mariinsky Orchestra, Long Yu with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and Zubin Mehta with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. The Orchestre National de France returns to Lucerne after a hiatus of 13 years, this time under the direction of Emmanuel Krivine. In addition to those already mentioned, the Festival’s soloists will include the singers Anna Lucia Richter, Christine Goerke, and Stuart Skelton; the violinists Frank Peter Zimmermann, Vilde Frang, and Patricia Kopatchinskaja; the violist Tabea Zimmermann; and the pianists Murray Perahia, Maurizio Pollini, Sir András Schiff, Yuja Wang, and Evgeny Kissin.

The Lucerne Festival Orchestra Camp will be continued in cooperation with Superar Suisse. The saxophonist Jess Gillam, the pianist Daniel Lebhardt, the cellist Pablo Ferrández, and the violinist Bomsori Kim, as well as the Trio Eclipse and the Esmé Quartet, will make their debuts at the Festival. The winner of the Prix Credit Suisse Jeunes Solistes will be selected in December 2018 and will also make their debut at the Summer Festival.

Main Sponsors - Credit Suisse | Nestlé S.A. | Roche | The Adecco Group | Zurich Insurance Company Ltd Theme Sponsor Clariant Concert Sponsors Dr. Christoph M. Müller and Sibylla M. Müller | Franke | KPMG AG | marmite verlags AG | Viking


Further information on ticket sales and summer subscriptions can be found here

Contacts for Press and Public Relations: 

Nina Steinhart, Head of PR | n.steinhart@lucernefestival.ch | t +41 (0)41 226 44 43 

Katharina Schillen | k.schillen@lucernefestival.ch | t +41 (0)41 226 44 59