Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Switzerland, 2018

Tour Dates: 22nd October - 29th October, 2018

The idea for a unique festival orchestra of international standing in Lucerne goes back to Arturo Toscanini, who in 1938 convened acclaimed virtuosos of the time...

Tour Dates
  • 22nd October - 29th October, 2018


Lucerne Festival Orchestra

a unique "orchestra of soloists."

The idea for a unique festival orchestra of international standing in Lucerne goes back to Arturo Toscanini, who in 1938 convened acclaimed virtuosos of the time into an elite ensemble with the legendary "Concert de Gala." It was 65 years later that the conductor Claudio Abbado and Festival Executive and Artistic Director Michael Haefliger established a connection to this moment of the Festival's birth and founded the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA, which made its public debut in August 2003. Every summer since then internationally famous soloists and chamber musicians, renowned music professors, and section leaders of the top European orchestras, as well as members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, have come to Lake Lucerne to form an orchestra in a class by itself. Many of the musicians spend their vacations here to rehearse and experience afresh a symphonic repertoire free from workaday regimentation and routine. Up until his death in January 2014 Claudio Abbado headed the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA. Beginning in the summer of 2016 Riccardo Chailly takes on the position of Music Director.

The idea of friendship and freedom forms the leitmotiv for this ensemble, whose ideal is a chamber music-like spirit of cooperation. Many stars of the classical music scene have played in the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA over the years: the Alban Berg Quartet, the Hagen Quartet, and the Leipzig String Quartet; the brothers Capuçon; the violinist Kolja Blacher; the violist Wolfram Christ; the cellist Natalia Gutman; the flutists Emmanuel Pahud and Jacques Zoon; the clarinetist Sabine Meyer; the oboists Albrecht Mayer and Lucas Macías Navarro; the trumpeter Reinhold Friedrich, and on and on and on … and every summer sill new names come along. 

The orchestra leaves its stamp on the opening week of LUCERNE FESTIVAL with several symphony concerts. Its members also perform in chamber concerts in various unusual smaller formations. And at the season's end comes the grand tour. Foreign residencies have taken these musicians to Rome, Vienna, Madrid, Luxembourg, and Paris; to Baden-Baden, Dortmund, Hamburg, London, and New York; and to Ferrara, Moscow, Tokyo, and Beijing.


Music Director & conductor: Riccardo Chailly

Riccardo Chailly was born in 1953 in Milan and studied at the Conservatories of Perugia, Rome, and Milan before completing his training as a conductor with Franco Ferrara at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana. He began his career as Assistant Conductor to Claudio Abbado at La Scala in Milan. In 1980 Chailly was appointed Principal Conductor of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, and in 1988 he went on to take up the same position with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, which he headed for sixteen years. Since 2005 Riccardo Chailly has served as Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and in January 2015 he took on the responsibility of Principal Conductor at La Scala in Milan. In the summer of 2016 he takes on the position of Music Director of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA.

Chailly regularly conducts such leading European orchestras as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestre de Paris. In the United States he has collaborated with the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his performances at La Scala, he has appeared as an opera conductor at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Royal Opera House in London, Zurich Opera, the Bavarian and Vienna Staatsoper companies, as well as Chicago Lyric Opera and San Francisco Opera. Riccardo Chailly has garnered many awards for his discography of more than 150 CDs: in 2012 he was named ECHO Klassik's Conductor of the Year for his performances of all of the Beethoven symphonies, and the complete cycle of Brahms symphonies he released in 2013 received Gramophone's Record of the Year Award. Riccardo Chailly holds the titles of Grand'Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana, Cavaliere di Gran Croce, and Cavaliere dell'Ordine del Leone d'Olanda. In 1996 the Royal Academy of Music in London awarded him an honorary membership, and in France he was bestowed the title of Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2011.

LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 7 September 1988 with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in a program of works by Wagner, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky; since then he has led the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in 36 different programs. His last appearance in Lucerne was on 11 September 2012, when he performed symphonies by Mendelssohn and Mahler.

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