With the founding of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA, which was introduced to the public in August 2003, the conductor Claudio Abbado and the Festival’s Executive and Artistic Director Michael Haefliger established a link with the moment in which the Festival itself was born in Lucerne: it was with the legendary “Concert de Gala” in 1938 that Arturo Toscanini assembled the celebrated virtuosos of his time into a unique orchestra of elite musicians. With this as a model, internationally acclaimed principals, chamber musicians, and music teachers join together every summer around a core of players from the ranks of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra to form a world-class ensemble. Up until his death in January 2014, Claudio Abbado served as artistic director of this “orchestra of friends,” as he himself called it. The basic lineup of this ensemble has remained the same in the era following Abbado, and this summer the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA is performing three different programs under the direction of Bernard Haitink and Andris Nelsons. In addition to their symphony concerts, the musicians will perform a chamber concert and a Late Night event. Many of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA’s performances over the past decade have been broadcast on television and subsequently released on DVD, garnering such distinctions as the Diapason d’Or, the BBC Music Magazine Award, and the International Classical Music Award. Their most recent release is a live recording of the opening concert of the 2014 Summer Festival in Lucerne and consists of works by Johannes Brahms. The LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA has previously toured to such destinations as Rome, Vienna, Madrid, Paris, Baden-Baden, Hamburg, London, New York, Ferrara, Moscow, Tokyo, and Beijing. In the fall of 2015 they will undertake a major European tour with Andris Nelsons.
The LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA has been performing annually at LUCERNE FESTIVAL since debuting in the summer of 2003.