The «Lucerne Festival Contemporary Leaders» are selected musicians from the worldwide Lucerne Festival Academy network. During the summer festival, they accompany the three-week work phase as coaches, from the section rehearsals of the Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra to rehearsals of programs for small ensembles, passing their knowledge and expierience to the younger generation. They also develop the Lucerne Festival Forward program.

Chloë Abbott

Chloë Abbott © Katie
Chloë Abbott © Katie
  • Biography

    Chloë Abbott is the first ever female trumpeter to be cast as 'Michael' in Stockhausen’s Licht cycle for performances of Luzifer’s Tanz at The Holland Festival, 2019. She regularly plays with contemporary ensembles including Ensemble Musikfabrik, Apartment House, Asko|Schönberg, Ensemble consord, Ensemble Modelo62 and was part of the Lucerne Festival Academy in 2019. Chloë Abbott specializes in the performance of new and contemporary music. She is constantly developing new techniques and collaborating with composers to create innovative solo repertoire and chamber works.

Jack Adler-McKean

Jack Adler-McKean
Jack Adler-McKean
  • Biography

    Jack Adler-McKean works to promote the tuba family through collaborations with internationally renowned ensembles, composers and academic institutions. Recent projects include performances with Ensemble Resonanz and Ensemble Modern, music theatre productions on stage at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and Philharmonie Luxembourg, collaborations on new solo works with Georges Aperghis and Michael Finnissy, premières at the BBC Proms and Darmstädter Ferienkurse (2018 scholarship prize winner), and recitals in New York and Buenos Aires, as well as presentations at conferences in Paris and Cologne, working with tuba students in Ankara and Oslo, giving seminars for composers in London and Boston, and writing reviews for Tempo and Music and Letters. Orchestral engagements range from contrabass tuba with the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, to serpent and ophicleide with the Kammerakademie Potsdam and Spira Mirabilis. Jack Adler-McKean has written The Playing Techniques of the Tuba for Bärenreiter (published in 2020) and curates the Contemporary Music for Tuba collection for Edition Gravis. His own compositions and arrangements are published by Potenza Music. Having studied in Manchester and Hannover, Jack Adler-McKean is working towards his PhD at the Royal Northern College of Music, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of Great Britain.

Alice Belugou

Alice Belugou
Alice Belugou

Guest Leader

Cecilia Bercovich

Cecilia Bercovich
Cecilia Bercovich
  • Biography

    Born in Madrid, Cecilia Bercovich is active as a performer on violin, viola, and viola d’amore and additionally as an arranger and conductor. With a very diverse musical itinerary, she has lead sections under Pierre Boulez, Sir Simon Rattle, and Riccardo Chailly among others in venues such as the Lucerne, Bayreuth, and Salzburg festivals. She has been a guest of Ensemble intercontemporain, Ensemble Variances, Quantum Ensemble, and the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra, performing chamber music with Maria João Pires, Sabine Meyer, and Reinhold Friedrich. A devoted enthusiast of musical creation nowadays, her concert programs often include premieres and/or her own transcriptions. Cecilia Bercovich has recorded chamber music and solo concerti for Naxos, IBS Classical, and Deutsche Grammophon. She is a member of Meitar Ensemble in Tel Aviv and a Lucerne Festival Contemporary Leader. A sought-after pedagogue, Cecilia Bercovich teaches at the bachelor’s and master’s levels at the Higher School of Music Aragón (Saragossa) and Katarina Gurska High School of Music (Madrid) and is involved with youth orchestras in Spain and Portugal as their string sections coach. Among this season’s highlights are her appearances as guest concertmaster with the Navarra Symphony Orchestra and at the historical Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid conducting El Sobre Verde, and she will also be part of the performing/organizing team of the new Forward Festival in Lucerne.

Ettore Biagi

Ettore Biagi © Michele Monasta
Ettore Biagi © Michele Monasta

"The co-curation process reminds me a lot of sculpting. We all look for the simplest, more compelling picture inside the raw source material, and everyone gives her/his contribution. It's beautiful."

  • Biography

    Ettore Biagi is an Italian clarinet player, active as freelance musician on the international classical and contemporary music scene. After having completed his studies at the conservatories in Florence and Livorno, he entered the clarinet class of Alessandro Carbonare at the Academy of Santa Cecila in Rome and was selected as a member of the Academy of La Scala, performing as principal in its Contemporary Music Ensemble. Since then he has frequently collaborated with the Lucerne Festival Academy and Alumni, Orchestra of Florence Opera House, Haydn Orchester Bozen, MusikFest Berlin, Ensemble intercontemporain, Crash Ensemble, Ulysses Ensemble and many more, performing at the Paris Philarmonie, Berlin Philarmonie, Elbphilarmonie Hamburg, KKL Luzern, and Dublin National Concert Hall, among others. He has also performed as a chamber music player.

Deepa Goonetilleke

Deepa Goonetilleke © Philippe Stier
Deepa Goonetilleke © Philippe Stier

Guest Leader

Winnie Huang

 © © Remy Assas
© © Remy Assas

Can you tell us what new music means to you in one word? "Generosity."

  • Biography

    Winnie Huang is a Chinese-Australian violinist, violist, gestural performance artist, and composer currently based between Belgium and France. An active performer of new music, she is a founding member and solo violinist of Paris-based new music ensemble soundinitiative and co-founder and member of performative duo LookOut. She continually works with emerging and established composers and regularly performs with international ensembles at such festivals as ARS Musica, Musikfest Berlin, Manifeste, Festival Royaumont, Bludenzer Tage zeitgemässer Musik, Lucerne Festival, Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt, Ruhrtriennale, BIFEM, Brisbane Festival, Warsaw Autumn, and Donaueschingen Festival, among others. Career highlights have included solo performances at the Berlin Philharmonie, KKL Lucerne, and the Elbphilharmonie, along with many international ensemble tours in Europe, the USA, and Australia. An engaging educator, Winnie Huang has consistently taught in Australia, France, and Belgium. Her interest in the performance of musical-gestural pieces is explored frequently through her original compositions and collaborations with other composers to develop highly gestural contemporary works. In the academic realm, she continues her doctoral artistic research in the field of musical gestures and physical-performance awareness.

Helga Karen

Helga Karen
Helga Karen

"New music is part of the cultural history that we are living in right now and it is something for the artists to be proud and supportive of."

  • Biography

    Helga Karen (*1991) is a Finnish pianist specialized in performance of classical contemporary music. She has performed as a soloist and chamber music musician in various contemporary music festivals such as Lucerne Festival, soundSCAPE, Musica Nova, ISA2015, Stockhausen Courses and Concerts, Impuls Academy and International Summer Course for New Music Darmstadt. Helga Karen has won several prizes at various competitions, including first prizes in Giovani Musicisti Music Competition, Stockhausen Concert and Courses, Karlsruhe Contemporary Music Competition and Orpheus Chamber Music Competition. Currently she is working on her PhD, which explores Stockhausen’s piano pieces, at the Sibelius Academy in Finland.

Edward Kass

Edward Kass
Edward Kass

"Music is a form of storytelling, even when it’s completely abstract or experimental. The only way to really understand a story is listening without judgement."

  • Biography

    Bassist Edward Kass performs frequently with new music groups such as Ensemble Dal Niente and Callithumpian Consort, and at festivals such as Tanglewood Music Center, Lucerne Festival, and Pacific Music Festival. Since 2016, he has performed with soprano Nina Guo as Departure Duo, a duo committed to performing, commissioning and researching music written for soprano and double bass. Recent duo performances include recitals at Spoleto Festival USA, Yellow Barn, Omaha Under the Radar, and KM28. Their commissioning work was recently recognized with a Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Grant.

Marina Kifferstein

Marina Kifferstein
Marina Kifferstein
  • Biography

    Marina Kifferstein is a violinist and generative artist based in New York City. Equally comfortable in major international venues and DIY spaces, she enjoys a diverse career that encompasses contemporary chamber music, improvisation, composition, classical performance, and more. She is a founding member of TAK ensemble and The Rhythm Method string quartet, a member of the Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra, and a regular guest with the International Contemporary Ensemble, Wet Ink, and the Talea Ensemble. In addition to regularly conducting residencies at universities including Harvard University, Stanford University, and Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, she is on the faculty of the United Nations International School and the Composers Conference. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in music at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Angus Lee

Angus Lee
Angus Lee
  • Biography

    A soloist of the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble since 2016, Angus Lee is a Hongkong-based performer-composer. With the Ensemble, he has toured to major venues in Iceland, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Spain and Portugal. Prior to his appointment, he received his specialist training in new music at the Lucerne Festival Academy (2013, 2015, 2016), where he was invited to perform as soloist at Pierre Boulez's Memorial Concert to critical acclaim.
    Lee also maintains a busy schedule as a composer and conductor, with his works having been performed by Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, and Trio Accanto. His first opera, Chasing Waterfalls, will be premiered at the season opening of Semperoper Dresden in September 2022, followed by its touring to New Vision Festival in Hong Kong, with the composer conducting on both occasions. In 2023, he will also be leading Ensemble Modern at Frankfurt’s ...cresc... Biennale, premiering new works by Philipp Krebs and Piotr Peszat.
    Lee currently serves as chamber music faculty at his alma mater Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts; he also works as an assistant lecturer at the University of Hong Kong, where he commences his Doctoral studies in October 2022.

Alex Lipowski

Alex Lipowksi © Beowulf Sheehan
Alex Lipowksi © Beowulf Sheehan
  • Biography

    Alex Lipowski is the founder of the Talea Ensemble and has performed with the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, and Steve Coleman’s Council of Balance. He has been seen on concert stages throughout North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East at festivals including Lucerne Festival, Lincoln Center Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, Internationales Jazzfestival Saalfelden, Holland Festival, Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival, and the Salzburg Festival. As a soloist and chamber musician, he has premiered new works by composers including Brian Ferneyhough, Pierluigi Billone, Georges Aperghis, George Lewis, and John Zorn. Alex Lipowski has been a member of Klangforum Wien since 2021. He has recorded for Kairos, Wergo, New World Records, Innova, Pi Records, Mode Records, Gravina Musica, Tzadik, and the Living Artists Label. He holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from the Juilliard School.

Stephen Menotti

Stephen Menotti © Deborah Tolksdorf
Stephen Menotti © Deborah Tolksdorf

“Thanks to the immense energy of this highly qualified and specialized team of colleagues, an incredible wealth of curatorial ideas quickly accumulated.”

  • Biography

    Stephen Menotti is a freelance trombonist living in Basel. He was born in State College, Pennsylvania, and studied with Mike Svoboda, James Desano, and Mark Lusk at Oberlin Conservatory and at the Musikhochschule Basel. Menotti lived in New York as a freelance musician for two years before moving to Europe. His passion for contemporary music has led him to perform with numerous ensembles including musikFabrik, Remix Ensemble, Collegium Novum Zürich, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Phoenix, and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). He is a founding member of the Eunoia Quintett.

Benjamin Mitchell

Benjamin Mitchell © UCLA Library
Benjamin Mitchell © UCLA Library
  • Biography

    American clarinetist Benjamin Mitchell studied at the University of California, Rice University, Indiana University, Zurich University of the Arts, and the University of Southern California. He is the founder and president of the Los Angeles-based Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, which works without a conductor. He also plays regularly as a guest with the Houston Symphony Orchestra and has participated several times in the Aspen Music Festival and the Lucerne Festival Academy. His commitment to contemporary music has brought him into contact with such composers as Thomas Adès, George Benjamin, and Alyssa Weinberg, whose clarinet quintet Still Life he premiered. As a chamber musician, Mitchell has performed with members of the Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Cleveland Orchestra, among others, and at the Danish Thy Chamber Music Festival.

Ben Roidl-Ward

Ben Roidl-Ward © Ben Semish
Ben Roidl-Ward © Ben Semish

"I believe that the gathering of these voices is creating a special and extremely exciting festival program."

  • Biography

    Ben Roidl-Ward is a bassoonist and improviser based in Chicago. His dedication to working with composers of his generation has led him to commission and premiere numerous works featuring the bassoon with the goal of broadening the repertoire and expanding the possibilities of the instrument.

Michelle Ross

Michelle Ross © Lisa-Marie Mazzucco
Michelle Ross © Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

"Lucerne Festival Forwart is a unique and exciting opportunity for us Alumni to create something from the initial spark and witness it manifest, collectively."

  • Biography

    Michelle Ross is a violinist, composer, improviser, and writer who is known for her omnivorous creativity and deeply emotional performances. Praised for her debut album, pop-up project, and blog Discovering Bach: The Complete Sonatas and Partitas, she has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and guest concertmaster around the world, leading such ensembles as musicAeterna, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra. Passionate about contemporary music as both a creator and performer, Michelle Barzel Ross is a member of NYC-based Sinfonietta Ensemble Échappé and a guest player with the International Contemporary Ensemble and The Knights. An improviser on both the violin and piano, she also creates live immersive works with electronics.

James Austin Smith

James Austin Smith
James Austin Smith
  • Biography

    American oboist James Austin Smith performs new and old music across the United States and around the world. He is an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and Decoda; co-principal oboist of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; and Artistic and Executive Director of Tertulia, a chamber music series that takes place in restaurants in New York and San Francisco. He is a member of the oboe and chamber music faculties of Stony Brook University and the Manhattan School of Music. James Austin Smith’s festival appearances include the Marlboro Music Festival, Lucerne Festival, Music@Menlo, Spoleto Festival USA, and Festpiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern; he has performed with the St. Lawrence, Parker, Rolston and Orion string quartets and recorded for the Nonesuch, Bridge, Mode, and Kairos labels. James Austin Smith received his Master of Music degree in 2008 from the Yale School of Music and graduated in 2005 with bachelor of arts (Political Science) and bachelor of music degrees from Northwestern University. He spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Leipzig, Germany, at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy” and is an alumnus of Ensemble Connect, a collaboration of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, the Weill Music Institute, and the New York City Department of Education. His principal teachers are Stephen Taylor, Christian Wetzel, Humbert Lucarelli, and Ray Still.

Nathan Watts

Nathan Watts © Tempus Konnex
Nathan Watts © Tempus Konnex
  • Biography

    Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Nathan Watts currently lives in Frankfurt am Main. As a cellist, he is always searching for ways to keep contemporary music and improvisation current and accessible through diverse programming and collaboration. Nathan Watts currently performs as part of the Grow Quartet, Trio Namiro, the Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra (LFCO), and Ensemble Tempus Konnex. He is also a founding member of the Oliveros Experiment, a group exploring improvisation, listening, and audience involvement. Performances at festivals include the Kurt Weill Fest Dessau, Impuls Festival, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, 180 Degrees Festival, Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik, Lucerne Festival Academy, Aspen Music Festival, and Tanglewood Music Center. Nathan Watts holds a bachelor of music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Stephen Geber, a master of music at Rice University under Desmond Hoebig, and a masters from the International Ensemble Modern Academy at the HfMDK Frankfurt.

Johnna Wu

Johnna Wu
Johnna Wu
  • Biography

    Violinist Johnna Wu is a performer and improviser active in North America, Europe, and Asia. She is the founder and artistic director of the electro-acoustic chamber ensemble PinkNoise. She obtained her bachelor of arts in biology and music history and theory at Columbia University and her master’s degree in music at the Juilliard School and was a Fulbright Scholar in Berlin. Johnna Wu is currently a doctorate student at the Graduate Center in the City University of New York. Johnna was a part of the Lucerne Festival Academy from 2017 through 2019.

Andrew Zhou

Andrew Zhou © María Helga Guðmundsdóttir
Andrew Zhou © María Helga Guðmundsdóttir
  • Biography

    Pianist Andrew Zhou received degrees from Stanford University and New England Conservatory – both with distinction –, and Cornell University, where he was awarded a Donald J. Grout Memorial Prize for an exceptional doctoral dissertation. He studied primarily with Thomas Schultz, Bruce Brubaker, and Xak Bjerken, alongside influential work with Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich. He has been noted for his “great sensitivity” and “luminous technique” (Anaclase), as well as performances of “extraordinary energy” (ResMusica). Second-prize laureate of the Concours International de Piano d’Orléans, Andrew Zhou has toured throughout France and has appeared in major venues such as the KKL Lucerne (Lucerne Festival), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Tongyeong Concert Hall, and the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord (Paris). He has worked closely with leading composers of our time, including Unsuk Chin, Jacques Lenot, Tristan Murail, Matthias Pintscher, Christian Wolff, and Walter Zimmermann, and has, in addition, been the dedicatee and first performer of works of countless composers of a younger generation. Andrew Zhou is the recent recipient of commissioning grants from the Arts Council of Ireland and the Fondation Galaxie-Y. As half of HereNowHear, a piano (+electronics) duo with Ryan McCullough, he has created commissioning projects centered on Stockhausen’s Mantra, receiving works from Christopher Stark, Loren Loiacono, and John Liberatore, with support from the Fromm Foundation. He has been the pianist of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble and Ulysses Ensemble. A fierce proponent of recovering historically erased works, he has served on the Diversity Steering Committee for the Lucerne Festival Academy and is a member of the ONEcomposer initiative. Andrew Zhou also composes and writes on sundry topics of musical, educational, and literary interests.