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The Summer Festival is the largest of the three annual festivals: within a period of just four weeks you can experience more than 100 events, among them some 30 symphony concerts. Every year since 2003 it has been launched by the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA, which Claudio Abbado founded in 2003. Since 2016 Riccardo Chailly has helmed this splendid ensemble comprising internationally acclaimed soloists, chamber musicians, teachers, and members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Filarmonica della Scala. The Festival also includes its own master school for new music in the form of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY, which was founded by Pierre Boulez and Festival Director Michael Haefliger and which has been led by Wolfgang Rihm since 2016. Along with cultivating the traditional repertoire, which is performed by leading international performers, LUCERNE FESTIVAL is deeply committed to the realm of contemporary music: each year the work of one or two composers-in-residence is given a spotlight. Also receiving a focus are “artistes étoiles,” specific performers who are prominent in the programming and who actively present their art in a wide variety of contexts. Each summer is devoted to a specific theme that governs the choice of works in the programming. Such innovative event formats as the 40min and Young Performance series LUCERNE FESTIVAL is forging new paths and opening the way toward a wider range of audiences.