The Lucerne Festival Academy is a school for new music and a laboratory for the future. Every summer, some 100 talented young musicians from all over the world are given the opportunity to concentrate on a repertoire that is still too much overlooked in the classical music business: the music of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Wolfgang Rihm

Artistic Director

Pierre Boulez

Founder and Honorary President †

The Orchestra

Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra © Patrick Hürlimann
Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra © Patrick Hürlimann

The heart of the Lucerne Festival Academy is the Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra (LFCO). This is where all of the participants in a given year unite to spend three weeks rehearsing central works of the 20th and 21st centuries – from modern classics to many world premieres. They meet with renowned conductors, soloists, and composers. In recent years, these have included such figures as Sir George Benjamin, Peter Eötvös, Isabelle Faust, Alan Gilbert, Heinz Holliger, Anne-Sophie Mutter, and Sir Simon Rattle.

Composer Seminar

Composer Seminar © Peter Fischli/Lucerne Festival
Composer Seminar © Peter Fischli/Lucerne Festival

Every summer, Academy Director Wolfgang Rihm conducts together with co-teacher Dieter Ammann a two-week Composer Seminar. During the first week, participants discuss their works with Rihm, Ammann and other guests in plenary sessions and in one-on-one discussions. They then go on to study and rehearse their scores with the IEMA-Ensemble and present them in moderated closing concerts.

Conducting Fellowship

Composer Seminar © Priska Ketterer/Lucerne Festival
Composer Seminar © Priska Ketterer/Lucerne Festival

The Conducting Fellowship supports young conductors. The fellows attend and observe during rehearsals at the Academy, have an opportunity to discuss performance practice and interpretative questions with leading conductors, and study key works of the 20th and 21st centuries in a public master class.

Teaching Faculty

Arrival Day Lucerne Festival Academy © Manuela Jans

Contemporary Leaders

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 (LFCO) to rehearsals of programs for small ensembles, passing their knowledge and expierience to the younger generation. They also develop the Lucerne Festival Forward program.

Probe Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra © Manuela Jans/Lucerne Festival

Guest Faculty

Every summer, we invite leading performers of contemporary music as Guest Faculty, including members of the Ensemble intercontemporain, Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, and Ensemble Musikfabrik. They offer workshops to the young musicians during the Academy and support them in their musical career.


Fritz-Gerber-Award © Elza Zherebchuk © Priska Ketterer © Elliott Harrison

Fritz Gerber Award

Through the Fritz Gerber Award, the Fritz Gerber Foundation and Lucerne Festival have been encouraging three young instrumentalists in the field of contemporary classical music every year since 2015. The Award includes a cash prize of CHF 10,000 and a scholarship that covers participation in the Lucerne Festival Academy.

Hovik Sardaryan | David Moliner © © Nik Hunger

Roche Young Commissions

Since 2013, in alternation with the Roche Commissions, new commissions known as the Roche Young Commissions have been awarded every two years to two young composers. The prizewinners work on their new orchestral works in an intensive exchange with two young conductors and with Academy Director Wolfgang Rihm. At the midpoint of the process, they have an opportunity to experience a practice run with theLucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra (LFCO).

Register to be a host family

During the Summer Festival 100 young musicians from all over the world attend the Lucerne Festival Academy. In order to make this unique experience for young people as personal and culturally relevant as possible, we are looking for host families who can accommodate musicians.