The Orchestra

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. With Riccardo Chailly, this unique orchestra once again has an Italian music director. Moreover, each summer a guest conductor is invited in order to offer the audience an additional musical perspective.

Every summer – and, starting in 2022, every spring as well as part of a residency – famous soloists, chamber musicians, renowned music teachers, and principals of the leading European orchestras, along with members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and of the Orchestra of La Scala in Milan, join together in Lucerne to form an ensemble that is special class. Many of the musicians spend their vacations here to rehearse and experience afresh a symphonic repertoire free from workaday regimentation and routine.

The Lucerne Festival Orchestra performs a three-day residency each spring on Palm Sunday weekend and sets the tone for the opening week of the Summer Festival with several symphony concerts. And at the season’s end comes the grand tour. Foreign residencies have taken these musicians throughout Europe and to Asia and the USA.

Members of the Orchestra

The Lucerne Festival Orchestra is an ensemble that brings together internationally acclaimed soloists, chamber musicians, and music teachers, as well as members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Filarmonica della Scala who exclusively perform works of the symphonic repertoire in this configuration. 

Since its founding in the summer of 2003, the first chair-principals who have played and/or continue to play together include such artists as the violinist Kolja Blacher; the violists Wolfram Christ and Antoine Tamestit; the cellists Jens Peter Maintz, Natalia Gutman, and Julian Steckel; the flutists Jacques Zoon and Emmanuel Pahud; the clarinetists Sabine Meyer and Alessandro Carbonare; the oboists Lucas Macías Navarro and Albrecht Mayer; the horn players Alessio Allegrini and Ivo Gass; the trumpeter Reinhold Friedrich; the trombonist Jörgen van Rijen; the timpanist Raymond Curfs; as well as the members of the Sabine Meyer Wind Ensemble and of the Alban Berg, Hagen, and Leipzig String Quartets. And the list goes on and on …

  • First Violins

    • Ahss, Gregory (concertmaster): concertmaster Camerata Salzburg
    • Christ, Raphael (concertmaster): first concertmaster Bochum Symphony Orchestra, concertmaster Cologne Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Mozart
    • Antcheva, Evelina: Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg
    • Arzberger, Stefan: professor Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts and HfKM Regensburg, Leipzig String Quartet
    • Banica, George-Cosmin: second concertmaster Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich
    • Briner, Isabelle: Swiss Orchestra, formerly Mahler Chamber Orchestra
    • Carreño, Alejandro: first concertmaster Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, first violin Simón Bolívar String Quartet, guest Berlin Philharmonic
    • Dausacker, Julia: concertmaster Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich
    • Juda, Iris: Chamber Orchestra of Europe
    • Kastl, Manuel: first concertmaster Staatsphilharmonie Nürnberg (Staatstheater Nürnberg), Orchestra Mozart
    • Niebuhr, Hildegard: Mahler Chamber Orchestra
    • Peled, Benjamin: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
    • Röhn, Daniel: soloist
    • Senese, Francesco: Orchestra Mozart
    • Tokuda, Sono: NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester
    • Weber, Yunna: Staatskapelle Berlin
    • zu Castell, Annette: Mahler Chamber Orchestra
  • Second Violins

    • Altenberger, Korbinian (section leader): concertmaster Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, professor University for Music Wuerzburg
    • Christ, Claudia: Orchestra Mozart, Badische Staatskapelle
    • Gavrikov, Semion: Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg
    • Heubes, Christian: Mahler Chamber Orchestra
    • Holthuis, Paulien: Mahler Chamber Orchestra
    • Kagan, Maria: Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto
    • Keramidis, Iason: Munich Philharmonic
    • Kisza, Pawel: section leader of the second violins Hamburg Symphony Orchestra
    • Peters, Naomi: Mahler Chamber Orchestra
    • Pichlmair, Johanna: Berlin Philharmonic
    • Seiler, Kio: Zurich Chamber Orchestra
    • Simon-Renes, Irina: chamber musician, former section leader of the second violins Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    • Takeuchi, Sayaka: Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich
    • Tesini, Giacomo: professor Conservatorio di Trento, Orchestra Mozart
    • Wozniakowska, Katarzyna: Mahler Chamber Orchestra
  • Violas

    • Christ, Wolfram (principal): soloist, professor University of Music Freiburg
    • Abasolo, Maite: Mahler Chamber Orchestra
    • Christ, Tanja: formerly Berlin Philharmonic
    • Dambeck, Anya
    • Hagen, Silvia: chamber musician
    • Hagen, Veronika: Hagen Quartett
    • Jelveh, Leonardo: Akademist Opéra national de Paris
    • Muthelet, Béatrice: Mahler Chamber Orchestra
    • Niewöhner, Dirk: associate principal Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
    • Sachs, Raphael: assistant principal SWR Symphonieorchester (Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra)
    • Steller, Chaim: principal Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
    • Winkler, Jörg: principal Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, former principal Mahler Chamber Orchestra
    • Zickgraf, Sarina: Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich
  • Cellos

    • Maintz, Jens-Peter (principal): professor Berlin University of the Arts
    • Hagen, Clemens (principal): Hagen Quartet
    • Polidori, Massimo: principal Teatro alla Scala
    • Bonomini, Paolo: principal Camerata Salzburg
    • Chuat, Iseut: soloist
    • Faludi, Stefan: Mahler Chamber Orchestra
    • Grenet, Benoît: principal Orchestre de Chambre de Paris
    • Laffranchini, Sandro: principal Teatro alla Scala
    • Pfiz, Konstantin: soloist, Clemente Trio
    • Ruge, Thomas: principal Munich Philharmonic
    • von Steinaecker, Philipp: Mahler Chamber Orchestra
  • Basses

    • Stotijn, Rick (principal): Mahler Chamber Orchestra
    • Borsarelli, Paolo: Conservatorio Statale «Giuseppe Verdi» di Torino
    • di Ronza, Roberto: former assistant principal Munich Symphony Orchestra
    • Gonzalez Seijas, Johane: Mahler Chamber Orchestra
    • Kratochvil, Stepan: Munich Philharmonic
    • Martínez Valgañón, Jon Mikel: Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne
    • Ruge, Axel: assistant principal WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne
  • Flutes

    • Zoon, Jacques (principal): professor Conservatoire de Musique de Genève, former principal flute Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Chamber Orchestra of Europe
    • von Kogelenberg, Herman (principal): principal Munich Philharmonic
    • Borges Maia, Rui: Orquestra de Câmara Portuguesa (Lisbon), Plural Ensemble (Madrid)
    • Simeoli, Maurizio (piccolo): formerly Teatro alla Scala, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Piccolo Yamaha Artist
    • Tonelli, Chiara: Mahler Chamber Orchestra
  • Oboes

    • Aviat, Victor (principal): principal Budapest Festival Orchestra
    • Descotte, Armel (principal): principal Teatro alla Scala
    • Ortega Quero, Ramón (principal): principal Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    • Heidinger, Dina: principal Deutsche Oper Berlin
    • Noël, Clement (Englischhorn): Philharmonia Zürich
    • Pastor, Miriam(Englischhorn): Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
  • Clarinets

    • Carbonare, Alessandro (principal): principal Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia – Roma
    • Bonansea, Bruno (principal): principal Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
    • Bessac, Jessica: Orchestre National de France
    • Cipriano, Luca: clarinet and bass clarinet PMCE (Parco della Musica Contemporanea Ensemble)
    • Iosco, Lorenzo Antonio: first bass clarinet Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
    • Lattuada, Davide: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
    • Schenkel, Raphaël: bass clarinet Bremen Philharmonic, Bremen Academy of the Arts
  • Bassoons

    • Racz, Matthias (principal): principal Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, professor Zurich University of the Arts
    • Carlo Colombo (principal): principal L'Orchestre de l'Opéra de Lyon, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Lyon, Conservatoire de Lausanne
    • Santi, Chiara: Mahler Chamber Orchestra
    • van Holen, Simon: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
  • Horns

    • Gass, Ivo (principal): principal Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich
    • Abächerli, Florian: principal Lucerne Symphony Orchestra
    • Asensi Martí, José Miguel: Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León
    • Charpentier-Leroy, Clément: Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
    • Heimann, Tobias: Mahler Chamber Orchestra
    • Huber, Tobias: Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich
    • Muñoz Toledo, Paulo: Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich
  • Trumpets

    • Friedrich, Reinhold (principal): soloist, professor Karlsruhe University of Music
    • Dicken, Christopher: Mahler Chamber Orchestra
    • Sadler, Matthew: Mahler Chamber Orchestra
    • Toro, Marco: principal Teatro alla Scala
    • van Hasselt, Wim: professor Hochschule für Musik Freiburg/Br.
  • Trombones

    • van Rijen, Jörgen (principal): principal Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
    • Hampson, Mark: Mahler Chamber Orchestra
    • Morandini, Daniele: principal Teatro alla Scala
    • Verbeek, Alexander: principal Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Tuba

    • Keller, Thomas: Staatskapelle Berlin
  • Timpani

    • Curfs, Raymond: principal Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Percussion

    • Friis-Hansen, Mathias: The Royal Danish Orchestra
    • Haeldermans, Mark: Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
    • Wucherpfennig, Dirk: Konzerthausorchester Berlin
    • Zonderop, Hans: Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Harps

    • Christ, Sarah: formerly Vienna Staatsoper, chamber musician

Stand: 2022

Lucerne Festival Orchestra