The Summer Festival kicks off on 8 August with the sounds of jazz and Cuban music.
Opening Night featuring the Lucerne Festival Orchestra will take place on 11 August with Riccardo Chailly conducting. Everyone is invited to enjoy a live broadcast for free at Lucerne’s Inseli Park.
The Festival celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra.
Lucerne Festival’s summer of concerts officially begins on 11 August with the Opening Concert featuring the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, the Women of the Bavarian Radio Choir, and the Lucerne Kantorei conducted by Riccardo Chailly. The program, which will take place in the KKL Lucerne Concert Hall, includes Gustav Mahler’s Third Symphony in D minor, with alto Wiebke Lehmkuhl as the soloist. The keynote address on the theme of “Paradise" will be given on the opening evening by Urban Federer, the Abbot of Einsiedeln Monastery. In addition to Swiss Federal Councillor Elisabeth Baume-Schneider, Festival Chairman Markus Hongler and Executive and Artistic Director Michael Haefliger will welcome the audience. Numerous prominent guests from the worlds of culture, business, politics, and sports are expected to attend the festive opening reception that will take place before the concert. Over the three days preceding Opening Night, starting on 8 August, three concerts in the “Music for Future” category will ring in the Summer Festival. These concerts will explore the sounds of Cuban music as well as jazz with Dee Dee Bridgewater and Daniel Schnyder.
Echoing the theme of “Paradise,” starting on 8 August Lucerne Festival will present a “Paradise Garden” on the Europaplatz in collaboration with Lucerne’s municipal nursery. A total of 20,000 liters of soil and around 500 plants will be transported in front of the KKL Luzern. This action is related to the recent “Sing for the Birds” sustainability event, which donated CHF 15,000 to BirdLife Lucerne at the beginning of June. The plants of the “Paradise Garden” will be returned to the municipal nursery following the Summer Festival. Works by the visual artist Ester Vonplon relating to the theme of “Paradise” will be on display in the KKL foyer during the Summer Festival.
The Lucerne Festival Orchestra at 20: with Claudio Abbado and Riccardo Chailly
For the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, the Opening Concert on 11 August also marks the beginning of its milestone anniversary. It was 20 years ago that Claudio Abbado and Executive and Artistic Director Michael Haefliger founded the current orchestra and launched its international success story. The Festival will celebrate this anniversary with four symphony concerts and two chamber music programs; the Lucerne stattkino will additionally screen live film recordings of seven historically significant concerts led by Claudio Abbado and Riccardo Chailly from the past 20 years. Immediately following each screening, members of the orchestra and other figures will discuss their memories of the respective concert. Around 20 selected historical photos of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra will be on display in the KKL Luzern foyer starting on 8 August, and those attending will have an opportunity to meet the artists in person at the “Meet the Orchestra” event in Inseli Park following the Opening Concert. Incidentally, any resident of Lucerne who was born in 2003 — the year in which the Lucerne Festival Orchestra was founded — and who therefore turns 20 this year will receive a free ticket to selected concerts featuring the orchestra.
Complete details about the “Lucerne Festival Orchestra at 20” celebrations as well as about related events on the program can be found on the website at lucernefestival.ch/en/20years_LFO.
Lucerne Festival on TV and Radio as well as On-Demand Streaming
Lucerne Festival starts this summer with a significant presence on both TV and radio. The Opening Concert on 11 August will be presented on a time-delayed broadcast on that same evening on SRF 2 Kultur and SRF 1; it will also be streamed live on Arte Concert and Play Suisse, as well as on other platforms, as will the concert by the Lucerne Festival Orchestra with Maria João Pires on 12 August and the concert featuring the soloists of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra on 13 August. All dates for the concerts to be broadcast on radio and television, either live or at a later time, are listed on the website at lucernefestival.ch/en/magazine/concert-broadcasts-2023/284.
The Summer Festival lasts until 10 September. A total of 83 events will be offered, 21 of which are open to the public free of charge. Numerous star soloists, including Martha Argerich, Anne-Sophie Mutter, and Daniil Trifonov, as well as the most-acclaimed symphony orchestras in the classical music world, such as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, along with many more, are among the performers. There will additionally be highlights featuring the Festival’s two in-house orchestras: the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and the Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra (LFCO). From 11 August to 3 September, some 100 young instrumentalists, conductors, and composers will take part in the Lucerne Festival Academy, which focuses on contemporary music. A total of 17 new works will receive their world premieres.