Lucerne Festival Orchestra

The summer of 2003 saw the birth of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, which was founded by the Italian conductor Claudio Abbado and the Festival’s Executive and Artistic Director Michael Haefliger. They established a link with the legendary “elite orchestra” for which Arturo Toscanini assembled acclaimed virtuosos of his time to create a magnificent ensemble, introducing it in a “Concert de Gala” in 1938, the year of the Festival’s founding. Abbado served as Music Director of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra up until his death in January 2014. He was succeeded in 2016 by Riccardo Chailly, who has since extended his contract until 2026. Guest conductors have included Andris Nelsons, Bernard Haitink, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and Herbert Blomstedt. The orchestra is composed of internationally renowned principals, chamber musicians, and music professors, as well as members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Filarmonica della Scala. Many of their performances have been broadcast on television and are now available on DVD or CD; these have been awarded such prizes as the Diapason d’or, the BBC Music Magazine Award, and the International Classical Music Award. Their most recent release is a Strauss CD, which appeared in 2019. On DVD, the first installment of their Rachmaninoff cycle under Chailly was released in 2020, featuring the Third Piano Concerto with soloist Denis Matsuev and the Third Symphony. Guest appearances have taken the Lucerne Festival Orchestra to numerous European musical capitals, as well as to New York, Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.

The Lucerne Festival Orchestra has been performing annually at the Summer Festival since its first appearance in 2003.

August 2021