The summer of 2003 saw the birth of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, which was launched 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 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 extended his contract until 2026. Guest conductors have included Andris Nelsons, Bernard Haitink, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Herbert Blomstedt, Jakub Hrůša, Iván Fischer, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, and Paavo Järvi. The orchestra comprises renowned principals, chamber musicians, and music teachers, as well as members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. It presents a number of symphony concerts during the Summer Festival and, since 2022, a three-day music festival in the spring as well. Many of its performances have been broadcast on television and are available on DVD or CD, earning such distinctions as the Diapason d’or, the BBC Music Magazine Award, and the International Classical Music Award. The orchestra’s most recent release, from 2023, is a DVD of Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony and Second Piano Concerto, with Chailly conducting. The Lucerne Festival Orchestra has toured to many European musical capitals, as well as to New York, Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Shenzhen, and Shanghai. In the fall of 2024, it will perform at the Philharmonie de Paris and the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.

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

February 2024