Modern 2

Ensemble of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY | Sir George Benjamin

Benjamin | Rihm

Sun, 25.08. | 15.00 | No. 19722

KKL Luzern, Lucerne Hall

Vergangenes Konzert

Please book a wheelchair ticket under t +41 (0) 41 226 44 80 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Summer Festival

16.08.-15.09. 2019



    George Benjamin (*1960)
    At First Light for chamber orchestra
    Wolfgang Rihm (*1952)
    Jagden und Formen for orchestra
    2008 version

    The best thing to do before or after this concert is to make sure to visit the Turner exhibition The Sea and the Alps at the Kunstmuseum Luzern. Sir George Benjamin made his international breakthrough in 1982 with his ensemble piece At First Light, inspired by William Turner. In Turner’s painting Norham Castle, Sunrise, “solid objects virtually appear to have melted under the intense sunlight. It is as if the paint were still wet. Abstractly, this observation has been important to the way I have composed the piece. A ‘solid object’ can be formed as a punctuated, clearly defined musical phrase. This can be ‘melted’ into a flowing, nebulous continuum of sound.” Benjamin will introduce the audience to his fascinating sound world during the concert and talk about the interaction between the  arts. The young musicians of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY will then focus on Jagden und Formen, a major “work-in-progress” by their artistic director, Wolfgang Rihm, that has grown over the years. It begins as a mating dance of two violins and intensifies into a breathlessly irresistible music: virtuoso, intoxicating, and brimming with ideas.

    With the friendly support of the Foundation Melinda Esterházy de Galantha Zurich

    You can purchase the digital concert program here.


    It was in the summer of 2004, that Pierre Boulez and Michael Haefliger founded the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY – thus establishing an educational campus devoted exclusively to new music. Every summer since then, some 130 young, highly gifted musicians from all around the world are given the opportunity to study contemporary scores and modernist classics in detail through daily rehearsals, workshops, and lessons and then to present their insights in performance. Serving as instructors are members of the Ensemble intercontemporain from Paris, one of the most renowned ensembles in the field of contemporary music. Besides the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY Orchestra, in which all of the students are consolidated, various additional ensembles join together to present their own concert programs. Individual artistic initiative is also encouraged, such as in the series titled LUCERNE FESTIVAL 40min, LUCERNE FESTIVAL Lounge, and at the Buvette, in which Academy participants present projects they have developed on their own. It’s not only instrumentalists who benefit from the Academy’s praxis-oriented training – the institution is also a prime choice for conductors and composers. Each year offers a master class in conducting; in 2014 it will be led by Heinz Holliger, who will initiate participants into the secrets of the métier with works of Claude Debussy and Bernd Alois Zimmermann. In addition to that commissions are given to young composers. In the summer of 2014, the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY presents a focus on vocal symphonic music with its performance of Luciano Berio’s Coro and is therefore expanding its training mandate to 40 highly talented young singers. Selected members of the newly formed LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY Chorus will also have an opportunity to take a master class in voice with “artiste étoile” Barbara Hannigan.

    February 2014

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    Sir George Benjamin

    Sir George Benjamin, who was born 1960 in London, started composing at the age of seven. In 1974 he began regular music studies in his native city, moving to Paris two years later to study with Olivier Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod; from 1978 to 1982, he completed his education with Alexander Goehr at King’s College, Cambridge. The orchestral works Ringed by the Flat Horizon, which was premiered by the BBC Proms in 1980, and At First Light (1982) marked Benjamin’s breakthrough to international acclaim. In 2002, Pierre Boulez and the London Symphony Orchestra gave the premiere of Palimpsests, which opened a portrait series dedicated to him at London’s Barbican Centre. Benjamin unveiled his first music theater work, Into the Little Hill, at the Paris Festival d’Automne in 2006. This was followed by Written on Skin in 2012 at the Festival Aix-en-Provence, which also sets a libretto by Martin Crimp and which has since been performed by 20 other companies; he continued his collaboration with Lessons in Love and Violence at the Royal Opera House in London in 2018. The last decade has seen multi-concert retrospectives of the works of Benjamin, who was composer-in-residence at LUCERNE FESTIVAL in 2008, in San Francisco, Aldeburgh, Ojai, Frankfurt a. M., Aix-en-Provence, Milan, Turin, London, Toronto, New York, Dortmund, and Amsterdam. He is a resident artist with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie in the 2018-19 season. Sir George Benjamin is additionally a successful conductor and has led the Berlin Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, and the Ensemble Modern. He is Professor of Composition at King’s College London. A Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Benjamin was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2017.

    George Benjamin was introduced for the first time as a conductor at LUCERNE FESTIVAL in 2008 in a concert with the Ensemble intercontemporain and in performances of his opera Into the Little Hill.

    November 2018



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    Introduction by Sir George Benjamin and Wolfgang Rihm during the concert (in English and German)