Igor Levit © Robbie Lawrence
Igor Levit © Robbie Lawrence
Lucerne Festival Orchestra 2
Lucerne Festival Orchestra | Riccardo Chailly | Igor Levit
If not for these two works, music history would likely have been different. Mozart wrote an opening movement for his G minor Symphony that seems to have been already going on before the first downbeat: its dramatic flair resembles a restless aria like the one Mozart’s Cherubino sings when overcome with emotion: “I no longer know what I am, what I do ...” To his contemporaries, this music seemed almost crazy, “too strongly spiced,” “like a meteor.” With his Piano Concerto, Robert Schumann meanwhile freed the genre from the conventional model of a “duel” between soloist and orchestra, between the individual ego and others. “There are no hierarchies anymore,” explains Igor Levit, who will perform the work in his first joint appearance with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. “The piece is tremendously improvisatory; you play in an almost Miles Davisian sense.” And yet – or perhaps because of that? – the solo part is extremely demanding, especially the finale, which also requires the utmost in terms of virtuosity.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA © Priska Ketterer/LUCERNE FESTIVAL
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. Riccardo Chailly was appointed his successor in 2016 and has since extended his contract until 2023. Guest conductors have included Andris Nelsons, Bernard Haitink, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The orchestra consists of internationally acclaimed principals, chamber musicians, and music teachers, as well as members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Filarmonica della Scala. At the “Life Is Live” Festival in the summer of 2020, it is appearing for the first time under the baton of the Swedish maestro Herbert Blomstedt in two all-Beethoven programs. There will be an additional chamber music program of septets by Mozart and Beethoven. Many of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra’s performances have been broadcast on television and then released on DVD or CD. These have garnered such awards as the Diapason d’Or, the BBC Music Magazine Award, and the International Classical Music Award. Their most-recent releases include a CD of orchestral works by Richard Strauss, which came out in 2019, and, in the summer of 2020, a DVD of the first part of their Rachmaninoff cycle under Riccardo Chailly, featuring the Third Piano Concerto with Denis Matsuev as the soloist and the Third Symphony. The Lucerne Festival Orchestra has previously toured to many of the musical metropolises in Europe, as well as to New York, Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Shenzhen, and Shanghai.
The Lucerne Festival Orchestra has been performing annually at the Summer Festival since its first appearance in 2003.
Riccardo Chailly © Teatro alla Scala
Riccardo Chailly has been Music Director of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA since 2016. Born in 1953 in Milan, he studied at the Conservatories of Perugia, Rome, and Milan and at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana and began his career as an assistant to Claudio Abbado at La Scala in Milan. Chailly was appointed Music Director of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1980, and in 1988 he took up the same position with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, which he helmed for sixteen years. From 2005 to the summer of 2016, Riccardo Chailly served as head of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. He has been Music Director of La Scala in Milan since January 2015. Chailly regularly conducts such leading European orchestras as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestre de Paris. In the United States, he has worked with the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. As an opera conductor – in addition to his performances at La Scala – he has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Royal Opera House in London, Zurich Opera, the Bavarian and Vienna Staatsoper companies, Chicago Lyric Opera, and San Francisco Opera. Riccardo Chailly has received many prizes for his more than 150 CDs, including Gramophone’s Record of the Year Award for his account of the Brahms symphonies. In the fall of 2019, he will release an album of three Strauss tone poems with the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA. Riccardo Chailly is a Grand’Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana, a Cavaliere di Gran Croce, and a Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion. In 1996 he was made an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music in London, and he has been an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France since 2011.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 7 September 1988 with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam in a program of works by Wagner, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky
July 2019Other dates
Igor Levit © Robbie Lawrence
The pianist Igor Levit was born in 1987 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, and began taking piano lessons at the age of three. His family moved to Germany in 1995, where Levit continued his studies with Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Matti Raekallio, and Bernd Goetzke in Hanover before transferring to Hans Leygraf at the Salzburg Mozarteum. He won four prizes at the Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv in 2005 and was also a victor at Hamamatsu Competition in Japan. Levit soon began performing with such renowned orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Saxon Staatskapelle Dresden, and the Boston and London Symphony Orchestras. He made his debuts with the Vienna Philharmonic in 2018 and, in 2019, with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. In the 2020-21 season, Levit will be artist-in-residence with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and will also be the featured artists at the Essen Philharmonie. He will make his debuts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic under Herbert Blomstedt. Additional plans include concert engagements with the Orchestre de Paris, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the Royal Concertgebouworkest, and he will go on tour with the Hagen Quartet. Among Levit’s major current projects is the cycle of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas, which he is performing at LUCERNE FESTIVAL, the Salzburg Festival, and Musikfest Berlin, as well as in Hamburg, Stockholm, and London. He has also released his recording of the complete set. His other recordings include accounts of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, and Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated. Encounter, which contains works by Bach, Brahms, and Feldman, is his latest album and will appear in September 2020. Levit was named recipient of the Gilmore Artist Award in 2018, and in 2020 he received the Beethoven Prize for his political engagement.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 11 September 2011 as the soloist in Scriabin’s Prométhée with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski.
Introduction to the Concert | 17.30 | KKL Luzern, Auditorium
with Susanne Stähr (in German)