Opening Concert



Fri, 17301

KKL Luzern, Concert Hall

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Summer Festival

11.08.-10.09. 2017







    KKL Luzern, Concert Hall

    Opening Concert


    Riccardo Chailly  conductor

    Opening Ceremony with music played by 
    Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin) and
    Jay Campbell (cello)

    Richard Strauss (1864–1949)
    Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Op. 30
    Death and Transfiguration, Op. 24
    Till Eulenspiegel’'s Merry Pranks, Op. 28

    Who are we? How are we supposed to be? These are the questions surrounding the theme of “Identity” with which Riccardo Chailly and the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA open the Summer Festival in Lucerne. And with a composer capable of offering many responses to them: Richard Strauss. In his tone poem Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which draws freely on Friedrich Nietzsche, he delineates the vision of a “Superman” who relies on his own abilities and who makes his ideas into reality without compromise, overriding his own limits. Strauss emphasizes a different aspect in Till Eulenspiegel, a tribute to the legendary prankster who overturns the orderly world of the Philistines. And in Death and Transfiguration Strauss pays homage to the prototypical artist who has striven “for the highest goals” and whose soul will find perfection “in the infinite reaches of heaven.” But you don’t need to follow Strauss philosophically to get your money’s worth with music so richly colorful and sonically resplendent. 

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL dedicates this concert to Arturo Toscanini, the Festival’s cofounder, on his 150th birthday.


    It was in the summer of 2003 that the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA was founded by the Italian conductor Claudio Abbado and by the Festival’s Executive and Artistic Director Michael Haefliger. In creating the orchestra, they established a link with the legendary elite orchestra for which Arturo Toscanini had assembled acclaimed virtuosos of his time to create a magnificent ensemble, presenting 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. In 2015 Riccardo Chailly was named as his successor, and this summer he takes on this new role as Music Director. The LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA comprises internationally acclaimed principals, chamber musicians, and music teachers, as well as members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Filarmonica della Scala. With their two performances of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand that open the Festival, the musicians bring their Mahler cycle to its conclusion, which Abbado was unable to complete. In a second program featuring Bruckner’s Eighth, they continue their collaboration with Bernard Haitink, who conducted the Orchestra for the first time last year. In addition, selected soloists will perform in two Late Night programs. Many of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA’s performances over the last decade have been broadcast on television and then released on DVD; these have garnered such awards as the Diapason d’Or, the BBC Music Magazine Award, and the International Classical Music Award. The LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA has gone on tour to Rome, Vienna, Madrid, and Paris; to Baden-Baden, Hamburg, London, and New York; and to Ferrara, Moscow, Tokyo, and Beijing. In the fall of 2015 the musicians undertook a major European tour led by Andris Nelsons.

    The LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA has played annually at LUCERNE FESTIVAL ever since its first performances in the summer of 2003.

    August 2016

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    Riccardo Chailly

    In the summer of 2016, Riccardo Chailly commenced his tenure as the new Music Director of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA. 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 moved to the same position with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, which he helmed for sixteen years. From 2005 until June 2016, Chailly served as the head of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and since January 2015 he has been Music Director of La Scala in Milan. 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. Chailly has received many prizes for his more than 150 CDs, including two Echo Klassik Awards (in 2012 and 2015); Gramophone magazine chose his account of the Brahms symphonies as Recording of the Year in 2014. Riccardo Chailly is a Grand’Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana, Cavaliere di Gran Croce, and Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion. In 1996 he was made an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music in London, and in France 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 in a program of works by Wagenaar, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky.

    August 2016

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