Symphony Concert 28

Vienna Philharmonic | Michael Tilson Thomas | Emanuel Ax

Brahms | Mozart | Beethoven

Sat, 17359

KKL Luzern, Concert 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

11.08.-10.09. 2017




    Symphony Concert 28

    Vienna Philharmonic | Michael Tilson Thomas | Emanuel Ax

    Emanuel Ax  piano

    60th anniversary of the Vienna Philharmonic’s Lucerne debut

    Johannes Brahms (1833–1897)
    Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn, Op. 56a
    Wolfgang Amadé Mozart (1756–1791)
    Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in E-flat major, K. 449
    Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)
    Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92

    They’ve been regular guests at LUCERNE FESTIVAL since 1957: the Vienna Philharmonic, who this summer celebrate the 60th anniversary of their stage debut here. Many memories of unforgettable musical highlights will be awakened, of appearances with Karl Böhm, Herbert von Karajan, and Leonard Bernstein; Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, and Pierre Boulez; Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Sir Simon Rattle, Bernard Haitink, and Daniel Barenboim. This orchestra’s magic is based on its distinctive sonic identity, which in the course of its 175-year history has evolved and been passed on from one generation to the next. In fact, the Viennese “sonic style” has even been researched and taught at a special university institute devoted to the topic. It involves the brighter colors of the winds, the covering of the percussion instruments, and certain schools of string playing. All of which will again be a cause of admiration when the “Wiener,” under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, perform music by three composers – Brahms, Mozart, and Beethoven – all of whom chose Vienna as their home.

    Vienna Philharmonic

    A concert given on 28 March 1842 by members of the Imperial Court Opera Orchestra and led by Otto Nicolai in Vienna’s Grand Ballroom inaugurated the Vienna Philharmonic. The principles established then have remained in place. One is the stipulation that only musicians of the Vienna Staatsoper (the Court Opera at the time) can become members. Another is that all decisions regarding artistic, organizational, and financial autonomy are made by general assembly. In 1877 the Philharmonic performed for the first time outside Vienna at the Salzburg Music Festival; in 1900 came the first performance abroad, at the Paris World Exposition, with Gustav Mahler conducting. In addition to Mahler, other composers who have appeared on the podium include Wagner, Verdi, Bruckner, Brahms, and, most notably, Richard Strauss. The list of music directors includes such names as Hans Richter, Felix Weingartner, Wilhelm Furtwängler, and Clemens Krauss. Starting in 1933, the model of a permanent chief conductor was replaced by that of a close artistic collaboration with outstanding artistic personalities of the time, with Karl Böhm, Herbert von Karajan, and Leonard Bernstein in particular making important contributions to the ensemble’s history. Since being founded, the Vienna Philharmonic has given some 9,000 concerts and performed on five continents. It has been a part of the Salzburg Festival since 1922 and of LUCERNE FESTIVAL since 1957 and is currently a regular guest at the Vienna Festwochen and Salzburg Mozartwoche, additionally offering its own concert series in New York, Paris, London, and Japan. Highlights of each season include the New Year’s Concert, which is broadcast to over 90 countries, and the Summer Night Concert at Schönbrunn, attended annually by up to 100,000 people. Rolex is the exclusive partner of the Vienna Philharmonic.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 1 September 1957 in a program of works by Schumann, Barber, and Beethoven, with Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting.

    For further information on this ensemble, visit their homepage at:

    July 2018

    Other dates

    Michael Tilson Thomas

    The American conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, who was born in 1944 in Los Angeles, studied piano, composition, and conducting at the University of Southern California. At the age of 19 he took on leadership of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra and worked in this capacity with such composers as Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen, and Copland, who introduced their new works at the celebrated Monday Evening Concerts. During the same period, he was active as a pianist in the master classes led by Gregor Piatigorsky and Jascha Heifetz. After winning the Koussevitzky Prize in 1969, Tilson Thomas made his debut conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He led the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra from 1971 to 1979, was Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1981 to 1985, and in 1986 began a nine-year position helming the London Symphony Orchestra, with which he remains associated as Conductor Laureate. Since 1995 Michael Tilson Thomas has served as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, with which he has made a multiple-award-winning series of recordings; he has earned no fewer than 11 of the coveted Grammy Awards. Tilson Thomas is also deeply committed to musical education and to working with the new generation: in his television recordings of Young People’s Concerts with the New York Philharmonic from 1971 to 1977, he followed in the footsteps of Leonard Bernstein, who was his mentor for many years. In February 1987 he founded the New World Symphony, a national orchestra for the most talented students from American conservatories. Michael Tilson Thomas is also a successful composer and has written such works as From the Diary of Anne Frank and Shówa/Shoáh, which marked the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Tilson Thomas received the National Medal of Arts in 2010. 

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 19 April 1992 conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in works by Britten, Berlioz, and Brahms.

    July 2017

    Emanuel Ax

    The American pianist Emanuel Ax was born in 1949 to Polish parents in Lviv in the Ukraine, where he took his first piano lessons at the age of six from his father. Following an intermediate stay in Warsaw, the family moved in 1959 to Winnipeg, Canada, and then in 1961 to New York City. It was there that Ax continued his training with Mieczysław Munz at the Juilliard School of Music. In 1973 he won the Young Concert Artists Auditions, a year later the Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv, and, in 1979, the Avery Fisher Prize. Since then, during an international career spanning four decades, Emanuel Ax has performed with such acclaimed ensembles as the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras and the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics; he has also concertized with the Boston and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Staatskapelle Dresden. Alongside his performances as a soloist, chamber music plays a significant role for Ax. For many years he was a duo partner of Isaac Stern, and in 2016 he performed with the cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the violinist Itzhak Perlman. Emanuel Ax’s repertoire includes not only the major works of the Classicism and Romanticism but also many compositions of the present day that have been created specifically for him, such as the Piano Concerto by HK Gruber, which he premiered in January 2017 with the New York Philharmonic. Within his abundant discography, his recordings of piano sonatas by Haydn are especially noteworthy, having received Grammy Awards in 1995 and 2004; his album Variations, featuring works by Beethoven, Haydn, and Schumann, won the Echo Klassik Award in 2013. Emanuel Ax is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates from Yale University as well as Columbia University.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 7 September 1986 in a chamber music evening with Young Uck Kim and Yo-Yo Ma.

    July 2017

    Other dates
    Main Sponsor