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Since its founding in 2003, more than 1,200 instrumentalists, conductors, and composers from all over the world have undergone the training offered by the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY. Its graduates include such artists who have since gone on to achieve renown as the JACK Quartet and the conductors Pablo Heras-Casado and Kevin John Edusei, as well as many musicians who today are members of internationally established orchestras, perform in the area of chamber music, organize experimental projects, or teach at conservatories. Many of them remain closely connected to the Festival. Selected former Academy students regularly return as LUCERNE FESTIVAL ALUMNI to Lucerne. They enrich the programming with performances in the field of contemporary music, whether in the 40min series or in productions by LUCERNE FESTIVAL YOUNG, while additionally being on hand to offer help and advice for current Academy students. Supported through the Alumni platform, they keep in contact with each other to realize their own projects around the world. A unique international network of young musicians has thus emerged. For their first project, in the 2013-14 season, the Alumni presented four world premieres in New York, London, Beijing, Zurich, and Lucerne related to the theme “Music at Risk.” Another “marathon of premieres” followed in 2016; in addition, an ensemble of Alumni appeared in the NY Phil Biennial led by Alan Gilbert to give the three-part concert series “Ligeti Forward.” In the past year, the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ALUMNI performed on tour with the Swiss jazz singer Andreas Schaerer in his project “The Big Wig.” Most recently, they gave two concerts in January 2018 in New York City, combining music by Frank Zappa with works of Pierre Boulez, Edgard Varèse, Olga Neuwirth, Tyshawn Sorey, and John Zorn.
The LUCERNE FESTIVAL ALUMNI’s first performance at LUCERNE FESTIVAL was on 3 September 2014 with the “Music at Risk” project, presenting works by Dai Fujikura, Judd Greenstein, Jagoda Szmytka, and Ying Wang.