LUCERNE FESTIVAL in Summer – An Overview

LUCERNE FESTIVAL in Summer – An Overview


14 August to 13 September 2015


Lucerne, 18 February 2015. The LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA will open the Summer Festival with concerts during the first week under the direction of Bernard Haitink and Andris Nelsons. Pierre Boulez has invited Pablo Heras-Casado and Matthias Pintscher to serve as conductors for the twelfth LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY. On 23 August an entire Festival day — including eight world premieres — will be devoted to the work of Boulez to mark his 90th birthday this year. The composers-in residence this summer include the Swiss Jürg Wyttenbach and the American Tod Machover. The

violinist Isabelle Faust will perform as “artiste étoile.”

Festival Theme of “Humor”


Starting in mid-August, the Summer Festival will be devoted to the theme of “Humour,” with programming that explores the various ways in which composers of every era have interpreted this: whether through shifting temperaments and moods, through wit in the sense of ingenious ideas and thought-provoking punch-lines, or through satire, parody, and elements of the grotesque. Alfred Brendel will give the opening address “Humour” on 14 August. This will precede the concert, in which Bernard

Haitink, for the first time ever, conducts the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA, and will pair Haydn’s Symphony in C major Hob. I:60 (Il distratto) — a work in which an astonishing variety of musical traits are juxtaposed — with Mahler’s Fourth Symphony. Andris Nelsons will likewise conduct the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA in music of Gustav Mahler: namely, the Fifth Symphony, whose far-ranging emotional spectrum encompasses a funeral march, a love song, and a final hymn of jubilation. It will be played on 19 August side by side with songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn

featuring the baritone Matthias Goerne. On 20 August Nelsons will conduct Mahler’s Fifth and Haydn’s Surprise Symphony.

The moral “Tutto nel mondo è burla” (“All the world’s a joke”) from Verdi’s last opera Falstaff expresses the Festival theme in a nutshell. The Bamberg Symphony under Jonathan Nott returns two years after the first-ever Lucerne Ring to present the opera in a concert performance on 26 August. All three programs featuring early music likewise demonstrate the humour angle. On 16 August Isabelle Faust explores word painting as practiced by Biber and sonatas by Bach and Froberger with Kristian Bezuidenhout at the harpsichord, whilst on 30 August the Swiss Meret Lüthi and the ensemble Les

Passions de l’Ame bring audiences a program of “Baroque shenanigans.” And on 6 September the Concerto Italiano and Rinaldo Alessandrini will perform a madrigal comedy by Banchieri along with works of Monteverdi.

Joseph Haydn’s musical wit will be the focus of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA as well as of the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons on 30 August and in a program by the Vienna Philharmonic with Semyon Bychkov on 12 September; Simon Rattle has also chosen to give the spotlight to Haydn in the Berlin Philharmonic’s second programme on 2 September with a “Symphonie imaginaire” constructed from the composer’s instrumental movements. The theme of “Humour” surfaces in the form of bitterly angry satire in Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony and also in his symphonic scherzos, as the Boston Symphony Orchestra with Andris Nelsons will demonstrate on 31 August when they perform his Tenth Symphony in a concert that also includes Don Quixote by Richard Strauss.

This theme is also reflected in the masquerades and colorful collages of Prokofiev and Stravinsky. The Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Daniele Gatti will perform Prokofiev’s First Symphony and Stravinsky’s ballet music for Pulcinella and Jeu de cartes on 24 August, and on 4 September the St. Petersburg Philharmonic under Yuri Temirkanov will illuminate Stravinsky’s techniques of musical montage in Petrushka.

Orchestras, Conductors, and Soloists


The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim will again bring two programmes to Lucerne. The Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden with Christian Thielemann and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra with Zubin Mehta will also perform. The San Francisco Symphony, which made its Festival debut 25 ago, will be in Lucerne for concerts on 9 and 11 September led by Michael Tilson Thomas.

The Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, which likewise first performed at LUCERNE FESTIVAL in 1990, will be led this summer by Herbert Blomstedt on 23 August. Les Arts Florissants and William Christie return to the Festival following a seven-year absence.

In addition there will be performances by the SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg under François-Xavier Roth as well as by the Basler Madrigalisten, the Ensemble intercontemporain, and, on 21 August, the Basel Chamber Orchestra, which makes its first Festival appearance to perform Mendelssohn’s Overture and Incidental Music to Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Trevor Pinnock and Klaus Maria Brandauer.

A new production of Britten’s tragicomic opera Albert Herring will be given at the Luzerner Theater on 5 September.

Simon Rattle and the Vienna Philharmonic will close the Festival on 13 September with Edward Elgar’s oratorio The Dream of Gerontius.

Among the soloists for the summer of 2015 are the pianists Yefim Bronfman,

Maria João Pires, Yuja Wang, and Nikolai Lugansky; the piano duo Tal & Groethuysen; the singers Anja Harteros and Matthias Goerne; the violinist Julia Fischer; the cellist Yo-Yo Ma; the clarinettist Sabine Meyer; and the trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger.

Lucerne Festival Orchestra on Tour

From 6th to 15th November 2015 a European tour under the direction of Andris Nelsons will take place. The tour will comprise concerts in Ferrara, Hamburg, Dortmund, and Paris, as well as in Luxembourg, Madrid, and Vienna.

How To Purchase Tickets for LUCERNE FESTIVAL in Summer


Tickets may be purchased online at as well as in person at sales outlets

Written orders can be placed through post or Fax: +41 (0)41 226 44 85

Telephone ticket sales start on 1 April: +41 (0) 41 226 44 80, Mon to Fri: 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.

Tickets may also be purchased from the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ticket outlet in the KKL Luzern during LUCERNE FESTIVAL at Easter (21 to 29 March 2015) and during LUCERNE FESTIVAL in Summer starting Friday, 14 August 2015, daily from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.

Detailed information can be found in the 2015 Summer Festival Program booklet or at

John Rhodes

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