2020 Lucerne Summer Festival – 14 August to 13 September CANCELLED

2020 Lucerne Summer Festival


The Festival kicks off on August 14th with performances by the Lucerne Festival Orchestra under Riccardo Chailly; Beethoven’s First Symphony and Mahler’s First Symphony. Concert repeated next day with Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto replacing the Beethoven symphony, Martha Argerich at the keyboard.

Next guests are the East-West Divan Orchestra, with Daniel Barenboim directing his son in Brahms’s concerto for violin, cello (Kian Soltani) and orchestra followed by Richard Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben. Next evening Lahav Shani directs Daniel Barenboim on the keyboard in Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto, with Ligeti and Ravel in the second half.

Piano lovers can enjoy recitals by Igor Levitt followed by Sir András Schiff. Schiff directs a rare performance in the second half of the concert of Janáček‘s The Diary of One Who Disappeared.

Chailly then returns to conduct the Lucerne Festival Orchestra; this time in an all Rachmaninov programme, his Second Piano Concerto with Denis Matsuev and his Second Symphony.

22nd August is designated as ‘Boulez Day’ but in the evening the Festival Orchestra is conducted by Yannick Nézét-Séguin in Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony and Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony.

Artist-in-residence is British composer Rebecca Saunders; a number of her works can be heard during the Festival. ‘Artiste étoile’ (Star Artist) is boldly proclaimed as Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla; but she has announced the expected arrival of her second child in August, so I suspect another conductor will be have to be found.

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (conductor to be announced) will perform at the end of August; their programmes (currently) include Holst The Planets and Debussy’s La Mer.

The Helsinki Philharmonic under Susanna Mälkki perform Per Nørgård’s Eight Symphony, a Swiss première.

Then come the Vienna Symphony Orchestra under Swiss conductor Philippe Jordan; their programme includes Brahms Violin Concerto (with Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider) and Don Juan.

Stephen Isserlis performs the Schumann Cello Concerto with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra under James Gaffigan; Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony is in the second half.

After the Mahler Chamber Orchestra conducted by Sir George Benjamin comes the inevitable ‘Beethoven Day’ (the theme for this year’s Festival is ‘Joy’). The Hagen Quartet begins the day; the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra ends it with François-Xavier Roth conducting the Eroica.

On 31st August the Royal Concertgebouw return with Collegium Vocale Gent and Philippe Herreweghe to perform Haydn’s Creation; Florian Boesch is in the line-up of soloists.

On 1st and 2nd September it’s the turn of the Berlin Philharmonic under Kirill Petrenko. Their first concert features, after some Webern, Mendelssohn’s First Symphony and Brahms’s Fourth Symphony. Their second symphony brings Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, with Daniel Trifonov and Josef Suk’s rarely heard but impressive Asrael Symphony.

Il Giardino Armonico come with Giovanni Antonini and Patricia Kopatchinskaja, a programme of Vivaldi and Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony.

The next visiting orchestra are the Pittsburgh Symphony under Manfred Honeck. Beethoven’s Violin Concerto has Anne-Sophie Mutter as soloist; Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony in the second half.

The Vienna Philharmonic come for two concerts. In the first, Gustavo Dudamel conducts Debussy, Florent Schmitt and Stravinsky’s The Firebird. In the second Beethoven’s Second Symphony and Prokofiev’s Fifth.

Next up are the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle. In their first concert, Rattle intriguingly juxtaposes Ligeti, Webern and Wagner, followed by Brahms’s Second Symphony. In the second concert, one massive work, Mahler’s Second Symphony, the ‘Resurrection’.

Christian Thielemann brings his Dresdner Staatskapelle for two concerts. The first features Weber, Richard Strauss (his rare ‘Three Hymns’) and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The second brings Anja Harteros for a series of Strauss songs, framed by the Der Rosenkavalier Suite and Till Eulenspiegel.

The Munich Philharmonic come next, with Valery Gergiev and Janine Jansen performing the Sibelius Violin Concerto; Symphonie Fantastique after the interval.

Last but not least, to close the Festival with yet more Beethoven, it is the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique under, who else, but Sir John Eliot Gardiner; the Monteverdi Choir are joined by soloists Lucy Crowe and others in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and, in their second concert, Beethoven’s Eighth and Ninth Symphonies.

For further details of the Festival, the detailed programme (dates of concerts) and how to apply for tickets (booking on-line opens at noon Swiss time on 23rd March) visit the Festival’s website click here.

John Rhodes

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