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December 4, 2022
International

Lucerne Comes Alive to the Sound of Music

LUCERNE

Newly formed interest group Musikstadt Luzern is hoping to promote Lucerne as a city of music, while also further developing synergies between stakeholder institutions

Lucerne is well known as one of Switzerland‘s most picturesque cities thanks to its postcard-like urban panorama. But it is also known for its music heritage, unique events and famous cultural institutions.

However, while Lucerne is already well-known as a music hub, by locals and Swiss travellers, the destination still needs to highlight that strong music affiliation to the rest of the world

Why an interest group around music?

The many musical occasions and first-class festivals held throughout the year make Lucerne a cultural hotspot with international appeal. The Musikstadt Luzern interest group was established to drive forward its reputation as a city of music and culture, and to strengthen the collaboration between stakeholder institutions.

Contemporary music performance at Lucerne Festival

These stakeholders are: KKL Luzern Culture and Convention Centre, Lucerne Festival, Luzerner Sinfonieorchester and Lucerne Tourism. The city and the canton Lucerne are also involved in the project.

The initiators of the Musikstadt Luzern interest group work actively together to create an even better cultural experience for locals and visitors alike. This promotes the awareness and expertise of Musikstadt Luzern, as well as its positioning as a global city of music.

What are the advantages?

The goal of the Musikstadt Luzern interest group is to expand the high-quality range of musical experiences on offer while also making them more recognisable and easier to access. For example, synergies between the existing institutions are being exploited, extra cultural and musical events – including those outside the classical music scene – are being added to the calendar and a platform is being built where they are all listed in the same place.

Why Musikstadt Luzern?

Lucerne has long maintained a close connection with (classical) music. Famous composers such as Richard Wagner, Sergei Rachmaninoff and even Arturo Toscanini have been residents of Lake Lucerne at some time or another, and composed parts of their pieces here. It just goes to show that even back then, one of Switzerland’s oldest cities was already a source of inspiration for composers and artists.

The Swiss city is now one of the strongholds of classical music thanks to its exceptional institutions such as KKL Luzern Culture and Convention Centre, the Lucerne Festival and the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester. Visitors from all over the world flock there to see Rachmaninoff’s villa and the Richard Wagner Museum, enjoy a performance in the unique KKL Luzern concert hall or walk in the footsteps of Johannes Brahms, Robert and Clara Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn and many others.

The Spring Festival is a major highlight of the music season. Already in existence in the middle age, the music festival is regarded as one of the outstanding contributions to the early history of German-language drama. In the 19th century the General Music Society of Switzerland (later: Swiss Union of Musicians) presented music festivals in Lucerne. From 1866 to 1872 Richard Wagner lives in nearby Tribschen, where he completes Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and composes parts of the Ring. A decade before, while in exile in Zurich, Wagner envisaged a festival on the shores of Lake Lucerne – an idea that is also later taken up by his son Siegfried around 1930. Richard Strauss and Max Reinhardt similarly considered Lucerne as a potential festival city before they found the Salzburg Festival. Finally, Lucerne Festival was founded in 1938 by Ernest Ansermet and Walter Schulthess. It currently produces 3 festivals per year.

New website

A new dedicated website in both German and English has been set up offering for now a list of events related to music performances.

Riccardo Chailly, Music Director, Switzerland

The three big music events in Lucerne are the Forward Festival(18.11-20.11.2022), the Spring Festival (31.03-02.04.23) and the Summer Festival (08.08-10.09.2023).

Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director, Canadian

The Forward Festival is dedicated to contemporary music. The coming Spring Festival will spotlight composers Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, and Frédéric Chopin and will throw a birthday party to mark the 150th anniversary of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s birth. With “Paradise” as its main theme the Summer Festival 2023 will also be an opportunity to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra with concerts led by Music Director Riccardo Chailly and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

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