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Aug 10 2021 - Sep 12 2021


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Lucerne Festival 2021

Lucerne Festival 2021 will attract classical music stars from all over the world. The world’s most-celebrated orchestras, legendary conductors, and virtuoso soloists will gather in this idyllic setting nestled on Lake Lucerne, in the heart of Switzerland, to celebrate a festival of music. The KKL Lucerne, which was designed by Jean Nouvel, serves as the Festival “headquarters,” providing an outstanding concert hall that is acclaimed for its phenomenal acoustics and its exquisite architecture alike.

The highlight of Lucerne’s Festival year is the four-week-long Summer Festival, which presents more than 100 events in venues all over the city. It takes place from mid-August until mid-September and is devoted each year to a special theme around which the programming and selection of works are planned. The LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA, which Claudio Abbado founded in 2003, opens the Summer Festival. Since 2016, Riccardo Chailly has helmed this splendid ensemble, which comprises internationally acclaimed principals, chamber musicians, teachers, and members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and of the Filarmonica della Scala. Along with cultivating the traditional repertoire, which is interpreted by leading international performers, LUCERNE FESTIVAL is deeply committed to the realm of contemporary music.

The Lucerne Festival 2021 will explore the following theme – What makes something “crazy”?

Anything that pushes beyond the confines of normality. For example, people who are odd and eccentric, who behave strangely and develop off-the-wall ideas, who lose themselves in fantasy worlds and tend toward extremes. Or those who are regarded as nervous and insane. Of course, you can also find such people in the music scene in numbers that are not exactly scarce – so much so that you almost wonder whether a certain amount of craziness might be the prerequisite for creativity.

We will explore this question at the 2021 Summer Festival. For example, we will encounter Robert Schumann, who was committed to an asylum as “mentally deranged” after a suicide attempt. We will meet all sorts of devils, evil spirits, and goblins. We will marvel at revolutionary feats such as four groundbreaking Beethoven symphonies; Stravinsky’s bold Petrushka; the music of Claude Debussy, who abandoned traditional motivic development to explore fluctuating waves of sound; and the Second Viennese School, which exploded the centuries-old rulebook of major-minor tonality, in the process suspending musical grammar. The theme of “amour fou” is naturally also on the agenda; and there will also be concerts that creatively experiment with space and content, providing a vehicle to subvert every routine –as for example the series “Verrückt” (“Crazy”), which incorporates experimental arrangements ranging from Dadaist to the maniacal. What all these works share is that they have simultaneously upended aesthetic standard. For that is the double entendre of the Geman word “ver-rückt”: crazy/topsy-turvy.

The Lucerne Festival 2021 will run its own master school for new music in the form of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY.


Lucerne, Switzerland


Lucerne Festival
+41 (0)41 226 44 00
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