In August, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra returns – as it does every year – to its summer residency in Lucerne. This tradition goes back to 2003, when Claudio Abbado (1933-2014) invited the MCO to form the core of his newly-founded Lucerne Festival Orchestra. This year, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra can be heard in a total of five concerts: in addition to four performances as part of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, it will also be featured in one MCO concert. In one way or the other, all performances closely relate to the 2017 festival theme, “identity”.
This year, all four Lucerne Festival Orchestra concerts are conducted by Music Director Riccardo Chailly. The opening concerts (11 & 12 August) are dedicated to three tone poems of Richard Strauss, each of which illustrates characters with strong and individual personalities. The second week of the festival features two concerts: Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn come to the fore in a programme (18 August) tackling contrasting definitions of identity, while Stravinsky takes the spotlight in an evening (19 August) that includes the Swiss premiere of his Chant funèbre, which was rediscovered as recently as 2015.
Finally, the MCO concert (23 August) – led by conductor François-Xavier Roth and featuring Lucerne Festival artiste étoile Patricia Kopatchinskaja – examines the roots and development of cultural identity through music.
The Lucerne Festival, set on idyllic Lake Lucerne in central Switzerland, is one of the world’s most renowned classical music festivals and a meeting place for leading performers from all over the globe. Even as it has begun to extend outward from the lake to fill the city, the Kongress and Kulturzentrum Luzern (KKL), Jean Nouvel’s concert hall famous for its exquisite acoustics and architecture, remains the heart of festival.