Held three times a year, the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland is a celebration of sound that features some of the world’s most famous orchestras, conductors and virtuoso soloists. The three festivals are held during Easter, in the Summer and the “At the Piano” event in November. The biggest of the three festivals, with around one hundred events held is the summer festival. Since 2003, the festival has opened with a concert by the Lucerne Festival Orchestra which is composed of internationally renowned musicians and formed by famous Italian conductor Claudio Abbado. The Lucerne Festival is one of Europe’s oldest music festivals having begun in 1938 and draws around 120,000 visitors each year.
The Lucerne Festival at Easter was started in 1988 and runs for ten days up to and including Palm Sunday. There is an emphasis on sacred music and in recent years it has opened with outstanding performances by Sinfónica de la Juventud Venezolana, a South American youth orchestra. The Lucerne Festival at the Piano is the newest of the three having begun in 1998, held for one week every November it is devoted exclusively to the piano. The summer festival is without a doubt the largest of the three, since 1970 each year features a different inspirational theme and the main focus of the concerts are built around that theme. The 2010 festival theme is “Eros” and the concerts will focus on famous lovers from music history, opening with Claudio Abbado conducting the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in a performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio. The Lucerne Festival in the Summer runs for four weeks starting in mid-August through mid-September.
Ticket prices to the different events vary and usually run between $15 and $145, visit the official website here for the most up to date event information. The city of Lucerne also offers much to see when not enjoying the musical charms of the festival. Located a little less than 40 miles southwest of Zurich, it embodies what one expects of a Swiss town. Lucerne’s most famous landmark is the Chapel Bridge and its tower, the wooden bridge was originally built in 1333 and the tower houses a series of 17th century paintings depicting events in Lucernes history. The “Old Town” neighborhood just north of the Reuss River is small but preserves many old homes. You can explore its maze of streets, passages and squares seeing the murals painted on many of the buildings. With an amazing lineup of amazing musicians and a wonderful swiss town to hold it in, the Lucerne Festival is a must attend for music lovers visiting Europe.
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