“I am very fortunate to continue leading the Festival in the coming years as well,” Haefliger said. “I am very much looking forward to continuing to further develop the Festival’s major pillars with my team: the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, the Lucerne Festival Academy, the Alumni, and the Young section. It is important for me both to further enhance the presence of Lucerne Festival abroad and to inspire the people in our region through new concert formats and concepts such as the Special Event Day, the 40min series, the Interval, and the world music festival 'In the Streets.' Thanks to the KKL Luzern, we have one of the best concert venues in the world at our disposal. We plan to continue offering magnificent symphonic music here, featuring the finest orchestras and soloists in the world. A very important ambition for me is also to further develop the field of music theater with such partners as the Luzerner Theater. Digitalizing the Festival, with which I would like to specifically press ahead in the coming years, should moreover contribute towards the goal of allowing people from all over the world to take part in Lucerne Festival.”
“The Board of Trustees of Lucerne Festival and I are very pleased that Michael Haefliger will continue in his role as Executive and Artistic Director to be responsible for the artistic and managerial leadership of the Festival,” remarked Hubert Achermann, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “Michael Haefliger’s creativity and drive are contagious for anyone who plays a part in the Festival’s network; the artistic and financial success of the past few years has been outstanding. In times of increasing economic challenges, I am delighted to continue with him along the path into the Festival’s future.”
Under Michael Haefliger’s direction since 1999, the Festival budget has grown from 14 million to around 24 million and is now 95% self-financed. By founding the Lucerne Festival Orchestra with Claudio Abbado and the Lucerne Festival Academy with Pierre Boulez in 2003, Michael Haefliger laid the foundations for two fundamental pillars of the Festival that soon spread its reputation beyond Switzerland’s borders. Following the deaths of Abbado and Boulez, he named Riccardo Chailly the new Music Director of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in 2016 and Wolfgang Rihm the Artistic Director of the Lucerne Festival Academy, with Matthias Pintscher as its Principal Conductor. In October, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra will embark on its first-ever tour with Riccardo Chailly, which will take them to Asia; additional international tours are being planned for the coming years. Along with supporting the young generation as part of the Academy, Michael Haefliger has steadily expanded offerings for families and young visitors: Lucerne Festival Young today is a pillar of the Festival that, among other things, stands for productions it self-produces and that are seen across Europe. The Lucerne Festival Alumni, former participants in the Academy, today represent the Festival in more and more concert projects abroad in such cities as New York, Tokyo, and Beijing, as well as in Europe. The mobile concert hall known as Lucerne Festival Ark Nova, which Michael Haefliger initiated in 2013 together with Arata Isozaki, Anish Kapoor, and Masahide Kajimoto, has been in operation for three seasons in Japan since 2013, creating an international stir. It will be again in operation starting on 19 September in Tokyo.
Michael Haefliger, who was born in 1961 in Berlin, initially received his degree in violin at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. He continued his education in management at the School of Economics, Law, and Social Sciences of the University of St. Gallen, receiving an Executive MBA in 1999. Through the Harvard Club of Switzerland, in 2003 he obtained a scholarship to attend the General Manager Program at Harvard University. Haefliger is a member of the executive board of international organizations and in January 2000 was named a Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum, Davos. Michael Haefliger received the European Culture Innovation Award in 2003, followed by the Tourism Award of the Lucerne Tourism Forum in 2007. He was awarded the Central Swiss Culture Prize in 2014 and has additionally garnered the Badge of Honor of the City of Lucerne and the Award of the Swiss Society of New York. Michael Haefliger is currently an Executive Board Member of the Avenir Suisse Foundation, the Davos Festival Foundation, the UBS Culture Foundation, and the Pierre Boulez Foundation.