broadcast the performance live from the Swiss Alps

Simon Rattle, Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted one of the world’s leading youth orchestras last night at the 25th Verbier Festival in the Swiss Alps, stepping in at late notice for conductor Iván Fischer who had to cancel his appearance due to illness.

Simon Rattle was already in Verbier during his summer break when he received the request to conduct the concert as his wife, the leading mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená was in rehearsal for a performance at the Festival on 3 August.

The performance, of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 at the Verbier Festival’s Salle des Combins on 2 August was broadcast live on where it remains available to watch at

The Verbier Festival Orchestra is made up of 97 of the world’s most talented young musicians aged 18-28, selected through international auditions from 1300 applicants. They receive three weeks of intensive coaching from principals of the New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra before the Festival begins, and then perform with leading conductors and soloists, this year including conductors Valery Gergiev and Gianandrea Noseda, and pianists Evgeny Kissin and Yuja Wang.

The Verbier Festival this year celebrates its 25th anniversary with more than two weeks of musical activity, high in the Swiss Alps. Many of the world’s greatest musicians have appeared at the Festival over 25 years, and it has helped launch the careers of many of today’s musicians, championing the next generation of musicians through its Academy and Orchestras.

Simon Rattle said, “The last thing I expected to find myself doing this summer, before getting back to work with the London Symphony Orchestra next week was to be conducting Beethoven half way up a mountain. The Verbier Festival Orchestra is made up of some of the world’s finest young musicians, on the brink of their professional careers, so I was delighted to accept the invitation. It’s always so inspiring to work with young musicians and I know that for them, this stepping stone to the professional music world is incredibly valuable.”

Martin Engstroem, the Verbier Festival’s founder and artistic director said, “We are incredibly grateful to Simon Rattle for stepping in to conduct this performance at such short notice, which was such a special experience for the Verbier Festival Orchestra. Like Iván Fischer, Simon Rattle has been one of the greatest champions of young musicians throughout his career, so we were very fortunate to have him here conducting our wonderful orchestra, comprising many of the most talented young musicians in the world.”

The 25th Anniversary Verbier Festival continues until 5 August.


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