Festival highlights include:
World premiere of Three Lullabies for viola and piano by Thomas Adès, commissioned by The Verbier Festival
Concert staging of Strauss’s opera Die Frau Ohne Schatten with Nina Stemme and Matthias Goerne
Leading soloists including Renaud Capuçon, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Leonidas Kavakos, Evgeny Kissin, Vadim Repin, András Schiff, Daniil Trifonov and Arcadi Volodos
150 masterclasses with top musicians such as, Kristóf Baráti, Pamela Frank and Jian Wang
“You can think you know everything about Verbier, but once there you’re in for a surprise. That’s one of the Festival’s key elements” Vadim Repin
The Verbier Festival, now in its 26th year, presents 17 days of performances, masterclasses, talks, screenings and education events. The Festival runs from 28 July to 3 August in the picturesque setting of the Swiss Alps, with repertoire ranging from baroque to contemporary, including the world premiere of Three Lullabies for viola and piano by Thomas Adès, commissioned by the Festival.
The Festival’s mission is to encourage encounters between great musicians and young aspiring artists from around the world. Audiences witness these unique encounters and partnerships through the Festival’s programme of concerts and free events set in the unrivalled surroundings of Verbier. Having just celebrated its 25th anniversary, the Festival’s attendance is at an all-time high with a 16% increase in ticket sales.
Summer 2019 sees the Festival continue its trademark programme, featuring today’s most sought-after musicians in its two main venues – the Salle des Combins and Église de Verbier. The programme includes 75 leading international artists who will perform solo, chamber and orchestral concerts alongside the next generation of artists in the Verbier Festival Academy, Verbier Festival Orchestra and Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra. Visiting musicians include András Schiff, Evgeny Kissin, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Leonidas Kavakos, Nina Stemme, Vadim Repin and Renaud Capuçon.
The Festival’s Music Director Valery Gergiev opens the Festival with violinist Kristóf Bárati who will perform with the Verbier Festival Orchestra for the first time. Gergiev will also conduct one of this year’s most eagerly awaited performances of Strauss’s Die Frau Ohne Schatten with a prestigious cast including Brandon Jovanovich, Matthias Goerne and Nina Stemme.
A stellar list of pianists performing recitals include Sergei Babayan, Yoav Levanon, George Li, András Schiff, Grigory Sokolov, Daniil Trifonov. Leading cellists Mischa Maisky, Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Jian Wang, and violinists Marc Bouchkov and Alexander Sitkovetsky perform recitals this year.
Two quartets - Quatuor Arod and Quatuor Ébène – perform recitals, and a number of new partnerships are formed between visiting soloists such as Daniel Hope, Lawrence Power, Marc Bouchkov, Sheku Kanneh-Mason and George Li who will perform Elgar’s Quintet for Piano and String Quartet.
Other highlights include Leonidas Kavakos in concert with Evgeny Kissin and Karita Mattila, and Renaud Capuçon in concert with András Schiff. The Festival concludes with a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 featuring Golda Schultz and Ekaterina Gubanova alongside the Verbier Festival Orchestra and Oberwalliser Vokalensemble.
As in previous years, the Verbier Festival continues to nurture the next generation of musicians through its Verbier Festival Academy, Verbier Festival Orchestra and Junior Orchestra, working with musicians from around the world between the ages of 15 and 35. The 220 musicians this year will be trained by leading musicians through over 150 masterclasses, rehearsals and workshops. The Academy and Orchestras will perform throughout the Festival with visiting conductors and soloists. The Verbier Festival Academy has an impressive list of alumni from over 60 countries who have been engaged by the world’s leading orchestras since training at Verbier, including the Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre and the New York Philharmonic.
In addition to more than 50 main stage concerts, the Festival also presents over 100 affordable and free events which offers audiences the chance to explore classical music. The Festival believes that access to culture from an early age is key, so puts together its ‘Playground’ series which features activities for families and children, including workshops for kids, hikes, outdoor concerts, family shows and chess games. This summer’s programme also features a series of ‘Talks & Docs’ which include pre-concert talks, discussions and screenings of films by violinist and filmmaker Bruno Monsaingeon. The Festival also continues its ‘Philanthropy Forum’ in association with the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, programming two days of debates and discussions in order to share knowledge between generations and encourage new initiatives.
Whilst the main-stage concerts are primarily classical music, the Festival’s ‘After Dark’ series of late-night events offers a more eclectic mix of genres for audiences. Electro, jazz, cabaret and tango are all featured, in addition to four ‘Secret Concerts’ which are announced on the day and the artist’s identity is revealed only when the performance begins. On the main stage, Plaza Francia Orchestra (Müller and Markarov from Gotan Project) present a programme combining tango and pop, and legendary Brazilian singer/songwriter Gilberto Gil performs a blend of bossa nova, samba and pop.
For the 13th year, the Festival is collaborating with the production team Idéale Audience to offer live and on demand videos with medici.tv. Swiss radio RTS Espace 2 will be offering live and rebroadcast concerts throughout the Festival and Radio Classique will provide highlights of the Festival. The official audio streaming partner IDAGIO will be streaming playlists and exclusive concerts, and DakApp – the Festival’s audio-visual partner – will broadcast the Academy’s masterclasses.