The music press got to the point when it ennobled the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester as a “booster against classical routine”. In the Swiss metropolis at Lake Lucerne, the virus of concert boredom no longer finds a breeding ground since the collaboration between artistic director Numa Bischof Ullmann and Chief Conductor Michael Sanderling. Instead, European orchestral futures are being written, built and made here. “I have rarely been as happy musically in my life as I am here,” the Berlin conductor confesses. “The orchestra has a strong will to develop. It wants to progress and grow.” This pioneering optimism is also reflected in the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester’s 2022/23 season programme, which is characterized by an ideal melange of a sense of tradition and a spirit of discovery.
April 2023 will see the release of the complete recording of the four Brahms symphonies as well as the “secret fifth”, Schönberg’s orchestral version of Brahms’ Piano Quartet No. 1. The release is also the symphonic prelude to a long-term partnership with Warner Classics. The new Lucerne Brahms-tone can also be heard live on the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester’s Germany tour: in April 2023, the Swiss orchestra with soloist Andreas Ottensamer will give guest performances in Düsseldorf (16.4. I’ll link then), Hamburg (17.4.), Hanover (18.4.) and Cologne (19.4.). Of course, with a programme dominated by Brahms: In addition to his Symphony No. 4, the clarinet sonata op. 120,1 in the arrangement for clarinet and orchestra by Luciano Berio will be heard, as well as a world premiere titled “Wunde(r)” by Basel-born Andrea Lorenzo Scartazzini.
The expansion into the (late) romantic repertoire forms a main programmatic axis of the season alongside the traditional foundation of Viennese classical music. With epochal masterpieces such as Anton Bruckner’s “Romantic Symphony”, Gustav Mahler’s “Song of the Earth” and the “Four Last Songs” by Richard Strauss at the Lucerne Festival, the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester is entering new spheres of sound and instrumentation.
In addition, the orchestra is once again arousing curiosity about new (and the latest contemporatry) music: in addition to the new piece by Andrea Scartazzini (Germany tour), another focus is on the Swiss premieres of a violin concerto by Toshio Hosokawa (14/15 June) and the “Exterminating Angel Symphony” by Thomas Adès (8/9 March).
Lucerne has developed into a chamber music epicenter, which – not least due to Lucerne’s new piano festival “Le Piano Symphonique”, initiated and hosted by the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester – has gained in radiance. “Lucerne is now the capital of the piano” is the headline of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung about the piano festival “Le Piano Symphonique” 2023. While Camille Saint-Saëns and Johannes Brahms were the thematic key composers in 2021 and 2022, Robert Schumann was the focus of the piano festival in 2023. Interpreted, of course, by absolute world stars such as Martha Argerich, Rudolf Buchbinder and Khatia Buniatishvili. After a wonderful festival week full of highlights, the anticipation is already rising for the next edition in January 2024.
The Luzerner Sinfonieorchester welcomes a great number of other exceptional soloists this season, including violinists María Dueñas, Johan Dalene and Daishin Kashimoto, pianists Francesco Piemontesi, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Alexandre Kantorow, cellist Gautier Capuçon, soprano Olga Peretyatko and clarinettist Andreas Ottensamer.
Guest conductors Mikhail Pletnev, Juanjo Mena, Charles Dutoit and Thomas Dausgaard will take the podium of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra. The two ex-Chief Conductors James Gaffigan and Jonathan Nott who continue to be closely associated with the orchestra, will also receive a particularly warm welcome.
Jonathan Nott will even bring his current Orchestre de la Suisse Romande to Lucerne.
The work of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra with its Chief Conductor Michael Sanderling and artistic director Numa Bischof-Ullmann is an investment in the future, which at the same time cultivates a sustainable culture of support and young talent. For example, an orchestra piano course under the direction of Mikhail Pletnev is being held for the first time together with the Géza Anda Foundation. And a four-day conducting course will also offer five young orchestra conductors the chance to take-up the newly created position of “Assistant Conductor” with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra.
The new orchestra building “am Südpol”, which was opened in 2020, with rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms, administrative offices, rooms for musical education and a rehearsal hall with 5000 cubic metres of studio-quality space (for recordings, among other things) is another asset that the orchestra will be able to make use of in the next years. The close proximity to the Music Academy also makes it possible for both sides to cooperate in small ways, such as in the family and school class concerts, the sounding concert introductions with the academy’s own ensemble and, of course, the traditional soloist concert of the academy graduates at the end of the season.
And the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra can also be experienced live beyond Switzerland in the 2022/23 season: in addition to a performance in Stockholm, concert tours will take the orchestra to Germany (16 April Düsseldorf, 17 April Hamburg, 18 April Hanover, 19 April Cologne) and to Asia (June/July), with concerts in Thailand and South Korea, where it will be the first Swiss orchestra ever to give a guest performance in Bangkok as part of the 25th anniversary of the Bangkok Festival for Dance and Music.