When Claudio Abbado and Michael Haefliger founded the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, which has opened the summer season every year since 2003, they were, in a way, harking back to the birth of theLucerne Festival Orchestra in 1938. At that time, Arturo Toscanini first brought together an elite orchestra to play the legendary “Concert de Gala.” With this model in mind, in 2009, renowned soloists will once again converge under the leadership of Claudio Abbado to work on and perform selected pieces from the symphonic repertoire.
Performing as principals will be such musicians as violinists Kolja Blacher and Sebastian Breuninger; violists Wolfram Christ and Diemut Poppen; cellists Natalia Gutman, Jens Peter Maintz, and Clemens Hagen; and double bass player Alois Posch. Wind soloists will include flautist Jacques Zoon, clarinetist Jörg Widmann, horn player Bruno Schneider, and trumpeter Reinhold Friedrich. The core of the orchestra is drawn from the fifty members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
In addition to the Lucerne Festival Orchestra’s two large orchestral programs, the musicians will hold a number of chamber concerts. From the very beginning, the orchestra’s performances have been a great success, and many have been broadcast live on television as well as published on live DVD recordings. The orchestra launched its own music label – Lucerne Festival Edition – in 2007 when it recorded Anton Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony for CD. The Lucerne Festival Orchestra performed in Rome in the autumn of 2005, in Tokyo in October 2006, in New York’s Carnegie Hall in 2007, and at the Vienna Musikverein in 2008. The next destination is Beijing: Claudio Abbado and his musicians have accepted an invitation to China for September 2009.