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  • Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Michael Sanderling, Lukáš Vondráček


Ludwig van Beethoven: Egmont, overture, Op. 84

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp Minor, Op. 1

Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No. 5 in F Major, Op. 76, B. 54

Whenever the city of Lucerne is mentioned, the first things that usually come to mind are the beautiful wooden bridge spanning the picturesque lake and its great music festival. The capital of Switzerland’s Canton of Lucerne, situated at the foot of the Alps, also boasts an outstanding orchestra that combines Swiss attention to detail with precision and beautiful scenery. From the multi-ethnic country that it calls home, the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra is performing compositions from three great musical cultures: the titanic German-Austrian Beethoven, the Russian piano phenomenon Rachmaninoff, and the superman of Czech composers Dvořák, who together represent three different musical epochs, creating a line loosely connecting different countries and times. The orchestra’s home is the site of the famed Lucerne Festival, and it is coming to our festival with its chief conductor Michael Sanderling and pianist Lukáš Vondráček, whose playing never ceases to amaze audiences in concert halls around the world. Beethoven’s overture to the tragedy Egmont, Rachmaninoff’s First Piano Concerto, and Dvořák’s Fifth Symphony are in highly qualified hands.


Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

The Lucerne Symphony Orchestra is the resident orchestra at the prestigious KKL Luzern. As Switzerland’s oldest symphony orchestra, it has achieved international standing and is considered one of the leading Swiss orchestras. Strongly anchored in Lucerne, a city with a worldwide reputation for music, the orchestra runs a number of concert series and initiated the “Le piano symphonique” annual piano festival in 2022. It also acts as the opera orchestra for the Lucerne Theatre. Michael Sanderling has held the post of Chief Conductor of the orchestra since the 2021/22 season.

Renowned chief conductors including James Gaffigan (2010 – 2021) and Jonathan Nott (1997 – 2002) helped to shape the ensemble over the last two decades. Big names such as Constantinos Carydis, Thomas Dausgaard, Charles Dutoit, Marek Janowski, Juanjo Mena, Andris Nelsons, and John Storgårds are regular guest conductors of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra. Many artists of international repute enjoy a close association with the orchestra, including Martha Argerich, Joshua Bell, Rudolf Buchbinder, Gautier, and Renaud Capuçon, Julia Fischer, Vilde Frang, Gil Shaham, Vadim Gluzman, Hélène Grimaud, Steven Isserlis, Sol Gabetta, Truls Mørk, Daniil Trifonov, and Krystian Zimerman.

The Lucerne Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1805/06, at the same time Beethoven was writing his Violin Concerto, his Fourth Symphony, and his Fourth Piano Concerto. With its 200-year history, the orchestra successfully combines tradition and innovation. It actively promotes new music through the commissioning of works from various composers including Sofia Gubaidulina, Dieter Ammann, Rodion Shchedrin, Thomas Adès, and Wolfgang Rihm. The Rising Stars series, lunchtime concerts and the Arthur Waser Prize signal the orchestra’s commitment to fostering young talent. It runs its own orchestra academy and a comprehensive outreach programme, for which it was awarded the “Junge Ohren” prize in 2018.

In 2021, the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra was able to move into its new home on the Südpol campus. The Orchestra House provides the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra with a state-of-the-art, full-scale rehearsal venue. Besides rehearsals – some of which are open to the public – chamber music concerts and numerous musical outreach events also take place in this venue.

Guest performances in approximately 30 countries on 4 continents and in 90 cities have taken the orchestra to the world’s best-known concert halls, such as Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Philharmonie de Paris, London’s Barbican Hall, St. Petersburg Philharmonie, the Salzburg Great Festival Hall, Vienna Musikverein, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, the Seoul Arts Center, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. The Lucerne Symphony Orchestra was the first Swiss orchestra to perform at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, the Festival de Pâques in Aix-en-Provence, and the Bologna Festival. Regular tours to Asia include destinations such as Japan, China, Korea, India, and Singapore. Other engagements have taken the orchestra to Germany, Israel, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and further afield to Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Uruguay. The 2022/23 season brought notable debuts for the orchestra, including the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.

The international profile of the orchestra is reflected in its output of CDs and DVDs. The most recent releases include “Americans” under the French label Harmonia Mundi, and the much-acclaimed recording of two violin concertos by Beethoven and Schnittke for BIS Records. Sony Classical has released albums including “Rachmaninoff in Lucerne” and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Additional recordings with works by Saint-Saëns and Dutilleux (German Record Critics’ Award), Dvořák’s Sixth Symphony (Top Music Recording 2014, New York Times) and Wolfgang Rihm’s symphony “Nähe Fern” have received awards from Harmonia Mundi. A DVD was released by Accentus Music with Martha Argerich and works by Shchedrin, Dvořák and Shostakovich.

In 2021, the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra sealed a long-term partnership with Warner Classics.

The international promotion of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra receives its principal funding from the Michael and Emmy Lou Pieper Trust.

source: Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

Michael Sanderling

Michael Sanderling has been chief conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra since the 2021/2022 season. The appointment follows many years of successful collaboration and with the common aim of further developing the orchestra in the direction of late Romantic repertoire such as Bruckner, Mahler and Strauss.

His third season on the podium with the orchestra offers highlights such as tours in Europe and South America. His third season as Chief Conductor of the orchestra offers highlights such as tours in Europe and South America. In 2023, a Brahms cycle with the four symphonies and his Piano Quartet orchestrated by Arnold Schoenberg, released by Warner Classics, attest the successful cooperation.

Sanderling shares the stage with soloists such as Christian Tetzlaff, Steven Isserlis, Chen Reiss, Renaud Capuçon, Edgar Moreau, Vadim Gluzman, Yoav Levanon und Elisabeth Leonskaya.

Guest engagements take Michael Sanderling to leading orchestras worldwide. In recent seasons he has appeared with the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, the NHK Symphony Orchestra, the Tonhalle-Orchestra Zurich and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He enjoys a particularly close and regular collaboration with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Konzerthausorchester Berlin and the Radio Symphony Orchestra of SWR.

In the 2023/2024 season, in addition to his commitments in Lucerne, Michael Sanderling will make his debut with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Furthermore, he returns to the Dresdner Philharmonie, the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, among others.

Michael Sanderling held his first principal position with the Kammerakademie Potsdam, holding the title of Artistic Director from 2006 to 2011. From 2011 to 2019, Michael Sanderling was Chief Conductor of the Dresdner Philharmonie. During his tenure he distinguished the orchestra as one of Germany’s leading ensembles, leading the musicians in a wide variety of concert formats in Dresden and on numerous international tours. Together with the orchestra he recorded the complete symphonies of Beethoven and Shostakovich for Sony Classical to document this special collaboration.

His extensive discography includes recordings of important works by Dvořák, Schumann, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, and the complete symphonies of Beethoven and Shostakovich. It also includes a recording of works for cello and orchestra by Bloch, Korngold, Bruch and Ravel with Edgar Moreau and the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, the latter was recently released by Warner Classics.

In the opera pit, Michael Sanderling’s previous appearances include a new production of Sergei Prokofiev’s War and Peace at Oper Köln for which he was voted Conductor of the Year by the magazine "Opernwelt".

Sanderling is a passionate supporter of the next generation of young musicians. He teaches at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt am Main, and regularly works with the Bundesjugendorchester, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra. From 2003 until 2013 he has been Chief Conductor of the Deutsche Streicherphilharmonie.

source: Thomas Voigt

Lukáš Vondráček

The indisputable winner of the Grand Prix at the 2016 International Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition, Lukáš Vondráček’s 2023/24 season highlights include a tour with Bamberg Symphony Orchestra and Jakub Hrůša in Boston, as well as returns to long term partners such as the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and the Janacek Philharmonic.

Following recent appearances at the Flanders Festival, the “Le Piano Symphonique” Festival, and the Weiwuying International Festival in Taiwan, recital engagements have taken him to the ”Chopin and his Europe” Festival in Warsaw and the Piano Loop Festival in Split.

Over the last decade, Lukáš Vondráček has travelled the world working with various orchestras such as the Philadelphia and Sydney Symphony orchestras, the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic and the Netherlands Philharmonic orchestras under conductors such as Paavo Järvi, Gianandrea Noseda, Jakub Hrůša, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Marin Alsop, Christoph Eschenbach, Pietari Inkinen, Vasily Petrenko, Anu Tali, and Stéphane Denève, among many others.

Recitals have led him to Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, the Flagey in Brussels, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus, Wiener Konzerthaus, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and to renowned festivals such as Menuhin Festival Gstaad, PianoEspoo in Finland, Prague Spring Festival, and Lille Piano Festival.

At the age of four, Lukáš Vondráček made his first public appearance. As a fifteen-year-old in 2002, he made his debut with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy, which was followed by a major US tour in 2003. His natural and assured musicality and remarkable technique have long marked him out as a gifted and mature musician. He has achieved worldwide recognition by receiving many international awards, foremost first prizes at the Hilton Head and San Marino International Piano Competitions and Unisa International Piano Competition in Pretoria, South Africa, as well as the Raymond E. Buck Jury Discretionary Award at the 2009 International Van Cliburn Piano Competition.

After finishing his studies at the Academy of Music in Katowice and the Vienna Conservatoire, Lukáš Vondráček obtained an Artist Diploma from Boston's New England Conservatory under the tutelage of Hung-Kuan Chen, graduating with honours in 2012.

source: Harrison Parott


Rudolfinum, Dvořák Hall

The Rudolfinum is one of the most important Neo-Renaissance edifices in the Czech Republic. In its conception as a multi-purpose cultural centre it was quite unique in Europe at the time of its construction. Based on a joint design by two outstanding Czech architects, Josef Zítek and Josef Schultz, a magnificent building was erected serving for concerts, as a gallery, and as a museum. The grand opening on 7 February 1885 was attended by Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria, in whose honour the structure was named. In 1896 the very first concert of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra took place in the Rudolfinum's main concert hall, under the baton of the composer Antonín Dvořák whose name was later bestowed on the hall.