UPDATE: Lucerne Festival chooses music director

UPDATE: Lucerne Festival chooses music director


norman lebrecht

August 13, 2015


Riccardo Chailly will be the next music director of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra.

Riccardo, 62, is principal conductor at La Sala Milan and music director of the Leipzig Gewandhaus.

He succeeds the late Claudio Abbado, his early mentor.

It’s a brilliant move on both sides.

Press release:

Lucerne, 13 August 2015. Riccardo Chailly is the new Music Director of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA. He will take up this new position at the beginning of the 2016 Summer Festival, on 12 August 2016, when he will conduct the Festival orchestra for the first time in the opening concert in a program featuring Gustav Mahler’s Eighth Symphony. Riccardo Chailly’s contract is for five years and stipulates that he will conduct the Orchestra in four to five concerts during the Summer Festival. Claudio Abbado, who together with Executive and Artistic Director Michael Haefliger founded the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA in 2003 and who led the ensemble for eleven years, died on 20 January 2014.

“I am truly delighted that with Riccardo Chailly we have succeeded in gaining a magnificent artist as the Music Director of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA,” observes Michael Haefliger, Executive and Artistic Director of LUCERNE FESTIVAL. “Arturo Toscanini founded this unique symphony orchestra in 1938, and Claudio Abbado reestablished it in 2003 and brought it worldwide recognition. Riccardo Chailly marks the third time a great Italian conductor takes on the leadership of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA. As an outstanding artistic personality, he will also contribute strong new points of emphasis.”

“To be responsible for this great artistic project initiated by Claudio Abbado is not only a privilege but also something that touches me emotionally,“ says Riccardo Chailly. “Ever since I was 18, when he appointed me to be his assistant at La Scala, Abbado was my model and then my point of reference and lifelong friend, with deep affection up to the very end. I have collaborated with Michael Haefliger for many years in a spirit of full artistic understanding. I believe that working with him offers a real opportunity to maintain and develop the musical profile of the Orchestra and of the Festival, both in Switzerland and worldwide, as they deserve.”


La Scaka reaction here.


  • Petros LInardos says:

    Great news.

  • John Borstlap says:

    That short video does not exactly promote the best of taste and makes one fear for the artistic level of the festival. Never understood why people think Mahler II is a great work.

  • DLowe says:

    Someone’s aiming for the vacant title of Music Director of Europe…

    Norman, I can’t speak French, so can you get your non-robot test to do something in English?

  • Jon H says:

    Maybe the Orchestra Mozart could also be resurrected?