Verbier Festival: It’s more of the same

Verbier Festival: It’s more of the same


norman lebrecht

March 18, 2019

The 26th Verbiaer Festival has just bee rolled out with all the usual yodelling and sycophancy.

Gergiev is in charge of the festival orchestra.

There will be a concert performance of Strauss’s Die Frau Ohne Schatten with Matthias Goerne and Nina Stemme and a concluding show of Mahler’s second symphony in a perfectly inadequate acoustic.

Details below.

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.


  • Alexander says:

    Karita Mattila at Gergiev’s festival sounds a bit ( just a bit) intriguing for me 😉 …. as for the other “cast” – it dazzles ( in other words stars’ density is abnormally higher).

  • music_montreal says:

    Norman, why so grumpy? If you don’t like seeing all these stars and the sure-value programming, you could focus on the quality of training program and how young musicians who play in Verbier training ensembles make their ways to leading orchestras in Europe and North America…

  • music_montreal says:

    … as is stated at the end of the statement you posted! 😉

  • Mike says:

    I have watched the Verbier Festival on line for free for the past 3 years. I hope that Medici TV will be returning this year.

  • boringfileclerk says:

    What? No Rihm on the schedule? Sacrilege!

  • Peter van Laarhoven says:

    “Just been rolled out”?? It’s been rolled out months ago!?

  • M2N2K says:

    Other than the conductor of whom I am not a fan, most of the rest of the lineup looks quite impressive to me.

  • Cyril says:

    Where are the women?

  • fflambeau says:

    Sounds like you have a gripe, in fact lots of them. What’s your problem(s)?

  • Ben says:

    Gergiev is an fiery mediocrity. Ruthlessly robotic, void of emotion albeit excessive amount of sweat. Just loud, very loud, very very loud, and louder. His concerts I attended were simply militaristic precision sonic bombardment.

    Poor Verbier.