Verbier has ended, almost unnoticed

Verbier has ended, almost unnoticed


norman lebrecht

August 08, 2019

The festival posted its closing notice tonight:

The 26th edition of the VF has come to a close. Thank you to all participants, concert goers, artists, musicians, sponsors, donors, journalists, collaborators…

17 remarkable days where music resonated throughout our community with 56 mainstage concerts featuring upwards of 160 artists, more than 220 Academy musicians, 127 master classes and open rehearsals, as well as 107 free and accessible Unlimited activities. 6 sold out concerts and preliminary box office results point to a successful 26th edition.

We have seen hardly any media coverage through the past fortnight. Under the direction of Martin Engstroem and Valery Gergiev, Verbier seems to add very little to the wider musical discourse.

Compared to Bayreuth, Salzburg, Lucerne, the BBC Proms, it creates not a bang but a whimper.





  • Mike says:

    It’s one of the most accessible online summer festivals in the world where you can watch every concert live for free. With much thanks to Medici TV. Tanglewood, Verona, Bayreuth, Edinburgh and the Proms has a lot to learn from this accessibility.

  • Marc says:

    I’ve been following it via from here in Oregon– there have been any number of wonderful and lovely performances. Orlinski, Gergiev conducting Die Frau ohne Schatten, new-ish pianists, Schiff, Trifonov, Kissin, Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos etc etc. I wonder if it is just English language critics who’ve ignored it?

  • Simon says:

    Yeah but imagine all of the deals Engstroem made for himself. I’m sure it was a success from that vantage point.

  • Fartin Endstrum says:

    It was so unnoticeable that nobody even bothers to comment

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    The remoteness and inaccessibility of the location have caused it to take a marginal role in music. I wanted to go there when in Europe but didn’t have a car and couldn’t get there.

    • McGarrigle Bear says:

      It’s quite easy by public transport. Direct train from Geneva Airport to Martigny, connect there to Le Chable and then telecabine (not good for very big suitcases) up to the resort. It’s a fantastic journey. Don’t let that put you off.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      I agree with McGarrigle Bear. One train ride from Geneva and then a cab ride up the mountain. No need to rent a car.

      I have very fond memories from my 2005 visit (except for the horror of seeing the great Thomas Quasthoff smoke a cigarette!). Interestingly, Verbier first came to my attention from Norman Lebrecht’s raving comments in the early 2000s. Thank you, Mr. Lebrecht.

  • Robert Groen says:

    Maybe it’s time to discuss exactly what you are to the musical discourse, Norman. it’s all Agitprop as far as I can see. Do you actually like music, or is it just a vehicle for airing your hates, frustrations and dislikes? This one is Gergiev again, isn’t it? Will the downtrodden people of the Russian Federation ever thank you for it? I doubt it; I think they’ll just laugh.

  • Nick says:

    Perhaps because Verbier is primarily a love-fest for the artists and the rich corporations which underwrite it and snap up most of its tickets.

  • LEWES BIRD says:

    So unnoticed that even this very story isn’t getting any comments at all. So here’s one, out of pity.

  • Gioviolin says:

    Well, it was widely broadcasted by, its academy program has no comparison with other big european festivals, Gergiev gave an outstanding performance of “Die Frau ohne schatten”, huge number of young talented musicians played every day with the most famous artists,
    the public crowded every event… what do we need more?

  • Michel says:

    Thanks to Medici,tv I have been able to follow many wonderfull concerts. Perhaps it’s because Valery Gergiev is the musical director of this marvelous festival , you have to something bad about it ? Gergiev seems to obsess you …

    • Long Tall Sally says:

      Take extreme care with MediciTV. I cancelled my subscription after 1 year and they automatically renewed it, ignoring my many emails and cancellation requests. I did everything they said, “tick unsubscribe” but, no, there are other things you have to do that they don’t tell you. Had to have American Express intervene and dispute the charge and block them from any further charges to me. They are extremely unprofessional.

  • SFS says:

    Comparing the Proms with Verbier? Really? Do we really want to compare Whimpy’s with Can Roca?

  • Sanda Schuldmann says:

    Might it be that the world had enough of Gergiev? He seems to be taking over the world and people have had enough of him and Putin. Verbier was at one time the ARGERICH Fest. And there was a lot of coverage and rightfully so. Now… well who cares?

  • barry guerrero says:

    I wish we had a summer music festival as poor as Verbier in good-old California. We could use something other than the Hollywood Bowl and Stern Grove.