Turmoil at Lucerne Festival as boss faces bullying probe

Michael Haefliger, long-standing director of the Lucerne Festival, has been accused of bullying by one of his senior employees, reported elsewhere to be Dominik Deuber, outgoing managing director of the Lucerne Festival Academy.

Haefliger (pic), 58, has run the festival for 20 years.

The matter has been referred to the board of the festival which, in turn, has passed it to an independent law firm.

Nobody’s saying more in the meantime.

We’ve received this statement from the Festival:

Der Stiftungsrat bestätigt, dass er von gewissen Vorwürfen eines einzelnen Mitarbeiters Kenntnis hat und diese von unabhängiger Seite prüfen lassen wird. Darüber hinaus geben wir zur Zeit keinen Kommentar ab.

The Board of Trustees confirms it is aware of certain allegations made by a single employee; they will be independently audited. More than this we have currently no comment.


UPDATE: In a further statement, the Festival says:

Der Artikel aus der NZZ am Sonntag ist fehlerhaft und stellt seltsame Zusammenhänge her. Kai Uellendahl beispielsweise war rund 5 Jahre beim Festival tätig und ging nicht «nach wenigen Monaten» wieder, einzelne Solisten springen bei uns wie bei jedem anderen Veranstalter auch mal aus Krankheitsgründen ab, und die Gründe für den Rückzug von Matthias Pintscher haben mit dieser Thematik ebenfalls nichts zu tun.

The NZZ am Sonntag article is flawed and makes strange connections. Kai Uellendahl, for example, was active at the festival for around 5 years and did not return “after a few months”; individual soloists drop out for illness, as at any other presenter, and the withdrawal of Matthias Pintscher has nothing to do with this issue.


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  • Esther Cavett says:

    On the subject of Lucerne, why did Matthias Pintscher suddenly cancel all his festival engagements there last year ? It wasn’t illness and it sounded like there were political intrigues

  • Thomas Silverbörg says:

    In some places in Munich this is the norm.

  • no comment .. says:

    ach Du je .. they do not have other problems ?

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