Breaking: Verbier is cancelled

Breaking: Verbier is cancelled


norman lebrecht

March 26, 2020

The festival has just announced ‘with infinite regret and sorrow’ that its 27th edition, planned for July 17 to August 2, has been called off.


Press statement:

The Verbier Festival has created a truly global inter-generational gathering place in Verbier for 26 years. Artists, students and music-lovers from all over the world make the trip to be with us each summer, which puts us in a precarious position under present circumstances.

We have always been proud to call our community of artists, students, festivalgoers, Friends of the Festival and community partners our ‘family’. This is a time to protect this family; its health and well-being are our primary concern.”

Martin T:son Engstroem

Founder & Director


  • Incredulous says:

    Seems like it is really taking awhile for reality to settle in, especially in these very moneyed old guard classical places with their “infinite regret” etc etc. They’re still in denial to some degree. Still, their era is over.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Not at all. In the ‘worst case’ scenario, it will be the ‘very moneyed old guard classical places’ which will survive an unprecedented onslaught on the classical performance culture, as a small island at the margins of society, where a small, restricted core repertoire of Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Tchaikovsky will be repeated ad infinitum (Mahler would be too expensive), and 9/10th of the repertoire will have disappeared.

      In a ‘best case scenario’, the classical music world will enter a period of fiery debate about values and hence, funding, and much nonsense and superfluous vanity exercises will disappear.

      Given the nature of humanity, probably something somewhere in between these projections will result.

    • homework says:

      What the HELL is that supposed to mean? Has ‘Incredulous’ looked at the programme, seen the wonderful partnership of established and rising talent brought together as a family? The phrase ‘infinite regret’ may be a bit European, I’m not sure, but it is so obviously heartfelt.

  • Alan says:

    What do they know that Salzburg doesn’t? Basically starting at the same time yet Salzburg won’t decide for another two months…..

    • Ron Swanson says:

      Verbier Festival requires construction of a stage and facilities. Salzburg requires less led time to get going.

      • Marcello says:

        Also, Verbier seems to be a Corona hotspot in Switzerland.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          If it is currently a corona hotspot, that means they will soon have passed the peak there and will be comparatively normal in a few months time since everyone there will have got it before and will now be immune.

  • Marcello says:

    and Bayreuth?

    • Gustavo says:

      Bayreuth has a closed pit to protect the orchestra members and shield-off the conductor. The singers are mostly <65 – except maybe for some choir members.

      From today's perspective, calling off Bayreuth may seem politically correct to signal solidarity.

      But it would seem over-precautionary given many other risks to human life associated with Bayreuth:
      heat stroke, seafood poisoning, getting run over by a BMW while strolling up or down the Grüne Hügel, the sheer length of Wagner's operas potentially causing thrombosis, etc..

  • Leo Doherty says:

    Couldn’t go ahead as Verbier is quite a hot spot for the virus but I feel sorry for all the young musicians who will miss out this year at this great music learning festival.

  • Michel says:

    Very sad ! It will be an explosion of music when all this is over !