Europe’s richest festival embraces diversity

Europe’s richest festival embraces diversity


norman lebrecht

November 11, 2021

The plutocratic Lucerne Festival has announced ‘diversity’ as the theme of next summer’s festival, where a pair of good seats can set you back half a grand.

The American singer Angel Blue (pictured) has been named Artiste Etoile.

There is also a focus on the drummer and instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey.

Composer in residence Thomas Adès will conduct the world premiere of his violin concerto with Anne-Sophie Mutter as soloist.


  • Nijinsky says:

    Let me guess, although it says that the gypsy population in Europe is 10 million, and the black population is 9.6 million, there won’t be any gypsy representation, nor Native American, nor indigenous from developing countries…..

  • Nijinsky says:

    There’s a difference between diversity and assimilation….

  • Alexander says:

    I’m wondering whether Salzburg will strike back with “Fooly Vaccinated” ( or Fullly, or Foolishly, I’m just in a mess with all those “innovations”) fest and Madame Garancha ( this is the correct pronunciation for her last name) as a Prima Vaccina 😉

    • Harry Dahlsjo says:

      And some wonder why conservative/right-wing comedians aren’t funny :/

      • True North says:

        They’re not. Humor based on cruelty to the more vulnerable in society (called “punching down”) is never funny. But that seems to be the predominant right-wing attitude these days.

  • John Borstlap says:

    How diverse is ASM? She is an Aryan.

    • V. Lind says:

      “Diverse” is not synonymous with “black.” It basically means “different.”

      • Bone says:

        In America, it means literally anything not white male.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Well, in that sense every performer is different. The problem of discrimination is entering the field of linguistics, words changing meaning according to the wide-spread labelling into categories, which themselves also are changing all the time.

        • V. Lind says:

          Yeah — I remember when gender was a grammatical term. People talked about there being two (those were the days!) sexes, not two genders. But Americans, in their puritanical way, hate to see the word sex used.

          • Stuart says:

            Americans – yes, all 330 million of them speak with one Puritanical voice…

          • Joe says:

            Legal citizens of course.

          • Adam says:

            There are only 2 genders.

            Go to any hospital, doctor and only Male OR Female exist. Same for those who are arrested. If one is confused, the decision or either one will be made FOR them by staff.

        • Sue Sonata Form says:

          It’s called ORWELLIAN language.

      • Ellen says:

        Indeed it is Ms. Lind!

        The left has returned to using blacks as props.

        Race (always black) supersedes talent in their minds. Hispanic, Oriental, Indian, Native American Indian persons simply don’t count. It’s blatant.

        i.e. Indians who are indigenous to the states are ONLY used for political purposes to degrade the founding of America. Other than that, Democrats have no use for them. They refuse to have a “rightful heir” to the US as head of anything let alone be president. Democrats proved their racism by choosing a white male with money just like Trump. Of course they had Elizabeth Warren who lied about her ahem ‘heritage’ to get into college and got humiliated for it after gleefully getting her 1,024% fact-based DNA results. LOL!!!!!!

        No. Diversity clearly means black only. It’s too bad they are getting used again then abandoned after election time. Worse they get the attention, Democrats get the credit of sorts and the black still rarely gets any money. Hollow victory in the name of virtue signaling as usual without the iron shackles of the Democrat though their loyalty is mindlessly expected as a slave.

        When the US Left FINALLY provides reparations using DNC funds to American Indians and elects one as president, then you people will have credibility. Until then..nothing but sad comedy.

        • Sue Sonata Form says:

          When a person or persons cannot get ahead on their own talent and initiative the next step is to lower the bar completely so that the challenge becomes far less onerous. Same with educational standards. That you, Lefties, once again for leaving the disadvantaged right in their place so YOU can step over them, all the while chanting vacuous bromides and bogus refulgences.


      • M2N2K says:

        You would have been more accurate if your verbs were in the past tense.

    • BRUCEB says:

      “Diversity” doesn’t mean “no white people.”

  • Derek H says:

    Angel Blue is a very good singer and performer.

    Tyshawn Sorey will add variety (=diversity), should be interesting.

  • A lady says:

    Whatever you call it, maybe worth taking a moment to remember that Angel Blue and Tyshawn Sorey are artists of the highest caliber, whose perspectives as artists, Black or otherwise, will be invaluable to the Lucerne Festival.

    • PS says:

      I know I’m supposed to sing some words here, but let me take a big breath instead and skip to the end.

    • V. Lind says:

      I have no objection to these artists being present — far from it. But why not just present them? Trumpeting their diversity mission cheapens their presence — makes them seem like today’s token blacks.

  • John Kelly says:

    A pair of tickets will set you back “half a grand” (a Monkey if you’re a Londoner) at the Met, Carnegie Hall, the Vienna State Opera, Covent Garden and pretty much anywhere for a “good” seat……..

    • V. Lind says:

      Hey, somebody will have to pay for the incoming Chief Diversity Officer, her new bureaucracy and the courses in racial sensitivity (for whites only) and decolonisation (ditto).

  • Gary Freer says:

    And lots of masterpieces by Florence Price, no doubt

    • True North says:

      And another dig at Florence Price. How predictable you are. And what a brave man it is who mocks a woman who has been dead for nearly seven decades and can’t defend herself from being used as a political punching bag.

      • Adrienne says:

        “can’t defend herself from being used as a political punching bag”

        Who was responsible for putting her in that position in the first place?

        The same happens with Mary Seacole. She is widely described as “a nurse”, which is pure invention. She never claimed to be a nurse, but blatent lies by people using her as a “prop” (to use Ellen’s term) have put her in the same unfortunate position.

        • True North says:

          I fail to understand how the act of programming a neglected composer’s music for the first time, many years after her death, is an acceptable reason to treat her like shit. It’s not. Leave her alone. She isn’t hurting anyone. Her music deserves to be heard, same as anyone else’s.

          • Adrienne says:

            “for the first time”

            But it isn’t.

            People here are questioning the value of her work, which is entirely reasonable.

          • BRUCEB says:

            ‘”“for the first time”

            But it isn’t.’

            To be fair, True North didn’t say “for the first time anywhere.” Lots of orchestras, festivals, etc. have yet to program one of her pieces (among many other composers’ pieces) for the first time.

    • BRUCEB says:

      Well, second- (and third-) rate music by white composers is programmed, and reprogrammed, all the time. No harm in letting a mediocre Black composer — if that’s what she is — in on the action.

  • M McAlpine says:

    I tell you someone who is not going to be set back half a grand for this debacle – me!

  • Derek H says:

    Here is some further context on the topic –

    The Festival runs from August 9th to September 11th with 55 concert/recital events in total.

    Yes, Diversity is a theme in the festival and it is evident.

    In addition to Angel Blue and Tyshawn Sorey –

    Chineke, Kevin John Edusei, Randall Goosby, Aaron Akugbo, Samuel Nebyu, Abel Selaocoe and Sheku Kanneh-Mason and others are appearing.

    A number of works by black or mixed race composers are included in various concerts during the festival.

    That said, there is also a large number of the top orchestras and well known soloists and conductors included, as usual, as well as the Lucerne Festival Orchestra itself.

    They are performing a varied selection of the main repertoire as is expected. There is a wide choice to suit everyone’s taste.

    Each of us will have an opinion as to whether this type of themed approach is appropriate or a constructive advance for the festival and music in general.

    Personally, I hold the view that performers and works should be presented or appraised on their merits alone and not “packaged” into a specific theme like this. I can’t help feeling that there is a manipulation of performers, composers and audiences and that has a negative result!

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Half a grand for agitprop. Pass.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    When high art and culture become agitprop for social justice warriors you know you’ve morphed into….the USSR. Clue: the Bolsheviks believed they were being ‘fair’. They just ran out of body bags, is all.

  • Opera Lover says:

    Regardless of the reason for appointing, Angel Blue is a fantastic get for the festival. I saw her Traviata in Covent Garden a few years ago and it was glorious!

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Billy: ‘We have to put a limit to this diversity thing! It’s not acceptable!’

    Frank [indignated]: ‘How dare you? You nazi fasci monster! Racist! Racist!’

    Billy: ‘Take it easy. I mean… they blended Coca-Cola in the champagne!’

    Frank [panicked]: ‘OMG Terror attack! Terror attack!’