The Lucerne Festival is a summer music festival in Lucerne, Switzerland.It was founded in 1938 and, since 2004, it has taken place at the Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre designed by Jean Nouvel. The two resident ensembles of the festival are the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and the Lucerne Festival Strings, which had most recently been led by the Italian conductor Claudio Abbado until his death.In addition to the performances, the Lucerne Festival Academy was founded by the composer Pierre Boulez in 2004 to train young musicians in the performance of modern music.
The festival started as a series of concerts in the gardens of Wagner's villa conducted by Arturo Toscanini, who had formed an orchestra with members of different orchestras and soloists for the concert. With the rise of the Nazi regime several major performers and conductors, including Toscanini, Fritz Busch and Bruno Walter decided not to perform in the traditional German and Austrian music festivals such as the Bayreuth Festival and Salzburg festival. The Lucerne Festival in Switzerland was a good place for those who did not want to perform in Germany.
Since its foundation the festival features concerts by the Festival's resident orchestra, recitals by soloists and concerts by guest orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic.
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