February 6, 2023 – Verbier (Switzerland) – The Verbier Festival was founded thirty years ago by Martin T:son Engstroem and has since become a world-renowned classical music festival that is an unmissable annual event for artists and audiences alike. Set in the heart of the Swiss Alps every summer, the Festival brings together some of the biggest stars in classical music alongside young emerging talent from around the world.
This year’s line-up celebrates the Festival’s history and features leading international soloists including Gautier and Renaud Capuçon, Lise Davidsen, Renée Fleming, Janine Jansen, Wynton Marsalis, Sheku Kanneh–Mason, Evgeny Kissin, Yo-Yo Ma, Bryn Terfel, Daniil Trifonov, Yuja Wang and many more.
Three unmissable highlights
Thirty years after conducting the first Verbier Festival concert, Zubin Mehta returns to conduct the opening concert of the anniversary edition with the Verbier Festival Orchestra and Yuja Wang [14 July]. The programme includes Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, honouring the 150th anniversary of the composer.
Actors Marthe Keller and Isabelle Huppert – both emblematic godmothers of the Festival having performed there many times over the years – return to perform intimate evenings of poetry at the Verbier Cinéma [22 + 23 July].
The 30th Anniversary Gala Concert, taking place at the Salle des Combins on 24 July, will feature over 50 artists who have played a role in Verbier’s history over the past thirty years, including the third godmother of the Festival, Barbara Hendricks. The line-up – curated for this special occasion by Martin T:son Engstroem – includes new-generation talent and world-class soloists, some of whom first performed at the Festival as Verbier Festival Academy participants before embarking on solo careers.
The anniversary programme
Piano recitals have been a key part of the Festival’s programming since the very beginning, set in the intimate Église de Verbier each year. Performing recitals at the Église this year will be Alexandra Dovgan [15 July], Sergei Babayan [15 July], Tsotne Zedginidze [19 July], Seong-Jin Cho [25 July], Brad Mehldau [25 July], Richard Goode [26 July] and Mao Fujita [26 July], and Evgeny Kissin performs a piano recital at the Salle des Combins [19 July].
Since the very first year, the Festival has been a platform for leading soloists to join together to perform chamber music with one another, offering audiences the opportunity to experience these musical partnerships. This year sees Bryn Terfel perform with Daniil Trifonov [21 July] and Yuja Wang perform with Gautier Capuçon [23 July], in addition to a special all-Beethoven performance with Leonidas Kavakos, Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax [16 July]. Also featured in the chamber programme is Renée Fleming performing a recital with Evgeny Kissin [28 July] and Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who is an alumnus of the Verbier Festival Academy, returns to perform with his siblings Braimah and Isata Kanneh-Mason [28 July].
The Festival’s three Orchestras – the Verbier Festival Orchestra [VFO], Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra [VFCO] and Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra [VFJO] – are made up of outstanding musicians from the annual Verbier Academy and underpin the symphonic programming each summer. Highlights with the orchestras include the VFCO and Gábor Takács-Nagy performing Elgar’s Cello Concerto with Sheku Kanneh-Mason [15 July] and the VFO performing Verdi’s Requiem with conductor Daniele Gatti and an exceptional cast featuring Lise Davidsen, Okka von der Damerau, Freddie De Tommaso and Bryn Terfel [17 July]. The VFCO and Gábor Takács-Nagy also perform the Swiss premiere of Anna Clyne’s Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra – co-commissioned by the Verbier Festival – with soloist Martin Fröst, paired with performances featuring soloists Janine Jansen and Amihai Grosz [18 July]. The VFO will present a concert performance of Berg’s Wozzeck, enchanced by giant projections in the Salles des Combins, with a cast led by Matthias Goerne conducted by Lahav Shani [27 July].
Jazz trumpeter, composer and bandleader Wynton Marsalis makes his Verbier Festival debut as a performer [22 July] and will be the Festival’s Composer-in-Residence this summer. Nicola Benedetti performs Marsalis’ Violin Concerto in D major with the VFJO and James Gaffigan [23 July] and Håkan Hardenberger performs the European premiere of Marsalis’ Trumpet Concerto – commissioned by the Verbier Festival – in the closing concert with the VFO and Christoph Eschenbach [30 July].
The Verbier Festival Academy and UNLTD programme
The Verbier Festival Academy continues to be at the core of the Festival, and this year saw over 2000 applications. In addition to the main-stage orchestral concerts, the Festival will also feature six ‘Academy Presents’ performances, giving audiences the opportunity to hear the next generation of talented soloists and chamber ensembles in concert. Together with singers from the Academy’s Atelier Lyrique programme, the VFJO will present a concert performance of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress with its Music Director James Gaffigan [30 July].
The Academy’s programme of masterclasses with visiting soloists will be revealed later in the spring, in addition to the Festival’s UNLTD programme. The Festival will be offering free activities and events accessible to all, including open-air concerts, musical walks, lectures and children’s workshops.
Timings and tickets
Tickets are on sale now for Friends of the Verbier Festival and will open for the general public on 7 February.
Performance times have shifted this year, with concerts at the Salle des Combins starting at 6:30pm instead of 7pm and concerts at the Église starting at 7:30pm instead of 8pm.
The Verbier Festival is proud to announce that Bank Julius Baer and SICPA are joined by Rolex, the Festival’s historical sponsor who returns for the 30th edition.