· The 28th edition of the Verbier Festival opened in spectacular style on Friday, July 16, with Valery Gergiev conducting the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, pianist Denis Matsuev and trumpeter Timur Martynov.
· Mozart took centre stage with Verbier Festival Academy alumnus Mao Fujita, who made his first return to the Festival since becoming Silver Medallist in Moscow’s Tchaikovsky International Music Competition in 2019. The pianist performed the composer’s complete piano sonatas over five enchanting recitals.
· Alexandre Kantorow [pictured], the first French pianist to win both gold and the Grand Prix at Tchaikovsky Competition stepped in at the last minute for a powerful performance of Brahms and Rachmaninoff in his Verbier Festival debut.
· In his first year as Music Director of the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra, James Gaffigan led his orchestra and Verbier Festival Academy singers in an emotional performance of Puccini’s La Bohème to close the 28th edition, highlighting the Festival’s focus on education excellence.
· Initial figures indicate that there were nearly 30,000 visits to the Festival’s Mainstage, Academy and Unlimited performances and events in 2021.
· The Festival’s Mainstage featured 68 concerts, earning a box office revenue of CHF 1.3 million.
· Verbier Festival Academy masterclasses remained as popular as ever with full houses throughout the Festival. A total of 73 masterclasses were open to the public, attracting 4,060 visitors.
· Unlimited, the Verbier Festival’s programme of innovation and free and accessible activities for all ages, presented 53 events, attracting 2,225 visitors. Its seven-concert late-night series—Secret Concerts, and vocal Drôles D’Oiseaux performances—played to full houses as did several of its open-air activities, including musical hikes and afternoon garden parties
The Verbier Festival delivered an ambitious return to live music this summer through a bold programme of live concerts and events over 17 days, featuring both the Festival’s well-known family of artists and impressive debuts, alongside Academy and Unlimited programme offerings that included some of the brightest rising stars in classical music. Under the exceptional circumstances of the past 18 months, the commitment to the 28th edition of the Verbier Festival ensured that artists could once again share their music with audiences at the highest level.
Before its opening concert the Festival’s safety protocols were put to the test when 23 members of its Verbier Festival Orchestra tested positive for Covid-19. These cases were successfully contained as isolation and quarantine protocols were activated and frequency of testing was increased. No additional cases among the more than 700 artists and personnel were identified throughout the event. Programming was creatively reimagined after the orchestra’s members ultimately returned home and due to a number of other cancellations for non-Covid-related reasons. With the support of its community of artists, the Festival was able to charge ahead with a truly memorable and extraordinary programme.
The Verbier Festival’s long-term partnership with medici.tv celebrated 15 years in 2021. The leading classical music channel streamed more than 30 concerts to audiences around the globe, already surpassing 700,000 views across 175 countries. Close to 60% of viewers have been aged under 55.
The 29th edition of the Verbier Festival will take place July 15 to 31, 2022, paving the way for the Festival’s 30th anniversary celebration in 2023.