It was in the summer of 2003, that Pierre Boulez and Michael Haefliger founded the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY – thus establishing an educational campus devoted exclusively to new music. Every summer since then, some 130 young, highly gifted musicians from all around the world are given the opportunity to study contemporary scores and modernist classics in detail through daily rehearsals, workshops, and lessons and then to present their insights in performance.
Starting in the summer of 2016 the German composer Wolfgang Rihm took over as Artistic Director; he is assisted by Matthias Pintscher as Principal Conductor. The teaching faculty consists of leading performers of contemporary music who are members of such distinguished formations as the Ensemble intercontemporain, the Ensemble Modern, the Klangforum Wien, and the Ensemble Musikfabrik. In addition, other acclaimed conductors, composers, and soloists have been invited each summer in recent years, including such figures as Peter Eötvös, Isabelle Faust, Alan Gilbert, Heinz Holliger, Anne-Sophie Mutter, and Sir Simon Rattle. The works on their “curriculum” are eventually presented to the public in concerts by the Orchestra of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY, for which all of the students join together, as well as on various ensemble programs.
It is not only instrumentalists who benefit from the praxis-oriented training offered by the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY; this institution is also a top destination for conductors and composers. In the Conducting Fellowship, young conductors follow the Academy’s rehearsal process and take part in a master class in conducting. The Composer Seminar meanwhile offers young composers an opportunity to discuss their works with Wolfgang Rihm and other composers and to subject their scores to a trial run by musicians from the ranks of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ALUMNI. Finally, the Roche Young Commissions series provides young composers with commissions for new works.