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Chief conductor: James Gaffigan
207th season 2012/13
The Lucerne Symphony Orchestra (LSO) is the orchestra-in-residence of the KKL Luzern culture and convention centre, which was designed by architect Jean Nouvel and opened in 1998. As Switzerland’s oldest symphony orchestra, the LSO has gained an international standing that extends far beyond its home territory. Strongly anchored in Lucerne, a city that enjoys a worldwide reputation for music, the LSO offers a number of annual concert cycles. It also acts as the partner orchestra of the Lucerne Theatre, serving the latter with its musical needs.
Distinguished conductors have tapped the richness of this medium-sized, cosmopolitan orchestra. James Gaffigan was appointed Chief Conductor of the LSO in time for the 2011/12 season. Leading conductors of the day such as Michael Gielen, Neeme Järvi, Sir Neville Marriner, Leonard Slatkin, Matthias Bamert, Andrey Boreyko, Kristjan Järvi, Peter Eötvös, Andris Nelsons, Vasily Petrenko and Tugan Sokhiev are regularly invited to take charge of specific concert cycles. Former chief conductor Jonathan Nott has been coming back to the LSO annually as a guest. The venture he and the LSO launched in the 2007/08 season, "Beyond the horizon – Project JN", is destined to run for a number of years and has been garnering both critical and public acclaim.
The LSO’s concerts have long featured soloists of international renown – these include Arabella Steinbacher, Vadim Gluzman, Julia Fischer, Hilary Hahn, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Gidon Kremer, Julian Rachlin, Vadim Repin, Martha Argerich, Nicholas Angelich, Nelson Freire, Lang Lang, Radu Lupu, Maria João Pires, Fazil Say, Krystian Zimerman, Mischa Maisky, Truls Mørk, Martin Fröst, the Arditti Quartet and the Beaux Arts Trio, to name but a few.
The Lucerne Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1806. As a dynamic ensemble with a 200-year history, it understands how best to leverage creativity within tradition and innovation. The LSO attacks the classical-romantic repertoire with unabashed curiosity; its focus on individual composers gives rise to creative cycles of their works that has the effect of deepening audience appreciation of the music. In addition, the orchestra takes every opportunity to highlight the rarities of the repertoire, broadening the horizons of its eager audiences. The orchestra has long been a champion of contemporary music, commissioning works from composers such as Sofia Gubaidulina, Rodion Shchedrin, Benjamin Yusupov, Fazil Say, David Philip Hefti, Pascal Dusapin and Marc-André Dalbavie. A four-part cycle of premieres featuring works by Wolfgang Rihm received a great deal of attention in the 2011/12 season.
The LSO was recently invited to perform at the Arts Square International Winter Festival in St. Petersburg, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, at the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, at the Lingotto in Turin, at the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden, at the Merano Music Festival and at the Barbican Hall in London. In 2011, the LSO undertook a two-week tour of China's most important concert halls. This was the orchestra's second time in Asia and follows a three-week tour of Japan in 2008. The LSO is also guesting at Milan’s Sala Verdi – for the seventh time. The 2012/13 season is featuring a number of other debuts at concert halls in Europe, including the Festspielhaus in Salzburg, the Teatro Verdi in Florence, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Regentenbau in Bad Kissingen. A tour in Israel is also being planned.
The LSO's international profile is reflected in its CD and DVD activities: it has recorded a DVD of works by Shchedrin, Dvorak, Franck and Shostakovich for the German Accentus Music label and three CDs of works by Schreker and others for UK-based Nimbus Records. Works by Wolfgang Rihm have appeared on the Austrian Kairos label, while Fazil Say's Violin Concerto is on Naïve Classique, piano concertos featuring Chopin and Grieg on Sony Classical and an album of works by Sofia Gubaidulina on BIS Records.