Gstaad Festival Orchestra
“This is what real world-class sounds like”
(Hamburger Abendblatt reviewing the 2017 concert at the Elbphilharmonie).
Every year, the Gstaad Menuhin Festival thrills its audience with unique concerts and top-class musical programmes set amidst magnificent countryside. The Gstaad Festival Orchestra (GFO) grew out of the vision to spread the innovative, inspiring spirit of the Menuhin Festival abroad and to enable this celebrated annual music festival to resonate on an international platform.
By engaging star conductor Jaap van Zweden as Principal Conductor as from the 2017/18 season, Gstaad Menuhin Festival‘s most successful project has been lifted to another stage of development. In the summer of 2017, Jaap van Zweden – for his part designated musical director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra – made his debut with Gstaad Festival Orchestra with concerts celebrated by the press and the audience likewise in Gstaad, Kiel and Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. Headed by Jaap van Zweden, the GFO will perform e.g. with Hélène Grimaud and Jonas Kaufmann in the 2018/19 season.
Since its formation in 2010, the GFO has been soaring to ever-new musical flights. Within the course of its tours the orchestra e.g. played at the Rheingau Music Festival, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Festival La Chaise Dieu, Herrenchiemsee Festival, Meran Festival, Stresa Music Festival, the Vienna Concert Hall, the Cologne Philharmonic Hall, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Festspielhaus Bregenz, Dresdner Frauenkirche, the Philharmonic Hall at Gasteig in Munich, or Elbphilharmonie Hamburg.
The Gstaad Festival Orchestra has established itself as a brilliant and charismatic first-class orchestra. Season upon season it has experienced new success. Between 2010 and 2016 the GFO has performed under the direction of Kristjan Järvi and Neeme Järvi alternately. Furthermore renowned soloists like Renée Fleming, Martin Grubinger, Renaud Capuçon, Truls Mørk, Sol Gabetta, Khatia Buniatishvili, Fazil Say and Vilde Frang have performed with the orchestra.
During a celebrated concert tour in the summer of 2015 the first live recording took place. It was published by Sony in January 2016. It features the new version of the Swan Lake suite by Tchaikovsky created by Kristjan Järvi.
The GFO regularly performs new compositions, e.g. by composers like Fazil Say, Daniel Schnyder, Dieter Ammann, Isabel Mundry, and Georg Breinschmid. These works include a newly composed piece by Mark-Anthony Turnage: “Dialogue“ (2015), with the soloists Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin) and Sol Gabetta (cello).
The Gstaad Festival Orchestra is made up of the best musicians from Switzerland's leading orchestras. These high-class musicians are now forming a sort of musical 'national team'. Its members are musicians from the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, the Zurich Opera Orchestra, the Kammerorchester Basel, the Basel Symphony Orchestra and the Bern Symphony Orchestra. Furthermore, some of the best students from international music institutions are selected every year to play with the GFO. The aim is to bring high-quality sound and famous musical spirit of the top Swiss orchestras together, in order to create a process of dialogue between the musicians and to forge at the same time a dynamic, unique-sounding orchestra every year.
In the summer of 2018, the GFO will - for the fifth time since 2014 - contribute to the Gstaad Academy’s centre piece Gstaad Conducting Academy as «Orchestra in Residence»: 12 young conductors from all over the world will be given the chance to work for three weeks with the GFO and conduct at its concerts. This Conducting Academy, which is unique in Europe, will be headed by Jaap van Zweden (Artistic Director) and Johannes Schlaefli (Head of Teaching).
2018/19 season (General management)