The 24th Verbier Festival, which ran for 17 days from 21 July to 6 August 2017, closed today with increased attendance and many new visitors to the Festival, enjoying 57 main programme concerts and more than 200 “Fest’Off” events in and around the the town of Verbier in its stunning alpine setting.
The Festival welcomed up to 5000 people per day in 2017, attending the various concerts in the main venues (Salle des Combins and Église), and also at the various events and masterclasses of the Academy, the Festival’s leading development programme for the great artists of tomorrow, and the learning programmes, mountain-top concerts, events for young people and talks, which make up the “Fest’Off” programme.
In all, more than 45,000 festival-goers (a 5% increase on the 2016 Festival) were welcomed by a team of 200 people, including 97 volunteers from 14 countries, aged 16-84. 10% of festival goers came for the first time this year. More than 4,000 tickets were made available to young people under 25 and more than 100 journalists representing 12 countries visited the Festival.
True to its founding principles, the Verbier Festival has seen leading international soloists perform either solo or with one of the Festival’s three orchestras: the 97-strong Verbier Festival Orchestra, representing 22 different countries; 60 musicians in the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra; and 57 young musicians aged 15 to 18 in the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra. International soloists also performed in unique combinations together as part of Les Rencontres Inédites, the Festival’s famous chamber music programme, and many young talents performed for the first time.
Highlights have included the Festival’s opening concert which saw Charles Dutoit - made Honorary Chief Conductor of the VFO from this year - conduct Richard Strauss’ Salomé on 21 July and Strauss’ Elektra conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen on 27 July. Pianist Evgeny Kissin gave two rare recitals and Richard Goode, the leading American pianist, made his Verbier Festival debut with a chamber and a solo programme. Daniel Harding and Antonio Pappano both returned to conduct the Verbier Festival Orchestra, and concerts with leading musicians including violinist Renaud Capuçon, pianists Grigory Sokolov, Nikolai Lugansky, Yefim Bronfman, Lucas Debargue and Yuja Wang, Quatuor Ébène, cellist Edgar Moreau, 16-year-old Swedish violinist Daniel Lozakovich, and many others all contributed to the great success of the 24th Festival which closed on 6 August with Mikhail Pletnev conducting the Verbier Festival Orchestra with violinist Janine Jansen.
Outside the main classical programme there were masterclasses by Thomas Hampson, a concert by the genre-breaking group Pink Martini, a jazz concert by Thomas Quasthoff, and a Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra concert high on Mont Fort above Verbier. A chess tournament, organised again by the Neva Foundation, saw stars of the Festival, including Nikolai Lugansky and Mikhail Pletnev, alongside visitors compete with Vladimir Kramnik, the great Russian chess grandmaster.
Martin T:son Engstroem, Founder and General Manager of the Verbier Festival said: "It's a great pleasure to have all these artists together again this year! The loyalty of the grea master musicians at our Festival, the arrival of new talent and the generosity of all those who have succeeded in imparting their great knowledge to young musicians here touches me and delights me every year. See you next year for the 25th anniversary of the Festival, a great festival of music and musicians!”
Laurence Marchand, Director of the Verbier Festival, said: "For my first Festival as Director, I am delighted that our loyal audience has been joined by new festival-goers attracted by Verbier and its unique atmosphere. During these 17 days, Verbier has exceeded its great reputation and has become a unique world village of music, embracing classical music and beyond.”
In 2018, the Verbier Festival will celebrate its 25th anniversary with its most ambitious programme to date, bringing together the biggest international names and the new talents of the next 25 years. The programme of the 25th Verbier Festival, as well as the VFO’s new Music Director will be announced on Thursday 7 December, 2017 in Lausanne and will be streamed live on Facebook.
The 25th Verbier Festival will be held from 19 July to 5 August 2018.