The harpist Alice Belugou was born in Rouen in 1991. She began her studies at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the Pôle Supérieur de Paris Boulogne-Billancourt, then moved to Lausanne to study with Letizia Belmondo for her Master in Music Performance at the Haute École de Musique, where she was awarded a special prize for excellence in her Master Concerts in 2015. She then completed a Master in Music Pedagogy and a Minor in Contemporary Music at the Basel Academy of Music.
Belugou has attended master classes with Isabelle Moretti, Fabrice Pierre, Catherine Michel, Frédérique Cambreling and Marie-Pierre Langlamet, and has worked with composers including Georges Aperghis, Mark André, Heinz Holliger, William Blank, Jennifer Walshe and Simon Steen-Andersen.
Since 2015, Belugou has performed at various festivals in Europe as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral musician: at the Lucerne Festival, Zeiträume Basel, Archipel (CH), Manifeste (FR), New Direction (SW), ON Cologne (DE), Microtonality Basel, the Darmstadt Holiday Courses, Zurich New Music Days, Kontakte Berlin and the Rümlingen Festival (CH). In 2017, she won a scholarship of the Fritz Gerber Foundation, and in 2018 she won second prize at the DHF World Harp Competition.
Praised for her “deeply moving performances” (“Hamburger Abendblatt”), Alina Pogostkina, winner of the 2005 Sibelius Competition in Helsinki, performs at many of the world’s most renowned festivals and concert venues, working with conductors such as Michael Tilson Thomas, Gustavo Dudamel, David Zinman, Jonathan Nott, Paavo Järvi, Michael Sanderling, David Afkham, Robin Ticciati, Thomas Hengelbrock and John Storgårds. Alina Pogostkina enjoys longstanding artistic relationships with orchestras such as the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the NHK and Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestras, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the SWR Symphonieorchester and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
Alina Pogostkina displays impressive versatility in a diverse and wide-ranging repertoire from Baroque to Classical, often played on gut strings, and including modern masterworks. St. Petersburg-born Alina Pogostkina grew up in Germany and received violin lessons from her father Alexander Pogostkin. She later studied with Antje Weithaas at Berlin’s Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler”, and Baroque violin with Reinhard Goebel. She plays on a Camillo Camilli violin from 1752.
Besides enjoying several successes in international chamber music competitions, the Azahar Ensemble was a prize-winner in the category “Wind Quintet” at the renowned ARD Competition in 2014. Since then, this quintet has developed a busy concert schedule, giving guest performances in Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, Canada and the Dominican Republic. After acclaimed concerts in Cologne (at West-German Radio, WDR) and in the Philharmonie in Berlin (with their debut on Deutschlandradio), Vienna (Musikverein), Baden-Baden, Salzburg, Innsbruck, the Philharmonie Essen, the Mozartfest Würzburg, the Rheingau Music Festival and elsewhere, this quintet continues to give guest performances throughout Europe. In 2022, it will premiere a new work by Gija Kancheli in Georgia.
Many concerts by the Azahar Ensemble have been recorded and broadcast by radio stations across Europe, including Bavarian Radio, South-West-German Radio, Deutschlandradio Kultur, Radio Clásica España, Swiss Radio, France Musique and Catalunya Música. The Ensemble’s debut CD, featuring works by Joaquín Turina, was recorded in a co-production with Deutschlandradio and released on the Hänssler label in 2018 to enthusiastic reviews in the international press.
The Azahar Ensemble was founded in 2010 by musicians of the Spanish National Youth Orchestra. Its five members were awarded a scholarship by the Fundación JONDE-BBVA that enabled them to study chamber music with the bassoonist Sergio Azzolini at the Basel Music Academy. All five are regularly invited to play in renowned orchestras, including the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Konzerthausorchester, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Liceu Barcelona, the Philharmonisches Orchester Lübeck, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, the Basel Symphony Orchestra, the Camerata Bern, the Kammerorchester Basel and the Swiss Orchestra.
Miquel Ramos Salvadó and Antonio Lagares Abeal are active as freelance musicians, André Cebrián Garea is principal flautist in the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, María José García Zamora is the principal bassoonist at the Komische Oper Berlin, and María Alba Carmona Tobella is an oboist in the Zurich Opera Orchestra; like Miquel Ramos Salvadó, she is also a member of the ensemble Spira Mirabilis.
André Cebrián Garea, flute
María Alba Carmona Tobella, oboe
Miquel Ramos Salvadó, clarinet
Antonio Lagares Abeal, horn
María José García Zamora, bassoon
Bernhard Russi was born in Andermatt. He is a former ski racer and was one of the top downhill athletes during his heyday in the 1970s. He won an Olympic gold medal and two world championships and was several times named Swiss Sportsman of the Year. In 1969, when he was largely unknown, he worked as a stuntman during the filming of the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
After his career in skiing, Bernhard Russi was active as a commentator and race analyst for Swiss TV. He also worked in advertising and as a technical advisor to the International Ski Federation (FSI). He had originally trained as a structural draughtsman, and now helped to plan numerous new downhill slopes, from the Calgary Olympics in 1988 to the Beijing Olympics in 2022. He also helped to design the World Championship courses in Sestriere, Åre, Beavercreek and St. Moritz, thereby making a significant contribution to the further development of alpine skiing. His manifold commitments and many public appearances mean he remains one of the most prominent personalities in Switzerland.
This most famous son of Andermatt is now entering new territory by narrating Sergei Prokofiev’s symphonic fairy tale Peter and the wolf for the first time in the Concert Hall.
Christoph Pfändler was born in Lucerne in 1992. He was taught by the renowned dulcimer player Töbi Tobler, which proved to be a stroke of luck: this pioneer of the dulcimer let Pfändler explore traditional paths along with those that were new and unconventional, and supported him as he did so. Pfändler soon became interested in heavy metal and wanted to transfer this to the dulcimer. He began his folk music studies at the Lucerne University of Music in 2010. In January 2012 he gave his first concert with the conductor Howard Griffiths and the Brandenburg State Orchestra, which resulted in several more such engagements. He graduated from the Lucerne University of Music in 2013 with top marks in his Bachelor of Arts in folk music. That same year, Marco Kunz invited him to join his band. To date, he has released four albums with “Kunz”, which have all achieved gold status, and were followed by large-scale tours throughout Switzerland. Together with his band “Metal Kapelle”, Pfändler released the albums Fuckbrett and Insomnia. He and Töbi Tobler perform as the dulcimer duo “TOPF” (“i.e. TObler & PFändler). Pfändler’s band “Stalldrang” specialises in traditional folk music.
The EnsembLesAlpes was founded in 2020 by Ola Sendecki, Samuel Justitz and Matthias Alexander Bruns with the aim of promoting and cultivating Swiss chamber music from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. This ensemble performs in various instrumental combinations and has its origins in the Swiss Orchestra. It developed out of a desire to bring Swiss composers of the Classical, Romantic and modern periods back into the light of day, and to let their forgotten works sound once more on the concert podium. For example, the EnsembLesAlpes has dedicated itself both to the extensive chamber music oeuvre of Joachim Raff and to the pensive contemplation of Nature found in Ernest Bloch’s Landscapes. The works of Frank Martin and Hans Huber also play a major role in their repertoire.
The ensemble is made up of instrumentalists who have attained recognition at many festivals at home and abroad. They also play in other, renowned orchestras and chamber ensembles – either as permanent members or as regular guests – including the Orchestra of the Hamburg State Opera, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Munich and Cologne Radio Orchestras, the Staatskapelle Weimar, the Orchestra of Europe, the Orchestra of the Bayreuth Festival, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Camerata Bern, the Graubünden Chamber Philharmonic, the Lucerne Festival Strings, the Camerata Schweiz and the Stradivari Quartet.
Matthias Alexander Bruns, violin
Ola Sendecki, violin
Lech Uszynski, viola
Cristian Andris, viola
Samuel Justitz, cello
Joachim Müller-Crépon, cello
Masterly playing on the cusp between folk music traditions and innovative ideas is the trademark of the “Gläuffig” ensemble. Rather like circus artistes for whom gravity does not seem to exist, Gläuffig juggles with Alpine folk music, familiar patterns and common clichés. Sometimes the results are light-footed and playful, at other times down-to-earth, indeed almost earthy, but always with lots of musicality and a sheer joy in performing.
Mathias Landtwing (clarinet), Fränggi Gehrig (accordion), Lukas Gernet (piano) and Pirmin Huber (double bass) came together in 2008 to form Gläuffig. They all have their musical roots in folk music, though they completed their music studies at the Lucerne University of Arts in different fields (folk music, jazz, classical music and composition) and have all developed into virtuoso instrumentalists. They are also all aware of their origins, and while they want to give traditional music a new substance and a new interpretative guise, they still want to treat folk music culture with the respect that it deserves. The ensemble’s repertoire ranges from traditional ländler music in the style of the legendary band “Heirassa” to modern, more advanced folk music.
Gläuffig regularly performs at concerts and renowned festivals. It has been a guest at the Zurich Tonhalle Festival for new folk music entitled “Stubete am See” (“folk jam session by the lake”), at the Jazz Night and the Accordion Festival in Zug, at the Alpenklang Festival at the Paul Klee Centre in Bern, at the Alpentöne Festival in Altdorf, and at the Suisse Diagonales Jazz Festival in Lucerne.
Mathias Landtwing, clarinet
Fränggi Gehrig, accordion
Pirmin Huber, double bass
Lukas V. Gernet, piano
Andi Gabriel, violin
Christoph Pfändler, dulcimer
Dominik Flückiger, schwyzerörgeli
Fredy Reichmuth, accordion, schwyzerörgeli, piano
Heinz Holliger is one of the most versatile, extraordinary Swiss musical personalities. He is one of the world’s most significant oboe virtuosos as well as being one of the most famous contemporary Swiss composers and a celebrated conductor.
Born in Langenthal in Canton Bern, Holliger studied the oboe in Bern with Emile Castagnaud and in Paris with Pierre Pierlot. Since 1963 he has been performing as a freelance soloist, setting new standards on his instrument. Contemporary composers have written works especially for him, including Hans Werner Henze, Krzysztof Penderecki, György Ligeti, Elliott Carter, Witold Lutoslawski, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Luciano Berio. Holliger is also the dedicatee of Frank Martin’s Three dances, which he premiered in 1970.
Heinz Holliger performs with the leading orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Philharmonia London, the Vienna Symphony and Philharmonic Orchestras, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Frankfurt Symphony Orchestra and the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra.
Renaissance woman Hélène Grimaud is not just a deeply passionate and committed musical artist whose pianistic accomplishments play a central role in her life. She is a woman with multiple talents that extend far beyond the instrument she plays with such poetic expression and peerless technical control. This French artist has established herself as a committed wildlife conservationist, a compassionate human rights activist and a writer.
Grimaud was born in 1969 in Aix-en-Provence and began her piano studies at the local conservatory with Jacqueline Courtin before going on to work with Pierre Barbizet in Marseille. She was accepted into the Paris Conservatoire at just 13 and won first prize in piano performance a mere three years later. She continued to study with György Sándor and Leon Fleisher until, in 1987, she gave her well-received debut recital in Tokyo. That same year, renowned conductor Daniel Barenboim invited her to perform with the Orchestre de Paris: this marked the launch of Grimaud’s musical career, characterised ever since by concerts with most of the world’s major orchestras and many celebrated conductors.
Between her debut in 1995 with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Claudio Abbado and her first performance with the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur in 1999 – just two of many notable musical milestones – Grimaud made a wholly different kind of debut: in upper New York State she established the Wolf Conservation Center. It is, however, through her thoughtful and tenderly expressive music-making that Hélène Grimaud most deeply touches the emotions of audiences. Fortunately, they have been able to enjoy her concerts worldwide, thanks to the extensive tours she undertakes as a soloist and recitalist. A committed chamber musician, she has also performed at the most prestigious festivals and cultural events with a wide range of musical collaborators, including Sol Gabetta, Rolando Villazón, Jan Vogler, Truls Mørk, Clemens Hagen, Gidon Kremer, Gil Shaham and the Capuçon brothers. Her prodigious contribution to and impact on the world of classical music were recognised by the French government when she was admitted into the Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur (France’s highest decoration) at the rank of Chevalier (Knight).
Hélène Grimaud has been an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist since 2002. Her recordings have been critically acclaimed and awarded numerous accolades, among them the Cannes Classical Recording of the Year, Choc du Monde de la musique, Diapason d’or, Grand Prix du disque, Record Academy Prize (Tokyo), Midem Classic Award and the Echo Klassik Award.
Lena-Lisa Wüstendörfer is the Music Director of the Swiss Orchestra and a pioneer of the Swiss symphonic repertoire. Together with the Swiss Orchestra and renowned soloists such as Oliver Schnyder, Heinz Holliger or Marie-Claude Chappuis, she performs little-known treasures of Swiss music together with masterpieces of concert literature. Wüstendörfer is in demand internationally as a guest conductor, and her engagements have taken her to renowned orchestras such as the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, the Thailand Philharmonic, the Frankfurt Opera and Museum Orchestra, the Musikkollegium Winterthur, the Filharmonia Pomorska, the Camerata Switzerland, the Basel Sinfonietta, the Sinfonietta Bern, the Orchestre Symphonique du Jura and the Zakhar Bron Festival Orchestra. Since 2022, Lena-Lisa Wüstendörfer has been the Intendant of Andermatt Music.
Born in Zurich in 1983, Lena-Lisa Wüstendörfer studied the violin and conducting at the Basel Music Academy, and musicology and economics at the University of Basel, where she also took her doctorate in musicology. She furthered her conducting studies with Sylvia Caduff and Sir Roger Norrington, and has worked as assistant conductor to Claudio Abbado. In addition to her concert activities, she also publishes in the history of reception and interpretation and undertakes research into Swiss music history.
Strings, woodwind and a rhythm section: the instrumental line-up of this ten-member ensemble is as extraordinary as the music of its bandleader, Luzia von Wyl.
This Swiss pianist and composer has made an international name for herself with her ten-piece contemporary jazz orchestra, the Luzia von Wyl Ensemble. She composes all the works played by her Ensemble, and she herself sits at the piano for their concerts. Luzia von Wyl also regularly writes to commission for a wide variety of musicians, ensembles and orchestras. She is currently composing works for the Zurich Chamber Orchestra with Till Brönner, and for Bösendorfer in Vienna.
“This Swiss composer has her very own style – so convincing, thrilling and exhilarating that comparisons are superfluous”, wrote the German magazine Jazzthetik. And after the Ensemble’s debut at the Lucerne Festival, the Luzerner Zeitung wrote: “An airy sound, brilliant virtuosity, minimalist elements and a really special groove: Luzia von Wyl’s well-nigh inexhaustible inspiration pulsates through all these pieces. This is great art”.
And indeed, it is truly an experience to hear these ingeniously crafted compositions live – not least on account of the nine highly expressive musicians for whom Luzia von Wyl writes her tailor-made works. Their audience experiences at first hand their interaction, emotions and sheer joy in playing – all of which are hallmarks of the concerts given by the Luzia von Wyl Ensemble.
The Ensemble was founded ten years ago as a composing workshop. Meanwhile, the Ensemble today plays at festivals all across Europe and beyond, such as at the Swiss Days in Dubai (UAE), the Lucerne Festival (CH), the Schaffhausen Jazz Festival (CH), the Mosel Festival Trier (DE) and the London New Wind Festival (UK). Up to now, the Ensemble has also released two studio albums, both of which received much international acclaim: Frost in 2014 and Throwing Coins in 2018, both released on the HatHut Records label.
Luzia von Wyl, piano and compositions
Roman Glaser, flute
Nicola Katz, clarinet
Marcel Lüscher, bass clarinet
Maurus Conte, bassoon
Vincent Millioud, violin
Karolina Öhman, cello
Christoph Utzinger, double bass
Luca Staffelbach, marimba
Lionel Friedli, percussion
Switzerland is famous for many things, but hardly for its symphonic repertoire. The music of the Swiss composers of the Classical and Romantic periods has long lived a shadowy existence, barely known either at home or in the wider world. The Swiss Orchestra aims to make these unknown facets of Swiss history accessible once more to a broad audience, by presenting programmes that place rare Swiss works alongside well-known masterpieces of the world repertoire. With its nationwide presence and its focus on “Swiss symphonic music”, the Swiss Orchestra has a unique selling point on today’s orchestral landscape.
The Swiss Orchestra is made up of first-class instrumentalists aged between 25 and 45, who have all played in prestigious symphonic and chamber ensembles. This dynamic ensemble sees itself as an orchestra for the whole of Switzerland, building musical bridges from Basel to Graubünden to Geneva. Its aim is to overcome not just language barriers, but also prejudices against classical music. In 2022, the Swiss Orchestra is moving into its new home as the orchestra in residence at the Concert Hall of Andermatt – a famous intersection on the Gotthard railway, in the middle of the Swiss Alps and thus well-nigh predestined to be a site of cultural exchange. The Orchestra’s exciting, innovative concert programmes aim to generate enthusiasm among a broad public for all kinds of orchestral music.