Michael Haefliger, Artistic and Executive Director of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL
An Ideal Partner //
Michael Haefliger has been Artistic and Executive Director of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL (LF) since 1999. With Claudio Abbado, he founded the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA (LFO) in 2003 – a unique ensemble that brings together internationally known soloists, chamber musicians and music professors every summer, with the MCO as its core. ON TOUR speaks with him about programming and about ideas for the LUCERNE FESTIVAL 2009.
The MCO has been part of the LF every year since 2003, both as the core of the LFO and in its regular formation. What, in your opinion, is special about the MCO? Michael Haefliger: The MCO is an extraordinary high-class ensemble, which distinguishes itself on the one hand through its high artistic quality and on the other through its commitment to a project oriented and extremely flexible way of working. This structure allows the MCO to set itself new artistic challenges constantly and to take on innovative projects without huge organisational adjustment.
How is the special structure of the MCO important to you as Artistic and Executive Director of the festival? Michael Haefliger: Thanks to its wide-ranging repertoire and its constant readiness to explore uncharted territory, the MCO is an ideal partner for any promoter.
The LF has a new motto each summer; in 2009, the motto is «nature». How is this motto expressed in the programmes of the LFO and the MCO? Michael Haefliger: If we take a look at this year’s festival motto «nature», we see it expressed in an exemplary way by the programmes of the LFO and MCO, with Symphonies 1 and 4 of Gustav Mahler, Schumann’s oratorio Das Paradies und die Peri and a concert performance of Carl Maria von Weber’s opera Der Freischütz. With Jörg Widmann’s oboe concerto, the MCO gives its third world premiere at the LF after Kelterborn’s Herbstmusik in 2003 and Pintscher’s Transir in 2006. How did this come about, what is the story behind it? Michael Haefliger: Jörg Widmann very much wanted to compose this new work for his role model and mentor Heinz Holliger as part of his residence in Lucerne.
In autumn 2009, LFO and MCO travel together to Beijing, where the Chinese conductor Tan Dun will conduct the MCO for the first time. What kinds of artistic intersections do you see among conductor, orchestra and concert programme? Michael Haefliger: We can look forward to this programme, part of the LFO residence in Beijing in September 2009, with great anticipation. Tan Dun is one of the great composers of our time, and the programme, which includes his compositions, will combine the residence in Beijing with China’s musical present in a special way. In summer 2009, a complete opera will be performed as part of the LF: Thomas Hengelbrock conducts the MCO in a concert performance of Der Freischütz. Is this a taste of the future, when the SALLE MODULABLE will be finished? Michael Haefliger: This project is certainly a little taste of the theatrical future that will come with the SALLE MODULABLE. However, for the past several years here in Lucerne we have also been building a small but deliberate tradition of presenting operas, either in concert version or with partial staging. It is always a very special experience for our audiences.