The Festival Strings Lucerne has been established in 1956 by Wolfgang Schneiderhan and Rudolf Baumgartner. The regular ensemble consists of 17 string players and a harpsichordist but can also be expanded to a larger chamber orchestra according to the specific repertoire.
The Strings owe their special sound both to the masterful instruments owned by the players, which were made in the legendary workshops of Cremona by Stradivari, Guarneri, and Amati, and to their great performance tradition. Since 2012 the concertmaster Daniel Dodds has served as Artistic Director. Besides the orchestra appointed British violinist Daniel Hope as Principal Guest Artist.
The orchestra regularly tours extensively throughout Europe, appearing at prominent festivals and concert halls. Past overseas tours have taken the Orchestra to South America (2007), USA (2008), Japan (2009) with concerts at Tokyo Suntory Hall and more, South Korea (2010) with concerts at Seoul Arts Center, to China (2010, 2011) with concerts at Beijing’s NCPA, Beijing Music Festival, Festival Internacional de Música de Macau, Shanghai Oriental Art Center and Guangzhou Grand Opera and again, most recently to South America (2013).
At its headquarters in Lucerne the ensemble offers a concert series at Jean Nouvel’s spectacular KKL Concert hall and is a regular part of the Lucerne Festival’s programming.
The repertoire of the Lucerne Festival Strings extends from the Baroque to contemporary music. During their nearly 58-year history, they have given the world premieres of more than 100 works, including compositions byJean Françaix <>, Frank Martin, Bohuslav Martinu, Sándor Veress, Iannis Xenakis, Krzysztof Penderecki, Klaus Huber, Peter Ruzicka and Beat Furrer.
Another defining feature has been their collaboration with famous soloists, from Yehudi Menuhin, David Oistrakh, Pablo Casals, Wilhelm Kempff, andClara Haskil to such contemporary stars as Anne- Sophie Mutter, Viktoria Mullova, Leonidas Kavakos, James Galway, Mischa Maisky and Hélène Grimaud.
The ensemble regularly releases CDs: most recently, a complete recording of Felix Mendelssohn’s string symphonies. In 2007 the Lucerne Festival Strings won the Echo Klassik Award for their account of the Bach keyboard concertos with pianist Martin Stadtfeld. TV broadcasts and documentaries (ZDF in Germany, Sudio 1 in Italy, KBS in South Korea) accompany the ensemble’s artistic work. "The Lucerne Festival Strings are a small enough body to allow even accompanying lines to be played in a positive, lively manner." - Gramophone Magazine 2015 (Arabella Steinbacher / Festival Strings Lucerne, MOZART Violin Concertos Nos 3 - 5)
Photos courtesy of Lucerne String Festival Text courtesy of PENTATONE