One very important thing needs to be made absolutely clear. The idea is to assemble musicians who enjoy making music together and listening to each other. And you can only do that with musicians who play chamber music. Musicians who play chamber music listen to one another, and that is the principle behind this orchestra. This new orchestra is made up of musicians who actively enjoy playing together and listening to one another. If people in general listened to one another more, that wouldn’t be a bad thing. The great thing about Claudio is the immense humanity he brings to his music-making. You have a great deal of freedom, and very gently, but very firmly, you get certain things pointed out to you. He lets you play as you want to, but at the same time you sense exactly what he’s after. That puts you on the right track. There’d be no point in refusing to follow him, because the way he communicates his ideas is so convincing. Learning to speak his musical language is immensely satisfying for me. I haven’t played in an orchestra since I left the Berlin Phil, and it’s an incredible experience to be back in an orchestra conducted by Claudio, whom I know very well. And there are so many friends here I’ve known for ages, and the wind ensemble. So not only at the artistic level, but also at the human level, it’s a marvelous constellation. Many soloists have taken to conducting, right? But I shall never be a conductor. I love this music and I want to play it. That’s very different from listening to it. I haven’t been in an orchestra this size for 15 years. So I think it’s fair to say that the pleasure it gives me is of a different quality because it’s not something I do every day. Now I’m not saying that in other orchestras it’s just routine. But for me it’s a unique experience. The names of very great artists have established the reputation of the music festival in Lucerne, notably Arturo Toscanini and Pablo Casals. Tribschen, Richard Wagner’s residence. It was his refuge during the time of his banishment. Here he wrote the Siegfried Idyll, the music that accompanies these pictures. The original score of the Siegfried Idyll. These are legends that have arisen after the fact. The founding fathers, as they are called, notably the former mayor of Lucerne, Zimmerli, had absolutely no intention of creating a platform for persecuted musicians or a festival dedicated to the freedom of culture in Europe. All they wanted was to boost tourism in Lucerne, to extend the season, and use the music festival to make the name of Lucerne well known in the world, and thus attract audiences. The proof of the fact is that this Herr Zimmerli looked for artists from all over Europe and all over the world who were willing to come here. That had nothing whatsoever to do with their political convictions, their nationality, their opinions, or their connections with the German Reich. A few weeks before, we were told that he was actually coming! Huge excitement, of course. We knew from the orchestra that there had been some explosive rehearsals. And there he was, in front of the chorus. We were rehearsing the Agnus Dei, the unisono melody, right at the beginning. He sang the passage to us in a kind of screech. He certainly didn’t have much of a voice, but we sensed what he wanted and then suddenly there was something in the air, a sunbeam, a sunbeam of sound, wonderfully delicate. And then he just glowed, it was incredible. He glowed with gratitude. It was marvelous. The arrival of the Orchestra of La Scala in Lucerne. The famous conductor, Maestro de Sabata. This old stately home houses the Lucerne Conservatory. The master classes here take place during the Festival and they enjoy considerable renown. A master class given by Edwin Fischer, the famous Beethoven interpreter. A demonstration by the master himself. The andante from Beethoven’s 5th Piano Concerto in E-flat major. In these atmospheric rooms dating from the Rococo period, creative music-making has found a stimulating and appropriate milieu. The new Festival Orchestra made up of the finest Swiss musicians rehearses for the opening concert under maestro Ernest Ansermet. I was convinced that Switzerland could put together an orchestra that would be a match for the great international orchestras, particularly if we could get the right conductors. During my first engagement here in Lucerne with the Festival Orchestra, we played under Ansermet, under Furtwängler, under Karajan, and under Bruno Walter, all in the space of 14 days. That made a lasting impression on me, it was a great experience and I still have very vivid memories of it. In Lucerne I played with Furtwängler for the first time, and it is probably the most precious memory I have. I had never played with Furtwängler before, and I shall never forget the impression he made on me. We recorded the Brahms concerto in Lucerne, during the festival. Furtwängler was very jealous of his rivals, especially Karajan. He insisted on having two things that the others didn’t get. He wanted a higher fee than his nearest rival, even if it was only 1 franc higher. And he wanted a season ticket for the Lido, Lucerne’s lakeside beach, where he spent quite a lot of time. That proves that in the early stages the conductors stayed in Lucerne much longer. Furtwängler stayed here for 2 or 3 weeks sometimes. Though the wages have risen a lot in the last few years, the situation hasn’t changed. The money you get is just enough to pay for your hotel. So if you want to take a bit of money back home, you have to have someone to put you up, or else, like many colleagues, you live in a tent out on the Lido, and change into your tails just before the concert. The Swiss Festival Orchestra. The first rehearsal for the first concert in 1973. Rudolf Kempe works with the orchestra on Dvorak’s “New World”. The orchestra was reconstituted every year. So you never knew what the quality would be like, whether it would blend, and so forth. The best players stopped coming, the second or third best took over. And some of the more prominent conductors refused to cooperate, because it was a “scratch” orchestra, and they only had 3 or 4 rehearsals to achieve a top-quality performance. We have always been criticized for not being as good as other orchestras that come to Lucerne. But it’s not as simple as that. We may not be as good as the world’s best orchestras. That is correct. And if we only have very little time, just a few days, 2 or 3 days to prepare a difficult program, then we’re at a disadvantage compared to other orchestras who come here with well-tried programs. In Switzerland, the Swiss Festival Orchestra has a special status. It is in fact the only cultural institution that functions at an all-Swiss level. As such it is very valuable indeed, because we are trying to make a truly Swiss contribution to the Festival. Pictures from the first concert of the Festival. The Lucerne Festival assembled some of the great artists of the day, with conductors like Cluytens, Markevich and Karajan. The Lucerne Festival organizers were the first to resume what you might call normal activity after the war. They invited me to take part, which is why I have a very special association with the Festival. Then I worked out a schedule for myself. Every day, I worked 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours in the afternoon. I had no lunch, because I didn’t have the money. Instead, I went to the Swiss Travel Bureau and looked at the pictures of the Matterhorn and said to myself: “That’s next on my list.” That is the reason why I have this special association with Lucerne. What is so unusual here is the personal contact that links all the participants. It welds all the artists into something like a family, and it’s a thrilling experience for all those who come here. For a while, it had something of a polarizing effect. You waited for Karajan to arrive, and when he left again, the Festival was more or less over, although it hadn’t actually finished. But Karajan was the culmination. Actually I ought to start like Hans Sachs in the “Mastersingers”. “You make it easy for youselves, but difficult for me. You do me too much honor.” I think that, for him, it was a kind of moral obligation to come to Lucerne. But in the later stages, once he got the appointment as permanent conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, it no longer had any real significance for his career. And if you read the Karajan biographies, you will see that Lucerne plays a very marginal role in them. With very few exceptions, the programs he brought to Lucerne were the same as in Berlin, Salzburg and elsewhere. I think he was very astute in exploiting the possibilities. Once he had perfected a piece, he could take it anywhere. People always wanted to hear it. Some conductors said: “I’ll come back when you’ve got a new hall.” But as long as Karajan was there, it was an immense incentive for other conductors to come. Many of them said: “If Karajan conducts here, I can’t very well refuse.” I was an artistic director, not a festival manager. I was not the executive director of the Festival in that sense, I was an artist-in-office, and I had fantastic presidents, like Alois Troller or Hansrudolf Meier, and with them it was easy to implement the ideas we had. I talked to Karajan and persuaded him to join in. Celibidache came to Lucerne for the first time in 1974, and he was prepared to join us. He performed Schönberg’s Op. 31 here, rehearsed like a man possessed. He helped me to persuade people that this is music you can really enjoy, or at least understand. And that was my idea. We are dependent on orchestras, ensembles, conductors, and soloists who do not only come to Lucerne. And the orchestras, especially, cannot take an infinitely large repertoire of pieces on tour, they wouldn’t have time to rehearse them. It’s a creative process. Every work, every program, every proposal gives you new ideas. So in the end, there’s a lot of compromise involved, and the difficult thing is to ensure that we still have an identifiable concept. Circumstances alter cases, of course, and we often have the case where I say, that’s a great program that the orchestra or conductor has proposed, you can’t go messing around with it, and it doesn’t matter whether it fits in 100 percent with the overall theme or not. In other cases, you get a very flexible response. A conductor will ask, what’s the theme next year or the year after? A theme like “Creation” or the “Ego” theme, or last year’s theme “Seduction” all give us the opportunity of pointing up connections in society. Of course, it’s still a music festival, the music is very much the main thing, and we concentrate very strongly on the music. But at the same time we can still indicate the links with society and what is going on in the world today. A festival is not really a festival if it doesn’t assert its allegiance to modern music and if it proves unable to integrate modern music successfully. Those are the challenges that we really have to engage with. It’s not enough to say: Yes, wouldn’t it be nice. These are challenges that an artistic and executive director has to face up to. If he fails to square up to them, then in a sense he has failed altogether. There are very exacting financial demands to be fulfilled. That’s a must. The tickets have to be sold, and the contributions from the sponsors have to be sufficient. We only have 3% subsidies, and we have to balance the budget, there’s no leeway. Afterwards, you won’t get someone from the local government saying: “Oh, it doesn’t matter, we’ll cover the deficit for you.” We’ve doubled the budget within the last 5 years. To some extent, it’s the consequence of demand. In the first 2 years we couldn’t cater to the demand. So what we did was to increase the number of concerts, notably the orchestral concerts, and especially those featuring the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic. The idea behind this move is to give more people a chance of attending the concerts without booking years ahead. Back in the beginning, in the 1950s, you just had the audience paying for the tickets and no one else. Then a patrons’ organization was founded, called the Friends of the IMF. They had privileges, they had first choice of tickets, and if you were a member, which wasn’t exactly cheap, then of course the social kudos involved played a role. And later, in the last 15 years, the sponsors arrived on the scene. And of course the sponsors don’t just pay their whack in Lucerne, they also buy a number of tickets for certain concerts, and they pay the normal price. The tickets are for their guests, and they won’t necessarily be music fans. Normally, music doesn’t make identifiable statements. So a theater will have greater trouble finding sponsors, because normally it makes some kind of political or social statement. You may well say that, musically, Beethoven was making a statement relevant to his times, but I don’t think that’s important today. At all events, it’s lost its relevance for us. Music is quite simply sheer enjoyment, which is why it makes an ideal platform for a sponsor who doesn’t want to go out on a limb, socially speaking. We’ve only just started. It takes time and patience to develop something. Claudio Abbado himself needs time to acclimatize. But I’m convinced we can develop something for the future. We have some marvelous projects in mind for next year. There are interesting programs with the second act of Tristan, Mahler’s Fifth. Pollini will be joining us. I shall be doing Strauss’ Four Last Songs with Renée Fleming. And we’ve been invited to the Proms in London, to Paris, to Milan, to Rome and Tokyo, and so on. I shall be doing the concerts here and one or two others elsewhere, and that’s it. That’s all I shall be doing. Just that, and nothing else. I intend to link all the projects we undertake even more strongly with our corporate identity. I don’t want things to happen just once in Lucerne, or two or three times at the outside. For example, we’re reconstituting the Festival Orchestra with Claudio Abbado, and next year we’re starting a Pierre Boulez Academy, which will be prominently associated with us. And we’re pursuing certain very, very specific aims with that. Next year we embark on a venture with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Carnegie Hall in New York, a venture involving an annual commission for a new work. And with the Vienna Philharmonic we have created a Young Artists’ Award that will bring the recipient a prize of 75,000 Swiss francs and a debut with the Vienna Philharmonic. These projects have all started up in the last four years. In short, we want to intensify this kind of cooperation and make it much more clearly identifiable with our name.