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Published: 10. October 2019 - Source: Sommets Musicaux

The Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad celebrate their 20th anniversary 31 January to 8 February 2020

GSTAAD, 9 OCTOBER 2019 – The Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad and their artistic director Renaud Capuçon present the musical programme of their 20th edition, with a number of innovations featured in this anniversary year. From 31 January to 8 February 2020, music-lovers will gather in the chapel of Gstaad and the churches of Saanen and Rougemont. In the spirit of the Festival’s objectives, unchanged since its inception in 2001, audiences at the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad will be able to hear outstanding young talent as well as internationally renowned virtuosos over the course of nine days.

This year, for the first time, the piano will be in the spotlight throughout the Festival, with specially dedicated concerts in the chapel of Gstaad from 4pm and at the concert in the church of Saanen on 2 February, which will feature the glorious duo of the great pianist Martha Argerich alongside cellist Mischa Maisky, in an evening dedicated to Brahms, Schumann and Shostakovich. They will also be playing in the church of Saanen on the evening of 1 February, in a concert featuring pianist Bernard Chamayou. Jérôme Ducros will be accompanying countertenor Philippe Jaroussky on the piano on the evening of 3 February in songs by Schubert. The Festival will also welcome Richard Goode on 5 February and Nicholas Angelich on 7 February.

Renaud Capuçon has devised his programme with the aim of building bridges between new generations and established musicians of renown. The young composer Camille Pépin, who studied with such notable figures as Thierry Escaich, Guillaume Connesson and Marc-André Dalbavie and whose works have been played by numerous performers and ensembles, has been chosen to be composer in residence. She stands out as a young female composer with a distinctive voice, characterized by her skilful intermingling of instrumental textures.

This year, the Festival will be offering several ensembles from Lausanne the chance to shine, such as the Orchestre de chambre de Lausanne, the Ensemble vocal de Lausanne and the Lausanne Soloists.

In another first for this anniversary year, the 2020 festival will be presenting a new annual series of morning concerts devoted to Bach in the church of Rougemont at 11am. Opening the series will be the concert on Sunday 2 February with Renaud Capuçon on the violin, Gérard Caussé on viola and Clemens Hagen on the cello.

Chapel of Gstaad
Nicholas Angelich, mentor to the rising stars

French-American musician Nicholas Angelich will be mentor to the rising stars. He says, ‘I’m very happy to have this opportunity to put my experience at the service of the rising stars of tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experience with them.’ Renaud Capuçon adds: ‘Nicholas Angelich is a pianist of undisputed stature in France and throughout the world. He is truly an outstanding, unparalleled musician in his field. He is a performer with a passion for a diverse range of repertoires, from the classical via the Romantic to the contemporary. I'm delighted to be able to welcome him to the Festival as mentor. I have no doubt whatsoever that he will throw all his energy into communicating his wisdom to the young musicians.’

Camille Pépin, composer in residence
The festival has specially commissioned a work for solo piano from Camille Pépin, to be performed by young talented musicians every afternoon between 4pm and 5pm in the Gstaad Chapel. With his choice of 29-year-old Camille Pépin as composer in residence, Renaud Capuçon has identified a highly gifted contemporary artist who first began studying musical arrangement with Thibault Perrine, before continuing her training at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Paris. After winning the ‘Île de Créations’ competition in 2015, awarded by the Orchestre National d’Île de France, and the Grand Prix Sacem Musique Symphonique, she was inundated with commissions. Her compelling style of composition is characterized by its delight in the sounds of the orchestra and its skilful blending of tones and textures. Renaud Capuçon says ‘It’s a privilege to be able to welcome an artist of this calibre, particularly one so young and with such fresh ideas, as our composer in residence.’

The concerts in the chapel of Gstaad
The young pianists will be performing works by Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, Scarlatti, Schubert, Bartók, Ravel, Schumann, Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Fauré, Prokofiev, Bach, Debussy, Shchedrin and of course Camille Pépin.

Pianist Jonathan Fournel will open the series in the Gstaad Chapel on Saturday 1 February. Pianist Itai Navon will perform on 2 February and Valentin Cotton will take up the baton on 3 February, with Jean-Paul Gasparian and Jérémie Moreau centre stage on 4 and 5 February. Sélim Mazari will be performing on 6 February, followed by Aaron Pilsan on the 7th. Last of all, the young Dmitri Weissenberg, at 18, will bring the series to a close on 8 February 2020.

All these talented young musicians will be in contention for the festival’s two awards, the Prix Thierry Scherz and the Prix André Hoffmann.

Two prestigious awards: the Prix Thierry Scherz and the Prix André Hoffmann
The Prix Thierry Scherz is sponsored by the Fondation Pro Scientia et Arte and the association of Friends of the Festival (‘les Amis du Festival’). It represents an opportunity to recognize one young virtuoso and offer them encouragement by giving them the chance to record a debut CD with orchestra for the Claves Records SA label. The Prix André Hoffmann is designed to promote the performance of contemporary music. Endowed with 5000 Swiss francs, it will be awarded for the best interpretation of Camille Pépin’s work. It also provides the support enabling the Festival to host the composer in residence.

Concerts at the church of Saanen The stars of the festival
The church of Saanen will be filled with the sounds of works by Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Schumann, Shostakovich and Vivaldi.

The Orchestre symphonique de Lucerne, with pianist Kit Armstrong, violinist Renaud Capuçon and cellist Edgar Moreau, conducted by Elena Schwarz, will open the festival on 31 January in the church of Saanen, in a programme of works by Beethoven.

The week’s concerts are sure to provide its loyal audience of music-lovers with a series of exciting highlights, including the concert on 1 February with pianist Bertrand Chamayou, accompanied by the Orchestre de chambre de Lausanne conducted by Joshua Weilerstein; they will be performing works by Mozart. Another highlight will be the visit of Martha Argerich (piano) and Mischa Maisky (cello), who will be playing works by Brahms, Schumann and Shostakovich on 2 February. The concert on 6 February, which will feature the Orchestra of the 18th Century and the Ensemble vocal de Lausanne conducted by Daniel Reuss, devoted to Mozart’s Requiem, also promises to be a special occasion: it has been specially organized to mark the 20th anniversary of the Festival.

Lastly, the concert with Renaud Capuçon accompanied by the Lausanne Soloists will bring the festival to a close with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons on Saturday 8 February.

On 3 February at 10am, the Festival will be offering something special: a performance of L’Histoire de Babar (‘The Story of Babar’) – the little elephant made famous by Jean de Brunhoff, to music by Francis Poulenc, a work for piano written between 1940 and 1945, and of Ferdinand le taureau (‘Ferdinand the Bull’), by Munro Leaf, with music by Alan Ridout. Laurence Ferrari will be narrating these tales, accompanied by Renaud Capuçon and Jérôme Ducros. These two stories have been part of the lives of generations of children: the first has been a worldwide success, translated into 27 languages, while the second inspired Walt Disney in the animated film Ferdinand the Bull. The concert on 3 February will take place at 10am and is free of charge.

Concerts in the church of Rougemont
The artistic director’s ‘coups de coeur’

The Romanesque church in Rougemont will play host to the ‘coups de coeur’, the personal favourites, of the festival’s artistic director. There will be four spectacular concerts on 2, 3, 4 and 5 February 2020. The trio of Renaud Capuçon on the violin, Clemens Hagen on the cello and Gérard Caussé on the viola – who was mentor to the rising stars of the 2019 festival – will open this series of concerts with a concert of works by Bach, for the first time at the Festival at 11am. This special concert will be free to the public. In the other concerts, French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky will be accompanied on the piano by Jérôme Ducros in lieder by Schubert; the violin will be showcased in the concert with Michael Barenboim, who will be performing works by Tartini, Sciarrino, Berio and Paganini; and American pianist Richard Goode will bring the concert series in the church of Rougemont to a close on 5 February with a recital of works by Bach, Bartók, Debussy and Chopin.

A true winter rendezvous
The festival will feature a total of 19 concerts from 31 January to 8 February 2020. The Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad, it should be added, are one of the few festivals in Switzerland whose concerts take place exclusively in churches – to the delight of music-lovers who particularly value the unique magic and intimate atmosphere of this event.

The Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad, a bona fide winter rendezvous in the region, are the first classical music festival of the year. The festival will once again be organizing dinners in the Gstaad Palace after the concerts in Saanen, thus providing a rare opportunity for a music-loving audience to meet the artists, thanks to the patronage of a variety of active partners – whether individual sponsors, business ventures, foundations and associations – including Sotheby’s, Vera Michalski-Hoffmann, president of the Festival, Aline Foriel-Destezet and Les Amis des Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad, to name only a few.

Programme, tickets and advance sales

Tickets will be on sale from19 November 2019.

Bookings can be made at the:

  • Gstaad tourist office: +41 33 748 81 82

  • Rougemont tourist office: +41 26 925 11 66

  • 0900 800 800

  • at the venues

Ticket prices per concert: between CHF 30 and CHF 150 (Swiss francs), depending on the category and the venue
Cost of dinner per head at the Gstaad Palace: CHF 190
Young persons’ rate (‘Jeunesse’, for those aged between 5 and 25): 50% discount Locals’ rates (‘Indigènes’): 10% discount
The concert on 3 February at the church of Saanen, featuring two musical tales for children at 10am, is free of charge
The concert on 2 February at the church of Rougemont at 11am is free of charge

A brief look at the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad
From its inception in 2001, the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad has been hailed as the ultimate reference point in winter festivals, an event to delight all aficionados of classical music. Every year young talented musicians, internationally renowned artists and lovers of music gather in this enchanting snow-capped paradise to perform and enjoy some of the finest works in the classical repertory.

The festival is structured in three categories: three concert cycles spread across three outstanding venues. In the afternoon, the Gstaad Chapel hosts a selection of the most promising young artists. In the evening, the churches of Rougemont and Saanen will delight their audiences with the sounds of celebrated soloists and internationally renowned orchestras.

Les Amis des Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad
Founded following the initial series of concerts, the friends’ association Les Amis des Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad, under the leadership of its new chairman Pierre Dreyfus, offers invaluable support to the Festival.

The complete press kit including press release, the full programme of events, biographies of the artists and HD images of the artists and of the various venues, along with the Sommets Musicaux logo and the accreditation form, can be downloaded here:

Media Contact

Christine Ufer, pur pr, +41 78 619 05 00, +41 21 320 00 10

Valàrie Samuel, Opus 64, +33 1 40 26 77 94