The most recent incarnation of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra occurred at the instigation of Claudio Abbado, after a 2000 conversation with Lucerne Festival artistic director Michael Haefliger. The core of the ensemble is the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. The LFO features some of the world's foremost soloists and orchestral principals in its ranks, including Kolja Blacher, Wolfram Christ, Mirijam Contzen, Diemut Poppen, Natalia Gutman, Jens-Peter Maintz, Jacques Zoon, Reinhold Friedrich, Stefan Dohr, Alessio Allegrini, Mark Templeton, Franz Bartolomey, Alois Posch, Emmanuel Pahud, Zoon Jacques, Albrecht Mayer, Stefan Schweigert, members of the Sabine Meyer Wind Ensemble, the Alban Berg Quartet and Hagen Quartet. The orchestra also includes members of ensembles with whom Abbado has a connection, such as the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Abbado is scheduled to remain as the orchestra's music director and chief conductor through 2010.
Abbado hand-picks each member of the orchestra, and the musicians assemble at the beginning of each August in Lucerne for a total of three weeks together, with 10 days of rehearsals. Then, he and the orchestra perform the opening concerts of the festival. One overriding philosophy that Abbado emphasizes is for the musicians to listen to each other, as in chamber music, but in the context of a full orchestral ensemble. In the string sections, the section leaders assign the seating, after discussion with Abbado. Rehearsals commence with individual instrument sections before the entire ensemble collects with Abbado.
Abbado led the first performances of the newest Lucerne Festival Orchestra at the 2003 festival. Their first residency abroad in Rome was in the autumn of 2005. October 2006 brought their first overseas guest performance, which gave a concert in Tokyo at Suntory Hall. The orchestra made its first Proms debut in August 2007, in a highly acclaimed performance of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 3. . Abbado and the orchestra were scheduled to appear in the US for the first time, at Carnegie Hall in New York City, in October 2007. However, in September 2007, Abbado announced that he had to withdraw from these scheduled New York concerts because of health concerns. The orchestra performed these concerts with substitute conductors Pierre Boulez and David Robertson.
Beethoven: Fidelio Arnold Schoenberg Choir, Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Claudio Abbado (Decca) Pounds 22.99
Dec 03, 2011; Album of the week This outstanding recording boasts a roster of performers which could not be bettered. Nina Stemme sings Leonore...