Musical changes in the air at Gstaad festival
The Menuhin Festival Gstaad gets underway on Friday with a new name, a new artistic director, a new concert venue with seats for over 2,000 people - and a change in its music policy.
Previously known as the Musical Summer of Gstaad-Saanenland, the festival is now named after its founder, the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, who died in 1999.
Eleanor Hope, who worked with Menuhin for many years, has taken over as artistic director and says the programme of 22 concerts will not - as in the past two years - include the contemporary music favoured by her predecessor. "Gstaad does not have a mission to present new music," she said.
To complete the changes the organisers have spent Sfr4 million on a giant marquee to supplement the traditional concert venues in churches in Gstaad and neighbouring villages.
The inaugural concert in the marquee on August 18 will be a programme of Russian music played by the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow, conducted by Vladimir Fedoseyev.
Among the ensembles taking part in the festival, which ends on September 2, are the Camerata Lysy, the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the Menuhin Festival Orchestra - formerly known as Sinfonia Varsovia.
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