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Snow and symphony in St Moritz

Peter Aronsky (centre) has attracted artists such as Vesselina Kasarova and Gustav Kuhn to his festival Keystone Archive

Switzerland's highest classical music festival is underway in the mountain resort of St Moritz, with guests including international musicians at the peak of their careers.

This content was published on March 15, 2002 - 08:43

The "Snow and Symphony" festival is focused on six gala concerts in luxury hotels in St Moritz and the neighbouring villages of Sils and Pontresina. These take place at a mere 1,800 metres above sea level.

Traditionally the festival stages performances where literally the highest notes are guaranteed. For example, less conventional concert venues are the summit stations of Corviglia and Corvatsch, which at an altitude of over 3,000 metres can only be reached by cable car.

Another concert is due to take place in an electricity station at Silvaplana, which like the other venues has views of the mountains and glaciers of the Engadine.

Founded five years ago by the pianist Peter Aronsky - who is still artistic director - the festival attracts high-calibre musicians such as the soprano, Vesselina Kasarova, pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy and the conductor, Gustav Kuhn.

Kasarova will sing excerpts from Bizet's Carmen for the first time - she has never played the role on stage. Another first is the première of an orchestral piece commissioned by "Snow and Symphony" from Swiss composer Martin Derungs.

But the festival also has its lighter side. The Classic Buskers are appearing with all manner of unlikely wind instruments, while other guest performers include the musical clowns, Les Rossyann.

The festival ends on March 24.

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