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The spirit of Menuhin returns to Gstaad

The medieval church in Saanen will once again be the focal point of the festival

(Keystone Archive)

This year's "Menuhin Festival" in Gstaad begins on July 20, once again boasting an all-star line-up. Joshua Bell, José Carreras and Jeremy Menuhin are among this year's top draws.

The Menuhin Festival not only brings together internationally renowned performers, but also places them in the incomparable alpine setting of Gstaad. When the late Yehudi Menuhin, the festival founder, made his farewell speech in 1996, he said "Music should be considered just like nature: colourful, spontaneous, civilised."

The festival kicks off at the medieval church in Saanen, one of the main venues, with interpretations of Beethoven and Schubert by the Menuhin/Graffin/Wallfisch Trio.

One of the main highlights will be a Beethoven violin concert on August 10 in the festival marquee. The concert will be directed by Sir Roger Norrington, with soloist Joshua Bell.

According to the festival organisers, Bell is a worthy heir to Menuhin; "the poetic musicality of Joshua Bell make him one of the world's leading violinists".

In all, there will be about 40 performances over the six festival weeks, ranging from concerts by chamber orchestras, three and four piece ensembles, and rising stars from the Yehudi Menuhin schools.

The festival ends on September 1.

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