Verbier Festival opening night reimagined to include music of Ukraine and Russia

16 March 2022
By Ellie Palmer
Conductor Gianandrea Noseda replaces Valery Gergiev for three festival performances, including the opening concert

Switzerland's Verbier Festival, which takes place from 15-31 July, has announced some changes to its opening night in order to showcase the 'spirit of solidarity and inclusion'.

Italian conductor Gianandrea Noseda will conduct the Verbier Festival Orchestra (VFO) on the opening night in a programme that features Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony – a work fittingly composed during a repressive political atmosphere – preceded by Rodion Shchedrin’s Second Piano Concerto.

At the piano will be Ukrainian pianist Anna Fedorova, alumna of the Verbier Festival Academy (2012 and 2017). Rodion Shchedrin, who celebrates his 90th birthday in 2022, is one of Russia’s pre-eminent composers and a regular composer and pianist of the Festival since 1997. His music is programmed on three Festival concerts this summer with the VFO.

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Martin T:son Engstroem, Founder & Director of the Verbier Festival, comments, “While we condemn both the actions of the Russian government and those who support them, we will not turn our backs on Russian musicians nor the great tradition of Russian music. Our festival was built on the value of inclusion. It’s in our DNA to bring people together during this difficult time.”

More information on the festival can be found here.

Main image: ©Nicolas Brodard