World-class pianists set to perform at the 2021 Verbier Festival

02 June 2021
By Ellie Palmer
Denis Matsuev, Evgeny Kissin, Fazil Say and Sergei Babayan are among the pianists set to feature

Switzerland-based Verbier Festival has announced its full programme for their 2021 edition, which is set to take place from 16 July to 1 August in the Swiss mountains.

Opening the festival this year are two concerts featuring pianist Denis Matsuev performing with the Verbier Festival Orchestra (VFO) and its Music Director, Valery Gergiev [16 July].

Festival favourite Evgeny Kissin will perform in a number of recitals and will also appear with Thomas Hampson for a special theatrical reading of Katherine Kressmann Taylor’s Address Unknown. This short story was written as a series of letters between a Jewish art dealer, living in San Francisco, and his business partner, who had returned to Germany in 1932, and has been credited as alerting America to the rise of Naziism.

Further pianists performing this summer include Fazil Say who appeared on the cover of issue 93 of Pianist – and Sergei Babayan, as well as Abisal Gergiev and Nobuyuki Tsujii, who both perform at the Festival for the first time. Canadian pianist Chilly Gonzales brings his latest release Solo Piano III to the festival in what promises to be a particularly memorable festival debut.

Japanese pianist Mao Fujita will make his debut on the Mainstage this summer with a focus on Mozart. Fujita will present all of Mozart’s Piano Sonatas over five recitals. Another special highlight is Maria João Pires’ first appearance at the festival, where she will be performing works by Schumann, Debussy and Beethoven at the Verbier Église with Augustin Dumay.

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Following guidance on safety, performances will last around 70 minutes and will be presented without intermission. Salle des Combins concerts will feature two performances most evenings, offering slightly different repertoire, and often different soloists, allowing audiences to attend two concerts under the tent or a second concert in the intimate setting of the Verbier Église the same evening.

You can view the full programme of events here.