Everything transformed!

  16.02.2024 Arts & Culture, Events, Menuhin Festival & Academy, Business, Arts & Culture

The new Gstaad Menuhin Festival & Academy programme is officially out. The 68th edition of the festival is all about transformation – and is increasingly breaking new ground beyond the well-trodden, purely classical paths. What exactly will this look like? We asked Artistic Director Christoph Müller.

Is everything new in the 2024 edition?
“No, no,” laughs Christoph Müller. “But we are actively trying out new formats and overcoming musical boundaries between styles. This is best expressed in the ‘Trans-Classics’ series with over ten concerts.” (To categorise the terms Transformation and Trans-Classics, see online).

What exactly is meant by “Trans-Classics”?
“We will hear and see musicians who mix genres, styles and eras or break new ground in terms of forms of expression and interpretation,” explains Müller and immediately provides examples from the current programme: “When a guitarist with baroque orchestra accompaniment combines Vivaldi and Bach with Beatles songs or when breakdancers dance to Mozart, we view this as exciting and innovative, as a concert format with experiential value.”

Is there a demand for these trans formats?
Clearly, at least according to Artistic Director Müller. “It’s a phenomenon of temporal and social change.” According to Müller, in the Baroque and Classical periods, people were still drinking, eating and burping during concerts, as well as talking, dancing and even making love. “From the Biedermeier and Romantic eras onwards, however, the emerging educated middle classes established a concert form whose rituals are still influential today: We have a dress code for the musicians, but also for the audience. Applause is only given at certain moments in the concert programme or at the entrance and exit: this happens exactly according to a prescribed plan.”

Fortunately, classical music organisers have recognised that new audiences and upcoming generations have different expectations of the live experience: They want to be entertained! “The boundary between ‘E’ and ‘U’ music is becoming fluid. For the classic concert format, it is no longer enough to follow the same patterns and routines,” the Artistic Director is convinced. He even says: “I would venture to say that there will be no more pure classical music festivals in ten years’ time.”

Will there be more change?
“Yes, there will be a new venue for the first time in the 2024 edition: the Berghaus Eggli and the lounge on the Eggli,” Müller explains. There will also be a live DJ act following a classical concert programme for the first time.

Are there any tradition left?
With such a remarkable number of performances to entertain the audience, new venues and a break from traditional concert forms and other surprises, one might ask: do we still recognise the Gstaad Menuhin Festival & Academy? “Absolutely,” replies Christoph Müller with a smile. “The concerts in the Trans-mission format (see online) are dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of musical values and works. Mozart, for example, honours his idol in his quartets dedicated to Haydn.” The fact that the organisers have once again invited great artists who have already honoured the festival in the past also contributes to a more traditional continuity: Patricia Kopatchinskaja will once again perform in the “Music for the Planet” series, while world star Hélène Grimaud will play three concerts. Sir András Schiff, Jan Lisiecki, Sol Gabetta and Bomsori Kim are also artists who have already enriched the festival in previous editions.

Advance tickets for the concerts are on sale now. Further information at: www.gstaadmenuhinfestival.ch


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