In August 1938, in the gardens facing Richard Wagner's villa in Tribschen, the legendary Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini gathered together renowned soloists, virtuoso chamber musicians, and an orchestra filled from the ranks of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Switzerland was independent and free of the growing Nazi menace, a perfect setting for a music festival.
Ever since that inaugural date, Lucerne has attracted the musical crême de la crême every summer down to the present day: orchestras and conductors, vocal and instrumental soloists, and ensembles from every corner of the globe.
In the summer of 2012 the Lucerne Festival explored the relationship between music and faith. through a wide spectrum of music, ranging from Mendelssohn's "Reformation" Symphony and Verdi's theatrical Requiem to Stravinsky's Latin "Symphony of Psalms" and Schoenberg's opera "Moses und Aron". Andris Nelsons, guest conductor, conducted Beethoven's Ninth and Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony.
Lucerne, with its magnificent lakeside setting and mountain views, is a pleasure to explore. It boasts medieval squares, frescoed houses, ancient guildhalls, historic churches and a fine array of museums. Its al fresco cafe culture ensures that it is a lively place; the main Pilautsstrasse boulevard, with its cafés, bars and restaurants, is a thriving night-time hub.