Our history since 1805

1805 until today

If you go to Lucerne for a concert today, you can be sure that you will hear an exemplary, a classical Haydn.

At its very first performances in 1806, the orchestra consisted of a handful of music lovers playing Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven with great enthusiasm. The concerts were well attended from the outset, and the residents of Lucerne dressed up to go to the “Comödiensaal der Jesuiten”. That was more than 200 years ago, making the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester the oldest orchestra in Switzerland.

Those concerts must have sounded pretty hair-raising. Meanwhile, if you go to Lucerne for a concert today, you can be sure that you will hear exemplary, classical Haydn with eight – eight – four – four – two: the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester with reduced forces. You know that you won’t be listening to a bunch of old men, but to a young, well-mixed orchestra, often giving a new work a first hearing with timpani and trumpets. Or you will hear an orchestra that knows how to accompany both young and established soloists with equal agility and composure. And in the Lucerne Theatre, if you find yourself marvelling at how different, how baroque it suddenly sounds from the pit – that too is the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester.

While elsewhere, especially in Switzerland, orchestras fear for their existence, the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester is on a steady upward trajectory. The new hall in the KKL has released strengths that are being harnessed by the musicians, principal conductor and administration in an extremely creative way – and the audience has given their seal of  approval. It is becoming increasingly clear that music in Lucerne is not only associated with the Lucerne Festival, but increasingly with the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester.

– Peter Hagmann, music critic, Neue Zürcher Zeitung (2009)

What began as a society of urban music-lovers with two dozen members has today become a remarkable orchestra of around seventy musicians that realises ambitious projects with young and aspiring conductors. The orchestra is now making a name for itself far beyond Lucerne with its exquisite CD productions, guest performances and international tours.

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