Numa Bischof Ullmann


Numa Bischof Ullmann

Since 2004 with the Orchestra

Numa Bischof Ullmann

Beyond the orchestra’s regional roots, its international positioning has been developed under Numa Bischof Ullmann’s guidance and is being greatly expanded to this day.

Basel-born Numa Bischof Ullmann has been artistic director of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra since 2004. Under his leadership, the orchestra has become one of the foremost Swiss orchestras. His achievements include the enlargement of the orchestra, the appointment of former principal conductor James Gaffigan, and the international positioning of the ensemble. He has also been responsible for establishing partnerships with CD labels and an increase in the number of appearances. Since 2004 the orchestra’s budget has nearly doubled. Today, the orchestra performs in the world’s major cultural hubs and makes recordings for first-class labels such as harmonia mundi, Sony BMG and Warner Classics.

Beyond the orchestra’s regional roots, its international positioning has been developed under Numa Bischof Ullmann’s guidance and is being greatly expanded to this day. The orchestra has toured and given guest performances in numerous European capitals, South America and on several occasions in Asia.

Bishop Ullmann took a fresh approach to the financing and organisation of this cultural institution by establishing the private “Lucerne Symphony Orchestra Trust” in 2008, which is financed by leading Swiss entrepreneurs. This approach made possible the expansion of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra by 20 musicians and ensures the preservation of the institution for future generations.

Under his aegis, a full-time position for the music outreach programme was established in 2006, a novelty among Swiss symphony orchestras at that time. In 2014, the Music Truck emerged as a successful product of this programme.

Bishop Ullmann attaches particular importance to the promotion of new music. In keeping with this, several new compositions have been commissioned under his direction, such as the Nähe Fern cycle by Wolfgang Rihm and works by Sofia Gubaidulina and Thomas Adès. The world premiere of Rodion Shchedrin’s new concerto for piano, cello and orchestra in 2011, dedicated to Martha Argerich, is one of the milestones of his artistic success. He is also keen to promote young talent and has institutionalised his commitment through the Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne Award for Young Composers in collaboration with the Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne in 2010, the Arthur Waser Prize in collaboration with the Arthur Waser Foundation in 2013 and the Rising Stars concert series in collaboration with the Strebi Foundation in 2016.

In addition to his work with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Numa Bischof Ullmann is the founder and artistic director of the Festival Zaubersee – Tage Russischer Musik in Lucerne, and was vice-president of the umbrella association of Swiss professional orchestras from 2010 to 2015. In this capacity, he initiated the Œuvres Suisse project in collaboration with Pro Helvetia, which promotes a new repertoire of contemporary Swiss orchestral works.

He is also a member of the board of trustees of an international foundation, serves on the advisory board of both Zurich Minds and another cultural foundation, and has served on the juries of various competitions, such as the International Busoni Piano Competition 2011 and the International Gilmore Award, USA (2011-2015).

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