Intendant Christoph Müller has led the festival into the 21st century with great success, combining tradition and innovation, international stars and rising young talents, chamber music and symphonic music in well-balanced proportions. The sixty-odd concerts are held in Saanenland’s, Pays-d’Enhaut and Obersimmental’s beautiful, historical churches noted for their outstanding acoustics as well as in the elegant Festival Tent in Gstaad. A high-flying academic offer completes the picture.
The ballet of the great European music capitals is pursued on the heights of Gstaad: after the Parisian frenzies, the Gstaad Menuhin Festival heads east in the summer of 2020 towards Vienna, capital of the waltz and temple of classicism, city of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Schönberg… In short, a city that breathes music. Christoph Müller was keen to celebrate the full range of its fantastic heritage, from the Italian jewels dear to the imperial court of the Baroque period to the most modern and grating pages characteristic of the inimitable “Schmäh” – Viennese humor –, not to mention the great masters, Beethoven in particular, an absolute must in this 250th anniversary year, with over twenty concerts that are either completely or partly dedicated to him.
Among the shower of stars invited to the heart of the mountains this summer: tenor Jonas Kaufmann (starring in “Fidelio” under the direction of Jaap van Zweden), clarinettist Andreas Ottensamer (in residency for five concerts), “Baroque popes” René Jacobs (launching into Beethoven’s “Missa solemnis” two nights in a row) and Christophe Rousset (conducting his Talens Lyriques in Mozart’s “The Magic Flute”), countertenor Philippe Jaroussky (accompanied by L’Arpeggiata), pianist Yuja Wang (back with violinist Leonidas Kavakos), actor Klaus Maria Brandauer (who will be reading texts by Beethoven and Wagner in a dialogue with Sebastian Knauer’s piano), violinist Renaud Capuçon (in Beethoven’s all too rare Romances under Sylvain Cambreling’s direction), not to mention the “Diabelli Variations” revisited by Mitsuko Ushida, the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin by Isabelle Faust, and the return of Sir Antonio Pappano at the head of his Académie Sainte-Cécile de Rome in Beethoven’s Seventh.