With some one hundred events, LUCERNE FESTIVAL in Summer is the largest of this distinguished threesome. Every year since 2003 it has opened with a concert given by the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA, an elite ensemble conducted by Claudio Abbado and composed of internationally renowned soloists, chamber musicians, music teachers and some fifty members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. The LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY, founded by Pierre Boulez in 2004, gives the festival its own educational institution for highly gifted young musicians, who are specially initiated into the performance of 20th and 21st century music. Besides cultivating the standard repertoire with the best performers the world has to offer, LUCERNE FESTIVAL is also deeply committed to modern music. Every summer it appoints one or two composers-in-residence and focuses on their music. It also appoints stellar artists who are actively involved in designing the festival's programmes and present their art in a wide range of contexts. Finally, each season is given over to a particular theme, which governs the programming policy.
The youngest of the three festivals is LUCERNE FESTIVAL at the Piano, held annually each November since 1998 and devoted exclusively to the art of piano playing. Classical pianists and famous jazzmen, new virtuosos and established masters, pianists, organists, and harpsichord players: all come to Lucerne for a week to fill the air with recitals, concerts and improvisations.
Founded in 1988, LUCERNE FESTIVAL at Easter spans ten days during Lent, up to and including Palm Sunday, and places an emphasis on sacred music.