The Lucerne Festival Strings have been one of the «most distinguished chamber orchestras in Europe»¹ and have ranked for more 60 years now as the leading chamber orchestra of Central Switzerland. The Australian-Swiss violinist Daniel Dodds has been artistic director and leader of the orchestra since 2012.
The very busy Lucerne Festival Strings offers a deliberately wide-ranging repertoire in its own concert series at the Lucerne KKL, as guest ensemble at the Lucerne Festival, in the recording studio and on tour. Since its foundation in 1956, it has premiered more than one hundred works, compositions by Jean Françaix, Frank Martin, Bohuslav Martinu, Sándor Veress, Iannis Xenakis, Krzysztof Penderecki, Klaus Huber and Peter Ruzicka among them.
For more than forty years, from the ensemble's establishment, Rudolf Baumgartner played a role as a performing artist and in due course as conductor and artistic director of the «Strings», as citizens of Lucerne affectionately refer to the orchestra with its basic core of twenty one musicians. Apart from Baumgartner, formative influence derived from his fellow-founder, the legendary Viennese violinist Wolfgang Schneiderhan and the master pupils of his who originally joined him in the violin section; they were oriented towards the Austro-Hungarian string tradition and its special «golden sound».²
The core consisting of sixteen to seventeen string soloists and a harpsichordist can be expanded depending on requirements, so that the ensemble can perform as an approximately 25-strong chamber orchestra or, for symphonic repertoire, as an up to 60-strong «real top-ranking orchestra».³ In smaller chamber groupings, the Festival Strings Lucerne Chamber Players also have their place in the concert schedule.
¹ Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, March 11, 2013
² Washington Post, November 11, 2003
³ Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, April 29, 2013