Discover the mythical Matterhorn to the sound of a music festival brimming with youthful talent.

Zermatt Festival at Riffelalp

Zermatt is home to one of the more delightful musical events on the classical circuit. The Zermatt Music Festival & Academy takes place in September and this year joins in the celebration of the 150 years since the Matterhorn was first climbed. Under the iconic outline of Switzerland’s most famous mountain, the charming and car-less mountain village of Zermatt hosts an average of two concerts a day over 10 days, many of them free.

Published on Time Out Switzerland

A combination of internationally recognized musicians and up-and-coming talents performing all over the town explains the popular appeal of the event. The 2015 edition stands out with several compositions from 1865, the year the Matterhorn was ascended for the first time, concerts in the elegant Riffelalp chapel that stands alone high above Zermatt at 2,222 m and a roll call of some stunning young musical talents. And this year, one of the festival concerts will take place outside Zermatt at the Fondation Pierre Gianadda in Martigny

There is of course the usual fare of internationally recognized musicians with the pianist and conductor Christian Zacharias and the baritone Stephan Genz. They join forces with the Scharoun Ensemble Berlin, an eight-member offshoot of the world-famous Berlin Symphonic Orchestra that since 2005 has dedicated its yearly residence to the festival.

Because one of the purposes is to attract and showcase the remarkable young musicians who are coming up through the ranks, the Zermatt Festival Academy, with participants from all over the world, and Zermatt Festival Orchestra serve as a launching pad for many a new career. As a result, there is a freshness that matches the mountain air. The Lausanne-based record company, Chaves, is an enterprising partner in the event.

So look out this year for Regula Mühlemann, and her lovely soprano in Mozart, Swiss-French pianist Cédric Pescia in Schuman and Busoni, and the exciting Norwegian pianist Joachim Carr in his hallmark Scarlatti with a zest of Alban Berg.

Her Mozartian soprano opens the festival on 11 September

Her Mozartian soprano opens the festival on 11 September

The young Norwegian pianist performs at he Rieffelalp Chapel on 14 September

The young Norwegian pianist performs at he Rieffelalp Chapel on 14 September

Michèle Laird, née Haffner, trained as a journalist, became an international arts administrator (visual arts and theatre), successively in Paris, New York and London before moving to Switzerland, where she now covers the art beat and presides several associations.

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