Music in the Mountains
Experience music-making as breathtaking as the scenery at the ‘crème de la crème’ of European summer music festivals, in Switzerland’s Verbier, Davos and Gstaad Menuhin Festivals.
In glorious alpine and lakeside settings, enjoy a stellar line-up of world renowned orchestras, conductors and soloists at the Verbier Festival and the Gstaad Menuhin Festival. Regular performers at Verbier and Gstaad include Leonidas Kavakos, Mischa Maisky, Evgeny Kissin, Joshua Bell, Daniil Trifonov and Sabine Meyer. In between, spend two days at the Davos Chamber Music Festival, where each year gifted young musicians are invited to perform in ever-changing combinations.
Between performances, relax, refresh and reinvigorate in the glorious Swiss Alps, and enjoy jaw-dropping scenery on the famous Glacier Express.
Arrive in Geneva in the afternoon on suggested Qatar Airways flights via Doha. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your travel arrangements.
Make your way to the hotel and check in, before a special welcome dinner with Marshall and fellow music-lovers.
In the morning, depart Geneva for Verbier. Set high in the Swiss Alps, Verbier is located on a south-facing terrace in the Val de Bagnes, and its rolling grassy hills rise to meet the great alpine conifer forests, while in the distance some of the mountain tops still retain their snowcaps even at the height of summer.
This evening, attend the first of at least four performances in the Verbier Festival (schedule to be announced early 2018).
Each morning, attend a talk by Marshall on the day’s performance(s) and then enjoy concerts by some of the world’s great soloists accompanied by the Verbier Festival Orchestra and Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra.
(B, L or D)
The Verbier Festival
The brainchild of Swedish music historian and record executive Martin T:son Engström, the Verbier Festival was established in 1994, and was deliberately held away from the large cities in which classic music festivals are usually held so as to encourage a collaborative atmosphere between established and emerging musicians. In subsequent decades the Festival has grown to comprise the Verbier Festival Orchestra, the Vebier Festival Chamber Orchestra and most recently the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra, a special initiative of Engström to nourish young classical music talent. Along with up-and-coming performers, the Festival attracts some of the greatest musicians on the international circuit – Bryn Terfel, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Garrick Ohlsson, Joshua Bell, Leonidas Kavakos, Piotr Anderszewski and conductor James Levine to name but a few.
Check out from the hotel and travel to Davos via the scenic Glacier Express, a narrow gauge railway whose stunning views and triumph of civil engineering has seen it entered on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Opened in 1904, the Glacier Express (which connects the Albula and Bernina railways) links scores of tunnels and covered galleries which bore through the solid limestone of the Central Alps, and the construction of the railway opened the villages of these isolated valleys to the outside world.
Arrive in Davos in the late afternoon, and in the evening enjoy a performance in the Davos Chamber Music Festival, the first of at least four such performances (schedule to be announced in early 2018).
Enjoy introductory talks by Marshall for each day’s performance(s), followed by concerts in the Davos Festival in the morning and/or evening.
Also spend a morning visiting the charming lakeside village of St Moritz.
(B, L or D)
Established in 1986 by Michael Haefliger (who now directs the Lucerne Festival), the Davos Festival brings together young musicians on the threshold of great careers for two weeks of performances in ever-changing combinations. The Festival focuses on chamber music from the classical to the contemporary, drawing performers and audiences from around the world for its joyous, youthful energy. A chamber choir composed of 13 young Swiss singers performs works by the likes of Bach and Britten, and each year the Festival has a Composer-in-Residence who writes around a dozen pieces to be performed during the Festival.
In the morning, check out from the hotel and travel to Lucerne via Vaduz, capital of the tiny Principality of Liechtenstein. Nestled between Switzerland and Austria, Liechtenstein emerged from the labyrinthine politics of the Holy Roman Empire as an independent state, and has maintained that status ever since, now enjoying one of the highest standards of living in the world. With an area of only 160 sq km, the micro-state has a very particular national politics – during a constitutional dispute, an exasperated Prince Hans-Adam II once threatened to quit the country and sell the whole thing to Bill Gates! Fortunately, he relented.
Enjoy a guided tour of Vaduz followed by some free time to explore this little gem of the Alps.
In the afternoon, continue to Lucerne, and on arrival explore the town in a guided walking tour.
In the morning, visit the villa in Tribschen overlooking Lake Lucerne where Richard Wagner lived from 1866 to 1872, composing Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and parts of Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. Then continue to Gstaad in the afternoon.
This evening, enjoy a concert in the Gstaad Menuhin Festival.
Begin each day with a talk by Marshall on the upcoming concerts, and then enjoy performances in the Gstaad Menuhin Festival in the morning and/or evening (schedule to be announced by early 2018).
Travel to the nearby town of Gruyères for a guided tour of its picturesque castle, followed by visits to a cheese factory and a chocolate factory.
On the last day, celebrate the conclusion of two weeks of glorious classical music in the Swiss Alps with a special farewell lunch with Marshall and fellow travellers.
(B, L or D)
Gstaad Menuhin Festival
Famed violinist Yehudi Menuhin founded the Gstaad Festival (later named in his honour) in 1957. He had moved to the area with his family earlier in the decade, and was enchanted by Gstaad’s blend of German-speaking culture with Italian influences. The Festival brings together acclaimed international musicians such as Joshua Bell, Sabine Meyer, Andras Schiff, Hélène Grimaud and Alfred Brendel to perform with friends and collaborators, as Lord Menuhin said, “in a relaxed atmosphere”. The Festival is now one of the highlights of the Swiss summer, with more than 50 concerts performed over a two-month period, ranging from Baroque to Classical, Romantic and contemporary classical music.
Check out from the hotel and transfer to Geneva Airport in time for flights departing from 15:00 onwards. Tour arrangements conclude on arrival at Geneva Airport.
Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements.
*Single travellers may request to share.
Please advise at time of booking.
Final payment due
01 June 2018
Please see booking conditions for fitness level definitions.
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for current airfares and flight reservations.
Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa to visit Switzerland.
Tour price includes
- Premium (category 1) tickets to all included performances
- Pre-performance talks by your tour leader, Marshall McGuire
- Accommodation in centrally located 4 and 5 star hotels with breakfast daily (B)
- Other meals as per itinerary (to be confirmed; L = Lunch, D = Dinner), including wine with dinners
- Comprehensive sightseeing, including local guides and entrance fees as per itinerary
- Transportation throughout on comfortable, air-conditioned coaches
- Gratuities for local guides and drivers
- Hotel porterage (one piece per person)
Tour price does not include
- International airfares (please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
- Airport/hotel transfers on arrival and departure
- Items of a personal nature, including telephone, laundry, taxis, room service etc.
- Travel insurance (a condition of travel; please contract Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
Geneva – Warwick Geneva ****+
Verbier – Hotel Nevai ****+
Davos – Hotel Seehof Davos *****
Lucerne – Renaissance Lucerne Hotel ****
Gstaad – La Grand Bellevue *****
NB. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted