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Festival organ marks completion of Lucerne culture centre

The completed organ adds the finishing touch to Lucerne's Culture and Congress Centre Keystone

The Lucerne International Music Festival gets underway on Thursday with the inauguration of a new concert organ, which has more than 60 registers.

This content was published on August 16, 2000 - 11:10

Its function will be both as part of a large symphonic orchestra and as a solo instrument in the main auditorium of Lucerne's Culture and Congress Centre. Its inauguration is seen as the final jewel in the crown of the highly acclaimed building, completed two years ago.

Built by Goll AG of Lucerne, the organ is based on the so-called French-Romantic sound ideal and can be played on a purely mechanical basis - which allows for optimum sound.

The theme of this year's festival is "Metamorphoses" - the second part of a trilogy about change. Last year it was "Myths" and in 2001 it will be "Creation".

As usual in Lucerne, many of the world's leading musicians will be performing at the festival, which ends on September 16. They include the pianists Martha Argerich, Alfred Brendel and Andras Schiff, the clarinettist Sabine Meyer, and conductors Riccardo Chailly, Zubin Mehta and Kurt Masur.

Bernard Haitink is conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in place of Claudio Abbado, who has had to stand down for health reasons. Another absentee - also for reasons of health - is the violinist Isaac Stern, who made his European debut at Lucerne in 1948 and has just celebrated his 80th birthday.

Two anniversaries will be celebrated with concerts - the 250th anniversary of the death of Johann Sebastian Bach and the 75thbirthday of the French composer and conductor, Pierre Boulez, who will conduct the London Symphony Orchestra.

by Richard Dawson

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