If you had to choose only one classical musical festival to go to, this would probably be the one. Nestled on the slopes of the south-facing Swiss Alps that border with Italy, Verbier owes its reputation as much to its daring skiing as it does to its music festival. Every year, for 17 days in late July and early August, the festival attracts the grandees of classical music, many of them year after year, because they like coming to Verbier so much.
Founded in 1994 by an artists’ agent, Verbier Festival is not just another concert hall, albeit in a dramatically beautiful environment. The idea from the very beginning was to create a fertile meeting ground between experienced musicians and the up-and-coming generation. The Academy and two orchestras, Verbier Festival Orchestra and Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra have become a formidable springboard for young musicians.
The planetary stars that perform year in year out at Verbier include conductor Charles Dutoit at the head of the Verbier Festival Orchestra, who opens this year's festival with violin legend Kyung Wha Chung. Also US violinist Joshua Bell, French cellist Gautier Capuçon and conductor Emmanuel Krivine.
There are also many free activities in the Fest'Off, which includes jazz concerts, master classes and rehearsals, as well as special walks in the the mountains.