The Verbier Festival is an international classical music event that takes place each summer in the mountain town of Verbier, Switzerland. The Festival’s mission is to build a community of exchange between great masters and young artists from all over the world and to be a leader in its field by providing meaningful music education programmes.
The Verbier Festival Story
A Crazy Idea
A no-through-road. A cul-de-sac at 1,500 metres above sea level, enclosed by magnificent mountain peaks. It was here, in the val de Bagnes, in the Canton of Valais, at the top of a road winding up in switchbacks to a winter sports resort, that the Verbier Festival was born. It’s hard now to imagine how steep the ascent would have to be. Verbier’s fame was that of an Alpine resort, associated with the splendour of snow, known for its extraordinary ski slopes. A lot of people thought Martin T:son Engstroem was a little unhinged. Bring pianos up to Verbier? Transport percussion instruments, double basses? Set up a tent for 1,800 people? Import an orchestra of a hundred musicians? Ridiculous. Verbier was a no-man’s-land as far as classical music was concerned. Of course, Alpine air refreshes the lungs, and once up there you can feel the benefit. That’s all very well, but how could anyone believe that great artists, used to playing in fine concert halls all through the season, would go along with such a bizarre notion? Indeed, right from the start Engstroem was setting the bar high. And he could have no idea how much his project was going to take hold of an Alpine community more accustomed to the vagaries of snow than to those of classical music luminaries.
25 Years at the Top
Find all the most memorable moments of the Verbier Festival in our anniversary book published by Éditions Noir sur Blanc.
Discover the first part of this marvellous adventure. Book available in bookstores and online