The Sion Festival 2021 - Between tradition and transgression

Dear friends,

Finally, here we are: the 56th edition of the Sion Festival will take place from August 20 to September 5, 2021. We invite you to celebrate with us the resuming of musical life, to share together the emotions provided by live music interpreted by deeply human artists, to share with us these intense, authentic moments of pure happiness. Music, life itself, takes back its place!

To do this, our Artistic Director Pavel Vernikov has invited some great musical friends to Sion, with whom he will explore, in particular, the “tradition / transgression” dualism. A good part of the programming for the 2021 edition consists of diversions, re-appropriations or arrangements of works from the past.

Between tradition and transgression

The famous duo Igudesman & Joo, masters in the art of cheekily interpreting the great classics and combining music and comedy, pay tribute to Beethoven in their own way - whose 250th birthday was celebrated in 2020. The no less renowned Janoska Ensemble, which has fun mixing genres with inventiveness, has chosen the Beatles as the patron saint of its new album Revolution. The Quintetto Bislacco revisits works from Bach to Parker with humour. The Agora Ensemble brings the arts into dialogue, collaborating with actress Anne Girouard in its version of Bizet's Arlésienne.

The Gabriadze Theatre (Tbilisi/Georgia) accompanies its enchanting puppets with stage music drawn from repertoires of the past and present. The concert by another Georgian ensemble, the Rustavi Choir, will juxtapose the rich and ancient musical heritage of this former Soviet republic with the spiritually infused work of Giya Kanceli - a composer from Tbilisi who died in 2019; on violin Svetlana Makarova and Pavel Vernikov. The Georgian Chamber Orchestra Ingoldstadt, conducted by Felix Korobov, will combine tradition - with Vivaldi and Mozart - and modernity - with Bardanashvili, Bartulis, Nyman and Sollima. The soloists for the opening concert of the festival will be Svetlana Makarova (violin), Pavel Vernikov (violin), Massimo Mercelli (flute) and Julia Zilberquit (piano).

Two world premieres

The Sion Festival is also committed to contemporary creation and has commissioned two works for its 56th edition. The first, a New Concerto Grosso, was written by the talented composer Richard Dubugnon from Lausanne and will be performed by the Sion Festival Orchestra under the direction of Gilbert Varga - the son of Tibor Varga.

The second commission was given to the French composer of Armenian origin Michel Petrossian; this is the compulsory piece for the 57th Tibor Varga International Violin Competition (28 August to 4 September 2021), whose two finals are included in the festival programme.

Among the more 'classical' proposals, we should mention that of the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Kolja Blacher (violin & conductor) and Sergei Babayan (piano), with Beethoven and Mozart on the programme, that of Sergei Krylov (violin) and Beatrice Magnani (piano), and the closing concert of the festival, to which Janine Jansen (violin) has invited her friends Timothy Ridout (viola), Torleif Thedéen (cello) and Denis Kozhukhin (piano). Janine Jansen and Timothy Ridout will also take part in the concert given by the Sion Festival Orchestra, together with Svetlana Makarova (violin) and Daniel Blendulf (cello).

Nomad and "street" music

Finally, the youth orchestra Ministrings from Lausanne will leave no one behind: under the artistic direction of Tina Strinning and Baiju Bhatt, it will take young and old on a journey with its nomadic music. Admission is free for children up to the age of 16. The concerts on the "Musique en fête" day are also free of charge; they will take place in the streets and squares of the old town of Sion on Saturday 21 August from 7 a.m. onwards, thanks to the commitment of the Cantonal Conservatory and the cultural partners of Sion.

We look forward to welcoming you, with joy and enthusiasm, and we are committed to providing you with the best possible welcome while respecting the health protection measures issued by the Federal Council. See you soon then!

The team of the Sion Festival

By your tickets from today, 1 June!

Ticketing will open in quotas, as and when the health restrictions are lifted.

Phone : 027 323 85 69

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