The 2017 Festival International Echternach kicks off on June 9, with British violinist Daniel Hope, this year’s artist-in-residence.
The festival runs through July 14, bringing a lineup of international artists to the eastern Luxembourg town. Classic and jazz concerts will be held at the Trifolion, Basilica, St. Peter and Paul Church, and--for the first time--the pavilion of the municipal park. Open-air concerts will also take place in the courtyard of the town abbey, as in years past.
This year’s artist-in-residence is Daniel Hope, winner of the 2015 European Cultural Prize for Music. The Observer hails the violinist as “among the best in the world as well as the most thoughtful”. Hope, who now resides in Germany, has recorded over 25 albums and written several books. He’s also a musical activist, supporting charities such as Live Music Now, which aims to provide underprivileged children with training in music and performance.
Currently on tour, Hope nevertheless sent his greetings via video message during the 28 March press conference, noting that he is “especially happy to play Philip Glass’ violin concerto [No. 1] with the Luxembourg [Philharmonic] Orchestra” on 6 July, given that this year marks 80th anniversary of the American composer. Hope plays with pianist Simon Crawford-Phillips on 9 June and 11 June, with Josephine Knight joining for the latter concert.
Music from around the world
Other highlights of the festival include soprano Mojca Erdmann playing alongside the delian::quartett for a Luxembourg premiere on 24 June. The National Jazz Orchestra, under the director of Gast Waltzing, will also perform with Morgane Ji, a Reunion-born vocalist who now calls France home, and Jan Hasenöhrl on trumpet on 8 July. And Cape Verdean Carmen Souza and her quarter join forces with the South African Nomfusi sextet on 12 July for what Waltzing calls “smiley music”.
A focus on young talent
Hope teaches a free masterclass on 10 June in collaboration with the Luxembourg City Conservatory.
This year there’s also a “Jazz for Kids” event on 8 July, with the band of the Echternach regional school of music playing, with animation provided by Marc Demuth and Georges Urwald.
While Echternach is perhaps best known for its hopping profession (which in 2010 was added to the Unesco list of intangible cultural heritage), organisers explained during the conference that they hope the lineup will attract a wide crowd, despite what they acknowledge can be somewhat “difficult” genres of music in terms of promotion.
The festival will close with an anniversary concert with Jeannot Sanavia’s work “Stratigraphica”, played by the Musique Militaire Grand-Ducale de Luxembourg, which was founded in the former Echternach abbey in 1842.
Shuttle buses are available to transport concert-goers between the Glacis in Luxembourg City and Echternach (€5 per person); reservations are required. For additional information and the full programme, visit www.echternachfestival.lu.