Lucerne Festival Director Michael Haefliger Steps Down
By the time his contract ends, Haefliger will have directed the festival for a quarter of a century
Michael Haefliger, who has directed the Lucerne Festival since 1999, has decided not to renew his current contract, which comes to an end in 2025. His list of achievements during his tenure is immense — including the founding of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and the establishment of the Lucerne Festival Academy.
The festival's Board of Trustees has already appointed a search committee to find Haefliger's replacement, and at present, they are hoping to name the new Director by the fourth quarter of 2023.
The committee is comprised of Markus Hongler (Chairman), Christian Casal, Christoph Franz, Executive Councillor Marcel Schwerzmann, and Anne Schwöbel — as well as Elisabeth Sobotka (Artistic Director of the Bregenz Festival) and Stefan Dohr (principal horn of the Berlin Philharmonic).
"Naturally, this decision was not easy for me," Haefliger said. "But by the end of 2025, I will have directed Lucerne Festival for 26 years. That is a very long time in which I have had the privilege, honor, and pleasure to develop and shape this unique festival.
"I am very proud of and grateful for what we have been able to achieve during this time, together with the team and our many loyal partners, as well as with the support of the city and canton of Lucerne," he added.
"It is the right moment to pass this jewel along into new hands. But before that, I will devote myself to the Festival over the next three years with great passion and energy — this has not changed. I look forward to everything that is yet to come."
"It is not yet time to say goodbye to Michael Haefliger," said Markus Hongler, the Chairman of the festival's Board of Trustees. "We will be able to benefit from his extraordinary skills for another three years, as he has just launched three new Festival projects."
"But I am very grateful to him for informing us of his decision at this stage, which gives us enough time to find his successor. This will be a very demanding task, since Michael Haefliger set new international standards during his time at Lucerne Festival and brought the Festival worldwide recognition, from which the city and region of Lucerne have in turn benefited."