Rodion Shchedrin at Verbier Festival 2008

The small Swiss town of Verbier - a popular winter ski resort with beautiful slopes - turned in this summer already for the 15th time to a place of memorable encounters with the great stars of classical music and talented young artists. With its magnificent location in the heart of the Alps and located at an altitude of 1500 meters, Verbier offers a unique natural landscape as a backdrop for a festival. The festival has increasingly become a pilgrimage site for performers and supporters of high quality music since its founding in 1994.

Rodion Shchedrin belongs to the popular guests of the festival. In recent years, his works appeared repeatedly at the top of the list of programs of the festival. Some of his compositions even were performed for the first time in Verbier (e.g. on 28 July 2007, the "Romantic Duets," - seven pieces for piano for four hands, dedicated to Martin T:son Engström, the artistic director of the festival).

For this year Shchedrin received again a composition contract by the organizers of the Verbier Festival. It was a work for cello and piano, the "Belcanto in the Russian Mode." Misha Maisky, one of the greatest cellists of the present, to whom the piece was presented as a gift from Shchedrin own hands played it for the first time. At the premiere on July, 29th he was sensitively accompanied by Shchedrin personally on the piano.

With a glittering conclusion program went on August, 3rd the 15th Verbier Festival came to an end. In the completely sold out concert hall "Salle Médran" played the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev the piano concerto by Ravel - with Hélène Grimaud as soloist - and Mahler's fifth symphony (in C-minor). It also sang the Russian mezzo-soprano Kristina Kapustinskaya the aria of Grusha from Shchedrin's very popular opera "The Enchanted Wanderer".