Our vision, which began 10 years ago, was to establish Klosters as a first-class musical location in both winter and summer with the aim of creating a sustainable season in summer as well as winter in our beautiful alpine location.

The annual season of Klosters Christmas Concerts was founded by Geoff Richards and Claude Schauerte in 2010 and quickly became established as a popular and high-profile winter event in the region, drawing an audience of local people, regular visitors and tourists. The Christmas concerts have demonstrated that there is a genuine demand and enthusiasm locally for bringing high-quality international live music to both local and visiting audiences in Klosters. At the same time, Klosters itself has proved itself to be unusually well positioned to host live-music events: it has a concert venue with exceptional acoustics, the St. Jakob’s Church, and the village has sufficient infrastructure, hotels and restaurants in particular, to support the influx of local, national and international visitors that a successful festival would hope to attract. The concept of the highest quality artists, from across a number of musical genres, performing against the spectacular backdrop of the Alps, is a compelling proposition.

In July / August 2017, a committed and hard-working team of people, both board members & volunteers, created Klosters’ first summer music festival which was a huge success and received outstanding critical acclaim. The programme for the inaugural summer music festival across five days reflected the Festival’s core vision: to turn Klosters itself into an immersive live-music space, one which celebrates the very best of both local and global musical talent on a single stage. Audiences were invited to move between venues and locations, experiencing different musical styles and genres in different spaces, hearing chamber music or acapella male voices in the morning, brass bands and folk music in the afternoon, a symphony orchestra or a film in the evening, followed by late-night jazz. A new Arena, purpose-built for the Festival and sympathetically designed to suit the environment it sits within, facilitated this sense of collapsing the walls between the outside world and the music inside, allowing the live music and the environment it is experienced in to move closer to each other. Audiences could curate their own pathways, choosing a handful of events as an accompaniment to their outdoor walking or cycling holiday, or take on the full festival experience and fill their days meeting the artists and moving from venue to venue.

The choice of artists and repertoire was carefully planned to reflect the Festival’s philosophy. A roster of extraordinary musicians from around the world, headed by the sensational trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger, performed programmes that were designed to both delight and intrigue audiences: Brett Dean alongside Haydn and Hummel is just one example. Alongside, there were events and artists that celebrated and showcased the very best of Switzerland’s and Klosters’ musical heritage: the virtuoso Swiss accordionist, Viviane Chassot, performed Haydn and Piazolla; brass bands and folk musicians from the neighbouring valleys performed afternoon informal concerts in the Festival tent.

Giving the whole village a “festival feel” is central to the ethos and planning. The vision is to create an experience that everyone can feel part of: local residents can feel proud of it; visiting tourists and audiences should feel welcomed and invited; regular summer visitors will plan their holidays around it; local hoteliers, restauranteurs and business owners should feel like partners in it, benefiting from the Festival enough in order to want to make it central to their own tourism planning.

It should bring together people throughout Klosters and the wider region for mutual gain. The village should be alive with music over its five-day duration. In the longer term, the hope is that the Klosters Music Festival will be seen as a destination event and become an essential part of the regional, national and international social calendar.