"There are enough conservatories and academies of music, of course," Pierre Boulez points out, "but they often give short shrift to contemporary music." Which is why he founded the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY in 2004, a sort of école supérieur in which 130 highly gifted young musicians from all corners of the globe deepen their performance of twentieth- and twenty-first-century music in daily rehearsals, workshops, and lessons. "We focus on a brief period, roughly three weeks altogether, and on a few special works and topics," Boulez explains. "And there are world premières every year, so the students can learn from practical experience what 'music of today' really means."
As far as Wolfgang Rihm is concerned, it is important to continue leading the Academy in the tradition of its founder Pierre Boulez, thereby further expanding the intensive interchange among top-class young instrumentalists, conductors, and composers. “For young artists it can be tremendously enlightening to work with composers from their own time. It often happens that misleading, myopic views that are commonplace impede access to the reality of a score. Conversely, an encounter with praxis is often essentially more important for young composers than yet another turn of the artificial screw. For imagination also arises from knowledge of the technical conditions for realizing a score. And so this is what we expect from an Academy: that cultural spheres of knowledge and skill will be brought into mutual contact, shaping and enhancing each other in terms of the potential for understanding and realization. A musical text requires a performance that makes it a reality. Yet this is a form of prefigured understanding. Academy is dialogue!