Run up to the 68th edition
The first edition of the Settimane Musicali of Ascona took place in 1946 thanks to the initiative of the Ascona Lawyer Leone Ressiga Vacchini, with support of the pianist Alessandro Chasen and, at a later stage, also the composer Wladimir Vogel, resident of Ascona with Russian origins, became involved in the event.
In the first years six to seven concerts where held within one week, and most often in a venue that normally was used as a dance hall! At the opening of the new school building in September 1949, the location of the concerts was transferred to what was referred to as the “School Hall” which, in reality, was the gym hall.
When the event was moved from spring to the autumn season the number of concerts increased and were held at the school hall until 1969. In 1968, thanks to the good will of the authorities of the Churches Collegio Papio and San Francesco the concerts where transferred to the two Churches, where the concerts have continued to be held to the present time.
These two beautiful buildings, offering excellent acoustics and allowing the musicians and the audience to experience the concerts in an enchanting atmosphere, fully concentrated and filled with pure enjoyment of the musical performance. The distinctive traits of the concerts, great music performed by great musicians, were defined right from the beginning years of the event. In fact it can be said that almost all the world’s most renowned classical musicians have performed in Ascona at least once, some indeed have returned several times.
An important contribution to this Festival has been the constant presence of the Swiss Italian Orchestra, from which the Settimane Musicali Festival emerged and developed. Until this day the ensemble participates regularly in the Festival with three concerts per year.
The composition of the program, where all genres of classical music are represented, remains constant and allows the presentation of 6 to 7 symphony concerts, 2 or 3 chamber music evenings or choirs as well as 5 to 6 single instrument recitals and small chamber ensembles (duet, trio, quartet).