New Artistic Director for the Settimane Musicali Ascona as of 2026

Christoph Müller

Starting with the 81st edition in 2026, the cultural manager from Basel, Christoph Müller (54), will take over the artistic management of the Settimane Musicali Ascona.

Müller, who will step down from his 24-year tenure as the Artistic Director of the Gstaad Menuhin Festival in the autumn of 2025, was unanimously elected by the SMA Board of Trustees to succeed Francesco Piemontesi. In addition to his role as Artistic Director, Müller will also serve as an advisor for the ongoing development and repositioning of this storied festival. He will begin his duties in the autumn of 2025 and present his first programme at the start of 2026.

Francesco Ressiga Vacchini, the president of the Board of Trustees, expressed his enthusiasm:
“We are delighted to have Christoph Müller, an experienced and successful producer and promoter of musical and cultural events as well as orchestra director, to guide SMA into its 9th decade. We are confident that his innovative ideas, exciting artistic approaches, extensive experience with complementary initiatives, and vast network will significantly propel the SMA forward!”

Christoph Müller:
“I am honoured to take on the artistic management of such a prestigious and major festival in Ticino. I have lots of ideas and projects in mind for enhancing its diversity and broad appeal while solidifying its already excellent national and international reputation. My intention is to attract new audiences to Ticino and tap into existing potential.”

Biographical information:
Born in 1970, Christoph Müller is a cultural manager from Basel, and he is also a trained cellist. Since 1996, he has been involved with the Basel Chamber Orchestra in various capacities, including as cellist and managing director. In 2011, he took on the role of ‘artistic delegate’ and Concert Manager for this renowned orchestra. Following the festival season, Müller will step down from his position as Artistic Director of the Gstaad Menuhin Festival & Academy, a role he has held for 24 years. During his tenure, he transformed the festival from a purely musical event into a diverse institution with a strong focus on nurturing young talent, a conducting academy, and its own festival orchestra. Under his leadership, audience numbers grew from 14,000 to over 27,000. Since the 1999/2000 season, Müller and the Swiss Classics agency developed the Lucerne Chamber Circle at the KKL Lucerne. In Basel, he has launched several successful music projects over the past decade, including the long-term Haydn2032 project, the Basel Composition Competition, the interdisciplinary “Erasmus klingt” Festival, and the Classical Stars A-Cappella. He also initiated the transformation of the “Musik- und Kulturzentrum Don Bosco Basel”, which opened in 2020. In 2006, Müller co-founded the Solsberg Festival with cellist Sol Gabetta. The festival will celebrate its 20th edition next year.

Find out more about Christoph Müller:


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