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Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne

Renaud Capuçon, artistic director

The Lausanne Chamber Orchestra (OCL), founded in 1942 by violinist Victor Desarzens, has flourished to become today one of Europe’s most sought-after chamber orchestras in Europe. With about forty instrumentalists, the OCL is a classical style orchestra, covering a vast repertoire ranging from early Baroque to contemporary music.

From its beginnings, the OCL has been invited abroad, participating at the Festival of Aix-en-Provence ever since its second edition. Concert tours in Germany and the United States have been a resounding success, as were its more recent performances at the Theatre of Champs Elysées in Paris and at the BBC Proms in London. Among the OCL’s recent guest appearances, it is worth mentioning the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, the Rostropovich Festival in Moscow, the Istanbul Festival, the Wiener Konzerthaus, the Berliner Philharmonie, the Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, the Rostropovich Festival Baku, Azerbaijan and, in October 2020 the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

The OCL’s concerts showcase the work of great soloists and of rising stars, and have included pianists from Clara Haskil, Alfred Cortot, Walter Gieseking and Edwin Fischer to Murray Perahia, Radu Lupu, Martha Argerich and Nikolai Lugansky; violinists from Arthur Grumiaux to Frank Peter Zimmermann; cellists from Paul Tortelier to Truls Mørk; and flutists from Jean-Pierre Rampal to Emmanuel Pahud.

The OCL has a history of attracting the most compelling conductors of the time and has benefited from a wide variety of influences under the baton of the likes of Günter Wand to Christoph Eschenbach; Paul Hindemith to Ton Koopman; or Jeffrey Tate to Bertrand de Billy. The OCL has an impressive discography which perfectly represents the OCL’s historical identity. Most recently, in 2020, Music for viola and chamber orchestra was released (by Claves Records), recorded under the direction of Jamie Philipps, with the English violist Timothy Ridout, winner of the Thierry Scherz Award at the Sommets musicaux de Gstaad in 2019.

The OCL is housed in the Salle Métropole, which is ideally located in the heart of Lausanne. The OCL is a long-standing partner of the Swiss broadcaster Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS) and has provided concerts and musical arrangements for the company’s programmes since the beginning of the partnership. In return, the OCL benefits from RTS’ vast national and European broadcasting network. Under this partnership, Espace 2, the cultural radio station of RTS, records the OCL’s concerts and makes them available to the public on demand on its website: www.espace2.ch.

The high reputation of the OCL is of course the result of the concerts it has given featuring prestigious guest soloists and conductors, but it is due ultimately to the strong identity forged over the years by a small number of artistic directors: Victor Desarzens (1942-1973),  Armin Jordan (1973-1985), Lawrence Foster (1985-1990), Jesús López Cobos (1990-2000), Christian Zacharias (2000-2013). Artistic director from 2015 to 2021 Joshua Weilerstein has built on the work of his predecessors while producing bold programmes and making more efficient use of new media to bring the OCL into the 21st century. In the fall of 2021, Renaud Capuçon becomes the orchestra’s new artistic director. The great musical experience of the famous French violinist and conductor, his dynamism as well as his artistic scope are the promise of an exciting new chapter for the OCL!