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We all know that Switzerland is an amazing country for festivals. From small music festivals to major ones, Switzerland stands for quality, uniqueness and expertise. One of the best examples is the Sion Festival. This year it will take place from August 19th to September 4th 2016 and once again, the festival organizers have prepared an outstanding programme. Year after year this Swiss festival climbed all the stairs of the Classical music world and stands today as one of the major events in Europe.

The International Music Festival Sion Valais was founded in 1964 by Tibor Varga, Hungarian violinist and renowned pedagogue. Three years later, he merged it with a violin competition, which quickly became an true part of the Festival. In 2002 the artistic direction of the Festival was taken by Shlomo Mintz, the famous violinist. Also appointed Chairman of the International Violin Competition, he invited a number of prominent violinists (soloists and teachers) to join the International Jury. The Festival is an official member of the WFIMC (World Federation of International Music Competitions) since 1976 and of the European Festival Association since 1999. This shows not only the importance but above all the high level of attendees. Since 2013, Pavel Vernikov is the Artistic Director. He proposes every year a challenging programme in which he invites personalities from the Classical music world to think outside the box and propose an outstanding programme.

Festival Sion has also as a mission to perpetuate the artistic tradition – and especially the violin – which exists for over half a century in the city of Sion, “capital of the Violin”.



Pavel Vernikov student of David Oistrakh and S. Snitkovski in Moscow, winner of the International Competition of the ARD Music in Munich and the Vittorio Gui International Competition in Florence, acquired his virtuoso reputation for over twenty years. His intense activity of concerts as a soloist, duo and with Tchaikovsky Trio, leads in prestigious halls worldwide. Currently he is a professor at the Vienna Conservatory, the School of Music of Lausanne (HEMU) in Sion and Scuola di Musica di Fiesole, Italy.
He regularly gives master classes at the Paris Conservatory, the Hochschule Stuttgart, at the Rubin Academy in Tel Aviv and at the Casals Festival in Prades. He is often invited as a jury member of major international competitions, including the International Violin Competition Tibor Varga Sion Valais. Pavel Vernikov has recorded for RCA, Ondine and Dynamic. He plays the beautiful Guadagnini (eg Contessa Crespi, former Brengola), Piacenza, 1747, ownership of the Pro Canale Foundation of Milan.


The 52nd edition of the Festival will take place from August 19th to September 4th 2016 at the Theatre of Valere and the Sion Cathedral. This year the festival artistic director Pavel Vernikov offers a creative and daring program whose quality rivals the largest international events .

“I insisted that artists can express their desires and creativity in tailor-made performances, explains Pavel Vernikov.

This opens the field for experimentation and brings a new wind to the “Grande Musique”, which combines the modes of visual expressions more casual and modern. This year, tenor Dmitry Korchak, for his only performance in Switzerland, will be part of the programme in a concert “AVE MARIA” completely imagined by Pavel Vernikov. Since winning in 2004 prize at Francisco Vinas International Competition in Barcelona and two prizes at Placido Domingo’s Operalia Competition in Los Angeles, Dmitry Korchak has continued to delight audiences worldwide in some of the most celebrated venues, playing some of the greatest leading operatic roles and collaborating with renowned conductors and orchestras. The concert will be given at the Sion’s Cathedral.



To echo this evening, the Museum of the Bishopric will exhibit an outstanding collection of thirty Madonnas to the child. Loaned by a collector friend of the festival and for the first time made public the tables were painted by masters from the Da Vinci school or the Circle of Raphael between the 14th and 17th century.


Tickets for the festival will be available on May 16th 2016. If you wish to learn more about the festival you can visit the official website (in French):


José Amorim


Info sourced at the Sion Festival official communication release and website. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available. Images are for illustration purposes only.