In 2018 Valery Gergiev will take over as Music Director of the Verbier Festival Orchestra (Switzerland), one of the world's most prestigious music forums. The orchestra, founded in 2000, includes young musicians aged sixteen to twenty-nine, selected on an annual basis following competitive auditions. Over the seventeen years since its foundation, over one thousand musicians have featured in the orchestra's work.
The anniversary XXV Verbier Music Festival will run from 19 July to 5 August 2018. At the opening concert on 19 July Valery Gergiev will appear for the first time in his new position with the Festival Orchestra. Maestro Gergiev will also conduct Francesco Cilea's opera Adriana Lecouvreur featuring Tatiana Serjan, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Marcelo Puente and Željko Lučić (26 June) and appear at a grand gala concert making the festival's anniversary, which will feature such dazzling musicians as Martha Argerich, Sergei Babayan, Kristóf Baráti, Yuri Bashmet, Yuja Wang, Gautier Capuçon, Renaud Capuçon, Leonidas Kavakos, Evgeny Kissin, Denis Matsuev and Daniil Trifonov among others (25 July).
Valery Gergiev devotes particular attention to working with young musicians. It was on his initiative that the All-Russian Choral Society was revived, which saw the subsequent establishment of the Children's Chorus of Russia that has appeared at the Mariinsky II, the Bolshoi Theatre and at the closing ceremony of the XXII Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. Since 2013 the maestro has directed the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, and regularly appears with youth orchestras of the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, the Verbier Festival and the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo. Since 2015 the Mariinsky Theatre has hosted the annual Mariinsky NEXT festival, featuring children's and youth orchestras of St Petersburg.