“and so the spirit of a big river (and the RHÔNE river was always one of my Dearest) the talents and relationships through the countries”

Rainer Maria RILKE to Marie von THURN und TAXIS, 1921



Song is the delicate conjunction of music and literature, of voice and piano, reflecting our soul, our feelings our life for more than 200 years. In search of an ideal place to bring her vision for lieder to life, Swiss Soprano Franziska HEINZEN launched the RHONEFESTIVAL in her hometown Brig in the middle of the SWISS ALPS.


Like the RHONE river, which springs from the very top of the Valais, growing to one of the biggest rivers in Europe, the RHONEFESTIVAL aims at building an immersive, innovative and sustainable platform for a growing audience as well as Swiss and international artists committed to the lieder, renewing and immortalising the delicate world of lieder.


The central idea of the festival is #FREE ADMITTANCE/DONATION to all concerts, offering the incomparable experience to everybody of being involved, enchanted and embraced by the power of live music through outstanding artists.


Through innovative concepts, curated recital programmes and special venues, e. g. open air concerts at 2000 meters above sea level, curated performances of Lieder from the romantic period to contemporary music or transdisciplinary concepts meeting poetry slam, the festival brings the ART OF SONG to a festival community across generations. The concerts are often linked to supplementary events such as a documentary in the cinema, lectures or participative concert introductions.


The recital centred around the poet Rainer Maria RILKE in 2018 as well as the recital featuring 20 women composers and Clara SCHUMANN in 2019 was broadcast by the Swiss Radio Station SRF 2 for its unusual programme. 2020 emphasises the power of nature with a BEETHOVEN themed recital.


The #CARTEBLANCHE is a concert besides the general festival theme, lightening an opposite, supplement or joining aspect to the festival. It showcased exceptional artists as Swiss baritone Äneas HUMM and renowned pianist Hartmut HÖLL in 2018, an outstanding recital with Swiss soprano Rachel HARNISCH and german pianist Jan Philip SCHULZE in 2019. 2020 there will be presented a reloaded version of the french group LES SIX celebrating their 100th birthday. 


The 2019 newly launched summer concert MUSIKALISCHES STRAHLENMEER sets a focus on Swiss Composers & Poets, who are often neglected or not yet discovered. Featured by Franziska HEINZEN, soprano & Benjamin MEAD, piano (2019).


Always searching for ways to involve, next year’s edition will see the launch of the AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT PRIZE #LIEDINNOVATION encouraging artists and audience to go beyond existing borders. The winning project will be brought to life in a local cultural bistro approaching a new public and an audience not yet accustomed to the world of lieder. MORE

The RHONEFESTIVAL consciously reaches out to potential audiences across genres and outside the concert hall. Each festival edition closes with an #OPENAIR concert: In different public spheres on the shores of the RHONE river in 2018, with Schuberts SHEPHERD ON THE ROCK and Jodel at 2000 meters above sea level in 2019. 2020 will end with a choir concert in the garden of the castle in Brig. Furthermore, the social engaged concerts #HERZENSLIEDER brings music to elderly and disabled people in cooperation with LES CONCERTS DU COEUR.


Franziska HEINZEN, founder & artistic director
The Festival is organised by its non-profit association and a small, but ambitious team of artists and cultural managers.
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The town of Brig in the canton of Wallis provides a historic recital hall in a baroque castle, surrounded by beautiful nature.