“and so the spirit of a big river (and the RHONE river was always one of my Dearest) carries talents and relationships through the countries” Rainer Maria RILKE to Marie von THURN und TAXIS, 1921


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 Lieder, enriching and immortalising this delicate world.


Song is the delicate conjunction of music and literature, of voice and piano, reflecting our soul, our feelings and our lives 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 of Brig in the middle of the SWISS ALPS.


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.


curated recital programmes & special venues
outstanding local national & international artists
music mix from romantic period to contemporary music & beyond
transdisciplinary combining dance, poetry, cinema & …


The FOCUS recital emphasises a specific theme such as BEETHOVEN (2020), the poet Rainer Maria RILKE (2018) or an all women composers recital around Clara SCHUMANNS 200th birthday ( 2019), the latter two broadcast by Swiss Radio Station SRF 2 KULTUR.

The CARTE BLANCHE is highlighting an opposite aspect to the festival, showcasing exceptional artists such as Swiss baritone Äneas HUMM & renowned pianist Hartmut HÖLL with a romantic programme (2018), an SCHUBERT/CRUMB recital with Swiss soprano Rachel HARNISCH and german pianist Jan Philip SCHULZE (2019), and a LES SIX programme marking their 100th birthday in 2020.

The RHONEFESTIVAL consciously reaches out to potential audiences across genres and outside the traditional concert hall through PERSPECTIVES: Curated concerts were performed in different public spheres on the banks of the river RHONE (2018), Schuberts SHEPHERD ON THE ROCK and Jodel at 2000 meters above sea level (2019) and 2020 an intended chorals concert in the garden of the castle in Brig should have been taken place – which will find a modulation with the LIEDER.GARDEN.

Children’s concerts have been included since the beginning of the festival: From 2020 on, the project LIEDERFUNKEN brings Lieder to school children through workshops and a participative concert.

The 2019 newly launched concert SUMMER:SWISSNESS sets a focus on Swiss Composers & Poets at the evening before the Swiss National day on the 31TH of JULY. With a AUTUMN:CONCERT and WINTER:CONCERT in 2021, the festival seeks to expand its vision of enriching the world of Lieder and the vibrant cultural life of the region over the year with selected concerts in special venues.


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.