Dear Friends and Family,

Firstly a very warm welcome to the 20th anniversary of these concerts and celebration of family, friendship and music !

Two decades seems a long time but in fact the sheer presence of our NextGen make it a celebration of youth and a testimony that our efforts to be together is worth it. To be together is not as easy as one imagines, as with age, studies, work, family life and other important elements of everyday life push and pull in many directions: we are all the more grateful that you have all made the effort to come to Lauenen to share with us this evening of music and friendship.

While war rages at our European borders, earthquakes flatten entire cities, international balance is undermined by many strident divergences of opinions and civil societies around the globe face increased fractures, to stop and enjoy time together and connect with our shared values is our way to recognise and be grateful for our luck. Many of us have taken the initiative to help various causes of our fellow humans in need and it is important that we continue to do so. May this concert bring harmony and determination to the hearts of this audience that has helped and will continue to help others.

As some of you rightly put it, the organisation of tonight’s concert and dinner party is akin to the effort of organising a wedding! I have many people to thank and would like first to thank our dear Joji for having put this enormously fun and beautiful 20th anniversary program together, with our incredibly wonderful sopranos Pretty Yende and Nadine Sierra who have enchanted the world with their divine voices and stage presence, as well as their fellow incredible musicians for making music for us tonight: you will recognise some of them who have played in Lauenen several times like Sarah, Božo, Ziyu and Alexey and discover the others that come here for the first time like Hyung-ki, Christoph, Sebastian and Benedict. A huge welcome and huge thank you to all of them.

And of course nothing would be possible without Family…I’d like to thank my darling wife Andrienne for her relentless efforts in making this possible, my brother Leopold and sister in law Isabel as well as my brother Henri and sister in law Daïné for being enthusiastic and very generous supporters of the entire evening and of course the most important of them all…our organising children and nieces and nephews Natasha, Philip-Leopold, Alexandre, Amélie, Larissa and Antoine. They are the life of the party and their presence alongside that of their cousins and friends tonight brings joy to our heart. A special thank you goes also to my assistant Tamara Carrel and Adrian Stocker of Experience who have both worked so hard to make this evening an enjoyable one!

Again my heartfelt thanks for all those who contributed with their energy, joy and efforts…and now to the Music!

Etienne d’Arenberg
for the Lauenen Chamber Concerts Association