Ada Pesch, concertmaster for the Philharmonia Zürich, is usually at work at the conductor’s left in the opera house. But for this “Baroque” week in Ernen, the American-born violinist wears the director’s hat. Baroque music is her passion, and her strength in that genre is given deserved visibility here. She also has responsibility for drawing up the roster of artists performing the Baroque repertoire, specialist colleagues who come from all over the world.
The Ernen Tourist Office advertisement for a Wanderbus (hiking bus) caught my eye a week ago. On Thursdays and Sundays, there were pick-up points that meant leaving the driving to someone else, and being able to start the day’s hike from the high alps. I signed up enthusiastically, not really knowing what to expect.
Margrit Zimmermann and Amanda Imhof – two determined women native to the Binntal − have recently joined forces to design a new project: “From Sheep’s Wool to Finished Fabric.” Both women are keen to share their expertise to preserve a legacy that has value for this region.
The interview below first appeared (in German) in the May 2015 edition of Landschaftspark Binntal’s “Park Infos.”
When my daughter and her husband visited me in Ernen, we took time to test culinary waters in the immediate area. The two of them are savvy “foodies,” always looking to explore the culinary landscape when they travel. Heaven knows, it’s fun to go along for the ride.
No question, young Korean pianist Chi Ho Han tackled a repertoire that was highly challenging. While a skeptic might call his choice “the brash courage of youth,” Han was quick to show he was no rookie to the concert stage. Granted, nobody can “breeze through” works as difficult as the ones he chose for his program, but his performance showed him both an accomplished technician, and a virtuoso pianist who masterfully combines emotive poetry with his musical prose.
There isn’t much like the Binn valley for a full day of hiking, whether you're a seasoned mountaineer or a newcomer to the steady rhythm of the sport. Today’s breathable textiles, walking sticks, and power snacks may ease one’s way on the trail, but when it comes right down to it, anybody who undertakes a day out in the Swiss alps can expect a physical challenge. Fortunately, it’s a challenge that reaps its own − and manifold − rewards.
With the bench already occupied, two young couples simply waited for the start of the concert on the freshly-cut grass next to the church. Both men lay on their backs with a hand over their eyes, the women, alert and sitting Indian style, faced the broad, blue valley. “I might have dressed too informally,” said the one, who was in a stylish pair of trousers and a loose-fitting top. “No, no,” said her friend in Swiss-German, “dress isn’t the issue here. Don’t worry.”
The picturesque village of Ernen in the Swiss canton of Wallis is perched like a promise on the lowermost flank of the Binn Valley, some two hours from Berne. Once the main village of the district of Goms, Ernen had a proud folk of mercenary soldiers and resident farmers. Most had to eke out a living for generations despite the challenges of the elements, and from the 19th century − like many rural mountain communities − it largely lost its youth to the attraction of jobs and greater prosperity in the urban areas of the country’s lowlands. Yet over the past four decades, the town has witnessed a Renaissance, in no small part because a music master class that morphed into a lively music festival – a unique summer event that attracts artists and visitors from all over Europe.