Founded in 1938, the Lucerne Festival is considered one of the leading international organisers in the field of classical music. Michael Haefliger has been the artistic director since 1999. Every year, the world's most renowned symphony orchestras make guest appearances at the summer festival on Lake Lucerne. The Lucerne Festival Orchestra was founded in 2003 by Claudio Abbado and Michael Haefliger and gathers internationally renowned orchestral musicians in Lucerne for a fortnight every summer. Riccardo Chailly has been the orchestra's principal conductor since 2016. Equally important is the promotion of young talent in the Young and in the Lucerne Festival Academy. The Academy, founded by Pierre Boulez and Michael Haefliger, has had a new artistic director, Wolfgang Rihm, since 2016. Former participants of the Academy are present as Lucerne Festival Alumni in Lucerne and worldwide with top-class concert projects.
The Kühne Foundation has been a sponsor of the Lucerne Festival since 2008. In 2020, the foundation expanded its partnership with the Lucerne Festival and has been a main sponsor ever since.