Media Release

Basel, 10 August 2016

“Roche Continents” at the Salzburg Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary

  • 100 students explore the common ground of creativity in arts and science

Today, Roche and the Salzburg Festival celebrate 10 years of Roche Continents, an event at which over 1,000 students from European universities have come together over that time period in a series of workshops that challenge the boundaries of their thinking around science, art and innovation.

This year, 100 highly talented undergraduate and graduate European university students from 29 countries will continue this experience and explore sources of inspiration at the intersection of science and music through structured workshops and teamwork organized around the theme “The Edge”.

They will have the opportunity to engage with renowned scientists and artists, listen to thought-provoking contemporary music concerts, and speak to musicians and conductors. Participants also have the opportunity to attend contemporary music performances of the Salzburg Festival. For many, this is their first contact with this kind of auditory and visual experience.

Roche Continents is a unique chance to learn about music as well as the creative processes within arts and science that drive innovation.

“Leaders in science and the arts explore and push beyond known boundaries to innovate,” said Christoph Franz, Roche’s Chairman of the Board of Directors. “Through Roche Continents and other philanthropic programmes, we support young people to think beyond the mainstream and embrace diversity and creativity to bring genuine advances to society.”

“Life is about learning and challenging status quo – just like Friedrich Cerha and György Kurtág and their new music that has inspired the contemporary music programme of 2016,” said Helga Rabl-Stadler, President of the Salzburg Festival. “We need creative and collaborative risk-takers who have the courage to passionately follow their ideas and ultimately innovate.”

About Roche Continents

Roche has a long tradition of supporting artistic and cultural projects. Roche Continents is a project grown from Roche’s partnership with the Salzburg Festival, where the company sponsors Salzburg contemporary, a series of concerts featuring the works of contemporary composers. Roche Continents is aimed at arts and science students aged between 20 and 29 from European institutions. It enables them to experience contemporary music at the Salzburg Festival and to discover the common ground of creativity in the arts and science through discussion among themselves and with key personalities in both fields.

About the Salzburg Festival

The Salzburg Festival was founded in 1920. In the midst of the First World War, founding fathers Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Max Reinhardt, Richard Strauss, Alfred Roller and Franz Schalk determined to establish the Salzburg Festival with a view to reconciling the peoples of war-torn Europe. From its inception, the festival was conceived as a project to combat existential crisis and the erosion of values in modern society as well as the identity crisis affecting not only individuals but also entire nations. For six weeks in summer, the Salzburg Festival stages opera, theatre and concert performances of outstanding artistic merit against a backdrop of flawlessly preserved Baroque architecture which is itself a marvel. The Salzburg Festival rightly enjoys a reputation for being the world’s largest and most prestigious festival, and not only in terms of the sheer number of performances, annual visitors and tickets offered for sale. Anyone who is anyone in the performing arts – conductors, directors, singers, actors and virtuosos of international repute – sets aside July and August for the rendezvous by the Salzach.

About Roche

Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people’s lives.

Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management. The combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics under one roof have made Roche the leader in personalised healthcare – a strategy that aims to fit the right treatment to each patient in the best way possible.

Founded in 1896, Roche continues to search for better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and make a sustainable contribution to society. Twenty-nine medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organization Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and cancer medicines. Roche has been recognised as the Group Leader in sustainability within the Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology & Life Sciences Industry seven years in a row by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices.

The Roche Group, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is active in over 100 countries and in 2015 employed more than 91,700 people worldwide. In 2015, Roche invested CHF 9.3 billion in R&D and posted sales of CHF 48.1 billion. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit

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