Science and art combine to innovate in first-of-its-kind youth music programme

World premiere of inaugural Roche Young Commissions works at Lucerne Festival 2015

World premiere of inaugural Roche Young Commissions works at Lucerne Festival 2015

Roche has a long tradition of supporting contemporary art and cultural projects, particularly in music – a heritage reflecting the influence of its founding family.

On 23 August 2015 the works of two up-and-coming composers, Samy Moussa and Piotr Peszat, premiered at the Lucerne Festival as part of Roche Young Commissions, a unique collaboration started in 2013 between Roche, Lucerne Festival and the Lucerne Festival Academy. Roche Young Commissions performances are contemporary symphonic compositions supported and influenced by Roche science and scientists. Moussa and Peszat are the inaugural winners of the programme and for the past two years were accompanied by Roche scientists Lauren Boak and Antonello Caruso, visited company sites, and spoke with researchers to promote the exchange of information between science and the arts.

From left, Roche scientist Antonello Caruso, composer Piotr Peszat, composer Samy Moussa and Roche scientist Lauren Boak at a visit to the Roche Basel site in 2013

Roche sees close affinities between innovation in the arts and in a research-based healthcare company. Christoph Franz, Roche’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, points out the special connection: “It would be easy to think that music and science have little in common. However, we think that pioneers in all fields share the defining characteristics of creativity, passion, curiosity and courage.”

Roche believes contemporary art enriches employees’ daily lives, challenges thinking, and contributes to making Roche an innovative company. The company’s cultural engagements are an example of the pursuit of excellence, a willingness to engage with the new, and the courage to enter new fields. Roche Young Commissions is also part of the company’s commitment to supporting young people in realizing their potential.

William Pao, Roche event host and Global Head of the Oncology Discovery and Translational Area, adds that, “To make advancements in science or art, we must try unique approaches and examine commonly held beliefs; we must also encourage young people to embrace that spirit of growth and exploration.”

On 23 August, winners of Roche Young Commissions 2017 were also announced:

  • Matthew Kaner, a native of England born in 1986
  • Lisa Streich, a native of Sweden born in 1985
Roche CEO Severin Schwan awarding composers Matthew Kaner and Lisa Streich the Roche Young Commissions 2017

Just as Roche’s research and development experts explore new frontiers in science, Roche Young Commissions enables young composers to explore new frontiers in art and provides the opportunity and inspiration to write orchestral works to premiere at the prestigious Lucerne Festival. The programme was built on the foundations of the company’s decade-long collaboration with Lucerne Festival and the Lucerne Festival Academy on the Roche Commissions series. The works created as part of the Roche Commissions and the Roche Young Commissions are given their world premieres in alternation, every two years.

Tags: Culture, Philanthropy