Villa Rachmaninoff in Switzerland: a monument of national importance

DrA member of the Swiss Canton of Lucerne has decided to buy the villa “Cenar” by composer and pianist Sergei Rachmanino in Hertenstein on Lake Lucerne. The region’s president, Marcel Schwersmann, announced on Wednesday in Lucerne. The villa should be accessible to the public and used as a cultural center. To do this, they want to take out a private loan of 15.45 million Swiss francs. Rachmaninov’s four great-grandchildren will receive their share of the inheritance from the money. Moreover, a budget was allocated for the renovation of the house, which was urgently needed after water entered the upstairs bedroom. In addition, the canton declares that it is ready to bear the costs of maintenance for the next ten years.

No decision has yet been made on the future operator of the cultural center. To date, the Rachmaninoff Foundation has carried out an intensive campaign to protect the villa “Senar”, the gardener’s house and the garden of 20 thousand square meters. Thanks to the head of the foundation, Urs Zisweiler, the former Swiss ambassador to the United States, the entire inventory of the villa, which was occupied by the composer’s grandson until 2012, was recorded, and many documents and films were recorded from the family property. Indexed and digitized with the Rachmaninoff Network, Amsterdam. The foundation also organized piano lessons on Rachmaninov’s grand piano.

The composer and pianist fled Russia from the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, and has lived in the United States since 1919, but purchased the property at the foot of Mount Rigi in September 1930. Between 1931 and 1934, architects Alfred Morey and Karl Frederic Krebs built the gardener’s house and villa on The “New Building” style, as the architecture of the Bauhaus School in Switzerland is called. After the canton of Lucerne had already placed homes and parks under antiquities protection, the Federal Antiquities Authority followed suit at the end of October. Rachmaninoff’s Villa has been officially declared one of Switzerland’s monuments of national importance. Before a purchase decision takes effect in the canton, the usual referendum period of three months must be waited.

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