In April 2012, Leysin American School (LAS), with the assistance of Mr. Helmut Emele as its artistic director, started a concert series. ‘Belle Époque Magique’ that takes place on a monthly basis in the stunningly restored ‘Grande Salle’ of LAS’ Belle Époque building. The concerts are supported by the Commission Culturelle Leysin & Aigle, Imprimerie Nouvelle Leysin, Leysin-Les Mosses-Aigle Tourism, Transports Publics du Chablais, Banque Cantonal Vaudoise, Vignerons d’Aigle, and local commerce. In 1892, The Grand Hôtel of the Belle Époque, the first sanatorium in Leysin, was completed. It was designed for the elite of the world suffering from tuberculosis (TB). It hosted amongst others, Czar Nicholas II of Russia, King Alphonso XIII of Spain, Marie Curie, Josephine Baker, Rainer Maria Rilke and Albert Camus. Igor Stravinski wrote most of the ‘Rite of Spring’ in Leysin in 1911 when his wife, Katarina, was recovering from TB. Mahatma Gandhi, when visiting Mrs. Nehru in 1931, wife of the first prime minister of India, spent time lecturing to patients. In 2008, LAS purchased the building and in painstaking restoration brought it back to its former glory. It now serves students in the last two years of secondary study completing the International Baccalaureate Diploma programme. The exquisite Grande Salle provides a beautiful venue for the Belle Époque Magique concerts enhanced by the phenomenal view of the Alps.
Anaîs Soucaille, Clément Bufferne, and Lina Luzzi
Wednesday, September 13 2017