Gstaad. Photo/Foto:TES

Gstaad, Saanen and Menuhin

Gstaad (canton of Bern) has the reputation of being a fashionable (winter) sports resort. Although skiing opportunities are more limited than in other areas, the village got this reputation already in the nineteenth century.

However, not only the beau monde appreciate Gstaad and its nature. The musician, violinist and humanist Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999) often came to Gstaad and Saanen. He founded the Menuhin Festival in 1957.

Saanen: Gstaad Menuhin Festival Academy. Photo: TES

The musician not only appreciated the authentic character of the villages amid the glamorous Grand Hotels. He also found inspiration in nature. The mountains, valleys, the kindness of the farmers and the colourful shades of the four seasons inspired him.

White in winter, multicoloured slopes and meadows in spring, green in summer and autumn colours afterwards.

The  ‘Philosophenweg‘, named after him, runs from Gstaad to Saanen, home to the Yehudi Menuhin Institute.

In Gstaad, the world of the rich and famous and a philosophical way of life meet. It is perhaps symbolic for the country, a balance between respect for nature and materialism, modernity and authenticity and a (self) reflective attitude to life, and progress without giving in to the (political) delusion of the day.

For this reason, Swiss democracy is sometimes compared to a clockwork. It is an ingenious constitutional human creation that has taken shape over centuries from below, bottom-up.

It is authentic but modern and tailor-made. It is like centuries-old classical music: timeless quality. That may have been the inspiration for Yehudi Menuhin.

Source and further information:

Saanen, The JKF International School

Gstaad from the Wispile Photo: TES