For friends of music and literature, the Engadin is a little paradise. A comprehensive programme of readings, concerts and other events draws top talent from far and wide.
“I feel better here than anywhere else on earth,” the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said about the Engadin. For seven summers he lodged at a simple room in Sils-Maria, went for long walks and filled one notebook after another with his ideas. The house in which he lived, summer after summer, is now a museum that explores the life and thought of its world-famous guest. Alongside Nietzsche, many other writers, poets and philosophers came to the Engadin in search of tranquillity and inspiration – hence the name “Valley of poets and writers”. Many of them stayed at the Hotel Waldhaus in Sils-Maria, whose guest book tells a fascinating story. The many names that fill its pages include those of Hermann Hesse, Thomas Mann and Friedrich Dürrenmatt. Their legacy can still be felt – which is why many well-known writers choose to come to the Engadin for readings and book launches.
Musicians, too, happily come to the Engadin to demonstrate their abilities. Throughout the year, concerts of all sizes and musical styles take place: for music lovers, a wonderful opportunity to hear famous and less well-known artists perform. One of the great highlights is the Engadin Festival, held every summer. For two weeks, first-rate soloists and ensembles from all over the world treat listeners to top-class performances of classical music. The history of the festival goes back to the 1940s, when the vicar of Silvaplana had the idea of boosting the region’s ailing economy by staging a series of concerts.
Jazz fans, too, have a world-class event of their own: the Festival da Jazz, launched in 2008. The musicians that come to the Engadin every summer could fill whole stadiums – but in St. Moritz they play in front of a small audience, making for an intimate and convivial atmosphere. The founder and artistic director of the Festival da Jazz is Christian Jott Jenny, originally from Zurich – who the people of St. Moritz, incidentally, chose to be their mayor from 2019.