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Since founder Hans Wilsdorf fulfilled his dream of creating an accurate and elegant wristwatch at the beginning of the 20th century – a period when the pocket watch was the norm − Rolex, the Swiss watch brand, has always encouraged individual excellence and the pursuit of perfection. In furthering this long-standing tradition, the company makes a significant contribution to the arts through its patronage of a large variety of programmes and activities.

Rolex’s commitment to the arts dates back to the 1970s when New Zealand soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa became the brand’s first cultural Testimonee. Over the years, this commitment has developed to include many other leading artists, prestigious institutions and festivals.

Included among them are legendary Spanish tenor Placido Domingo, Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli, German tenor Jonas Kaufmann, Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez, Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel and Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva, as well as the legendary Teatro alla Scala in Milan, London’s historic Royal Opera House, the world-renowned Metropolitan Opera – dubbed “The Met” – in New York, the impressive Opéra National de Paris and the famed Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 2012, Rolex was delighted to incorporate the highly acclaimed Salzburg Festival, as well as the Whitsun Festival directed by Cecilia Bartoli, into its cultural portfolio. Rolex looks forward to a long-lasting partnership, based on common values and a shared appreciation for excellence.

Rolex remains increasingly active in the arts, with aim of providing support that will help perpetuate an artistic heritage and make a unique and lasting contribution to culture around the world.


“Aren’t you afraid that the sponsors will try to influence your program?” is a common question in the arts sections of various newspapers, especially since we have been so successful in acquiring sponsors. And I can always answer both spontaneously and honestly: No, I am not afraid of that. Our sponsors are far too intelligent not to know that trying to influence the content of our program would have a boomerang effect. On the contrary, I hope our sponsors continue to influence us, in the sense that they make it possible to implement projects that we could not realize otherwise for lack of money. Therefore, on behalf of the Festival, I would very much like to thank our sponsors, donors, supporters and friends as well as the public authorities subsidizing the Festival for their generous support.

Helga Rabl-Stadler
President of the Salzburg Festival