Verbier Festival
Verbier Festival Academy
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The Summit of Music-Making
for Soloists, Chamber Musicians and Singers

The Verbier Festival Academy is a leader in identifying, encouraging and nurturing the world’s most talented young soloists, chamber musicians, singers and conductors.

Academy masterclasses take place 17 July through 1 August 2019. Most classes are free and open to the public. Academy musicians also perform daily concerts at the Verbier Cinema, in special concerts throughout Valais during the Festival, and are featured regularly in VF Unlimited programmes.


Every summer, for three weeks, more than 50 young soloists, chamber ensembles and singers are invited to join the Verbier Festival’s artistic communitythrough the Verbier FestivalAcademy. Save the dates!

14 July to 4 August

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A Day at the Academy

Masterclasses and Coaching

The Verbier Festival Academy offers 125 masterclasses and coaching sessions in piano, violin, viola, cello, chamber music and voice delivered by an inspiring artist-faculty. Almost every masterclass is open to the public and is presented before a large and enthusiastic audience. Instrumentalists take part in chamber music classes taught by some of the world’s most revered chamber players in a programme led by Gabor Takács-Nagy. Singers rub shoulders with their operatic idols as they prepare for life on the stages of the world’s most prestigious opera houses.All musicians are encouraged to take a close look at today’s concert experience—place, time, length, programming, staging, speaking, etc.— and how these components impact 21st century audiences.

Public Performances

Academy musicians perform in daily concerts at the Verbier Cinema and in the hugely popular final concerts on the Festival’s closing weekend. Singers in the Atelier Lyrique perform a song recital and in a semi-staged opera production in collaboration with the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra. All Academy musicians immerse themselves in the entire Verbier experience by attending unforgettable Festival concerts by the world’s top classical musicians.

Career Development & Networking

Verbier is the ideal place to meet artists, agents, promoters, orchestra managers and recording executives. These invited guests actively take an interest in the Academy and are encouraged to contribute to the development of its musicians.Through personal advice and practical training, musicians identify what makes them unique, learn how to communicate effectively and develop skills essential to building a career today.

After the Academy

Verbier Festival Academy musicians are transformed both personally and musically every year. They return to their daily lives enriched by music-making at the highest level and connections and friendships that last a lifetime. The Verbier Festival team continues its work for Academy alumni long after the summer has passed by actively following and promoting careers, and facilitating performance and audition opportunities through its global network. Alumni are featured as soloists in international tours by the Verbier Festival Orchestras and in other special concerts.

Advisory Board

The Advisory Board of the Verbier Festival Academy meets twice a year. Its purpose is to support the Academy’s long-term vision, to develop working partnerships and to come up with new ideas.


Bob Boas
Karl Dannenbaum
Martin T:son Engstroem
Bernhard Hahnloser
Frans Helmerson
Irina Knaster
Stephen McHolm
Costa Pilavachi
Julien Schoenlaub
Doreen Tabor

Academy Programmes

Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello

Eight pianists, violinists, violists and cellists are selected for the Academy and take part in at least six morning masterclasses per discipline. The musicians come together in formations of piano quartets for another six afternoon chamber music masterclasses. As soloists and quartets, the musicians perform in the daily Academy Presents concert series and at the popular Academy Presents chamber music concerts on the Festival’s final weekend.

Musicians are expected to attend as many classes in their own discipline as possible (even on days where they are not the featured student). They are also encouraged to attend masterclasses instruments/disciplines other than their own.

Programme Coordinators work closely with the Academy team to schedule masterclasses and rehearsal schedules and to act as liaison to masterclass teachers. They also serve as collaborative pianists.

Jonathan Ware

Tobias Koch

Hunju Sohnn

Catherine Edwards

Chamber Ensembles

Two pre-formed chamber ensembles are selected for the Academy. They take part in at least six masterclasses each and perform in the daily Academy Presents concert series and at the Academy Presents chamber music concerts on the Festival’s final weekend.

Atelier Lyrique

The Academy’s Atelier Lyrique offers the study of opera and song together with the opportunity to perform alongside international artists in the Verbier Festival. Approximately 16 singers are selected to take part in the Atelier Lyrique—the exact number is determined by casting requirements of the programme’s opera of study.

Roughly five singers are chosen for the Atelier Lyrique’s Song Programme. Singers who are cast in secondary opera roles may be invited to take part in classes offered through the Song Programme. Singers in the Song Programmewill develop and perform a song cycle or a themed or single-composer recital. The Song Project, like the Atelier’s Opera Project, provides an opportunity for singers to study their craft with a focus on a tangible project, and to perform in the Festival’s public programming. The Project will include work on stagecraft and concert experience design (place, time, length, programming, placement of musicians, speaking from the stage, etc.).

All singers in the Atelier Lyrique are also considered for secondary roles in the Festival’s main stage opera performance.

The Academy also arranges auditions and meetings with conductors, managers and casting directors, and provides coaching in preparation for auditions, roles and competitions.

Head of Opera Programme
Caroline Dowdle

Head of Song Programme
James Baillieu

Citizen Artist Project


The Verbier Festival aims to inspireand preparea generation of youngclassicalmusicians to engage audiences, affect positive change in their communities, and grow personally and professionally. During their time in Verbier, musicians are offeredperformance and speaking opportunities, mentorship from experts in the field, and access to professional productionresources. They are encouraged to take initiative to enrich communities by presenting classical music in a way that is relevant and rewarding, andto work with their colleagues in the Academy and Orchestra programmes to undertake community engagement initiatives during the Festival.

Apply to the Verbier Festival Academy

Spanning three weeks every summer, the Verbier Festival Academyoffers a chance for artists tofine-tune their musical skills and challenge themselves to take steps toward professional careers in music. The Academyis open to solo pianists, violinists, violists, cellists, chamber ensembles and singers from around the world.

Who Should Apply?

Applicants to the Verbier Festival Academy areexceptional soloists, chamber musicians and singers. The Academy trains and nurturesthe world’s most accomplished young classical musicians while encourging them to become 21st century musicians for 21st century audiences. Academy musicians areaged 16 to 30 who are on the road to establishingprofessional performance careers.Younger artists, aged 13 to 15, are considered for a limited number of Student-in-Residence opportunities. Musicians may attend the Academy only twice (plus up to one year as a Student-in-Residence).

Age Eligibility by Programme

Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello
Age 16 to 28 on 1 July 2019

Chamber Music Ensembles
Average age of ensemble on 1 July 2019: 22 to 28

SingersLied/Art Song & Opera
Age 18 to 30 on 1 July 2019

How toApply

Individuals and ensembles submit their applications through the online Acceptd platform. Only one representative of a chamber ensemble will submit an application for his/her group.

For 2018, all applicants must submit:

  • A resume or C.V.describing academic, professional and other relevant experience
  • A 500-word statement describing:
    – the reason for taking part in the Academy
    – a statement about what it takes to be a 21stcentury artist
    – a description of a dream outreach or concert project
  • A sample concert programme
  • The names and email addresses of two musicians (preferably of international standing and who are unrelated to the applicant) to whom the Academy may writeto attest to the applicant’smusical ability; this may incudepresent or former teachers, mentors, concert presenters, managers, etc.
  • A digital photograph
  • Live unedited video audition recordings (see repertoire requirements)
  • Payment of application fee (by credit card only)

Live Auditions

Only singers applying to the Academy’s Atelier Lyrique may request a live audition. Acceptance to all other programmes is determined by video audition. Singers must still upload video audition requirements in order to be pre-screened for a live audition. Singers may also choose to be considered through video audition only.

Live Audition Deadline: to be announced
Notification of Acceptance to Live Audition: to be announced

Auditions: to be announced

Video Auditions

If you are submitting an application by video audition, please read the following guidelines:

  • Create your audition video. Instructions on how to make a great audition video can be found inthis tutorial.
  • Please take into account the size of the room and its acoustic as well as your distance from the camera: the more reverb in the room, the closer you should be to the camera (usually 3 metres or 10 feet).
  • IMPORTANT: listen and watch your recording to ensure it is what you want the jury to hear and see.
  • Please provide recordings of the works listed under the ‚Repertoire‘ tab on this page. Recordings must be made in one shot, without cuts or edits.
  • Upload the videos
  • Once you have submitted your application and paid the application fee, you cannot return to your profile to upload a video.


Musicians must upload live, unedited video recordings as part of their applications to the Verbier Festival Academy. See the information posted under ‚Live & Video Auditions‘.


Pianists must upload live, unedited video recordings of:

  • one solo piano sonata of his/her choice by Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart or Schubert
  • one contrasting solo piano work (or excerpts from a complete work) lasting 10 to 20 minutes
  • one single movement from a work of chamber music (duo, trio, quartet, quintet)


Applicants may also upload one live, unedited video OR audio recording ofa concerto performance with orchestra (complete concerto or single movement).

Violin, Viola, Cello

String players must upload live, unedited video recordings of:

  • one unaccompanied solo work (complete work or single movement or movements from the same work) of his/her choice lasting approximately 10 to 20 minutes
  • one complete sonata with piano
  • one single movement from another chamber music work (duo, trio, quartet, quintet)


Applicants may also upload a live, unedited video OR audio recording ofa concerto performance with orchestra (complete concerto or single movement).

Chamber Ensembles

Chamber Ensembles must upload live, unedited video recordings of:

  • one work from the Classical or early Romantic era
  • one work of the ensemble’s choice lasting 15 to 40 minutes


Applicants wishing to audition live will be pre-screened by video audition. All singers must therefore upload live, unedited video recordings of:

  • One aria or excerpt from the featured opera(if applicable to desired role; otherwise, an aria from an opera of a similar style and in singer’s vocal range)
  • One German aria of singer’s choice (can also be from featured opera)
  • One German Lied
  • One art song (language of choice)

Singers may bring their own accompanist or an accompanist will be provided by the Verbier Festival for a nominal fee.

Singers will be asked to prepare an audition of 15 minutes‘ duration, which includes:

  • One aria or excerpt from the featured opera(if applicable to desired role; otherwise, an aria from an opera of a similar style and in singer’s vocal range)
  • One German Lied
  • One German aria of singer’s choiceOR one art song of singer’s choice

Singers may choose to sing the same repertoire as was submitted for their video audition.

Fees &Funding

Application Fees 2019

Pianists, Violinists, Violists, Cellists$125 US
Chamber Ensembles$125 US
Singers$50 US

What’s Covered

All accepted Academy musicians receive a tuition scholarship. They are usually hosted in the homes ofVerbier residents. Breakfast is usually offered by thesehosts and the Academy provides lunch every day. Travel assistance is only offered in very exceptional cases.

Donate a ScholarshipHost a Musician

Travel Funding

Funding for travel to attend the Verbier Festival Academy may be available through a number of public and private sources.Apply early.

Travel GrantsKickstarter

Deadlines 2019

Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello,Chamber Ensembles
Video Audition Deadline: 20 January 2019
No Live Auditions
Notification of Decision: 8 March 2019

Atelier Lyrique (Voice)
Live Audition Deadline: to be announced
Notification of Acceptance from video pre-screening: to be announced

Video Audition Deadline: 20 January 2019
Notification of Decision: 8 March 2019

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Verbier Festival Academy Ambassadors include alumni from around the world. They are available to answer your questions about the application procedure and are happy to share their experiences at Verbier.

Andrei Gologan (Salzburg), Piano
Aleksandra Rybakova (Graz), Voice

Adele Rose Charvet (Paris), Voice

Karolina Errera (Berlin), Viola
Sara Ferrandez (Berlin), Viola
Johannes Kammler (Munich), Voice
Pawel Konik (Stuttgart), Voice
Georgy Kovalev (Berlin), Viola
Jiyoon Lee (Berlin), Violin
Aaron Pilsan (Hannover), Piano
Milan Siljanov (Munich), Voice
Laetitia Spitzer Grimaldi (Berlin), Voice
Jakob Stepp (Berlin), Cello
Olena Tokar (Leipzig), Voice
Valda Wilson (Saarbrücken), Voice

Emöke Barath (Budapest), Voice

New Zealand
Amalia Hall (Auckland), Violin

Cornelius Zirbo (Bucharest), Cello

Arsenii Mun (St Peterburg), Piano

Nika Goric (Maribor), Voice

United Kingdom
Lauren Fagan (London), Voice
Anna Harvey (London), Voice
Luke Hsu (London), Violin
Sheku Kanneh Mason (London), Cello
Satriya Krisna (London), Voice
Bethan Langford (London), Voice
Julieth Lozano (London), Voice
Morgan Pearse (London), Voice
Timothy Ridout (London), Viola
Julien Van Mellaerts (London), Voice

Oliver Herbert (Philadelphia), Cello
Fabiola Kim (Los Angeles), Violin
Avan Yu (New York), Piano