Verbier Festival
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Apply to the Verbier Festival Academy

APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN

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

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Who Should Apply?

Applicants to the Verbier Festival Academy are exceptional soloists, chamber musicians and singers. The Academy trains and nurtures the world’s most accomplished young classical musicians while encourging them to become 21st  century musicians for 21st century audiences. Academy musicians are aged 16 to 30 who are on the road to establishing professional 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 2018

Chamber Music Ensembles
Average age of ensemble on 1 July 2018: 22 to 28

Singers Lied/Art Song & Opera
Age 18 to 30 on 1 July 2018

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.

Piano
Jonathan Ware

Violin
Tobias Koch

Viola
Hunju Sohnn

Cello
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. Singers in 2018 will study Verdi’s Rigoletto and give a semi-staged performance of the opera with the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra conducted by Stanislav Kochanovsky.

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 Programme will 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 (Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur with the Verbier Festival Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev).  Roles may include:

Mlle Jouvenot: soprano
Mlle Dangeville: mezzo-soprano
Poisson: tenor
Quinault: bass
Major-domo: tenor

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

Artist Citizen Training

Supported by:

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

How to Apply

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 21st century artist
    –  a description of a dream outreach or concert project
  • A sample concert programme
  • Two confidential letters of recommendation from musicians of international standing, unrelated to the applicant, who are qualified to attest to the applicant’s musical ability (present 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: 5 November 2017
Notification of Acceptance to Live Audition: 23 November 2017

London Auditions: 1 December 2017

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 in this 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.

Repertoire

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’.

Piano

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)

OPTIONAL:

Applicants may also upload one live, unedited video OR audio recording of a 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) 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)

OPTIONAL:

Applicants may also upload a live, unedited video OR audio recording of a 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

Singers

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

Live audition applicants will be notified whether they will advance by 23 November.  Live auditions take place in London (1 December).  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 Verdi’s Rigoletto (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 Italian aria of singer’s choice OR 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 2018

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 of Verbier residents.  Breakfast is usually offered by these hosts 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 2018

Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello, Chamber Ensembles
Video Audition Deadline: 21 January 2018
No Live Auditions
Notification of Decision: 9 March 2018

Atelier Lyrique (Voice)
Live Audition Deadline: 5 November 2017
Notification of Acceptance from video pre-screening: 23 November 2017

Video Audition Deadline: 21 January 2018
Notification of Decision: 9 March 2018

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