Verbier Festival
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Verbier Festival Academy



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 a leader in identifying, encouraging and nurturing the world’s most talented solo pianists, violinists, violists, cellists, chamber ensembles, singers and conductors from around the world.

From 15 July to 3 August 2019, the Academy will offer more than 100 masterclasses and coaching sessions delivered by an inspiring artist-faculty. Instrumentalists will take part in chamber music classes taught by some of the world’s most revered chamber players. Singers will rub shoulders with their operatic idols as they prepare for life on the stages of the world’s most prestigious opera houses. Conductors will assist in rehearsals in an unparalleled mentorship experience. 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 audiences of today.

Verbier Festival Artist Training programmes are delivered in English.

Explore the tabs below for application guidelines.

Academy Programmes

Soloists: 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 (duos, trios, quartets, quintets, etc.) 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 (Singers)

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. Singers may choose to be considered for either or both of the opera and song programmes. The exact number of singers is determined by casting requirements of the programme’s opera of study. All singers in the Atelier Lyrique are also considered for secondary roles in the Festival’s main stage opera performance.

Singers in both programmes study their craft with a focus on a tangible project: a final song recital and/or a semi-staged performance of an opera. Participants also learn skills in stagecraft and concert programming (place, time, length of programmes, repertoire, placement of musicians, speaking from the stage, etc.).

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


The Conducting Mentorship Programme is a stepping stone toward leading orchestras of the highest calibre. Up to four conductors are accepted to the programme. Candidates aged 20 to 35 are eligible.

Conducting Fellows are asked to be in Verbier from 9 July until the conclusion of the Festival on 3 August (some exceptions may be granted). They will attend the formation of the Verbier Festival Orchestra (VFO), one of three Festival orchestras. This formation includes section training led by 12 established musicians from New York’s Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, as well as tutti rehearsals led by the Derrick Inouye, Assistant Conductor of the VFO. Fellows will, where possible, collaborate with Maestro Inouye as he prepares the orchestra for their six Festival performances.Throughout the Festival, Fellows may perform assistant conductor duties for Valery Gergiev, Music Director of the VFO, and other visiting conductors of the VFO and the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra (VFCO).

Before the opening of the Festival, a meeting will be organised between Maestro Gergiev and the Fellows. This valuable chance to spend time with the Maestro allows each young conductor to discuss their aims and goals of being at the Festival, and to ask general advice regarding their career development.

Other activities:

  • A personal mentorship meeting with Festival Founder & Director Martin T:son Engstroem
  • At least one Fellow may conduct a public open-air concert with the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra

It is important to stress that this is a largely self-directed programme, and participants with flexibility, openness and personal-initiative will benefit the most from the many opportunities that are presented. Fellows are urged to attend and take part in as many activities as possible during their time at the Festival.


Applications to Verbier Festival Artist Training Programmes are submitted through the Acceptd on-line platform.



16 November 2018 (to be considered for a live audition)
Notification of Acceptance from video pre-screening: 23 November 2018
Latest Notification of Decision: 6 March 2019
Deadline for Confirmation: 11 March 2019

All Other Programmes
22 January 2019
Notification of Decision: 6 March 2019
Deadline for Confirmation: 11 March 2019

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.

All applicants must submit:

  • A resume or C.V. describing academic, professional and other relevant experience
  • A biography
  • A digital photograph
  • A 500-word statement describing three reasons you should be chosen for the Academy
  • A video personal statement describing who are you as an artist and what music means to you
  • A sample concert programme if you were to pitch a project to a presenter (conductor candidates excepted)
  • A description of a past outreach or audience engagement project(conductor candidates excepted)
  • Two letters of reference
  • Live unedited video audition recordings (see repertoire requirements) (optional for conductor candidates)
  • Payment of application fee (by credit card only)

You can expect…

Masterclasses and Coaching

The Verbier Festival Academy offers more than 100 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. 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 audiences of today.

Public Performances

Academy soloists and chamber ensembles perform in daily concerts at the Verbier Cinema and in the popular final chamber music 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. Conductors are offered the rare opportunity to meet and assist some of the world’s great conductors. All Academy musicians immerse themselves in the entire Verbier experience by attending unforgettable Festival concerts by the world’s top classical musicians.

Citizen Artist Project

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.

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. 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 Committee

The Advisory Committee 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

Who Can Apply?

Applicants to the Verbier Festival Academy are exceptional soloists, chamber musicians, singers and conductors. Academy musicians are aged 16 to 35 who are on the road to establishing professional performance careers. Musicians may attend the Academy only twice.

Younger artists, aged 13 to 15, are considered for a limited number of Student-in-Residence opportunities. These musicians are invited to perform in masterclasses when schedules permit.

Eligibility by Programme

Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello
Eight musicians, aged 16 to 28 on 1 July 2019, from each discipline will be accepted.
Up to three musicians aged 13 to 15 on 1 July 2019 may be accepted as Students-in-Residence.

Chamber Music Ensembles
Two ensembles will be accepted. Ensembles can be duos, trios, quartets, quintets, etc. The average age of each ensemble will be 22 to 28 on 30 June 2019.

Singers will be aged 18 to 30 on 1 July 2019. The number of singers accepted varies from year to year.

Up to four conductors, up to age 35 on 1 July 2019, will be accepted.

Live Auditions

Only singers applying to the Academy’s Atelier Lyrique will be eligible for a live audition. Acceptance to all other programmes is determined by video audition. Singers must upload video in order to be pre-screened for a live audition.

Deadline for Singers: 16 November 2018
Notification of Acceptance to Live Audition: 23 November 2018
Auditions: December and January 2019 in cities that may include Berlin, London, Moscow, New York

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.


Musicians must upload live, unedited video recordings as part of their applications to the Verbier Festival Academy. ‘Unedited’ means that recordings should be taken in one take without breaks within a movement or work.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) –may be video OR audio


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 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) – may be video OR audio


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


Applicants will be pre-screened for a live audition through submission of video requirements. All singers must therefore upload live, unedited video recordings of:

  • One aria or excerpt from the featured opera, Mozart’s The Magic Flute
  • One other aria of singer’s choice (can also be from The Magic Flute)
  • One German Lied
  • One art song (language of choice)

Singers may bring their own accompanist to live auditions or an accompanist will be provided by the Verbier Festival.

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

  • One aria or excerpt from Mozart’s Magic Flute (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 other aria or art song of singer’s choice
  • A short reading of dialogue from Mozart’s Magic Flute

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


Conductors are invited to upload samples of their conducting (optional). There are no set repertoire requirements.

Fees & Costs

Application Fees

Pianists, Violinists, Violists, Cellists, Chamber Ensembles
USD 125

Singers and Conductors
USD 50

Live Audition Expenses (Singers)
Applicants are responsible for their own expenses related to live auditions (travel, accommodation, etc.).

Costs for Successful Candidates

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.

Invest in an Academy Musician

The Verbier Festival depends on the generosity of donors to ensure that participants in its Artist Training Programmes are not asked to pay tuition fees. The cost of training for each Academy musician is more than CHF 10,000. The Festival looks for donations of scholarships to help to offset these costs. A scholarship for one musician is CHF 3,500.

Friends of the Festival also provide host accommodation to Academy musicians. To host a musician, click the box below.

Donate a ScholarshipHost a Musician

Frequently Asked Questions

I will be too young or too old for my programme of study on 30 June 2019
We do not accept applications from candidates younger or older than the stated requirements. Musicians aged 13 to 15 may apply at full Academy students to be considered for a Student-in-Residence position.

What is a Student-in-Residence?
The Academy may accept up to three young musicians aged 13 to 15 to experience all the Festival and Academy has to offer. These Students-in-Residence are part of the piano, violin, viola or cello programmes only. They attend and perform in masterclasses but with a reduced work-load. Priority for study is given to full Academy students. These musicians are also assigned to chamber groups (usually duos). Students-in-Residence are invited to perform in the daily Academy Presents Spotlight concerts at the Cinema and in the Academy’s final weekend chamber music concerts. Students-in-Residence apply to the full Academy programme and are asked to submit the same information as a full Academy candidate. They may be accompanied by a parent for the duration of the Academy summer session, but must act independently from their parents during Academy activities. Accommodation will be provided for both student and parent.

May my CV be in a language other than English?
Yes, we accept CVs in English, French, German or Spanish.

May my biography be in a language other than English?
Yes, we accept biographies in both English and French.

How recent should my recordings be for my video audition?
You need to show yourself at your best. We recommend your video recording be made within a year of your application to the Academy.

I only have audio recordings. May I still submit my materials.
You must submit a video recording where required in the application. You may submit either audio or video recordings where noted (i.e. chamber music and concerto recordings for soloist applicants).

Does the quality of sound for video applications matter that much?
Yes, the sound quality is of great importance for your video audition. Please see the ‘Live & Video Auditions’ tab.

I’m a singer. When will my live audition be scheduled?
The specific dates and cities of auditions will be communicated by 23 November.

I’m a singer. May I bring a pianist to my audition?
You may bring your pianist to your live audition. The Academy can also provide a pianist for a nominal fee (to be confirmed).

Other Questions
Please email:
Stephen McHolm
Director, Academy & Special Projects


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
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

Pawel Konik (Stuttgart), Voice

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