Verbier Festival

Learn from the best

By taking part in the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra (VFJO), you will learn from some of the up most talented musicians in the industry. Coachings, sectional rehearsals and private lessons will be delivered by a select roster of established orchestra members from around the world, many of whom are former musicians of the Verbier Festival Orchestra.

Coaches for the 2017 edition of the VFJO include:

BALLESTEROS David - Picture 2

David BALLESTEROS, violin coach
Co-leader at bandArt chamber orchestra, guest concertmaster in United-Kingdom and Spain, member of the London Symphony Orchestra, professor at the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela, New World Symphony Orchestra in the US, the Catalonian Youth and the Spanish National Youth Orchestras and the Guildhall School of Music in United-Kingdom


Béatrice MUTHELET, viola coach
Solo viola at the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Viola player of the Capuçon Quartet for 10 years. Guest violist in Leipzig, Bamberg, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Scala in Milan, etc…


Ulrika EDSTRÖM, cello coach
Co-principal Cello at the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra


Mary WHEELOCK JAVIAN, bass coach
On the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music where she also serves as the school’s Director of Professional Development and Community Engagement. Frequently performs with the Philadelphia Orchestra, IRIS Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia and numerous groups throughout the United States.


Caroline LOHMANN, flute coach
Verbier Festival Orchestra and Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, Flute Solo at the São Paulo Symphonie Orchestra. Member of the Orchestra of Europe and European Philharmonie of Switzerland. Guest flutist at the Opernhaus Zürich and Berne Symphony Orchestra.

Fabien Thouand, oboe coach
Principal Oboe at Teatro alla Scala and Filarmonica della Scala
Teacher at Royal College of Music of London and Conservatorio della Svizzera Italian in Lugano
Guest Principal Oboe at London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, München Staatsoper…


Aleksandar TASIC, clarinet coach
Solo Clarinet at the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, Professor at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, Serbia

© Pierre Dugowson

© Pierre Dugowson

Lola DESCOURS, bassoon coach
Bassoonist at the Orchestre de Paris, Professor at the Orchestre Français des Jeunes and at the Conservatory in Saint-Maur-des-Fossés

Wiliam DAY, trumpet coach
Associate Principal trumpet with the Naples Philharmonic in Naples, Florida.

William (Liam) Day, a graduate of The Juilliard School, performed as sub-principal trumpet with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra for seven seasons from 2009-2016. In 2016, Liam returned to his home in New York City to serve as acting second trumpet with the New York Philharmonic. Starting in August 2017, Liam will begin a new position as Associate Principal trumpet with the Naples Philharmonic in Naples, Florida.


Jonathan REITH, trombone coach
Principal Trombone at the Orchestre de Paris


Jacob NISSLY, percussion coach
Principal Percussionist at the San Francisco Symphony

Michael Israelievitch

Michael Israelievitch, coach percussion
Principal Timpanist at the SWR Symphonieorchester (Stuttgart, Germany), Former Principal Timpanist at the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (U.S.A.), Guest Principal Timpanist at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, etc.

Roman Simovic

Roman Simovic, violin coach

Roman Simovic’s performing on many of world’s leading stages and has been awarded prizes at numerous international competitions, placing him among the foremost violinists of his generation.
As soloist, he’s appeared with the London Symphony orchestra, Mariinsky theatre symphony orchestra or the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra (Hungary), under the direction of such a conductor like Gergiev, Noseda, Jarvi and Heras-Casado.

Nikola Cirić

Nikola Ćirić, Horn coach

Nikola Ćirić, 24 years old Principal horn of Belgrade Philharmonic orchestra, studied with Radovan Vlatkovic at Mozarteum university in Salzburg

Harry Steel - Operations Manager

Harry Steel – Operations Manager

Harry Steel has been working with Altitude for many years now, and is one of our most experienced and talented leaders. This year Harry is working as our Junior Orchestra Operations Manager. He combines his outstanding natural ability in leadership and coaching techniques to get the best out of the children and his fun personality is always popular!
Harry grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland, but his passion for the mountains led him to decide to move to Switzerland. During the winter months he works as the operations manager and coach for the Altitude Futures ski instructor GAP, ISIA and Level 4 courses, and also as a ski instructor. Harry has previously spent his Summers working as a team leader for our mountain adventure camps. When asked what he enjoys most about the camps, “It makes me so happy to pass that thrill of something I enjoy on to others”, he says.

Cameron Rutherford - Team Leader

Cameron Rutherford – Team Leader

Cam is one of our Team Leaders on the Junior Orchestra, returning for his second year with the camp having worked with the young musicians back in 2014. He is also working on our International Summer Camps as a Night Supervisor.
He originally came to Verbier to complete his ski instructor training course with Altitude. Since then, Cam has worked primarily as a ski instructor in Verbier, and has lots of experience working outdoors with young people, teaching children of all ages how to ski as well as previously working with teenagers on the Junior Orchestra.
When he’s not working in the Summer, Cam is a very keen climber so can usually be found enjoying some of the incredible climbing that the region has to offer. Cam is looking forward to joining the Junior Orchestra again this year, and meeting all the new musicians for 2016!

András Szecskay - Team Leader

András Szecskay – Team Leader

Joining Altitude in December 2014, András joined our Summer team in 2015 as a Junior Orchestra Team Leader and is returning again this year. Originally from Budapest, Hungary, András came to Verbier in December 2013, and has spent the last two winters training as a ski instructor, both training and working with Altitude this winter. He chose to come to Verbier for the great vibe and freeride skiing opportunities on offer. Before coming to Verbier, András studied International Business Relations at university, and worked as a Marketing and Sponsorship Manager. He speaks Hungarian, English, and some French and German. When he’s not busy working, András loves skiing in the winters and biking in the summer. He’s looking forward to his first summer in Verbier, and intends to work hard and play hard!

Tamara Koehler - Team Leader

Tamara Koehler – Team Leader

Tamara has been in Verbier working for Altitude for the last 3 winters as a part-time ski instructor and in a Bed & Breakfast. This year she is working on the Junior Orchestra as a team leader.
Originally from Germany, near Stuttgart, Tamara was working as a Sports Therapist before making the move to Verbier. She brings plenty of summer camp experience with her, having previously worked on sports camps in Germany, Austria and Canada. She speaks also fluent German and English.
When she isn’t working, Tamara enjoys all kinds of sports as well as travelling. She enjoys Verbier as there is so much terrain to ski, and also offers plenty of activities in the Summer such as climbing and biking.
This Summer, Tamara is most looking forward to watching the musicians perform in the concerts at the Verbier Festival.

Sofie Sjöström - Team Leader

Sofie Sjöström – Team Leader

Sofie is one of our Team Leaders for the Junior Orchestra. Originally from Sweden, Sofie has been working as a snowboard and ski instructor for Altitude since December 2014, specialising in our Polar Bear Club aged 3-5 years. She originally came to Verbier for the great skiing and snowboarding.
As well as her experience as a ski and snowboard instructor, Sofie has worked as a Kindergarten teacher and school teacher back home in Sweden, and also coaches football for a children’s team. She is fluent in both Swedish and English.
When she isn’t working, Sofie loves to travel and discover new countries, but at the moment she’s loving being in Verbier. “Verbier is one of the most beautiful places I know. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen it, Verbier and the surrounding mountains always takes you breath away.” She loves outdoor activities and this summer in Verbier is hoping to do a lot of hiking, biking and get some more experience climbing.
On what Sofie is most looking forward to about the Summer, she says, “I’m super excited for this summer and I’m really looking forward to meeting all the cool kids at camp!”.

Mike Charnock - Team Leader

Mike Charnock – Team Leader

Mike joins us this year as a Team Leader for the Junior Orchestra. Originally from Oxford, England, Mike first came to Verbier on holiday to ski and visit a friend who worked here, and loved it so much he just had to come back and work here as well!
Before Verbier Mike worked for Oxford University Press for 4 years, but now prefers to be out of the office and in the mountains, skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and running climbing and cycling in the summer “Verbier and the surrounding mountains are absolutely stunning.”
Mike is most looking forward to meeting all the Music Campers and experiencing Verbier in the summer.