Verbier Festival announces 2023 Academy and Orchestra students after record-setting selection process
March 15, 2023—VERBIER (Switzerland)—The Verbier Festival today announced the names of 223 students of 40 nationalities invited to take part in its prestigious Academy and Orchestra programmes in summer 2023. From a record number of 2,253 applications to its programmes, 143 applicants were accepted to the Academy and Orchestra programmes for the first time. Another 80 students were re-invited from previous years. Students may be re-invited twice to Academy programmes and up to three times to Orchestra programmes.
Artist training is at the heart of the Verbier Festival’s DNA. The Festival’s Academy and Orchestra Programmes have been a career launchpad for many of today’s most sought-after soloists, chamber ensembles, singers, orchestral players and conductors. Recent additions to the Academy programmes have been an Audio Recording programme for young recording engineers (2022) and a Creative Project Development Residency (piloted in 2022 and formally offered in 2023), that encourages young artists to push the traditional boundaries of the concert experience, embrace the idea of interactive performance and celebrate traditional cultural heritages.
30 years of the Academy
Together with the Festival, the Academy celebrates 30 years this summer. This laboratory where future talents have been discovered and nurtured for the last three decades, continues to be a top destination for the most talented young artists across the globe. The quality of artists leading masterclasses is second to none, as is the privileged access to Festival concerts, which offers students a total immersion in music for three weeks. The Academy is a leader in preparing a new generation of musicians for careers in today’s changing world.
“Even for the cream of the crop of young classical musicians—those who possess that indescribable ‘it’ factor of talent and charisma—building a career as a successful touring artist has become more and more competitive and challenging”, comments Academy Director Stephen McHolm. The Academy has introduced a number of opportunities to stimulate reflection and creative thought about what it means to be an artist and how to connect with audiences during these disruptive times. For the Academy’s 30th birthday, these efforts will be concretised under a formal ‘21st Century Artist’ curriculum, which receives support from Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne.
The Academy offers more than 90 masterclasses and workshops free and open to the public. Many of these have been announced today and are listed on Festival’s website. Advance reservation is not required but seating is limited. Highlights include the return of Richard Goode (piano masterclasses), Gábor Takács-Nagy (chamber music) and Véronique Gens (song). For the first time, pianist Rena Shereshevskaya (teacher of both Lucas Debargue and Alexandre Kantorow) joins the faculty, as does soprano Renée Fleming, who will lead one masterclass for sopranos of the Academy’s Atelier Lyrique.
Junior Orchestra celebrates 10 years
The Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra celebrates its tenth birthday with the return of its Music Director, James Gaffigan as mentor and conductor of three public concerts. The orchestra, made of up of young players aged 15 to 18, will prepare and perform an eclectic programme that includes Wynton Marsalis’s Concerto for violin and orchestra featuring violinist Nicola Benedetti. Wynton Marsalis will be in residence at the Festival this summer. The orchestra also collaborates with singers of the Academy’s Atelier Lyrique for a semi-staged performance of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, on the Festival’s final afternoon.
Verbier Festival Orchestra performs Verdi’s Requiem
The Verbier Festival Orchestra (VFO), made up of musicians aged mostly 18 to 28, is considered one of the world’s great training orchestras. Its players have a unique opportunity each summer to be mentored by the greatest conductors on the planet and prepare and perform a repertoire unlike any other youth orchestra. A highlight this summer will be Verdi’s monumental Reqiuem, led by Daniele Gatti, and featuring Okka von der Damerau, Lise Davidsen, Freddie de Tommaso and Bryn Terfel. This training opportunity is made possible by an anonymous donor advised by Carigest SA.
The Verbier Festival is a classical music festival that encourages sharing between great musicians and young aspiring artists from around the world. It is committed to excellence in music performance and education through its highly respected artistic programme, its Academy and Orchestra programmes, and UNLTD, its cultural engagement laboratory. The 30th edition of the Verbier Festival will place July 14 to 30, 2023 in Verbier (Switzerland). The Festival is made possible with the generous support of its many private and public sponsors such as Aline Foriel-Destezet, the Association of the Friends of the Verbier Festival, the Commune de Val de Bagnes and through partnerships with Anniversary Sponsor Rolex and Principal Sponsors Bank Julius Baer and SICPA.
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