The Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra (VFJO) is an international orchestral training programme for young musicians aged 15 to 18. Nearly 60 students are coached by a roster of established players from about the world, many of whom are Verbier Festival Orchestra alumni and who now perform in prominent orchestras including London Symphony Orchestra, Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestre de Paris and Frankfurter Opern-und Museumsorchester. Over three weeks, these young musicians perform two symphonic concerts and one opera.
with generous support from
9 – 31 July 2023
includes arrival and departure dates
Age & Nationality
Musicians of all nationalities between the ages of 15 and 18 as of 1 July 2023 may apply.
costs for successful applicants
Students accepted to the VFJO are invited to take part tuition- and room and board-free. They are responsible only for travel, visa and insurance costs and their own pocket money.
Applications open 11 October 2022
Live audition deadline: 15 December 2022
Video audition deadline: 19 January 2023
Fee: USD 50
Please note: Applicants of Romanian, Russian or Ukrainian nationality are eligible for an application fee waiver thanks to the generosity of donors to the Festival. To obtain a fee waiver, please email a scan of your passport proving your nationality to firstname.lastname@example.org.
repertoire highlights 2023
Scheherazade Op. 35
The Rake’s Progress
Applicants are required to perform one or two solo works (depending on instrument) as well as orchestral excerpts.repertoire excerpts
James Gaffigan is the second Music Director of the VFJO, after the founding Music Director Daniel Harding, who served from 2013 to 2016. Gaffigan’s history with the VFJO goes right back to its beginnings, having conducted the orchestra in its inaugural summer when it was known as the Verbier Festival Music Camp. He has since watched it evolve into a permanent and important fixture of the Verbier Festival Academy programmes. During the 2023 Festival he will conduct all three of the VFJO’s concerts, including two symphonic concerts and one opera.
Coachings, sectional rehearsals and private lessons are led by a roster of established orchestra members from around the world, many of whom are former musicians of the Verbier Festival Orchestra. 2023 coaches will be announced soon. The 2022 Coaches were:
David Ballesteros violin
London Symphony Orchestra
Caroline Simon violin
Trondheim Symfoniorkester & Opera
German Clavijo viola
London Symphony Orchestra
Nicolas Hartmann cello
National Orchestra of Lyon
Mary Javian double bass
Philadelphia Curtis Institute of Music
Rute Fernandes flute
Zurich Opera House Orchestra
Simon Sommerhalder oboe
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Aleksandar Tasic clarinet
Novi Sad Academy of Arts
Simon Van Holen bassoon
Jorge Monte de Fez horn
Teatro alla Scala Milano
Philipp Hutter trumpet
Jonathan Reith trombone
Orchestre de Paris
Samuli Viitanen percussion
Finish Opera Orchestra
Simon Rivard, conductor
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
The VFJO works closely with Altitude, a Verbier-based summer and winter camp known internationally for its quality of service and professional staff. Altitude boasts many years’ experience in caring for and working with children and young adults of all ages and nationalities. Its mission is to provide a positive environment for young people to learn, laugh, and build confidence.
Altitude provides several highly qualified, experienced councillors who lead groups of no more than 15 VFJO students each. Most activities—musical and otherwise—are undertaken together with all VFJO students. These smaller groups live in the same chalets, eat their breakfasts and dinners and travel together.
English is the primary language spoken for all VFJO activities, but the staff of both the VFJO and Altitude come from many different countries and speak a variety of languages.