Orchestras: VFJO

The Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra (VFJO) is an international orchestral training programme for young musicians aged 15 to 18. Nearly 60 students are mentored by the orchestra’s Music Director, James Gaffigan, and coached by a roster of established players from about the world.

with generous support from

Loterie Romande
Fondation Juchum


Applications open: 10 October 2023
Application deadline: 18 January 2024
Fee: USD 50

programme dates

14 July – 5 August 2024

includes arrival and departure dates

how to apply

Applications to the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra programme are accepted by Video Audition.

Please read the guidelines at the following link before beginning your application and before sending any questions to the Verbier Festival Team.



Over three weeks the VFJO performs two symphonic concerts and an opera. Repertoire highlights include:

Piano Concerto No. 1 Sz 83

Firebird Suite (1919)


james gaffigan

Music Director

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 Artist Training programmes. During the 2024 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. Coaches for 2024 will be announced soon. The 2023 coaches were:

David Ballesteros violin 
London Symphony Orchestra

Caroline Simon violin
Trondheim Symfoniorkester & Opera

German Clavijo viola 
London Symphony Orchestra

Kristina Winiarski cello
Swedish Chamber Orchestra

Ulrika Edström cello
Solo Cellist, Swedish Radio Symphony

Mary Javian double bass 
Philadelphia Curtis Institute of Music

Magdalena Bogner flute
Komische Oper Orchester Berlin

Karel Schoofs oboe
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

Aleksandar Tasic clarinet 
Novi Sad Academy of Arts

Simon Van Holen bassoon
Concertgebouw Orchestra

Jorge Monte de Fez horn
Teatro alla Scala Milano

Philipp Hutter trumpet 
Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

Jonathan Reith trombone
Orchestre de Paris

Iwan Jenny percussion
Luzerner Sinfonieorchester


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.