The aim of the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra (VFJO) is to offer young musicians insight into the life of a professional orchestra whilst taking advantage of all the wonderful non-musical activities Switzerland also has to offer. Over the course of 3 weeks, you will live, work and play in the beautiful Alpine villages of Verbier and Le Châble, located about a 2-hour drive from Geneva.
The Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra is a programme, which is free of charge for all accepted participants. Only travel, pocket money, health insurance and visa costs will be at your expense.
Repertoire is selected not only to challenge participants to perform advanced works but also to work on specific aspects ranging from style to rhythm. Additional working sessions will also focus on chamber music works and, in some instances, private study.
Practical aspects of life at the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra
Sample orchestra day
8am – 9am: Breakfast and travel to Le Châble
9am – 10am: Private practice and warm-up or Yoga / Meditation
10am – 12.30pm: Sectionals
12.30pm – 1.30pm: Lunch break
1.30pm – 4.30pm: Orchestra rehearsal
5pm – 6pm: Travel back to Verbier
6pm – 11pm: Dinner, structured downtime, Verbier Festival concert and/or group activities
11pm: Lights out
Recreational activities: Discover the magic of Verbier!
In between training sessions, there will be plenty of recreational time to take full advantage of the Verbier Festival and the many leisure and sporting activities offered in Verbier! You can attend concerts and master classes at the Verbier Festival, play sports or go hiking or swimming. All activities will be organized and supervised by qualified professionals.
Sample day “off”
9am – 10am: Breakfast
10am – 5.30pm: Mountain hike, kayaking and fondue lunch break in the Alps*
5.30pm – 6.30pm: Dinner
7pm: Verbier Festival Orchestra concert
9pm- 11pm: Downtime in the chalet
11pm: Lights out
Activities include group games, swimming, movie night, kayaking, ropes course, volleyball, indoor Olympics, talent night, bowling, etc.
*All activities will be under the supervision of qualified, experienced camp “leaders” with First Aid training. Specialized activities will be run and overseen by staff with recognized qualifications.
During your stay at the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra, you will have the opportunity to perform three times on the Verbier Festival’s main stage, the Salle des Combins: 27 July (at 4pm), 29 July (at 4pm) and 6 August, 2017 (at 2pm).
Other opportunities may include community concerts at local retirement homes, chamber music soirées, appearances in Fest’Off and performances in the Verbier Festiva’s Windows series.
Room and Board
The Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra (VFJO) provides high quality accommodation, in partnership with reputable summer camp organiser Altitude. Traditional Swiss chalets have been specially selected to welcome you and your fellow participants in style, comfort and within proximity to Verbier Festival activities such as concerts and master classes.
Located within a few minutes from the heart of Verbier our chalets will welcome up to 15 participants in 4 to 6 dormitory style rooms, complete with single occupancy beds, shared bathrooms and fully equipped
common spaces for shared activities. Whereas the chalets will house participants of both sexes, each room will be an exclusively single-sex area. Towels, sheets, pillows, and a duvet will also be provided. Each “home away from home” will be permanently staffed by qualified live-in “leaders” who will coordinate breakfast and dinner meals, organize cleaning schedules, supervise all “down time” and ensure that curfews are respected.
Transportation and Safety
With a few exceptions, all musical activities will take place in rehearsal spaces in Le Châble (a village south of Verbier). For transfers between Verbier and Le Châble, the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra will provide buses with qualified drivers and passes for the lifts, which will take you down to Le Châble.
Health & Safety
At the VFJO, safety is our greatest priority. Every effort has been taken to ensure that participants will be cared for throughout their stay in a safe, healthy environment adapted to their needs. To achieve this we have a dedicated and experienced team on hand 24/7 to meet a range of scenarios. Group “leaders” are trained in First Aid and other safety courses.
In the event a minor accident should occur or should a participant fall ill, our staff is on hand day and night to ensure that he or she is cared for. Any medication taken by participants will be stored in a secure area and dispensed by qualified “leaders” as required. In the extremely unlike event of a more serious emergency, be assured that Verbier boasts 3 state-of-the-art clinics and that access to a regional hospital and two University hospitals are only 40 and 75 minutes away respectively (or just 10 minutes by helicopter).
In our efforts to provide the best possible services to our young participants, the VFJO has paired with Altitude, a Verbier-based summer and winter camp known internationally for its quality of service and professional staff. Altitude boasts over ten years experience in caring for and working with children and young adults of all ages and nationalities.
Its mission is to provide a positive arena for participants to learn, laugh, and build confidence. As part of its responsibilities over the summer, Altitude will provide several highly qualified, experienced councillors who will be “leaders” to smaller groups of about fifteen participants.
Whereas most activities, musical or otherwise, will be done together as a whole group, these smaller sub-groups will live in the same chalets, eat breakfast and dinner and travel together.
English is the main language used at the Junior Orchestra. However, reflecting the diversity of the participants who will be attending the camp, our staff also hails from different countries thereby covering several languages other then English.