March 23, 2022—VERBIER (Switzerland)—The Verbier Festival Academy is a laboratory where future talents are discovered and nurtured. The Academy has a 29-year history of bringing musical legends together with the top talent of a new generation—the Verbier Generation.
A smorgasbord of opportunities, uniquely integrated into the Festival, is offered to musicians of the Academy each summer and provides each musician, and those working with them, the tools needed for 21st century careers. This includes masterclasses led by the world’s top artists and recent alumni who are already at home on the world’s stages.
1,219 young musicians applied to the Academy this year. 222 were selected (including 104 who were reinvited from 2021).
Statistics (including age and nationality) are available on request.
new for 2022
audio recording programme
The Academy has introduced a new Audio Recording programme, providing two internship opportunities to emerging audio engineers and producers—the first of its kind among European music academies. The two selected interns will be integrated into the Kali Son team throughout the Festival for live audio and video capture of Festival performances, and will be also mentored by producer and educator Theresa Leonard in the production of studio recordings with the Academy’s two string quartets in residence, as well as a number of live recordings of Academy and ‘Unlimited Concert Club’ performances.
This new programme is made possible in part by Merging Technologies.
creative project development residency
While identifying the brightest young talents each summer is a given, the Academy looks to prepare its musicians for 21st century careers by identifying, nurturing and celebrating creative and entrepreneurial musicians who redefine the traditional mould of a concert artist. In this vein, for the first time in 2022, Chinese-Canadian pianist Tong Wang has been chosen for a ‘Creative Project Development Residency’, during which she will be mentored to prepare and workshop a thematic-based concert programme in the spirit of storytelling and sharing of cultural values.
soloists & ensembles
The Academy’s Soloists & Ensembles Programme searches for the brightest emerging talents each year to be part of its piano, violin, viola, cello, and pre-formed ensembles (string quartet) sections. Eight musicians are chosen as full students for each solo discipline, in addition to two string quartets. Three junior students, aged 13 to 15, will also take part in solo and chamber music masterclasses with a lighter workload. Additional ‘Artists of Promise’ are invited to observe the activities of the Academy for a period of seven to ten days with the goal of inspiring them to continue their musical studies.
The Academy’s Atelier Lyrique is unique among voice programmes in Europe. Singers are accepted for either the Atelier’s opera programme, its song programme, or a combination of both. They study their craft through masterclasses and private coaching sessions with a focus on a tangible project or projects: a semi-staged performance of Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel in collaboration with the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra led by conductor Stanislav Kochanovsky; two song recitals as part of the Festival’s mainstage offerings; and special late-night projects as part of the Festival’s Unlimited programming. All singers will sing in the chorus of the Festival mainstage presentation of Mozart’s Don Giovanni with the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra and its Music Director, Gábor Takács-Nagy, and two young baritones will perform alongside international artists in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera with the Verbier Festival Orchestra and conductor Gianandrea Noseda.
verbier festival orchestras & conducting programme
The Verbier Festival Orchestra is a rite of passage for today’s exceptional young orchestral musicians (aged 18 to 28). Since its founding in 2000, the orchestra has brought together rising talents with the foremost conductors and soloists of our time. In preparation for work with the orchestra’s distinguished guest conductors, Gianandrea Noseda (who conducts four concerts with the orchestra this summer), Klaus Mäkelä, and Charles Dutoit, VFO musicians receive intensive coaching from musicians of New York’s Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
The Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra is an international orchestral training programme for musicians aged 15 to 18. VFJO players are coached by a roster of established orchestra members from around the world, many of whom are former musicians of the VFO and who now perform in prominent orchestras. Over three weeks, these young musicians learn, rehearse and perform in Verbier and Le Châble. The VFJO will perform two symphonic concerts and—unique in the world of youth orchestras—one opera during the Festival.
The Academy’s Conducting Programme offers a steppingstone to emerging conductors who are on the verge of leading orchestras at the highest level. Conducting Fellows are mentored by and network with a who’s who from the world of classical music, including, notably, the conductors of the VFO and VFCO.
travel assistance for displaced ukrainian musicians and those living in russia
The Academy is alarmed by the challenges faced by so many displaced Ukrainian musicians and others facing difficulties to travel due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Furthermore, the Verbier Festival confirms its continued support of Russian artists who have not aligned themselves with nor expressed support for the actions of their government. These musicians should not be excluded from international musical life simply because of their nationality. Therefore, travel and other assistance, where possible, will be offered to these musicians invited to the Academy this summer.
The Festival welcomes back the following Academy alumni to perform and/or teach or coach Academy programmes in 2022: Timothy Chooi, Mao Fujita, Kirill Gerstein, Roberto González-Monjas, Mathieu Herzog, Daniel Lozakovich, Julien Van Mellaerts, Ema Nikolovska, Lawrence Power, Pierre Colombet and Raphaël Merlin of Quatuor Ébène, and Simon Rivard. Ukrainian pianist Anna Fedorova (alumna 2012 and 2017) performs Rodion’s Shchedrin’s Second Piano Concert in the Festival’s opening ‘Concert for Peace’ on July 15.
reservations for masterclass attendance
Academy masterclasses begin July 15 and continue through July 30, 2022. Most of the nearly 100 classes are open to the public and, while there is no cost to attend, reservation is recommended to guarantee entry.
The Academy accounted for 42% of the Verbier Festival’s direct programme expenses in 2021.
Students attend tuition-free and housing is provided to them, as are most meals. Travel costs are underwritten for Verbier Festival Orchestra musicians and Audio Recording Programme interns. In all, the average cost to train a single Academy student is approximately CHF 14,000. The majority of this cost is subsidised by generous philanthropic partners, including donors to The Friends of the Verbier Festival, as well as public funders and commercial sponsors.
Principal Sponsor, Bank Julius Baer, has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Academy since 2010. In addition to its investment as Principal Sponsor, Julius Baer underwrites daily lunches for Academy soloists, ensembles, singers and audio engineers, and sponsors a ‘financial management’ seminar for all students. For a second year, Julius Baer brings together students, faculty, guest artists, staff and volunteers at a central meeting point throughout the Festival by underwriting the costs of a popular coffee truck in the centre of Verbier’s resort.
Lars Anders Tomter
Anne Sofie von Otter