Archipel Academy 2019

March 31 - April 7th, 2019 - Geneva


Submission period

Tue Nov 27, 2018 at 9 AM UTC

End of submission period

Thu Feb 28 at 10:59 PM UTC

Results date

Fri Mar 8 at 4 PM UTC

In a few words

  • Academy of vocal ensemble writing for young composers, directed by Katharina Rosenberger with the vocal sextet Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart.
  • From Sunday March 31th to Sunday April 7th, 2019, seven days workshops, meetings, rehearsals and concert in Geneva (Switzerland).
  • Application deadline is February 28th, 2019.
  • Open to composers born from January 1st, 1989 onwards (30 years old in 2019 or younger).
  • Application must be submitted via the ULYSSES platform


The Academy

The exceptional nature of this composition academy, organised for the third time by Archipel, stems from the training offered to young composers by one of the greatest vocal ensemble specialized in contemporary music, the rehearsal time granted to them (4 rehearsals, dress rehearsal and concert for each student), and, above all, the quality and reputation of the supervision: Katharina Rosenberger, professors of composition at the University of California San Diego.

Six to seven candidates will be selected on the basis of their online application in February 2019. They will start to write a short piece for 3 to 6 voices a cappella (see details below) that will be completed and rehearsed then premiered in concert in Geneva on the last day of the Academy (April 7th 2pm : public concert).

The host institutions

Archipel Festival
Founded in 1992 at the request of the City of Geneva, Archipel is the main festival in Switzerland entirely devoted to today's music. The Archipel festival takes place every year in spring and lasts ten days.

Archipel has invited the greatest composers of our time (Saariaho, Benjamin, Berio, Carter, Ferneyhough, Harvey, Huber, Kagel, Kurtág, Ligeti, Rihm, Stockhausen…), giving rise to numerous premieres, and contributing in making these great musical works of the 20th and 21st centuries heard. With equally high standards, it is also interested in all forms of musical creation: stage and multimedia works, improvisation, electro-acoustic music, sound installations, chamber and symphonic works.

Since 2007, Archipel has invested in the training and discovery of young artists by organizing numerous academies of composition or interpretation with Swiss universities or on its own initiative.


Neue Vocalsolisten
They are researchers, discoverers, adventurers and idealists. Their partners are specialist ensembles and radio orchestras, opera houses and the free theater scene, electronic studios and countless organizers of contemporary music festivals and concert series in the world.

The Neue Vocalsolisten established as an ensemble specializing in the interpretation of contemporary vocal music in 1984. Founded under the artistic management of Musik der Jahrhunderte, the vocal chamber ensemble has been artistically independent since the year 2000. Each of the seven concert and opera soloists, with a collective range reaching from coloratura soprano over countertenor to "basso profondo", shapes the work on chamber music and the co-operation with the composers and other interpreters through his/her distinguished artistic creativity.

The ensemble’s chief interest lies on research: exploring new sounds, new vocal techniques and new forms of articulation, whereby great emphasis is placed on establishing a dialogue with composers. Each year, the ensemble premiers about twenty new works. Central to the group’s artistic concept are the areas of music theater and the interdisciplinary work with electronics, video, visual arts and literature, as well as the juxtaposition of contrasting elements found in ancient and contemporary music.

The professor

Katharina Rosenberger

«Much of my work manifests in an interdisciplinary context and is bound to confront traditional performance practice in terms of how sound is produced, heard and seen. Taking the audience to peculiar places, ambiguous and deceiving, where the usual expectations have to be thrown over board. Often the instrumentalists or vocalists are challenged to go beyond an "only" interpretative function, their corporal presence on stage is fully taken into account.» K.R.

Katharina Rosenberger, born in Zurich, is a Professor at the Department of Music, University of California, San Diego. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition from Columbia University, under the mentorship of Tristan Murail.

Her compositions, installations and interdisciplinary stage work have been featured at festivals such as the Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik, Witten, Klangwerkstatt, Berlin, KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen, Hannover, Weimarer Frühlingstage, DE, Musikfestival Bern, Tage für Neue Musik, Zürich, Festival Archipel, Geneva, CH, Festival Les Musiques, Marseille, FR, Festival Bernaola, Vitoria-Gasteiz, ES, Felicja Blumental Festival, Tel Aviv, IL, Festival reMusik, St. Petersburg, RU, Festival Visiones Sonoras, Morelia, MX, Shanghai Electronic Music Week, Shanghai New Music Days, CN, October Contemporary, Hongkong, HK, as well as in many concert series throughout Europe and the United States.

Katharina‘s installation work VIVA VOCE and Room V have been awarded with the “Mediaprojects Award” /  Sitemapping of the Swiss Federal Agency (OFC), Berne. She is a past recipient of the Hellman Fellowship, San Francisco, the Sony Scholar Award, and the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung Commission for her composition Gesang an das noch namenlose Land. Her portrait CD TEXTUREN with the Wet Ink Ensemble, released on HatHut Records, has been awarded the prestigious Copland Recording Grant and was selected for the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Bestenliste 4_2012.

Her music can be heard on Hat Hut Records, Unit Records and Akenaton.

Conditions for participation in the Archipel Academy 2018

  • Open to young composers born from January 1st, 1989 onwards (30 years old or younger).
  • Candidates will be choosen by Archipel Festival and the tutors based on their applications.
  • Course languages : English, French and German.
  • The course is limited to 6 or 7 participants.


Application requirements 

All the material must be sent in digital format on the Ulysses-network platform and the application must contain :

  • A cover letter in French or English - with the mention of a choice of three vocal formation among the 7 proposed.
  • A detailed CV French or English
  • A short biography in French or English (1000 characters max.)
  • A royalty free photo for web publication
  • 3 scores per candidate, no more, with at least one vocal music score (solo, ensemble or choir).
  • It is not mandatory but highly recommended to send audio or video recordings of the scores if they exist.
  • Scores must have graphic realization and interpretation guidelines in international standard.



The course fee of 300 Swiss Francs covers the following:

  • All master class courses, rehearsals and concert

Hotel accomodation, meals and drinks are not included.

You must also pay the subscription fee to the Archipel Association (30 Swiss Francs).

All payment must be done before the beginning of the course. Banking account will be given to the selected candidates.

Selected composers

The selection process wil take no more than 8 days after the deadline (February 28th, 2019). Then the six/seven selected composers will have to send the sketch of a new vocal piece. This piece must be started but not completed before the arrival in Geneva, the sketches sent by PDF to the festival Archipel who will transmit it to the musicians. During the academy, the piece will be completed under the direction of the teacher and singers during the academy and will not exceed the duration of 10 minutes.

This piece MUST be a NEW WORK and must be written for one of the following formation, excluding all other forms, and without any amplification or electronic :

  1. Sextet : soprano 1, soprano 2, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baryton, basse
  2. Sextet : soprano 1, soprano 2, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baryton, basse
  3. Quartet SSMB : soprano 1, soprano 2, mezzo-soprano, basse
  4. Quartet STBB : soprano 1, tenor, baryton, basse
  5. Quartet SMTB : soprano 2, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baryton
  6. Trio SSM : soprano 1, soprano 2, mezzo-soprano
  7. Trio TBB : tenor, baryton, basse

The candidates must choose three pefered vocal formations among the 7 proposed. One of these formations will be attributed to them after the selection.

During the composition process the composers are welcome to contact the Neue Vocalsolisten with questions on techniques, notation, possibilities or any feedback on the score.


Each student will have 4 to 6 hours of rehearsal in four times with the singers, a dress rehearsal and the concert. In addition, they will have private meetings with Katharina Rosenberger, and have free entrance to all concerts of the festival Archipel.

  • March 31: arrival of the students in Geneva
  • April 1 to April 5 : morning and afternoon, Geneva : rehearsals of the students pieces
  • April 6 : dress rehearsal.
  • April 7: public concert salle Trocmé, Geneva, at 2pm.


Archipel Academy is supported by Carigest S.A.. The festival Archipel is supported by the City of Geneva, Loterie Romande, Pro Helvetia, Suisa, Fondation Suisa, Fondation Leenaards, Fondation Nestlé pour l'Art, Francis & Marie-France Minkoff Foundation, Fluxum Foundation.