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Archipel Academy 2018

March 17th - 25th, 2018 - Geneva

Nov. 14, 2017 - Feb. 5, 2018
Organized by Archipel

In a few words


  • Academy of string quartet writing for young composers, directed by Michael Jarrell and Stefano Gervasoni with the string quartets Béla (France) and Asasello (Germany).
  • From Sunday March 18th to Sunday March 25th, 2018, eight days workshop, meeting, rehearsals and concert in Geneva (Switzerland).
  • Application deadline postponed to February 12th, 2018.
  • Open to composers born from January 1st, 1988 onwards (30 years old in 2018 or younger).
  • Application must be done on the Ulysses-network platform


The Academy

The exceptional nature of this composition academy, organised for the second time by Archipel, stems from the training offered to young composers by two renowned string quartets, 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: Michael Jarrell and Stefano Gervasoni, professors of composition at the Haute école de musique de Genève and Conservatoire national supérieur de musique de Paris.

Eight candidats will be selected on the basis of their online application in February 2018. They will write a short piece for string quartet that will be rehearsed then premiered in concert at the end of a 8-days Academy taking place in Geneva (March 25th: public reading and 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 (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.


Quatuor Béla

Founded in 2006 by four musicians from the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique of Lyon and Paris the Bela Quartet came together around a passion to defend the fabulous repertoire of the 20th Century as well as its creation. The ensemble performs in France and internationally on a variety of stages: Cité de la Musique in Paris, Arsenal Concert Hall in Metz, Aix-en-Provence Festival, Flâneries Musicales in Reims, Biennale Musique en Scène in Lyon, Why Note, Les Musiques Festival in Marseille, Villa Médicis, Les Suds Festival in Arles, Jazz Nomades, Africolor, L'Atelier du Plateau Festival, Musique Action, and Les Journées Electriques in addition to concert halls throughout France.

The Bela Quartet distinguishes itself by its commitment to be at the initiative of new compositions and to nurture the dialogue between composers and performers. They have performed or are about to perform works by Philippe Leroux, Robert HP Platz, Francesca Verunelli, Francesco Filidei, Daniel D'Adamo, Thierry Blondeau, Benjamin de la Fuente, Jean-Pierre Drouet, François Sarhan, Nimrod Sahar, Jérôme Combier, Garth Knox, Sylvain Lemêtre, Frédéric Aurier, and Frédéric Patter among others.


Asasello Quartet

The Asasello Quartet is an european ensemble. Founded in 2000 by students of Walter Levin's chamber music class at the Basel conservatory, the musicians have gone on to make a name for themselves as outstanding interpreters of the classical and romantic repertoire, modern classical music and more. The founding four completed their formal studies with the Alban Berg Quartett and David Smeyers at the Cologne Hochschule für Musik und Tanz. Numerous accolades and awards as well as project funding grants have allowed the group to realize original concepts and to put new ideas, recording techniques and forms of concertizing into practice. Asasello programs are intelligent and sophisticated, never mainstream. If need be, «the Asasellos» will gladly jump from their chairs or out of their tuxes.


The professors


Michael Jarrell

Born in Geneva in 1958, Michael Jarrell studied composition at the Geneva Conservatory with Eric Gaudibert and at various workshops in the United States (Tanglewood, 1979). He completed his training with Klaus Huber at the Freiburg Staatliche Hochschule für Musik im Breisgau. Starting in 1982, his works have received numerous prizes: prix Acanthes (1983), Beethovenpreis from the city of Bonn (1986), Marescotti prize (1986), Gaudeamus (1988), Henriette Renié (1988), Siemens- Förderungspreis (1990) and Musikpreis der Stadt Wien (2010). Between 1986 and 1988, he was in residence at the Cité des Arts in Paris and took part in the computer music course at Ircam. He resided at the Villa Médicis in Rome during 1988/89, and then joined the Istituto Svizzero di Roma in 1989/90. From October 1991 to June 1993, he was composer in residence with the Lyon Orchestra. Beginning in 1993, he became professor of composition at the University in Vienna. In 1996, he was composer in residence at the Lucerne festival, and then was heralded by the Musica Nova Helsinki Festival, which dedicated the festival to him in 2000. In 2001, the Salzburg Festival commissioned a concerto for piano and orchestra entitled Abschied. The same year, he was named «Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres». In 2004, he was named professor of composition at the Geneva Conservatory.


Stefano Gervasoni

Born in Bergamo in 1962, Stefano Gervasoni began studying composition in 1980 on the advice of Luigi Nono: this encounter, as well as others with Brian Ferneyhough, Peter Eötvös and Helmut Lachenmann, turned out to be decisive for his career. After attending the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Milan, Stefano Gervasoni studied with György Ligeti in Hungary in 1990, and then, in 1992, he attended the IRCAM Course in Composition and in Computer Music in Paris. The first three years in France launched Gervasoni's international career that eventually led him to be artist-in-residence at Villa Medici in Rome for the biennium1995-1996. With commissions from prestigious institutions such the WDR, the SWR, the Orchestra Nazionale della RAI, the Festival d'Automne in Paris, Radio France, IRCAM, the Casa da Musica in Porto, the Festival Archipel in Geneva, the Divertimento Ensemble in Milan, the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Ensemble Modern, the Ensemble Contrechamps in Geneva, the Maerzmusik festival in Berlin, the Ars Musica Bruxelles, the Festival Musica in Strasbourg, the French Ministry of Culture, Milan Teatro alla Scala and Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Stefano Gervasoni has established himself as one of the most important Italian composers of his generation.
He has also been invited to teach at the Darmstadt Ferienkurse, on the courses organised by the Fondation Royaumont (Paris), at Toho University in Tokyo, at the Festival International di Campos do Jordão in Brazil, at the Conservatory in Shanghai, at Columbia University (New York) and at Harvard University (Boston). He has been composer-in-residence at Lausanne Conservatoire (2005) and visiting professor at ESMUC in Barcelona for the 2012-13 academic year. Since 2006 Stefano Gervasoni has held a regular teaching post as professor of composition at the prestigious Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Paris.


Conditions for participation in the Archipel Academy 2018


  • Open to young composers born from January 1st, 1988 onwards (30 years old or younger).
  • Candidate selection will be made by Archipel Festival and the tutors based on the applications.
  • Course languages : English and French.
  • The course is limited to 8 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
  • A detailed CV French or English
  • A short biography (1000 characters max.)
  • A royalty free photo for web publication


  • 3 scores per candidate, no more, with at least one chamber music score.
  • It is not mandatory but highly recommended to send 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 in Geneva (8 nights in double bed room)

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 10 days after the deadline (February 5th, 2018). Then the eight selected composers will have to send a string quartet piece of no more than 10 minutes for rehearsal during the Academy.

This piece can be a new or an existing work and must be written for the following musicians:

• 2 violins, viola, cello. No electronics, no amplification.

All parts will be provided by the composers in a PDF file before the 5th of March 2018 at the latest.



Each student will have 4 to 6 hours of rehearsal in four times with one of the two quartets, a dress rehearsal and the concert. In addition, they will have private meetings with Michael Jarrell and Stefano Gervasoni.

  • March 17: arrival of the students in Geneva
  • March 17-18-19-20: morning and afternoon, Geneva : rehearsals of the students pieces
  • March 21 and 22 morning: pause. Students will have time to make corrections to their piece if necessary.
  • March 22 afternoon and 23: rehearsals.
  • March 24: dress rehearsals.
  • March 25: two public concerts salle Trocmé, Geneva, at 11am and 2pm.



Archipel Academy is supported by Art Mentor Foundation Lucern and Carigest S.A.. The festival Archipel is supported by the City of Geneva, Pro Helvetia, Suisa, Fondation Suisa, Loterie Romande and other sponsors.

Applications for this competition will open on Nov. 14, 2017
Feb. 5, 2018
Archipel Academy 2018: registrations postponed until 12 February

 You still have one more week to apply to the Archipel 2018 Academy.

Nov. 16, 2017
Archipel Academy 2018

Applications are now open for the 2018 Archipel Composition Academy, March 2018. Directed by Jarrell and Gervasoni with Béla and Asasello quartets. Workshop and public concert in Geneva.