Musical Ensembles

Musical Ensembles

From the first year of study, the HEMU gives access to ensemble activities leading to concerts. Its ensembles perform very regularly with renowned musicians and are welcomed on prestigious stages.

The HEMU Orchestra is a multifaceted formation which, under the supervision of musicians from the best phalanxes of the region, occupies all the instrumentalists of the institution through various projects combining pedagogical interest and the imperatives of the professional scene. It is directed by high level guest conductors.

It is said that the first conductor to have conducted an orchestra made up of students from what was then called the Lausanne Institute of Music was Ernest Ansermet! The foramtion experienced various fortunes during the 20th century before establishing its activity at the end of the 1980s under the direction of Hervé Klopfenstein, who was behind a clear dissociation between amateur and professional poles.

Under the baton of personalities such as Ton Koopman, Jesús López Cobos, Ralph Weikert, Christian Zacharias, Bertrand de Billy or Benjamin Lévy, the HEMU Orchestra encompasses a vast repertoire covering nearly four centuries of musical creation from 1650 to the present day. It has to its credit - with several recordings as a bonus - the interpretation of great frescoes of the repertoire such as Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, Tchaikovsky's and Mahler's 5th Symphonies, and Shostakovich's 11th Symphony, but also the premiere of a work by Caroline Charrière, the animation of 100% Gershwin or Michel Legrand evenings and the participation in several oratorio programs alongside the HEMU Vocalists. Thanks to regular collaborations with the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne since 2007, the HEMU Orchestra has also been able to take to the stage of the Salle Métropole in Lausanne for high-profile programs such as the interpretation of Bruckner symphonies or masterpieces such as La Mer by Debussy and La Valse by Ravel.

The HEMU Orchestra has also been standing out on the lyrical scene for several years now, participating in notable productions of Don Giovanni, Postcard from Morocco (Argento), Transformations (Susa), Le Songe d'une nuit d'été (Britten) or La Petite renarde rusée (Janacek), hosting such leading theaters as the Opéra de Lausanne, the Crochetan in Monthey and the Théâtre du Jorat in Mézières.

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Consisting of about sixty singers, the HEMU Choir gathers in colorful sessions all the Bachelor students of the school, both singers and instrumentalists. On the program: a cappella works, crossover projects and large unifying frescoes with the help of other HEMU ensembles, often under the direction of great batons..

Choral music has been practiced within the institution since its creation in 1861. Throughout its history, the Lausanne Conservatoire has been able to count on the presence within its walls of professors and directors active in the choral world of Vaud, from the founder Gustave-Adolphe Koëlla to Carlo Hemmerling, from Alexandre Denéréaz to Paul-André Gaillard, from Charles Troyon to Jean-Jacques Rapin.

If the student environment has clearly become international, the imprint remains strong and the HEMU Choir is a must for all Bachelor students, whether they are singers or not. An experience guided for a long time by Véronique Carrot and, since 2009, led by Dominique Tille and Jean-Pierre Chollet: an experience considered essential for even the most inexperienced instrumentalists - to learn to breathe together, to experience the exhilarating emotion of great choirs... and to lose, if necessary, one's preconceived notions about a choral world that is not so dusty but full of surprises!

Organized in sessions, the calendar alternates between major unifying projects - Brahms' Requiem under the direction of Michel Corboz, St. John Passion with Ton Koopman - a cappella concerts and crossover experiences such as Duke Ellington's Sacred Concerts presented in February 2014 alongside the HEMU Jazz Orchestra.

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Founded in 2007, the HEMU Vocalists ensemble is a high-level chamber choir made up of student singers from the Fribourg and Lausanne sites. Thanks to its flexibility, the ensemble is able to tackle a very vast repertoire ranging from a cappella polyphony to large frescoes with orchestra.

The HEMU Vocalists were founded in February 2007 under the impetus of John Duxbury. Made up exclusively of voice students from the HEMU (Fribourg and Lausanne sites), the ensemble aims to tackle works from the repertoire inaccessible to an amateur choir, such as the Serenade to Music for sixteen solo voices and orchestra by Ralph Vaughan Williams on the program of its inaugural concerts conducted by Hervé Klopfenstein, in Lausanne and Vevey.

The HEMU Vocalists are characterized by a variable number of singers - from twelve to forty - which allows the ensemble to cover a very broad spectrum of repertoire. With a small number of singers, the students develop, among other things, listening and sight-reading skills. These hours of intensive work lead to several concerts each year.

In addition to a cappella or piano-accompanied pages, they distinguished themselves in January 2010 in a performance of Schumann's Le Paradis et la Péri at Lausanne Cathedral alongside the HEMU Orchestra. In June 2011, they performed in a joint concert in Lausanne and Zurich with the Vocal Ensemble of Zurich’s Haute Ecole de Musique, conducted by Markus Utz and Gary Magby. They also took part in November 2010 in the Hommaginaire show celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Grotto 2 building in Lausanne, and in October 2011 in the ceremonies marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Lausanne Conservatoire, during which they "recreated" the Cantata 1803 by the Vaud composer Alexandre Denéréaz.

On June 1st 2013, in the church of Saint-François in Lausanne, the HEMU Vocalists tackled Igor Stravinsky's very demanding Mass under the combined batons of Gary Magby and Jean-Claude Fasel. Among the highlights of their 2013-2014 season: Ravel's L'Enfant et les Sortilèges on March 30th 2014 at the Salle Métropole in Lausanne under the direction of Benjamin Lévy and Schumann's Le Pèlerinage de la Rose on June 21st 2014 as part of the Fête de la Musique.

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Founded in 2012, the HEMU Wind Orchestra is a multifaceted ensemble of wind instruments made up of students from the brass and woodwind classes of the Fribourg and Lausanne sites. Under the direction of leading guest conductors, it offers a complementary dimension to the practice of the orchestra. The HEMU Wind Orchestra is very flexible in terms of size and offers a rich repertoire based on a chamber harmony.

Since the start of the 2012 academic year, Fribourg has been the HEMU's reference point in the field of brass band teaching. In the wake of the masterclass given by three soloists from the New York Philharmonic and the titular conductor of the symphony and harmony orchestras of the Garde Républicaine de Paris in February 2012, the site makes a point of honor - in resonance with the excellence of the canton's wind instrument ensembles - of offering its students as wide a range of musical experiences as possible, among which ensemble music holds pride of place.

The inaugural concerts of the HEMU Wind Orchestra took place in Lausanne and Fribourg on October 5th and 6th 2012, under the direction of Philippe Ferro, a French conductor who is very prominent in the world of harmony. The result is a contrasting program of works by Schmitt, Stravinsky, Gillingham, Dubugnon and Castérède. The ensemble is given top billing in 2013-2014 by the Festival de Musiques Sacrées of Fribourg, whose 12th International Composition Competition focuses on music for wind ensembles. On the program notably: the performance on July 6th 2014 of the prize-winning work and Stravinsky's Symphonies for Wind Instruments under the direction of Philippe Ferro. The ensemble also distinguished itself under the direction of Paul Meyer within the renovated walls of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne in the Tableaux d’une exposition by Mussorgsky.

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At the HEMU, brass is cool! The joke is easy, the idea behind it is much more consistent. The idea? Giving trumpet, horn, trombone and tuba students the opportunity to work in complete sections the great works of the repertoire.

Le concept a germé en 2006 dans la tête d’Olivier Anthony Theurillat, professeur de trompette à l’HEMU et ancien solo de l’Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne. Il l’a baptisé « Brass & Rhythm » – « rhythm » parce que les étudiants percussionnistes y sont aussi associés. Les sessions – au nombre de deux à trois par année – sont conduites à tour de rôle par un autre grand trompettiste, en poste sur le site de Fribourg : Jean-François Michel.

The concept started in 2006 in the mind of Olivier Anthony Theurillat, trumpet professor at the HEMU and former soloist of the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne. He named it "Brass & Rhythm" - "rhythm" because percussion students are also associated with it. The sessions - two to three per year - are led in turn by another great trumpet player, stationed at the Fribourg site: Jean-François Michel.

In 2012-2013, what is now called the HEMU Brass Ensemble presented, in two concerts, pages for brass and percussion by Eric Ewazen, Gunther Schuller, Alan Hovhaness, Benjamin Britten, Michael Nyman, Gustav Holst, Jim Parker.

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Created in 2003, the HEMU Contemporary Ensemble has become over the years an important player in the musical life of French-speaking Switzerland, notably through its regular collaboration in the seasons of the Société de Musique Contemporaine (SMC Lausanne). Its mission is to help HEMU students explore the rich repertoire of the last fifty years, supervised by specialists in this music and sometimes the composers themselves in the workshops that now punctuate the academic year. For the quality of its performances, it is recognized by a growing number of partners throughout Switzerland and even in neighboring France.

The HEMU Contemporary Ensemble was born in 2003 during a portrait of several concerts dedicated to the composer Toshio Hosokawa. This opportunity had been offered to the school by the Bern Biennale, which hosted the first concerts of the Ensemble.

Composed of Master level instrumentalists, the Ensemble is multifaceted, which allows it to explore a wide repertoire that goes from 1950 to the present day. The preparatory work is generally done under the direction of a group of specialized professors (or guest performers and composers) and leads to the realization of concerts of a professional level. The composer and conductor William Blank has been its artistic and musical director since its creation.

Thanks to the quality of its performances, the Ensemble's mission is recognized by a growing number of partners, including the Namascae Lemanic Modern Ensemble, the Archipel Festival, the Bern Biennale and the Dampfzentrale Festival of the same city.

The list of composers performed during this first decade of existence constitutes a real primer for the contemporary creation of the last fifty years: Toshio Hosokawa, Toru Takemitsu, Michael Jarrell, Eric Gaudibert, Klaus Huber, Georges Crumb, William Blank, György Kurtag, Elliott Carter, Stefano Gervasoni, Morton Feldman, Isabel Mundry, Luciano Berio, Betsy Jolas, György Ligeti, Xavier Dayer, Luis Naon, Tristan Murail, Pierre Boulez, Giacinto Scelsi, Edgard Varèse, Iannis Xenakis, Pascal Dusapin, Jonathan Harvey...

To mark its ten years of existence, the Ensemble is releasing a DVD entitled "Passeurs de sons", a film produced in the wake of the Namascae Academy devoted in March 2012 to the creation of Gong, the ultimate work of the composer from Geneva Eric Gaudibert.

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Created in 2006, the HEMU Jazz Orchestra is a big band that gives HEMU Jazz students the opportunity to develop their playing in section. It regularly welcomes leading soloists.

The HEMU Jazz Orchestra was created in 2006, in the wake of the creation of the HEMU Jazz.

It is placed under the direction of Jérôme Thomas.

In its standard form, the big band consists of five saxophones, four trombones, four trumpets and a rhythm section including a piano, a guitar, a double bass (or electric bass), a drummer and sometimes a vibraphone and percussion.

It is a real pedagogical tool. It gives students the opportunity to develop their playing in section and stimulates their global listening skills.

The literature for big band is entirely written but sometimes also makes room for improvisation. The HEMU Jazz Orchestra's repertoire is vast: from Duke Ellington to Bob Mintzer, Stan Kenton, Count Basie, Maria Schneider, Bil Holman, Gil Evans and Thad Jones.

Since its creation, the HEMU Jazz Orchestra has welcomed many musicians from the international scene, including Michel Legrand (with the HEMU Orchestra), Hector Martignon, Stéphane Belmondo, François Jeanneau, the New York Voices, Chico Freeman, Pierre Drevet and Andy Emler.

Download the presentation sheet (.pdf)

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