« It is fascinating to observe how young artists develop within a short period of time. »
Established in 2005, the Seiji Ozawa International Academy Switzerland (IMAS) is still a young institution. Its founder, Seiji Ozawa, assumes the dual role of artist and director. Since its inception, IMAS has been run by a team of music lovers who truly believe in the project, and has attracted the funds it needs to be able to operate.
The Academy takes place at the Le Courtil centre in Rolle, which offers musicians exceptional working conditions. As in 2007 and 2008, a week of intense work will culminate in two concerts: one in Basel, at the headquarters of the Beyeler Foundation, and one in Geneva, a town that continues to show its support for Seiji Ozawa’s endeavour. Ozawa’s desire to share the gift of music will be fulfilled during concerts given at a variety
of social institutions.
The great maestro’s career highlights the essential elements of the art of music. Owing to the acute sensitivity required in listening to fellow musicians in a string quartet, Seiji Ozawa favours this ensemble for the crucial apprenticeship that distinguishes great artists: it is a stage through which every young virtuoso must pass before he or she can become an artist of the highest calibre.
IMAS’s mission is to provide the most talented young instrumentalists with personal tuition and collegial practical experience, while setting uncompromising standards. IMAS creates the ideal conditions for achieving this: all its tutors are internationally renowned artists with substantial experience in teaching their craft. Leading the team are Robert Mann, founder of the Juilliard String Quartet, Pamela Frank, Nobuko Imai and Sadao Harada. The two artistic directors are themselves professional musicians and possess the skills required to ensure that the students receive top-quality coaching.
The stages of the selection process are so rigorous that only the best, most highly qualified instrumentalists make it through. The chosen few are given the final seal of approval by Seiji Ozawa himself, as long as they are willing to embrace his approach.
Affinity among members is the key to any top-class quartet and a prerequisite for its success. When composing a quartet, the artistic directors and tutors pay close attention to the style, temperament, and tonality of each musician to enable the ensemble to find its own identity and cohesion.
In this way, IMAS ensures the successful transfer of skills and the sharing of unique experiences.
While many locations on the shores of Lake Geneva echo to the sound of music, it is rare to find true havens of tranquillity entirely devoted to the practice of music. Rolle is ideally located between Geneva and Lausanne, two important cities of music.