Seiji Ozawa International Academy Switzerland at the Fondation Louis Vuitton

Sunday 2 and Monday 3 July 2017 - Auditorium

seiji-ozawa-international-academy header
Seiji Ozawa International Academy Switzerland at the Fondation Louis Vuitton

Sunday 2 July 2017 – string quartet public masterclass

5.30-7pm: string quartet masterclass given by Sadao Harada, Nobuko Imai and Pamela Frank



They will look at quartets by Schumann and Brahms in two 45-minute sessions



Monday 3 July 2017 – concert

8.30pm: performance by string quartets and chamber orchestra, conducted by Kazuki Yamada


The Seiji Ozawa International Academy of Switzerland

“It is fascinating to see how much the young artists progress in such a short time.”


Passionate about teaching, Seiji Ozawa founded the International Music Academy Switzerland in 2004, in Rolle, near Geneva. Since 2011 it has been known as the Seiji Ozawa International Academy Switzerland. Seiji Ozawa considers it essential for musicians to play chamber music, particularly in the quartet form. For Ozawa, the quartet is the essence of music. Composers are at their very best in this form, with no embellishment or superfluous details. Working in a string quartet enables musicians to grasp the intricacies of the composer’s style and intentions. This learning is necessary so that young virtuosos can develop into leading musicians.


The musicians, who will be required to work at the very highest levels, are selected through the most rigorous process. Led by Blanche d’Harcourt, the Academy’s director, with Julien Szulman and Agata Szymczewska, both former students of the Academy, the selection committee scours leading music schools and European international competitions to invite talented young musicians to audition. The final group of students is chosen by Seiji Ozawa, the artistic director and the teachers.


The Academy’s aim is to nurture the talents of the most promising young musicians, and believes this can only be achieved through ensemble work and tutorship of the highest standard. The Academy’s team of teachers is made up of internationally renowned performers who all have extensive experience in musical teaching. They include Pamela Frank, Nobuko Imai and Sadao Harada.


Quartets are formed through affinities following discussion between Seiji Ozawa, the teachers, the students and the artistic director, taking into account the style, sound and temperament of each musician. Students work with each teacher in turn and with Seiji Ozawa, benefiting from the transmission of their unique knowledge.


Conducted by Seiji Ozawa, the students give concerts to which the people of Rolle are invited, as well as the Academy’s special guests. At the end of their time at the Academy, the students give a series of concerts in prestigious venues such as Victoria Hall in Geneva, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris and Seiji Ozawa Hall in Tanglewood, Ma, in the United States. They also play for residents of the Fondation Aigues-Vertes.


The artistic leadership team are dedicated to giving the young musicians the best advice, while the Academy's Geneva office handles organisation and management.    

the artists

Kazuki Yamada


Kazuki Yamada, the principal guest conductor of the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra since September 2013, was appointed artistic and musical director of studies in the 2016/17 season. Yamada has also been principal guest conductor of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande since September 2012 and is now one of the highest profile conductors of his generation.

In September 2009, Yamada won first prize in the 51st Besançon International Conducting Competition, as well as the public’s prize.

He quickly rose to prominence on the international stage, and has conducted numerous orchestras including the St Petersburg Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra National du Capitole de Toulouse, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Sinfonia Varsovia, City of Birmingham Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, RTVE Symphony Orchestra (based in Madrid) and Tonkunstler Orchestra (based in Vienna).

In Japan, he is "permanent conductor” of the Japan Philharmonic, associate conductor of the Sendai Philharmonic and the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa, and the musical director of the Yokohama Sinfonietta, which he formed while still a student. In August 2012 he conducted the opera Oresteia by Xenakis with the Tokyo Sinfonietta, and replaced Seiji Ozawa, on the latter’s recommendation, to conduct a semi-staged production of Honegger’s “Jeanne d’Arc” with the Saito-Kinen Orchestra. The production transferred to the Philharmonie Hall in Paris with the Orchestre de Paris, and to Monaco with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo. Marion Cotillard played the role of Joan of Arc.

Kazuki Yamada has worked with leading soloists including Emmanuel Ax, Boris Berezovsky, Leon Fleischer, Håkan Hardenberger, Nobuko Imai, Daishin Kashimoto, Daniel Müller-Schott, Xavier de Maistre, Steven Osborne, Vadim Repin, Baiba Skride, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Daniil Trifonov and Alexandre Kniazev. Yamada and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande are releasing a series of three CDs inspired by dance, on the Pentatone label. A disc of works by Glazunov, Kalinnikov and Khatchaturian played by the Czech Philharmonic and conducted by Yamada is due for release with Octavia Records. Previously, on the Fontec label, the conductor made four CDs of vocal works with the Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus, of which he is the conductor in residence.

During the 2015/16 season, Kazuki Yamada returned to work with the Philharmonia Orchestra, and conducted the Orchestre National de France, Tonkünstler-Orchester, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, NHK Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, touring with the latter in Japan. He also made his debut with Staatskapelle Dresden, Bergen Philharmonic, West Australian Symphony Orchestra and Grand Théâtre de Genève, with an opera. He continued his cycle of Mahler symphonies with the Japan Philharmonic.

Kazuki Yamada is the guest conductor at the Seiji Ozawa International Academy Switzerland. In Seiji Ozawa’s absence, he conducted all students in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015.

Sadao Harada

As the founder and mentor of the Tokyo String Quartet, with which he played for 30 years, he led it to world prominence. During this time the quartet won many awards for its exceptional technical command and dynamic performance style. Harada began studying music under his father, and at the age of 11 continued his musical training with Hideo Saito. He was the youngest principal cellist of the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra prior to moving to the United States, where he attended the Juilliard School, and in 1969 he founded the Tokyo String Quartet. Since 1999 Harada has maintained a busy international career as an acclaimed soloist, teacher and chamber musician. Sadao Harada is currently a professor at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Trossingen, Germany.

Nobuko Imai

Nobuko Imai is considered to be one of the most outstanding violists of our time. After finishing her studies at the Toho School of Music, Yale University and the Juilliard School, she won the highest prizes at both the prestigious international competitions in Geneva and Munich.

Imai, formerly a member of the esteemed Vermeer Quartet, combines a distinguished international solo career with various teaching commitments. She has appeared with many of the world's most prestigious orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebow, the London Symphony and Chicago Symphony.

As a keen chamber musician, Imai has performed with prominent artists such as Gidon Kremer, Midori, Isaac Stern, Mischa Maisky and Martha Argerich. In 2003 she formed the Michelangelo Quartet, which quickly gained an international reputation and is now recognised as one of the finest quartets in the world. Nobuko Imai has dedicated a large portion of her artistic activities to exploring the vast potential of the viola.

Imai returns to Japan several times a year to perform as a soloist and for the annual Viola Space project. In 1995/96 she was artistic director of three Hindemith Festivals, at London’s Wigmore Hall, Columbia University in New York, and at the Casals Hall in Tokyo. In 2009 she founded the Tokyo International Viola Competition, the first international competition in Japan exclusively for viola. From 1983 to 2003 Imai taught at the Detmold Academy of Music, and is currently professor at the Geneva University of Music and at the Amsterdam Conservatory, as well as Kronberg International Academy and Ueno Gakuen University in Tokyo.    

Pamela Frank

Pamela Frank was introduced to music at an early age by her parents, both professional pianists. She took up the violin at the age of five. After studying with Shirley Givens, she continued her musical education with Szymon Goldberg and Jaime Laredo. In 1989 she graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Frank has gained a remarkable international reputation across an increasingly varied range of performing activity. As a soloist, she has appeared with countless leading orchestras around the world. She made her debut with a recital at Carnegie Hall in 1995, and triumphed in a cycle of Beethoven sonatas, performed with her father, Claude Frank, at London’s Wigmore Hall in 1997. Frank is particularly passionate about chamber music and has played with musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma, Tabea Zimmermann and Peter Serkin.

She has been a guest at major festivals including Marlboro, Salzburg and Edinburgh. Frank has also participated in several of the Isaac Stern chamber music seminars at Carnegie Hall. In 1999 she received the Avery Fisher Prize, the highest award for US musicians.

The essential

Sunday 2 and Monday 3 July 2017



First part, 50 minutes: 6 movements from string quartets

Bartok, Quartet no. 4

Beethoven, Quartet op.95

Brahms, Quartet op.51 no. °2

Dvořák, Quartet no. 13

Haydn, Quartet op.50 no. 5

Ravel, Quartet in F major




Second half, 30 minutes: chamber orchestra of 26 string instruments conducted by Kazuki Yamada

Dvořák, Serenade for Strings op.22


Tempo di valse

Scherzo vivace


Finale: Allegro vivace

Become member

Make the Fondation one of your favorite places!
Skip-the-line pass, exhibition previews, invitations, dedicated phone line…
Discover our Y-pass, Family-Pass, and Collector membership programmes.


related event image
Chick Corea #FLVfromhome

Chick Corea is a revered giant of jazz piano and has been a musical presence since the 1960s, drawing on a multitude of inspirations. Relive his concert, recorded on 26 April 2018 at the Auditorium of the Fondation Louis Vuitton.

Friday 10 July 2020
8.30 p.m.