Seiji Ozawa International Academy Switzerland at the Fondation Louis Vuitton

Wednesday 11 July 2018 - Auditorium

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

Seiji Ozawa, expressing his passion for teaching and conviction that practical chamber music experience, particularly work in quartets, is essential, founded his Academy in 2004. Each year, twenty-four hand-picked young talents, stringently selected from the world’s leading conservatories and competitions, gather in Switzerland at the Seiji Ozawa International Academy Switzerland to work in ensembles and quartets with Nobuko Imai, Pamela Frank and Sadao Harada, three tutors and performers of international renown.


As it has every year for the past four years, the Seiji Ozawa International Academy Switzerland will hold its annual closure at the Fondation Louis Vuitton with a public string-quartet master class and an exceptional concert of quartets and orchestra conducted by Maestro Kazuki Yamada in a performance of Arnold Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht.


The Seiji Ozawa International Academy Switzerland

“It is fascinating to observe how young artists develop within a short period of time.”

Seiji Ozawa


Seiji Ozawa, expressing his passion for teaching, founded his Seiji Ozawa International Academy Switzerland in 2004.


Seiji Ozawa’s Idea

For Seiji Ozawa, practical experience with chamber music, particularly with a quartet, is indispensable for a musician. He believes that the quartet is the very essence of music. In their quartets, composers give the very best of themselves, free of excessive embellishment or superfluity. In a string quartet, a musician can delve straight to the heart of the creator’s style and intentions. It is a learning phase through which every young virtuoso must pass before he or she can become an artist of the highest calibre.


The Selection Process

Throughout the year, the Selection Committee, led by Artistic Director Blanche d'Harcourt and composed of former Academy students Julien Szulman and Barbara Buntrock, seeks out talented young musicians from the main conservatories and international competitions in Europe to take part in the auditions. The final selection is then made by Seiji Ozawa, the artistic directors and the tutors.


The Tutors

The Academy's mission is to impart to the most talented instrumentalists of the younger generation something that may only be achieved through practical interaction with peers combined with guidance from the very best tutors. Thus it is that all the Academy's tutors are internationally renowned artists with substantial experience in both stage work and teaching their craft:  Pamela Frank, Nobuko Imai and Sadao Harada.


The Academy

The quartets are formed on the basis of affinities that surface during the interaction between the tutors, the artistic directors and the instrumentalists. They take into account the style, tonality and temperament of each musician. The students work with the tutors in turns to ensure the latter effectively convey their unique expertise.


The Concerts

The Academy closes with a series of concerts given in prestigious concert halls such as the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, the Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, MA, USA, the Fondation Beyeler in Basel and Victoria Hall in Geneva. A concert is also performed for the residents of the Fondation Aigues-Vertes.

the artists

Kazuki Yamada

Kazuki Yamada, Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo since September 2013, was named the orchestra’s Artistic and Music Director as of the 2016/17 season.  He additionally holds the title of Principal Guest Conductor of Orchestre de la Suisse Romande since September 2012 and today is one of the best-known conductors of his generation.

In September 2009, Kazuki Yamada was winner of the International Besançon Competition for young conductors, receiving the audience award as well as the Grand Prize.

He swiftly gained international fame and conducted such orchestras as the Saint-Petersburg Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra National du Capitole de Toulouse, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Czech Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Orchestra Sinfonica, Sinfonia Varsovia, City of Birmingham Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Orquesta Sinfonica y Coro de RTVE, Tonkünstler-Orchester at the Vienna Musikverein, and others.

In Japan, he also holds the titles of Permanent Conductor of Japan Philharmonic, Music Partner with Sendai Philharmonic and the Orchestral Ensemble Kanazawa, and Music Director of the Yokohama Sinfonietta, an ensemble he founded whilst still a student. In August 2012, he directed Xenakis' opera Oresteia with the Tokyo Sinfonietta and replaced Maestro Seiji Ozawa, on the maestro’s recommendation, in a stage version of Jeanne au Bûcher by Honegger with the Saito-Kinen Orchestra. The production was performed at the Philharmonie de Paris with the Orchestre de Paris and in Monaco with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo. Marion Cotillard played the role of Jeanne d’Arc.

Major soloists with whom he has worked include 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.

Kazuki Yamada and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande will release a series of three, dance-inspired CDs inspired on the Pentatone label. With Octavia Records, the artist will present works by Glazunov, Kalinnikov and Khachaturian with the Czech Philharmonic. Previously, on the Fontec label, the conductor appeared on four CDs presenting vocal works with the Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus, of which he is the resident conductor.

During the 2015/16 season, Kazuki Yamada returned to the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted the Orchestre National de France, Tonkünstler-Orchester, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, NHK Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic and City of Birmingham Symphony, which he would take on tour in Japan. He made his debut with Staatskapelle Dresden, the Bergen Philharmonic, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and at the Grand Théâtre de Genève in an opera. He then continued his cycle of Mahler's symphonies with the Japan Philharmonic.

Kazuki Yamada is taking part in the Seiji Ozawa International Academy Switzerland as guest conductor. In Seiji Ozawa’s absence, he conducted all the students in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017.

Sadao Harada

As the founder of and mentor to the Tokyo String Quartet, which he also directed for 30 years, Sadao Harada has gained an international reputation and received numerous awards for his outstanding technical mastery and dynamic performance style. He began his musical studies with his father at the age of 11 before continuing them with Maestro Hideo Saito and becoming the youngest cellist in the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. From there, he enrolled at the Juilliard School in the United States and went on to found the Tokyo String Quartet in 1969. Since 1999, he has pursued a very busy career on the international stage as an acclaimed soloist, a sought-after teacher and a renowned chamber musician. He currently teaches at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik at Trossingen, Germany.

Nobuko Imai

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


Formerly a member of the venerated Vermeer QuartetMs Imai combines a distinguished international solo career with a number of teaching positions. She has appeared with numerous prestigious orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw, the London Symphony and the Chicago Symphony. This renowned chamber musician has performed with various prominent artists such as Gidon KremerMidoriIsaac SternMischa Maisky and Martha Argerich. In 2003, she formed the Michelangelo Quartet, which swiftly earned an international reputation and is now one of the world’s best-known quartets. Ms. Imai has dedicated a substantial portion of her artistic activities to exploring the diverse potential of the viola.


Nobuko Imai returns to Japan several times a year to perform as a soloist, including for the annual "Viola Space" project. In 1995/1996, she was Artistic Director of three Hindemith Festivals at Wigmore Hall in London, Columbia University in New York City and Casals Hall in Tokyo. In 2009, she founded theTokyo International Viola Competition, Japan’s first international competition exclusively for the viola. Ms Imai taught at the Detmold Academy of Music from 1983 to 2003 and currently teaches at the Geneva and Amsterdam conservatories, Kronberg International Academy, and Ueno Gakuen University in Tokyo.

Pamela Frank

As the daughter of two professional pianists, Pamela Frank was immersed in music from a very early age. She began her violin studies at the age of five and, after 11 years as a pupil of Shirley Givens, she continued her musical education with Szymon Goldberg and Jaime Laredo.


She graduated from Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music in 1989 and has since established an outstanding international reputation with an unusually varied repertoire. Ms Frank has made countless appearances as a soloist with the world's greatest orchestras. She debuted at a Carnegie Hall recital in 1995 and then performed a much-acclaimed Beethoven sonata cycle with her father, Claude Frank, at London's Wigmore Hall in 1997. She shares her passion for chamber music in performances with distinguished musicians such as Yo-Yo MaTabea Zimmermann and Peter Serkin.


She has made guest appearances at many major festivals, including MarlboroSalzburg and Edinburgh. She has also taken part in many of the Isaac Stern chamber music seminars at Carnegie Hall. In 1999, she was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize, one of the highest distinctions given to American musicians, recognising outstanding achievement in classical music.

The essential

Wednesday 11 July 2018
8.30 p.m. - Auditorium



12.30 p.m. - 1.30 p.m.: public rehearsal


Cavatine for strings op.130  – Ludwig van Beethoven

Verklärte Nacht – Arnold Schönberg



8.30 p.m.: Concert

String quartet and ensemble conducted by Kazuki Yamada


First segment:

Six movements for string quartet

Second segment:

Cavatine for strings op.130  – Ludwig van Beethoven

Verklärte Nacht  – Arnold Schönberg /String ensemble conducted by Kazuki Yamada

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.