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Berne University of the Arts to offer Masters in brass band studies

One of Europe's leading universities is to offer a Master programme in Composition for Symphonic Wind Orchestra and Brass Band — and is looking for prospective candidates for autumn 2018 to work with the likes of Oliver Waespi.

Oliver Waespi
  The acclaimed composer Oliver Waespi will lead the programme

It has been announced that new applications are being sought for a Master programme in Composition for Symphonic Wind Orchestra and Brass Band at the Berne University of the Arts (HKB) in Switzerland.


In what is being seen as one of most significant European-wide academic boosts to the brass banding medium, its highly respected Composition and Theory Department will offer the programme course alongside it other renowned Master curriculums, including Contemporary Composition, Composition and Arrangement in Jazz and Theatre Musical.

The Master in Composition for Symphonic Wind Orchestra and Brass Band is being seen as recognising the vibrant development of wind and brass band music making over the last decade or more. Studies will begin in the autumn of 2018.

A spokesperson told 4BR: "The main subject will be taught by acclaimed composer Oliver Waespi, whose works for symphonic winds and brass band have received worldwide recognition and critical acclaim.

His body of work also includes numerous works for symphony orchestra and chamber ensemble, enabling him to embed the new programme in a wider aesthetic context."

4 semesters

The new Master programme will be taught over 4 semesters and requires a total of 120 ECTS-Credits (90 ECTS-Credits if passed as a second Master).

The principal subject will be completed by elective courses in arts practice, theory and research, optional seminars and courses within the rich Minor programme as well as the final Master's thesis.

Crucial importance

The spokesperson added: "Students in the new Master programme will benefit from a vast array of courses covering much of contemporary and traditional composition techniques and aesthetics. Moreover, the link to the conducting studies for wind orchestra is of crucial importance.

Thanks to its trans-disciplinary course offer, Berne University of the Arts encourages composers to benefit from the inspiring environment of the departments of Literature, Fine Arts, Theatre, Opera and others."


In an example of the critically acclaimed programming the University recently hosted a masterclasses in composition with Oliver Waespi and conducting with Philippe Bach, with conducting students leading premieres of new works by composition students with the Symphonic Band of the Swiss Army.

The main subject will be taught in German, French or English, according to the preferences of the students.

Students in the new Master programme will benefit from a vast array of courses covering much of contemporary and traditional composition techniques and aestheticsspokesperson

Application deadline

Application deadline: 15th March 2018
Begin of programme: September 2018

To find out more initial information:


Xavier Daye
Head of Composition and Theory
Phone: +41 31 848 39 84


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Conductor | Composer