Hirschmann Masterclass


Hirschmann-Masterclass Hertenstein 2021

The 7th Hirschmann Masterclass for Contemporary Chamber Music with the composer and the flautist Philippe Racine took place between 29th August and 5th September 2021.

For the first time, the class took place at the Villa Senar in Hertenstein at Lake Lucerne. The area and the rooms surrounded by the beautiful landscape of the Lake Lucerne were the perfect setting for the rehearsals and the concerts.

The hospitality of the nuns who run the educational house greatly helped to create a positive atmosphere. Sr Annelies Kurmann supported the organisation and implementation of the Masterclass in every way possible.


A team of five lecturers was responsible for the classes:

  • Philippe Racine, composer, and flute, he taught his own works
  • Urs Walker, violin
  • Eric Ferrand N'Kaoua, piano
  • Elsa Dorbath, violoncello
  • Andrea Cellacchi, bassoon

The interaction and collaboration with the lecturers proved to be easy and cooperative. They were all happy to respond flexibly and spontaneously to the particular needs of the course participants, whether with some theoretical input or with private lessons in the evening.

All 22 pieces by the five composers Elliott Carter, Charles Koechlin, Ludwig van Beethoven, Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach, and Philippe Racine, which were developed during the class, were performed in diverse programmes at the patron's concert on Friday evening and at the final concert on Sunday morning.

The compositions from the literature list, which had been prepared by Urs Walker in collaboration with Philippe Racine, were distributed among the young performers. In doing so, the participants ensured that the workload was as balanced as possible, including in terms of the duration, the difficulty, and the number of the compositions.


Eleven young musicians met for the summer course in Hertenstein: two flautists, one oboist, two bassoonists, one violinist, one cellist and three pianists.

There were usually two professors teaching, which allowed the compositions to be practised intensively with a specific focus on each instrument.

Lecture given by Philippe Racine

Philippe Racine's lecture about his own music was particularly exciting. He spoke very personally about his sources of inspiration and his musical thinking and practice. Again, the collaboration with a living composer was very rewarding for all the participants.

The closing concert in the salon of the Villa Senar attracted a large audience. It featured compositions by Philippe Racine.

The 7th Hirschmann Masterclass was again excellently directed by Valérie Probst, Managing Director of the Swiss Youth Music Competition (SJMW) Foundation.