Specialized Music Performance – Classical

Our MA represents the highest level of academic qualification available in music. It is designed for particularly gifted students who are looking to specialise.

This degree programme:

  • is aimed at students who have a very good BA or MA qualification, who excel artistically and who have an intense connection with their chosen specialisation;

  • offers one-to-one teaching in a core subject and individual support for your projects from our internationally renowned teaching staff;

  • offers a choice of five specialisations: Soloist, Contemporary Music, Music in Context, Research and Chamber Music; this specialised MA is generally taken as a second master’s degree.

  • is designed to ensure theoretical and artistic excellence in your chosen specialisation;

  • helps you to hone your artistic profile, offering you the opportunity to carry out your research or outreach project and become part of an active artistic scene while maintaining the focus on your selected specialisation;

  • offers a wide choice of options from related artistic disciplines;

  • enables you to benefit from the networking opportunities offered by a transdisciplinary arts university.


  • Title/Degree Master of Arts (MA)
  • Specialisations Soloist, Contemporary Music, Music in Context, Research, Chamber Music
  • Mode of study Full-time (4 semesters)
  • Start date 14.9.2020
  • Application deadline 16.3.2020
  • ECTS credits 90 ECTS credits (as second master’s degree), 120 ECTS credits (as first master’s degree)
  • Study language German, French, English
  • Location Bern
  • Department Bern University of the Arts


  • Programme Handbook

Studiengangsbroschüre Master Specialized Performance Klassik

Structure + Content

The programme focuses on providing one-to-one mentoring in your chosen instrument as you begin to specialise and excel. A great deal of emphasis is therefore placed on individual support. Career-related training from a previous MA can count towards the MA in Specialized Music Performance, which means that you can focus fully on your artistic work.


The MA in Specialized Music Performance is a top-level qualification for exceptionally talented students. The programme is designed to help you hone your profile. You will benefit from one-to-one mentoring as you head towards a career in your chosen area of music: as a soloist, in artistic research, in the field of music outreach, experimenting with contemporary music or as part of a chamber music ensemble.

You will develop a keen awareness of different contexts, preparing you for life in the demanding and highly competitive music market. You will be proficient in self-management and the use of social media and will benefit from one-to-one advice in these areas.

The master’s thesis comprises a recital, a production of your own, a research or outreach project or an orchestral concert. You will be assessed by external experts. This thesis also involves written and oral tasks.

In the specialisations, we place a great deal of emphasis on working with cooperation partners from the field.

Learning outcomes

The objective is all-round excellence in musicianship, research or musical outreach work. You will gain confidence in your field, whether as a soloist, part of a string quartet, as a music researcher or an experimental explorer of contemporary music. You will have the skills and tools you need to continue to further your career independently, to network and to take an active role in shaping the future of the music scene.

Specialisations + Areas of focus

If your previous qualifications have not covered particular areas of interest and your finances allow, you can choose from a wide list of minors, each of which is generally worth 20 ECTS credits.

  • Expanded Music Practice
  • Music Outreach/Music in Context
  • Second or Parallel Instrument – Classical
  • Second or Parallel Instrument – Jazz
  • Duet – Piano/Voice
  • Duet – Piano/Plus
  • Wind/Brass Conducting
  • Orchestra
  • Chamber Music
  • Classical Ensemble
  • Historical Performance Practice
  • Free Improvisation
  • Opera
  • Interpreting Contemporary Music
  • Composition
  • Jazz Composition & Arrangement
  • Pop Music
  • Sound Arts
  • Dance and Movement
  • Musical Theatre
  • Basic Musicology
  • Research
  • Open Space

Mode of study + Duration

The MA is a full-time degree programme and comprises 90 ECTS credits as a second master’s and 120 ECTS credits as a first master’s. It is generally completed in four semesters. Students taking the MA in Specialized Music Performance will already have extensive practical experience.

Curriculum + Modules

The 90 ECTS credits (120 ECTS credits) you need in order to be awarded an MA diploma are generally broken down as follows:

  • 90% of the ECTS credits come from your core subject and your chosen specialisation
  • 10% of the ECTS credits come from optional modules, theory and your thesis (recital), in other words the diploma concert/degree project.

For details, see the module plan for the relevant major.

Student mobility

Are you a Swiss student interested in living, working or studying in another country? Or do you want to spend a semester at another Swiss university? Or maybe you’re an overseas student who’d like to spend a semester at Bern University of Applied Sciences? Mobility opportunities offer unique and valuable experience. During your studies, you will have the opportunity to spend exchange semesters and experience work placements elsewhere in Switzerland or abroad.


Head of Degree Programme

Deputy Head of Degree Programme




Violin: Corina Belcea, Bartek Niziol, Monika Urbaniak, Tianwa Yang
Viola: Patrick Jüdt, Gertrud Weinmeister
Cello: Conradin Brotbek, David Eggert, Antonio Meneses, Denis Severin
Double bass: Ruslan Lutsyk, David Sinclair


Flute: Martin Fahlenbock, Christian Studler
Oboe: Matthias Arter, Jaime Gonzàlez
Clarinet: Ernesto Molinari
Bassoon: Daniele Galaverna
Saxophone: Christian Roellinger
Recorder: Michael Form


French horn: Johannes Otter, Olivier Picon
Trumpet: N.N.
Trombone: Ian Bousfield
Euphonium: Thomas Rüedi
Tuba: Rex Martin

Harmony instruments

Piano: Antoine Françoise, Tomasz Herbut, Wilhem Latchoumia, Patricia Pagny
Piano as second instrument: André Lottaz, Pawel Mazurkiewicz, Barbara SandmeierAlbert Sidler, Katharina Weber
Fortepiano: Edoardo Torbianelli
Cembalo: Takashi Watanabe
Organ: Daniel Glaus, Pascale van Coppenolle
Guitar: Elena Casoli
Lute: Peter Croton
Accordion: Teodoro Anzellotti


Brian Archinal, Christian Hartmann, Jochen Schorer


Tanja Ariane Baumgartner, Daniel Gloger, Malin Hartelius, Christian Hilz


Xavier Dayer, Simon Steen-Andersen

Wind/brass conducting 

Rolf Schumacher, Corsin Tuor, Florian Ziemen, Philippe Bach, Oliver Waespi, Benedikt Hayoz


Rie Aikawa, Igor Andreev, Anna de Capitani, Tamara Chitadze, François KillianTatiana Korsunskaya, Monika Nagy, Maria-Barbara Nytsch, Alissia Rafaelian Lüthi, Eriko Wakita, Eva Mira Wollmann, Kyrylo Zvyegintsov

Vocal coaching and Collaborative piano

James Alexander, Manuel Bärtsch, Tatiana Korsunskaya


Wanja Aloe, Xavier Dayer, Christian Henking, Marc Kennel, Peter Kraut, Michael Lehner, Dennis Mayer, Nathalie Meidhof, Claire Roberts, Martin Skamletz, Stephan Zirwes


Thomas Gartmann, Kai Köpp, Manuel Bärtsch, Martin Skamletz

Music in Context

Barbara Balba Weber, Irena Müller-Brozovic


Franziska Baumann, Christian Kobi, Marc Unternährer


Eligibility + Entry

Candidates must have a very good BA or an MA qualification. Alongside artistic excellence, we are looking for an intense connection with your chosen specialisation (e.g. a broad repertoire as a soloist, a chamber musician or in contemporary music, experience of outreach projects or research projects, etc.).

Entry requirements

Places on this top-level programme are strictly limited (numerus clausus applies). We will require you to take an exam so that we can assess your aptitude for the degree programme. You must be highly motivated and you will also require stamina, the ability to cope with pressure, independence and a high degree of artistic maturity.

Academic requirements

Candidates must have a BA or an MA diploma.

Knowledge + Abilities

The MA in Specialized Music Performance represents the highest level of academic qualification available in music and requires above-average instrumental skills plus initiative as a soloist, as a chamber musician, in new music, in research or in music outreach, depending on your chosen specialisation.

Language skills

We are active on the international stage and communicate in German, French, English and other languages, depending on the instructor.

Applying from abroad

Foreign nationals require valid travel documents recognised by the Swiss government. A visa is often required. Exchange students must also apply for a residency permit and purchase health insurance before their studies begin. Please research your specific entry requirements carefully.


Exceptionally gifted artists may be permitted to progress directly from the BA to the MA in Specialized Music Performance.

Places on the programme are allocated on the basis of an exam (lasting approx. 30 minutes) and a personal interview (approx. 10 minutes), both of which will be held in German, French or English.

Aptitude test for Master of Arts in Specialized Music Performance – Classical

  •  Specialisation as a Soloist (instrumental, vocal): You must prepare a total of six complete, challenging works in different styles. Four weeks before the exam, we will announce an additional set piece that you will be asked to perform.
  • If you choose to specialise in New Music, four of the works must have been written after 1950 and they may include different performative approaches. We would prefer you to learn the pieces by heart. Immediately before the exam, the judging panel will select which pieces they would like you to play. Their choice of works will not exceed 40 minutes. You must submit your examination programme and a list of the complete repertoire of works you have previously performed along with your application.
  • For the Research specialisation, you must also submit at least two academic papers (in German, French or English).
  • If you wish to specialise in Music in Context, we will also require a written outline of your outreach concept. We will discuss your professional goals and ideas during the interview.
  • If you choose to specialise in Chamber Music, you must prepare a total of four complete, challenging works in different styles. We expect applicants to demonstrate exceptional artistry and technique. The portfolio you submit should provide evidence of your ability to interpret a wide repertoire of works.

Total duration of exam: max. 40 minutes

Qualification + Career prospects

After completing the MA in Specialized Music Performance, you will be in an ideal position to take your place in the highly competitive and varied music world.

Title + Degree

Master of Arts (MA) in «Specialized Music Performance with major«

Career prospects

The professional world of the trained musician has changed markedly in recent years. New challenges include the project-based nature of the public music scene in today’s increasingly globalised world.
Our MA diploma equips you to master these and other challenges and work in a range of different contexts and situations. Set out on your personal journey – as a soloist, a researcher, a music outreach specialist, a chamber musician, an events organiser or more.

Practicalities + Application

Please note the dates and deadlines below, plus the documentation and information required.

Start date: 114.9.2020
Application deadline: 16.3.2020
Aptitude assessments: 14.–22.4.2020

Application (per application) and aptitude assessment*  

CHF 250


CHF 100

Tuition fees (per semester) 

CHF 750

Tuition fees for overseas students*** (per semester)

CHF 950

Examination fee (per semester)  

CHF 80

Fee for social, cultural and sport offerings (per semester)  

CHF 24

Membership fee for the Bern University of Applied Sciences Student Association (VSBFH) (per semester)

CHF 15

Leave of absence fee (per semester) 

CHF 100

* The application fee can be paid by credit card or by deposit slip / paper invoice (+ CHF 10.– processing fee). There are no waivers or refunds for withdrawn or abandoned applications. The application is processed after payment has been received.
** If the application leads to matriculation, the matriculation fee is covered by the application fee.
*** ‘Overseas students’ refers to all citizens of foreign countries who were not official residents of Switzerland or Liechtenstein at the time they were admitted to the university programme.

There is also a fixed fee for materials whose amount depends on the degree programme as well as additional costs for teaching materials, specialist literature, supplies, etc.

Auditing a course

CHF 150 per course and semester, covering one weekly lecture hour. Only passive participation in classroom instruction is possible (selected lectures and seminars, no individual instruction).

Financial aid is available through grants and loans. Grants are one-off or ongoing payments that don’t usually have to be paid back provided you complete your course. Loans are one-off or ongoing payments that must be paid back after you finish your course. There are also numerous private foundations and funds that offer financial support to students. The electronic foundation directory administered by the Federal Department of Home Affairs offers a comprehensive summary of these organisations and can be searched by keywords (e.g. student, research, financial aid, etc.).

HKB Fund for the Payment of Tuition Fees

Many HKB students live in precarious financial circumstances. The opportunities to earn money while undertaking demanding and time-consuming studies are limited. And the cost of living in Switzerland is one of the highest in all of Europe. A doctor’s bill, a healthy diet, and paying the rent or semester and examination fees can become pressing problems. The HKB scholarship fund provides targeted support in such cases. To apply for support, you need to take the following steps:

  1. Fill out the online application form in full and print it out
  2. Send the application online
  3. Submit the printed form to the secretariat for your degree programme

The deadline for applications for a semester fee waiver is 15 May to 15 June (for the following autumn semester), or 15 November to 15 December (for the following spring semester).

Cantonal grants

Grants and loans for Swiss students and overseas students are generally paid out by the canton where the students’ parents are tax residents. Students who have been tax residents in the Canton of Bern for at least two years are able to apply for cantonal grants and loans. Applications should be submitted to the Financial Aid Office at the Department of Education.

Other grants

Further information (incl. financial aid calculator)

The websites ausbildungsbeiträge.ch, stipendium.ch and European Funding Guide cover all the key information about grants in Switzerland and overseas.

Support through cultural promotion


If you have any questions regarding scholarships and loans please contact Ramona Picenoni.

At Bern University of Applied Sciences BFH, we promote balance between study, work and family.

A limited number of nursery places are available to BFH staff and students. If you’d like to take advantage of this offer, the relevant documents can be found on the BFH Intranet. The fees are based on your income and are in line with the cantonal rates described in the Verordnung über die Angebote der sozialen Integration (Decree on Social Integration Offer ASIV) issued by the Canton of Bern. You can apply for a nursery place using the online form on the BFH Intranet. If you’re a new student or member of staff and don’t have access to the Intranet, please contact Corinne Badertscher (Tel. +41 (0)31 848 33 01, corinne.badertscher@bfh.ch). There is no legal entitlement to a nursery place.

Swiss students have to complete compulsory service while studying too. Make sure you start planning and coordinating your studies and compulsory service early.

We strongly encourage you to complete basic military training and your first block of civilian service before starting your studies. If you complete these activities during your studies, you may miss classes. As a result, the duration of your programme may increase.

General information on recruitment and civil service


You can get help with coordinating your studies and your compulsory service from HKB's Student Administration (+41 31 848 49 49).

Would you like to take a course at Bern University of the Arts? Then apply now. By applying online, you’ll be kept up-to-date at every stage of the process.

Online Application

You should have the following documents available in electronic form
(passport photo: JPG / remaining documents: PDF). No document should exceed 1 MB. 

  • ID card or passport
  • Passport photo
  • Bachelor`s diploma or equivalent university degree
  • Transcript of records of current and/or terminated studies
  • A diploma qualifying you for university studies (such as A-Levels, Matura from a Gymnasium, "Berufsmaturität", "Fachmaturität", Abitur)
  • A CV in tabular form
  • A personal statement about your motivation for these studies and for your professional aspirations
  • A confirmation of your exmatriculation (If you were already matriculated at another university)
  • Scores for accompanying musicians should be submitted together with your application.

For foreigners, in addition:

  • Residence permit (if available)

If you do not yet have one or more of the required documents, please state why in the Comments section. 

Submission deadline: 16.3.2020

Bern University of the Arts
Music Division
Papiermühlestrasse 13a
CH-3000 Bern 22


At HKB, you can expect an open mindset and a friendly, informal atmosphere. Come and see us.

Student advisory service

If you have any questions about the degree programme, please contact:
Irène Noguchi  (Deputy Head of Degree Programme)
Lennart Dohms  (Head of Degree Programme)

Contact the administration team to arrange a visit:
Carmen Siegenthaler
T +41 31 848 39 91
E carmen.siegenthaler@hkb.bfh.ch

Locations + Facilities

The Music Division at HKB has cutting-edge facilities at its disposal at various locations, including 60 practice rooms, 80 teaching rooms, auditoria of various sizes, an outstanding music library, a recording studio, research facilities and instrument hire. Students can reserve many of the rooms online. We operate an open door policy.