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.

Due to the current pandemic situation, the entry exams will be taking place online and will also require a video application. Details about the process of the exams as well as the video upload requirements can be found under Eligibility + Entry. The deadline for submitting the video is 15 March 2021, the same as the application deadline.

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 20.9.2021
  • Application deadline 15.3.2021
  • 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.


Our Soloist courses are taught by lecturers of international standing. Alongside your core subject you will attend units in Audition Preparation, Mental Training, Stage Presence and Conduct, Musician’s Health, etc. You will also benefit from coaching on issues related to your professional activities, such as project proposals, music law, self management, and entrepreneurship. As part of your graduation exam, you will do a solo performance with an orchestra.

The New Music programme at our school involves innovative combinations, encounters with other fields in the arts, and happy “collisions” of stage, music scene and laboratory. You will enjoy the stimulating setting of our transdisciplinary art school, and a wide range of courses, such as Studio, Live Electronics, Composition and Creative Practice, Ensemble Work, Sound Arts, Theatre, Fine Arts, Literature, Performance, Festivals. You will choose and design your own curriculum, supported by a unique team of lecturers of international renown.

There is also the great additional opportunity for you to engage with an exclusive trans-European institutional network. You can study for a Master’s degree in International Cooperation, New Music – Bern–Dresden–Salzburg, both at our school and at either one of our two sister schools. In cooperation with renowned partners, you will create and realise your projects that you will then take on tour.

Contact: Lennart Dohms

To achieve this specialisation you will be required to realise your own performative project, targeted at one or more specific social groups. Moreover, you will plan transdisciplinary experiments and activities, and test new concert formats. National and international excursions will enable you to acquire deeper insights into best practices, both in performative music education and in the organisation of progressive concerts. As you create you own, original performance for your graduation project, you may call on the support of two external mentors. You will also be required to draft a business plan for a participatory project.

We are the Swiss arm of the European Chamber Music Academy ECMA, and aim to deliver the very highest quality education in Chamber Music. Whether your permanent ensemble follows historic patterns, or embraces the contemporary; whether its formation is traditional or an experimental hybrid: in this specialisation you will find plenty of opportunities to hone your ensemble skills.

Our school provides optimum conditions as you prepare for competitions or CD productions, or devise your own projects. You will benefit from a European network that offers master classes and chamber music concerts. You select and design your personal curriculum. And you will be supported by an international team of lecturers from prestigious ensembles such as the Belcea Quartet, the Beaux Arts Trio, Trio Weinmeister, Ensemble Recherche and Ensemble Nikel.

Alongside your instrumental or vocal core subject, in this specialisation you will strengthen your artistic and scientific competencies through applied practical research. Your graduation involves a research paper, a concert and a professional studio recording. On our dedicated web page hkb-interpretation.ch (mostly in German) you can find more information about many events and other opportunities of engaging to boost your personal interests and deepen your insights.

Moreover, in conjunction with the University of Bern, HKB is the only Swiss University of the Arts to offer the interdisciplinary doctorate degree course, Studies in the Arts.

Contact: Manuel Bärtsch

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, Bruno Schneider, Olivier Picon
Trumpet: Giuliano Sommerhalder
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, Stephan Hodel


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.

Due to the current pandemic situation, the entry exams will be taking place online and will also require a video application.

Deadline for submission of the video as well as application deadline is 15th of March.

Details about the process of the exams as well as the video upload requirements can be found in the following documents:

The entry exams are different depending on the specialisation. For information on the procedure and content, please refer to the relevant information sheet:

Qualification + Career prospects

After completing the MA in 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 «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: 20.9.2021
Application deadline: 15.3.2021
Aptitude assessments: 16.4.2021–24.4.2021

Application (per application) and aptitude assessment*  

CHF 250


CHF 100

Tuition fees (per semester) 

CHF 750

Tuition fees for international 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.
*** International students are defined as persons of foreign citizenship who at the time of obtaining their university entrance qualification were domiciled under civil law neither in Switzerland nor the Principality of Liechtenstein.

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.

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 scholarship fund

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. To help in such cases, the HKB scholarship fund provides targeted support by covering the tuition fees from CHF 750 up to CHF 950. 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).

Applications for a waiver of the semester fees will only be considered and included in the selection process once the course offer has been accepted. 

Other grants

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.

Your contact persons for questions about scholarships and loans


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 income-based and 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.

For more information on how to co-ordinate your studies and your compulsory service, please phone HKB Student Administration on +41 31 848 49 49.

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)

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. 

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.