Specialized Music Performance – Classical

Our Master represents the highest academic qualification available in music, and is designed for particularly gifted students who are looking to specialize.

This degree programme:

  • is aimed at students who have a very good Bachelor or Master qualification, who excel artistically and who have a strong 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 you 5 specializations: Soloist, New Music (also as a Master’s degree, International Cooperation), Music in Context, Research and Chamber Music and provides you with excellence in content and craft in your chosen specialisation area;

  • sharpens your artistic profile at the highest level and offers you the opportunity to realise your research or outreach project as well as become part of an active artistic scene and fully concentrate on your chosen specialisation;

  • offers you numerous options from related artistic disciplines and enables you to benefit from the networks of 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 Mon, 16.9.2024
  • Application deadline Fri, 15.3.2024
  • ECTS credits 120 ECTS-credits (as first master’s degree)
    90 ECTS-credits (as second master’s degree)
  • Teaching language German, French, English
  • Location Bern
  • School Bern Academy of the Arts

Structure + Content

The Master in Specialized Music Performance is the highest level of training for exceptionally talented students. The programme is designed to 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. Within the various specializations, we place great emphasis on working and collaborating with partners from the field. You will develop a keen awareness of different contexts, preparing you for life in the demanding and highly competitive music industry. 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 consists of 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.


The traditional form of soloist-focused training is taught by internationally renowned lecturers. Amongst other things, you will complete your studies with an orchestra concert. In addition to your core subject, you will attend units in Audition Preparation, Mental Training, Stage Presence and Conduct or Musicians’ Health. You will also benefit from coaching on issues related to your professional activities, such as project proposals, music law, self-management, and entrepreneurship.

The New Music programme at our university involves innovative combinations, encounters with other fields in the arts, and happy “collisions” of stage, music scene and laboratory. You will benefit from the stimulating environment of our transdisciplinary school of the arts and have access to a wide range of courses, such as Studio, Live Electronics, Composition and Creative Practice, Ensemble Work, Sound Arts, Theatre, Fine Arts, Literature, Performance and Festivals – all connections are possible. You will choose and design your own curriculum, supported by a unique team of internationally renowned lecturers.   

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 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.

As part of the specialization Music in Context, you will be required to realise your own performative project, targeted at one or more specific social group. Furthermore, 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 organization of progressive concerts. As you create your 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.

As the Swiss partner university of the European Chamber Music Academy ECMA, we 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 be able to hone your ensemble skills.  

Our school provides the optimal environment as you prepare for competitions or CD productions, or devise your own projects. You will also benefit from a European network that offers master classes and chamber music concerts. You have the opportunity to select and design your personal curriculum. Furthermore, 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. The degree culminates in a research paper in conjunction with a concert and a professional studio recording. The website hkb-interpretation.ch provides information about the wide range of courses on offer, allowing you to deepen your individual interest and reflections. In addition, following the master’s programme, there is the possibility – unique in Switzerland – of transferring to a doctoral programme. Together with the University of Bern, we offer an interdisciplinary doctoral programme, Studies in the Arts.

Curriculum + Modules

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

  • 90% of the ECTS credits come from your core subject and your chosen specialization
  • 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.

Aims + Competencies

The aim is to achieve musical-artistic, research or educational excellence in an all-encompassing sense. You are able to confidently navigate within your field, be it as a soloist or as a string quartet, as a music researcher or as an experimental explorer of contemporary music. You have the necessary skills and tools to further your career independently, to build networks and to actively shape your future within the music industry.


Specialization Music in Context projects


HKB maintains close ties to a number of partner universities, both in Switzerland and abroad, and collaborates with international partners on numerous projects. HKB is also a member of several international networks.

HKB students have the opportunity to complete part of their studies or an internship abroad. Interested persons from abroad can also apply to study at the HKB or complete part of their studies here.

Degree + Prospects


Master of Arts (MA) in «Specialized Music Performance (plus specialisation)»

Career Prospects

Upon successfully completing the Master’s degree in Specialised Music Performance, you will be well equipped to take your place in the demanding and diverse world of music. The professional world of musicians has changed significantly in recent years. New challenges include the project-based nature of the public music scene in today’s increasingly globalized world.  

With this Master’s degree, you are ready to meet these and other challenges and to work within a wide range of contexts and situations. Set out your personal journey – as a soloist, a researcher, a music outreach specialist, a chamber musician, an events organizer or more.


Assistant for the Specializations New Music, Music in Context and Research



Violin: Corina Belcea, Philip DraganovJonian Ilias KadeshaBartek Niziol, Monika Urbaniak, Tianwa Yang
Second instrument baroque violin: Meret Lüthi
Viola: Patrick Jüdt, Gertrud Weinmeister
Cello: Conradin Brotbek, David Eggert, Job ter HaarAntonio MenesesChiara Samatanga, Denis Severin (Bachelor only)
Double bass: Ruslan Lutsyk, David Sinclair


Flute: Martin FahlenbockAdam Walker
Oboe: Matthias Arter, Jaime Gonzàlez
Clarinet: Olivier Vivares
Saxophone: Christian Roellinger
Bassoon: Valeria Curti
Recorder: Michael Form (no new admissions)


French horn: Christian LampertChristian Holenstein (Natural horn)
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
Fortepiano: Edoardo Torbianelli
Cembalo: Takashi Watanabe
Organ: Pascale van Coppenolle, Christian Barthen
Guitar: Elena Casoli
Lute: Peter Croton (no new admissions)
Accordion: Teodoro Anzellotti


Brian Archinal, Christian Hartmann, Jochen Schorer


Tanja Ariane Baumgartner, Malin Hartelius, Christian HilzMarcus NiedermeyrClaude Eichenberger

Voice contemporary music / Creative Practice

Daniel Gloger, Franziska Baumann


Xavier Dayer, Simon Steen-Andersen

Wind/brass conducting 

Rolf Schumacher, Corsin Tuor, Florian Ziemen, Philippe Bach, Oliver Waespi, Stephan Hodel


Rie Aikawa, Igor Andreev, Tamara Chitadze, Dzianis LinnikMonika 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 RobertsRajiv SatapatiMartin Skamletz, Stephan Zirwes

Theory in Church Music

Luigi Collarile, Marc Fitze, Emanuele Jannibelli, Christine Oefele, Kurt Meier


Thomas Gartmann, Kai Köpp, Manuel Bärtsch, Martin Skamletz

Music in Context

Barbara Balba Weber, Irena Müller-Brozovic


Franziska Baumann, Christian Kobi, Marc Unternährer

Prerequisites + Admission

Entry requirements

The number of places for this programme are limited (numerus clausus applies). You will be required to take an exam so that your aptitude for this degree programme can be assessed. A high level of motivation, perseverance, resilience and independence is needed, as well as a willingness to actively participate in university projects.

Academic requirements

The prerequisite is a successfully completed Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in music. In the case of special artistic talent, it is possible to change directly from the Bachelor’s degree to the Master in Specialised Music Performance.

Knowledge + Abilities

The MA in Specialised Music Performance represents the highest level of academic qualification available in music and requires above-average instrumental or vocal skills. In addition to artistic excellence, we require an intensive engagement with the chosen specialisation: a broad repertoire as a soloist, chamber musician, in contemporary music or experience with mediation or research projects.

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.

The entry exams 2024 will be held on site. The closing date for registration is 15 March 2024.

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

Practicalities + Application

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

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.


If you have any questions regarding scholarships and loans please contact Claire Brawand.

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 Sarah Gross. There is no legal entitlement to a nursery place.

Students must also fulfill their compulsory service obligations during their studies. Please be sure to plan and coordinate your compulsory service ahead of time.

It is strongly recommended that you complete your basic military training and civil service before commencing your studies. Completing them during your studies results in absences, which can lead to an extension of the duration of the course.

Students must fulfil their military service obligations during their studies. Plan and coordinate studies and service obligations well in advance.

We strongly recommend that you complete the military training programme and your first period of civil service before starting your studies. Completing them during your Master will result in absences and may prolong the duration of your studies.

General information about military and civil service

Advisory service

If you wish to get advice on how to co-ordinate your studies and your compulsory service, please contact HKB Student Administration (+41 31 848 49 49).

Start date: Mon, 16.9.2024
Application deadline: Fri, 15.3.2024
Aptitude tests: Mon–Thu, 15.4.–25.4.2024

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)

* Documents that are not available in German, French or English must be submitted as official translations.

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

Consulting + Locations

An open mind and a family atmosphere await you at the Bern University of the Arts. Be sure to come and visit us!

If you have any questions about the degree programme, please contact:
Ellen Fallowfield (Head of Degree Programme)

Individual appointments or consultations can be arranged via the secretariat. 

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.