Lausanne Conservatory

The Haute école de musique de Lausanne (HEMU, known as Institute of Advanced Musical Studies prior to 2010, founded in 1861 as Conservatoire de Lausanne) is a one hundred and fifty-eight-year-old Swiss music school located in Romandy, the French-speaking district of part of western Switzerland. It is a constituent institution of the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland.

Conservatory of Lausanne
Haute école de musique de Lausanne
West entrance of the Conservatory of Lausanne
Established1861 (1861)
Parent institution
University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland
DirectorHervé Klopfenstein (fr)


Name change in 2010

Until the summer of 2010, the name, "Conservatoire de Lausanne", referred to two schools with different objectives and faculties. The Music School was public institution for educating children and young adults. The Institute of Advanced Musical Studies, based in Lausanne, Sion, and Fribourg, offered a comprehensive higher education for aspiring professional musicians. To mitigate the ensuing confusion, administrators in 2010 launched two new distinct identities. The School of Music became the Lausanne Conservatory and the Lausanne Institute of Advanced Musical Studies adopted the acronym HEMU for Haute école de musique.[1] On September 1, 2008, classical music schools of Sion and Fribourg integrated with HEMU.

Founding in 1861

The Haute école de musique de Lausanne was founded in 1861 as the Conservatoire de Lausanne with a mandate of training and educating aspiring professional musicians. HEMU is a comprehensive music school that offers degrees leading to accredited bachelor's and master's degrees. HEMU has a cooperative affiliation with the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland.[2]

College divisions

HEMU currently has two divisions: Classical and Jazz. In 2013, approximately 300 students were enrolled in Classical and 60 in Jazz. According to the HEMU website, its jazz department is the only one of its kind in French-speaking Switzerland. Jazz at HEMU was launched in 2006.


HEMU has a large music library of scores, literature, references, and recordings.

Pre-college division

Lausanne Conservatory for children and young adults has, as of 2012, an enrollment of about 1,200 students.

Theater school

In 1909, the institution launched an acting school — Section professionnelle d'art dramatique du Conservatoire de Lausanne (SPAD). As of 2003, the acting school has been located in the Haute École de théâtre ("High School of Theater" or "HESTR") in Romandy.


The HEMU bachelor's and master's degrees are accredited by the Swiss government and the Music and Performing Arts division of the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland (HES-SO), Switzerland's largest institution of constituent schools and colleges involved in research, higher education, and professional training. HEMU is a member of the European Association of Conservatoires.

Notable faculty and alumni

HEMU directors

  • 1861–1905: Gustavus Adolphus Koella
  • 1905–1908: Émile-Robert Blanchet (1877–1943), pianist
  • 1908–1921: Jules Nicati (1873–1939)
  • 1921–1941: Charles Troyon (1867–1948)
  • 1941–1957: Alfred Pochon (fr) (1878–1959), violinist and musicologist
  • 1957–1967: Carlo Hemmerling (de) (1903–1967)
  • 1967–1968: Edmond Defrancesco (interim)
  • 1968–1972: Rainer Bösch (born 1938), composer
  • 1972–1983: Michel Rochat
  • 1984–1998: Jean-Jacques Rapin (de) (1932-2015)
  • 1998–2001: Olivier Cuendet
  • 2001–2010: Pierre Wavre
  • Since 2010: Hervé Klopfenstein (fr) (1957-), conductor, theory, flutist †

HEMU faculty

HEMU alumni

Note: † signifies alumni and faculty

Selected discography

  • Inauguration du Conservatoire de Lausanne du, VDE-Gallo 630 (CD) (1990); OCLC 427853451, 715358029
  1. Bach: "Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten!" — Video on YouTube
  2. Perrin: "Cantosenhal" — Video on YouTube
  3. François Thury: "Mata-Hari" — Video on YouTube
  4. Alexandra Cservený: "Les animaux chanteurs de Breme" — Video on YouTube
  5. Gaudibert: "Feuillages" — Video on YouTube
Lena Hauser, soprano; Stephan Imboden, bass; Miguel Fernandez, narrator; Stéphane Borel, Maxime Favrod (fr), Jacques Hostettler, percussion
Lausanne Conservatory Chorus & Orchestra, Hervé Klopfenstein (fr), conductor
Tracks 3 and 5 are studio recordings; 1, 2, and 4 were recorded live, April 5, 1990

Selected videos


See also

  • Orchestre symphonique et universitaire de Lausanne (fr)

Notes and references

  1. Case Study: Lausanne Conservatory – HEMU (promotional literature), Moser Design SA, Lausanne (1911)
  2. Andreas Kotte, ed. (2005). "SPAD - Section professionnelle d'art dramatique du Conservatoire de Lausanne, Lausanne VD". Theaterlexikon der Schweiz (TLS) / Dictionnaire du théâtre en Suisse (DTS) / Dizionario Teatrale Svizzero / Lexicon da teater svizzer [Theater Dictionary of Switzerland]. Zürich: Chronos. ISBN 978-3-0340-0715-3. LCCN 2007423414. OCLC 62309181.
  3. "Jorge Viladoms - Prestige Magazine". Prestige Magazine. 2017-03-28. Retrieved 2017-03-31.

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