Professional Training Academies in Musical Research and Performance


The CIMA Foundation’s Academies of Professional Training in Musical Research and Performance are intensive workshops led by a team of teachers. They are aimed at young professional singers and are designed to enhance the techniques of study, research and performance of historical music under the guidance and direction of Jordi Savall.

This project is based on the experience acquired by Jordi Savall and Montserrat Figueras over many years of teaching activity from 1990 to 2006 — 16 years teaching the Course in Early Music of Catalonia (at Poblet, Seu d’Urgell, and Sant Feliu de Guíxols). The Academy is taught by teachers and musicians from the various ensembles directed by Jordi Savall, such as La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Le Concert des Nations.

The CIMA Foundation’s Academy is a pedagogical initiative inspired by similar experiencies in Europe and North America, which have impacted positively on the redicovery of the musical heritage of their places of origin. The distinctive feature of our Academy is that it develops a musical project within the framework of an established concert season.

The objectives of Jordi Savall’s Academy of Professional Training in Musical Research and Performance are as follows:

To give young professional musicians (under the age of 33) the opportunity to enhance their training in the performance of historical music under the guidance of Jordi Savall.
To transmit and teach new performance techniques in voice, singing, orchestral work, style, declamation, articulation, dynamics, musical phrasing and ornamentation to the new generations of musicians.
To propose approaches to the expression of musical beauty and emotion using historically informed performance techniques.
To create synergies between young professional musicians and the prestigious teachers and musicians who lead the sessions.
To facilitate young musicians’ participation in the choir or orchestra of Jordi Savall’s renowned music ensembles, such as La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Le Concert des Nations in concerts based on the programmes studied during the Academies, as well as the international tours that arise from them.
To help young musicians in their professional advancement and to consolidate their incipient musical careers through new engagements and the acquisition of agents.
To complement by means of this pedagogical and performance experience the curriculum of young professionals, providing them with an international projection, thanks to performances with Jordi Savall’s ensembles.
To encourage the mobility of musicians and teachers from different parts of the world, thus encouraging the transnationality of music ensembles.
To promote the musical legacy of the Renaissance, the Baroque and the Classical Period, as well as the mobility of artistic products performed before highly diverse audiences at concert halls and historic venues around the world.

The Complete Symphonies of Beethoven
2019 – 2020


European Project “Beethoven Academy 250”

To celebrate the birth of one of the most outstanding geniuses of European music, we are embarking on a research and performance project devoted to the complete 9 symphonies divided into 4 major “academies”:

In 2019
Spring 1st Academy: symphonies 1, 2 and 4
Autumn 2nd Academy: symphonies 3 and 5

In 2020
Spring 3e Academy: symphonies 6 and 7
Autumn 4th Academy: Symphonies 8 and 9

Under my direction, this project will be carried out by an impressive team consisting of leading specialists in period instruments and the repertoire: konzertmeister Jakob Lehmann and our own concertino Manfredo Kraemer, together with a core group of professional musicians from Le Concert des Nations (which will mark its 30th anniversary in 2019!), augmented by some of today’s best young professional musicians, who will be selected in the autumn of 2018 (for the 2019 Academies) and in the spring of 2019 (for the 2020 Academies). Of the 55 musicians taking part, between 60% and 75% will be members of Le Concert des Nations and 25% – 30% will be young professional musicians. Details of the competition to take part in the various Academies will be announced before summer 2018.

Each Academy will take place in two 6-day stages:

The first will consist of the Master Class and preparatory rehearsals and

the second, held one month or 3 weeks later, will be devoted to the final rehearsals. All the sessions of both the academies and the Master Class will be recorded (in audio and video) for subsequent pedagogical use. Each of the Academies will be followed by concerts at the project’s partner or collaborating concert venues and institutions, which to date include the following: La Saline Royale d’Arc et Senans (where Le Concert des Nations is Orchestra in Residence), the Philharmonie de Paris, and L’Auditori de Barcelona, the CIMA Foundation (International Early Music Centre Foundation, Barcelona), Diputació de Barcelona (Barcelona Provincial Council), Barcelona City Hall, the Town Hall of Sant Cugat del Vallès. We are currently in talks with other European institutions in Germany, Austria, Portugal, Italy, Poland and Hungary.

The concerts will be performed not only at the major above-mentioned venues for their regular audiences, but also in suburban districts, towns, theatres and public spaces that this music does not usually reach.

To carry out this project we are applying for the support of the European Commission within the framework of the “Creative Europe” cultural cooperation programme.

Project Strategy and Priorities

  • Recovery of the European musical heritage through a renewal of research and performance, using original 19th century orchestra instruments.
  • Transmission of an intangible but essential musical culture to the new generations, thanks to more than 50 years of musical experience, research and reflection.
  • Transnational circulation of musical masterpieces.
  • Transnational mobility of professional musicians and young professional musicians.
  • To grow new (younger) audiences at major concert venues.
  • Additionally, to grow other audiences at new neglected or rarely used venues.
  • European added value is highlighted by the wide national diversity of the musicians who make up the orchestra Le Concert de Nations (French, Spanish, Italian, German, Belgian, Portuguese, Austrian, Dutch, Argentine, etc.) and the dissemination throughout the world of an essentially European musical heritage, as in the case of the Beethoven Symphonies.
  • All the pedagogical actions as well as the musical creation activities will be disseminated online and recorded and released on CD and DVD in order to achieve maximum dissemination.
  • Performances of the 9 Beethoven Symphonies informed by an understanding of tempo, articulation, dynamics and the expert use of period instruments, which will reveal a truly “revolutionary” Beethoven.

Artistic Director

The spirit and the senses
“Music is the mediator between spiritual life and that of the senses”[1].

The line-up of the orchestra at the time of Beethoven.

Historically, the sound of the orchestra is the first element that has to be taken into consideration in the difficult task of approaching the musical world of Beethoven. The size and composition of orchestras of the time of the Eroica (written for the most part in 1803 and completed in early 1804) were variable, for there was no officially established orchestra in Vienna until 1840. In 1808, the orchestra of the Theater an der Wien comprised 12 violins, 4 violas, 3 cellos, 3 double-basses, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, plus kettle-drums, i.e., a total of 35 musicians – while the first performances of the Eroica Symphony used between 30 (1804, Vienna, Palace of Prince Lobkowitz) and 56 (1808, Festsaal, Vienna University). Be that as it may, one thing is certain: the sound and balance of the orchestra were very different from those of a modern orchestra.

All in all, it may be said that the technical possibilities and the timbre of the instruments corresponded grosso modo to the slow but constant evolution of the orchestra, which had begun with the baroque ensembles, and culminated in the second half of the 19th century, in the form that is generally referred to as “classical” (e.g. that of the Theater an der Wien in 1808 – see above).

Knowing Beethoven’s ideas on perfection and his concern for progress, it may be suggested that, in many ways, he was pursuing an ideal that exceeded the possibilities of his time. Yet the instruments he knew and used were well and truly those of his time, and it was that very limitation that gave his genius and his creative power such forcefulness. The instruments he used were not very different from those that were available to Haydn or Mozart, but his imagination and willpower led him to experiment with every possible combination of colours and timbres, taking his explorations to their very limits.

“Revolution” in the “Eroica” Symphony.

Beethoven’s Third Symphony, the first edition of which was entitled “Sinfonia eroica, composta per festeggiare il sovvenire d’un grand Uomo” (Heroic symphony, composed to celebrate the memory of a great man), is much more than a personalised tribute: it is above all the explosion of an inner drama and the sublimation of mythological and revolutionary ideals (Prometheus and Bonaparte). Its impressive structure, its powerful, dramatic style and its prodigiously inventive development make it doubly revolutionary.

Revolutionary (in the sense of “bringing about a profound change in customs and opinions”) is a key word reminding us not only of the historical context of the Eroica Symphony but also of the questions it raises in the present day. But what remains of the revolutionary character of this music, which is so often transformed and deformed for aesthetic or commercial reasons, to the point of becoming something an impersonal piece of easy listening? Beethoven’s music – like all great music – is transcendent. Its message is eternal, but it is not timeless, for in its gestation it bears the implicit mark and style of its time. And in the crystallisation of any meaningful interpretation of this work, spirit and style are inseparable from instrumental, formal and historical considerations.

What – apart from a considerable increase in the number of musicians – are the consequences of the modernisation of musical instruments in the second half of the 19th century and the widespread use nowadays of metal or synthetic strings (as opposed to gut)?

It is obvious that this has brought about a radical change in conceptions of technique, sound, timbre, balance, dynamics, articulation, and so on, which, in turn, have brought about a change in our conception of the spirit of this music. It may thus be considered “revolutionary” nowadays to defend the idea of using different orchestras for Lully and Rameau, Bach and Haydn, Beethoven and Mahler, and so on. Without wishing to question or cast doubt on the importance and legitimacy of performances on modern instruments, refusing these differences and using the same type of orchestra for all composers seems to be a serious impoverishment.

Going back to the historical sources from the time of the composition.

Our project of interpretation of Beethoven’s symphonies therefore attempts to place itself in the historical context of the first performance of this work, but without sacrificing certain subjective concepts that characterise the composer and his time: we believe that the fact of taking into account the objective elements – the natural effects of period instruments and their technique on the interpretative process – can revolutionise our perception of the sound and aesthetic quality of this ineffable world.

The objective elements include the employment of a group of instruments with gut strings (pitch a = 430) (10, 8, 6, 5, 3), using the technique and phrasing of bows of that time (i.e., before the arrival of the modern Tourte bow). This permits greater flexibility and clearer contrasts, in keeping with the wealth of nuances that are to be found in Beethoven’s score. Gut strings produce a warmer, more resonant sound in the medium and low ranges and a shriller, more aggressive sound in the high notes. As gut strings are more sensitive, the various forms of vibrato are not used continuously but only occasionally, when required for expressive purposes.

Individualisation of timbre is very important in Beethoven’s works. There is a perfect contrast between the strings, the various wind instruments – woodwinds (flutes, oboes, clarinets and bassoons, which were still made of wood and had one or two extra keys) and brass (horns and natural trumpets without valves) – and the timpani with calfskin heads, played with hard wooden sticks. Generally, the timbres of the wind instruments (with the exception of the transverse flute) are harsher, more direct and more brilliant: and we have not sought to modify their natural colours in any way in order to obtain a sound that is more compact, richer or softer. Conformity of articulation and volume between the strings (32) and the different wind instruments (13) favours a natural balance, greater definition in the counterpoint and clearer dynamics.

Likewise, the use of “untempered” tuning permits a better understanding of the modulations (which are so important in such eminently tonal music) as a result of the “hardening” (tension) of the chords in the remote keys and their stability (release) in the principal keys.

The essential question of tempo.

For Beethoven, tempo – a notion that is both subjective and objective – was always an essential element in interpretation. In his biography, Anton Schindler tells us that “when one of his works was presented in public, his first question was always: ‘How were the tempi?’” This explains his great enthusiasm for the metronome (patented by Maelzel in the early 19th century) and the fact that, in several of his works, he completed the usual indications of tempo (Allegro con brio, Allegro vivace, Allegro molto, etc.) with the corresponding metronomic values. In Leipzig in 1817, Die Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung published the tempi of the movements of all Beethoven’s symphonies. Although some of these values have given rise to debate, the tempi indicated in the Eroica Symphony – although quite fast – are generally possible, provided they are played with the flexibility demanded by the musical phrasing itself whilst also taking acoustic conditions into account.

Beethoven was referring to this flexibility – without which there can be no expression – when he wrote, in the autograph manuscript of the Lied Nord oder Süd (also 1817): “100 according to Mälzel. The prescribed tempo can only be applied to the first bars, for feeling has its own measure and it cannot be expressed at such a tempo.”

Where this recording is concerned, the tempi correspond – with the exception of the Poco andante in the finale, where we have opted for slightly slower values (84-88 instead of 108) – to those put forward by Beethoven, with a reasonable margin of musical flexibility:


VALUE INDICATED                                               INTERPRETATION

  1. Allegro con brio h. = 60 58/60/63
  2. Marcia funebre – Adagio assai e = 80 72/76/80

III.  Scherzo – Allegro vivace h.  = 116                      116/120

  1. Finale – Allegro molto h. = 76 69/72/76

Poco andante e = 108                                                84/88

Presto q = 116                                                            116

Restoring the original nuances and the spiritual dimension of the performance.

In the totally subjective field of interpretation – particularly in its analytical form – the manner of approaching the different problems concerning the conception of articulation and phrasing, and the realisation of the different nuances and indications of dynamics and agogics is also extremely important – an approach which also takes into account the formal and tonal relations inherent in the music. Moreover, it must not be forgotten that much of the dramatic tension arises from the fact that Beethoven pushed the technical possibilities of the instruments of his time to their very limits; the use of period instruments on this recording thus results in the recreation of a similar dramatic tension.
This brings us to the spiritual dimension of the interpretation, which raises the problem that is the most transcendental and the most difficult to define: how to recreate and go into the composer’s expressive intentions and communicate the spirit of his work to the listener without distorting or betraying the objective elements defining it as such.

We all know that Beethoven was a brilliant improviser. At the same time, the extraordinary intensity of the work in his rough drafts shows the wonderful, almost obsessive efforts he made to render each of his compositions as outstanding as possible. The great difficulty in Beethoven’s music lies no doubt in that delicate balance, in the ambivalence of a Prometheus instinctively struggling to bring heavenly fire to mankind, whilst knowing that he will have to pay the price of being bound to build up the forms of an art that will only be liberating when they become “le plus beau lien des peuples plus éloignés”[2].

Translated by P.R. MERRY




[1] Beethoven, cité par Bettina Brentano, “Lettre à Goethe”, 28 mai 1810.

[2] “The finest link between the most distant peoples” Beethoven; letter to the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm; Vienna, 1 March 1823. (Letter 1080, written in French)


  • The symphonies will be spread over 4 Academies from 2019 to 2020.

In 2019, First Academy, symphonies 1, 2, 4; and Second Academy: symphonies 3 and 5.

In 2020, Third Academy: symphonies 6 and 7; and Fourth Academy: symphonies 8 and 9.

  • Each Academy will consist of :
    • Two weeks of Master Classes and Preparatory Sessions.
    • One week of Final Rehearsals before the concerts.
    • Concerts at venues of international renown.
  • The students will play together with professional musicians from Le Concert des Nations. There will be students of Violin, Cello, Double Bass and Viol at all the symphonies. Students of wind and percussion instruments will be present at the 3rd, 5th and 9th symphonies only. (See details on the registration page.)
  • Voice academies will happen in 2018.


Nº 1 26:30
Nº 2 33:00

Nº 4 35:00
29 APRIL – 4 MAY 2019, BARCELONA : Master Class & Preparatory Rehearsals.
26 – 31 MAY, ARC-ET-SENANS : Final Rehearsals
1 – 9 JUNE 2019 : Concerts

With period instruments
Jakob Lehmann

Violins I 10 (5 profs. and 5 students)
Violins II 8 (4 profs. and 4 students)
Alto 6 (3 profs. and 3 students)
Cellos 5 (3 profs. and 2 students)
Double Bass 3 (2 profs. and 1 student)
32 (17 profs. and 15 students)

2 Transverse Flutes
2 Oboes
2 Clarinets
2 Bassoons
2 Natural Horns
2 Trumpets
1 Timpani
TOTAL 45 (30 profs. and 15 students)


Nº 3 44:30 EROICA
Nº 5 36:30
16 – 21 SEPTEMBER 2019, BARCELONA : Master Class & Preparatory Rehearsals.
5. – 10. OCTOBER, ARC-ET-SENANS : Final Rehearsals
12. – 19. OCTOBER 2019 : Concerts

With period instruments
Concertino: Jakob Lehmann

Violins I 10 (5 profs. and 5 students)
Violins II 8 (4 profs. and 4 students)
Alto 6 (3 profs. and 3 students)
Cellos 5 (3 profs. and 2 students)
Double Bass 3 (2 profs. and 1 student)
32 (17 profs. and 15 students)

1 Piccolo
2 Transverse Flutes
2 Oboes
2 Clarinets
2 Bassoons
1 Contrabassoon
3 Natural Horns (2 profs. and 1 student)
2 Trumpets
1 Timpani

(16 : 15 profs. &1 student )
TOTAL 48 (32 profs. & 15 students)

Applications are now closed. Direct your questions to

1st of May to 10th of June 2018

Pre-registration period: via this web (see below), fill out the forms, including CV and personal details, and send the test audios  (further details).

Week of 1 July 2018

The results of the preliminary selection (maximum 50 students) will be sent via email.

27, 28, 29 August 2018

Pre-selected candidates will be invited to an audition with Jordi Savall and the concertinos of Le Concert des Nations at Utrech, where the  final selection of the Academy participants will take place.


Participants must:

  • be under 33 years old
  • hold a higher musical degree or diploma
  • speak at least one of the following languages: English, French, Spanish, Catalan
  • offer total availability on the dates specified in the previous section –all participants must be available on the dates specified from 27th August 2018 (first audition) to the final concert in 2019 (October). You will also need to allow for the necessary time to prepare pieces before the master classes and concerts.

Find your instrument below.

  • If I am over 33 anys, can I register?

No. One of the basic objectives of the Academy, as understood by the CIMA Foundation and our patrons and sponsors. is to give young musicians the opportunity to launch their careers,

  • How can I send the audios?

Acceptable formats (.mp3) are indicated in the registration forms, which include spaces to upload documents. If you experience any technical problems, you can send us the audios via Dropbox or Google Drive links. The video should be sent using a Youtube link (which may be “hidden” but not “private”; in other words,  without a password).

The forms also list the pieces to be sent for each instrument. The audios must be good quality, free from background noise, and in mp3. The audio files must be named as follows: “YOURSURNAME.YOURFIRSTNAME.INSTRUMENT”.

  • Can I take part in only some of the academies?

No. There will be four academies and two selection processes. Once you have registered you will be committed to taking part in two academies.

  • Who will teach in the Academy?

The Academy will be taught by members of Le Concert des Nations, the same musicians with whom you will perform in the concert venues. It is their  professional experience that we aim to transmit through this initative.

  • Are the concert dates definite?

The dates of the first and  second Academies are definite. We will make every effort to maintain the dates indicated for the master classes and rehearsal . Most of the concert dates have yet to be fixed, but we will endeavour to finalise them as soon as possible so that you can make your plans.

  • What if I am not selected?

The Centre Internacional de Música Antiga offers an Academy approximately every two years,  and a great many young musicians have worked with us. If you are not selected on this occasion, we hope to be able to hear you again in two or three years’ time. Follow us on Social Networks and via our Newsletters.

  • What if I need a visa?

Non-EU students  may need a visa to work with us. If you are pre-selected,  ypu will be assisted by our team, who have more than twenty yesrs’ experience in making international travel arrangements.

  • Will I be paid for the concerts?

Yes, you will be `paid for the concerts.

  • Travel expenses

We’ll cover the travel expenses to classes, rehearsals and concerts, but not the auditions.


If you haven’t found the answer to your question, fill out the form below and we’ll answer you as soon as possible.