Martha Argerich appeals to Swiss to save doomed music school

Martha Argerich appeals to Swiss to save doomed music school


norman lebrecht

December 04, 2017

The abrupt decision by a local administration to shut down the music high school at Neuchatel is starting to cause waves.

This morning, Martha Argerich published an open letter calling for the distinguished school to be maintained.

The school, which is the Neuchâtel site of HEM Geneva, attracts pupils from all over Switzerland and neighbouring countries.

Musicians should post messages of support here.


  • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

    Just to clarify the terminology. This a branch of what used to be called the Geneva Conservatory. HEM (Haute(s) Ecole(s) de Musique) is a general term for the former conservatories of Geneva and Lausanne and all their branch campuses (campi for purists). Each division tends to have its own specialties but with some duplication in the the curricula with the highest enrolment. This is what we call post-secondary education in the USA (college/university level) and not a high school in the American sense, but a Hochchule in the German sense of the term.

    In a rich country like la Suisse, it’s hard to imagine the need for such economies but I also know that la HEM/Geneva is currently planning a Cite de la Musique to unify all of their facilities in Geneva which are spread throughout the city. It will be located near the UN Geneva headquarters and is scheduled to open around 2020 or 2021.

    Martha’s support is certainly important but I wonder if further information is needed to evaluate the situation.

  • Isabelle says:

    Link to the petition, which has gathered nearly 12,000 signatures in less than two days, is here:

    Switzerland may be a “rich country” but the canton of Neuchâtel is known for its financial mismanagement. Something is clearly fishy when a decision of this magnitude is made unilaterally and the administration and staff are only notified a few days before the vote. Regardless of the new Cité de la Musique, which will be in Geneva, nothing excuses the taking away of an important cultural centre in an entirely separate canton an hour away, which plays an important role in the local musical life, both professional and amateur.