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Guillaume Hersperger directeur artistique du festival448
Guillaume Hersperger – Artistic Director of the festival

By Dean Marriott

The clocks have sprung forward, the daylight hours are rapidly increasing and the good weather will hopefully join us soon.  As the trees reawaken and the blossom begins to appear, so too does the Swiss music festival circuit.  Throughout Switzerland, numerous festivals are in the throes of preparation and shortly websites will go live for this season's ticket sales.

If you are looking for a gentle and inexpensive way to re-emerge from your winter cocoon, then I would suggest looking no further than the Pully Week-End Musical.  This classical music event offers free entry and a programme to appeal to all ages.  

This week, I spoke with one of the organisers, Benjamin Décosterd, President of Association Applause, to find out a little more about this locally-funded event.

Q. The Pully Week-End Musical will take place from 24th to 26th April 2015.  What can we expect over these 3 days?

More than 75 musicians who will play at the 13 musical events spread over three locations in Pully (Eglise du Prieuré, Grande salle and Foyer de la Maison Pulliérane). Among these, there are three real highlights:

  • The opening concert on Friday night at 20h. With three talented musicians (Guillaume Hersperger and Lionel Andrey - co-organisers of the festival - and Constantine Macherel), in a programme of French music for the flute, cello, clarinet and piano by Gaubert, Debussy, Jolivet, Poulenc and Saint-Saens.

  • The Bass-Night on Saturday from 17h. Featuring a recital for the double bass, violin and piano, and an exceptional concert with some twenty bassists present onstage.

  • On Sunday, our headliner, the world-renowned Gottlieb Wallisch, will give a piano recital on a Bösendorfer Imperial.

In addition to these three events, there will be pre- and post-concert performances of various repertoires, concerts by the students of the Ecole de Musique de Pully and a Masterclass given by Mr Wallisch. It is very important for us to bring an educational dimension to the festival.

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Gottlieb Wallisch

Q. I have read on the festival website that the previous two festivals attracted audiences of 700 and 800 spectators respectively.  What’s your typical audience member and how many spectators are you anticipating this year?

With free entry concerts, it is difficult to know the number of spectators we should anticipate. With all the effort made to offer a more ambitious programme and more developed communication than in previous years, we hope to attract more people in order to have the widest possible audience. Equally, we have the aim of appealing to younger classical music enthusiasts. One has to face up to the question of an aging audience. Who will fill the concert halls tomorrow? That's why free entry is extremely important to us. With a very varied programme in a relaxed atmosphere, we want to break the stuffy and elitist image of classical music.

Q. This is the 3rd time that this event has taken place, but appears to be the first time that Association Applause has been the organiser.  As President of this association, could you tell me a little more about what it is and why it was formed?

For the first year, there was a team of three organisers: Guillaume Hersperger, Caroline Mercier and myself. Lionel Andrey, joined to help us before the second festival. Association Applause was established at the end of 2014 so that the festival could grow. In order to obtain subsidies in Switzerland, you must be an association. This structure will allow us to organise other associated events, but it will be primarily for the organisation of this festival.

One may wonder how someone who is not from the music world, but from a theatre background, finds himself presiding over this association. I had to fight to get venues and stage projects myself. I find it important to use this experience to benefit young musicians, so that they learn on stage and in front of an audience. Maybe then, after fifteen years of this festival, one will say that I come from music world too!

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The organising committee, Association Applause

Q. This weekend of music is free of charge.  How has that been made possible?

Not only is entry free, but the budget is higher, so that the festival has gained in quality as well. To achieve this, we put a lot of time and energy into finding new sponsors. This has been a test year for us, to see if there was interest among the potential partners. If this had not been the case, we would have thought about a reduced version of the festival in the future. However, all indications are that the festival will be able to continue to grow. The example of Luna Classics (which went bankrupt) shows us that we must remain vigilant. We juggle between prudence and ambition, with our resources. A staff of young volunteers, just like us, actively participate in the promotion - distributing flyers in the region. Little by little, we hope to become a major event in the Romand musical landscape.

For more information, visit the festival website: www.wempully.ch or the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/wempully
24-26 April, 2015. Click here for our event listing and to download the program flyer.

Author's bio


Dean Marriott was born in London and educated in the UK and Germany.  He retired from a career in finance, aged 33, and subsequently retrained as an actor and teacher.  From an early age, his passion for languages has underpinned both his professional and social lives.  In his quest for leisure activities, Dean keeps one key thought in mind: if Shakespeare’s words are true and ‘All the world's a stage’, we shouldn’t have to look far in order to be entertained.  We just have to make the time to appreciate it.  

If you are searching for an element of entertainment in your leisure pursuits and have a desire to look beyond the obvious, then Dean will use his artistic eye to point you in the right direction.  

Dean is currently the Director of the World Language Learning Centre at GEMS World Academy-Etoy, where he promotes the idea that language learning is about embodying a new language, not simply studying it.