The percussion class at the Haute école de musique de Genève (HEM) enjoys an excellent reputation and attracts a large number of musicians from all over the world. The infectious enthusiasm and energy of its four professors encourage a dynamism and spirit of openness that enable the students to acquire the skills necessary in order to practise their future profession. 

The multiplying of enriching experiences enables the students to express their artistic uniqueness by developing personal projects and by weaving an extensive artistic network that will be useful for their future professional career path. The quality of the teaching and the international acclaim enjoyed by the professors mean that countless students have managed to win international competitions and orchestra competitions, but also to secure teaching jobs.

  • A team of four renowned professors who are specialists in their subjects:
    • Philippe Spiesser: keyboards, multi-percussion, chamber music (class coordinator) 
    • Christophe Delannoy: snare drum, orchestral excerpts
    • François Desforges: timpani, orchestral excerpts
    • Claude Gastaldin: drums, tablas
  • Exceptional facilities: the HEM’s Percussion centre contains numerous classrooms and workrooms, and an auditorium equipped with a sound, video and light system, with the ability to make sound and video recordings in High Definition.
  • A spirit of openness and creativity: a place for genuine encounters, discoveries and creative emulation, the percussion class is a laboratory that makes it possible to implement multiple cross-disciplinary projects with the HEM’s other instrument classes, but also with other establishments, such as the Jaques Dalcroze Institute, the Am Stram Gram theatre, the HEAD, the Manufacture and the EPFL de Lausanne...
  • It also has a full instrument collection, with a wide selection of instruments and brands.
  • A vast repertoire, ranging from medieval music to contemporary music, tackling solo works, orchestral percussion, chamber music, mixed works with electronics and video, and forms of music from outside Europe. Collaborating closely with the HEM’s Centre de musique électroacoustique, the percussion class focuses in large part on modern creative work, by inviting composers to come and develop projects in-situ.
  • Masterclasses are organised throughout the year, with numerous figures from the world of music invited to come and give them.
  • There are multiple collaborations with the cultural institutions in the Geneva region: the Orchestre de la Suisse romande (OSR), the Orchestre de Chambre de Genève (OCG), the Ensemble de musique contemporaine Contrechamps, the Archipel festival, and the Eklekto Geneva Percussion Center. These collaborations enable the students to acquire solid experience on the ground. The percussion class also offers international collaborations, in India, with an introduction to the world of the tablas at the University of Calcutta, in Brazil, with teaching in the favelas of Salvador de Bahia, and in Palestine, meeting students from the Edward Saïd Music Conservatoire. The students also benefit from the exchanges offered by Europe’s Erasmus programme.
  • Ensemble practice sessions with the chamber music class, the HEM’s Orchestra, and the HEMisphère ensemble, made up of professors and students from the HEM.


Christophe Delannoy

Professor of Percussion - Sight-Reading (Percussion) - Orchestral Excerpts in Section or Tutti (Percussion)

Christophe Delannoy studied in Paris at the Conservatoire de Bourg-la-Reine, where he obtained a Gold Medal and a First Prize in percussion. He then attended the Conservatoire de Créteil, where he was awarded the First Prize in percussion. Finally, at the Conservatoire de Genève, he trained in acoustic and musical management. He began his career as a percussionist with numerous ensembles, including the Orchestre Philharmonique des Pays de Loire, the Orchestre de Picardie, the Orchestre de Chambre d'Ile de France, and the Orchestre Erwartung d'Ile-de-France. In 1996, he joined the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande as the first percussionist and snare drum soloist. He has participated in numerous musical projects with the International Percussion Center, the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, and the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, among others. Christophe Delannoy teaches percussion at the Haute école de musique de Genève. Learn more about Christophe Delannoy.

François Desforges

Professeur of Percussion

François Desforges began studying percussion with Daniel Ardaillon in Montluçon and continued his education with Didier Benetti and Frédéric Macarez in Paris. Concurrently, he studied Latin percussion with Miguel Fiannaca. In 1992, François Desforges was admitted to the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris in the class of Jacques Delecluse and Jean Geoffroy. He graduated in 1995 with a unanimous First Prize. That same year, he joined the Orchestre National de France and obtained the Certificate of Aptitude for teaching percussion. In 1998, he also received a First Prize in chamber music at the CNSM de Paris in the class of Jacques Ivaldi and Michel Cals. Within the Orchestre National de France, he holds the position of Solo Timpanist. With this renowned ensemble, he has participated in numerous projects and international tours under the baton of prestigious conductors such as Charles Dutoit, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Osawa, Kurt Masur, Daniele Gatti, Bernard Haitink, and Cristian Macelaru, the current music director. Beyond his orchestral activities, François Desforges is passionate about pedagogy. After many years of teaching at the conservatory of the 5th arrondissement of Paris and at the CRD of Créteil, he joined the prestigious Haute école de musique de Genève in 2016 to teach timpani. This esteemed institution allows him to share his passion with students from around the world. He is regularly invited to give masterclasses on orchestral timpani. As a chamber musician, François Desforges is a member of the ensemble Ad ONF, comprised of percussionists from the Orchestre National de France. This variable-geometry ensemble was created in 2004 around the project "Ballet Mécanique" by Georges Antheil, initiated by René Bosc, then director of musical creation at Radio-France. Since its creation, Ad ONF has been a regular guest at numerous festivals such as the Présences Festival at Radio-France, La Roque d’Anthéron, Les Folles Journées de Nantes, and the Bel Air Festival in Chambéry. Many artists have collaborated with Ad ONF, including Marielle and Katia Labèque, Bertrand Chamayou, Jean Frédéric Neuburger, Magali Mosnier, Markus Lindberg, Thierry Escaich, and Thomas Adès. François Desforges also performs with various other partners such as the "inclassifiable" group Quai n°5, the Accentus Chamber Choir directed by Laurence Equilbey, the Sequenza 9.3 vocal ensemble directed by Catherine Simonpietri, the "family" Artie’s, and more recently with the Consuelo Orchestra under the direction of Victor-Julien Laferrière. Learn more about François Desforges.

Claude Gastaldin

Professor of Drums - North Indian Rhythm - Tabla & Konakol

Claude Gastaldin is the author of several works dedicated to the study of rhythm. He graduated with honors in 1986 from the Percussion Institute of Technology in Los Angeles, where he studied with notable musicians such as Ralph Humphrey, E. Toro, A. Acuna, and J. Porcaro. He began his international career in 1985, performing as a drummer with various bands in numerous countries and participating in many recordings. Currently, he divides his time between his career as a musician and composer through multiple experiences (live performances and studio work) and intense pedagogical activities. In the musical field, he primarily focuses on the group Stoa, which he initiated, and also supports various musicians and artists, particularly Occitan ones, in their projects (Luc Aussibal, J. Privat, B. Manciet, etc.). He also regularly collaborates with Indian musicians N. Battacharya, J. Oumabady, M. Jadhav, and L. K. Sharma, and has recently composed several pieces for percussion quartets and classical orchestras. Regarding his pedagogical activity: in addition to his position as a professor at the Haute école de musique de Genève and occasional engagements at various educational institutions (Conservatories, Training Centers, Workshops, and Schools), he is the national educational director of the Hohner Sonor Music Academy. He is also a demonstrator artist for a major European drum brand, for which he regularly performs showcases.

Philippe Spiesser

Professor of Percussion - Chamber Music with Percussion - Coordinator of the Percussion Class

More than just a percussionist, Philippe Spiesser is an atypical and captivating musician. Coming from a family of musicians, he studied percussion at the Conservatoire de Musique de Strasbourg. Winner of the European Young Talents Competition in 1997, he has continually evolved by embracing new experiences and collaborating with creators from diverse backgrounds. A universally recognized pedagogue, Philippe Spiesser has been a professor of percussion and coordinator of the percussion class at the Haute école de musique de Genève (HEM) since 2009. Previously, he taught at the Alfonso X University in Madrid, the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Palma de Mallorca, and the Conservatoire National de Région de Perpignan. He gives numerous masterclasses around the world: Juilliard School in New York, McGill in Montreal, Royal Academy of Music in London, Esmuc in Barcelona, Royal Conservatory in Brussels, Santa Cecilia in Rome, Musikhochschulen in Stuttgart, Mannheim, and Karlsruhe, CNSMDP in Paris, China Conservatory and Central Conservatory in Beijing, Superior Conservatories in Shanghai, Shenyang, and Dalian, Hong Kong University of Music, Lima University of Music, and Izmir University of Music. Since 2012, Philippe Spiesser has led several research projects on new musical technologies and gesture capture, such as the GeKiPe project developed at HEM in partnership with IRCAM Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Ensemble Flashback. Through this work, he is the dedicatee and performer of numerous immersive and multimedia shows written for this gesture capture tool. In 2022, he created "Virtualis," the new concerto for solo percussion, ensemble, video, and gesture capture using the Gestrument tool, invented and developed by Jesper Nordin. His research has also led him to work with the Centro Ricerche Musicali in Rome, where he developed a solo repertoire with two acoustic instruments, the SkinAct and the Feed Drum, treated electronically and invented by Michelangelo Lupone. A polymorphic musician, he performs worldwide in numerous international festivals such as Electronic Music Week in Shanghai, Percussion Festival in Beijing, Música in Lima, Arte Scienza and RomaEuropa in Rome, Ars Musica in Brussels, Musica in Strasbourg, Présences in Paris, Ritmo Vital in Madrid, Gaida Festival in Vilnius, Italy PAS in Pescara, CERN Festival and Archipel in Geneva, Aujourd’hui Musiques in Perpignan, Memmix in Palma de Mallorca, Ponte in Ulm, and Frequenz in Kiel, where he promotes new repertoire and creations by Ph. Hurel, P. Jodlowski, J. Nordin, A. Schubert, M. Matalon, B. Mantovani, Ph. Manoury, B. Letort, K. Narita, JM. Lopez Lopez, M. Lupone, and A. Vert. Philippe Spiesser is also invited to perform as a soloist with orchestras such as Lemanic Modern Ensemble, Norbotten NEO, Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Camerata de France, Beijing Symphony Orchestra, and Shenyang Symphony Orchestra. He serves as a jury member for numerous international competitions, including Shanghai IPEA, Beijing PAS, Palma IMC, Italy PAS, and was the president of the jury for the International Geneva Competition in 2019. Learn more about Philippe Spiesser

Christophe Delannoy
Francois Desforges
Claude Gastaldin
Philippe Spiesser

Departments and associated courses


La réputation internationale de la classe de percussion de la HEM permet d’attirer beaucoup d’étudiant-e-s de grand talent !

Antonin Jaccard Etudiant en 3e année du Bachelor of Arts en Musique