The HEM Grand Choir is one of the school’s permanent ensemble, which aims to offer group training to about a hundred students from all the school’s disciplines. These are mainly pianists, organists and guitarists, but also students from the theoretical departments and the Music and Movement Department, as well as a number of singers.
As one of the projects in the ‘artistic community’ formed by all those involved in the school’s musical life – students, teachers and guest artists – the Grand Choir initiates independent artistic projects and takes part in artistic productions by such institutions as the Orchestre de la Suisse romande and the Geneva Chamber Orchestra. It also takes part in major projects by the school’s Orchestral Instruments Department.
Historically, the choral tradition has always been particularly important at the Geneva University of Music. The Chamber Choir, a successor to the Higher Geneva Conservatory Choir and conducted by Michel Corboz for many years, made a name for itself by performing major works from the symphonic choral repertoire so dear to Corboz. After he left, two new groups were created: the Chamber Choir (a cappella repertoire), conducted by Michel-Marc Gervais and later by Celso Antunes, and the Grand Choir (orchestral repertoire), conducted by Véronique Carrot.
In 2012 Nicolas Farine, who until then had conducted the Geneva Haute école de musique’s choir at the Neuchâtel campus, took over the Grand Choir, which has since included students from both of the school’s campuses (Geneva and Neuchâtel). In 2019, Jean Gautier-Pignonblanc is in charge of the activities of the Grand choir.