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Montreux Jazz Academy

Aware of the difficulties facing artists in order to be able to live from their passion and the demands of the music industry, the Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation wished to develop its mission of supporting up-and-coming talents by creating the Montreux Jazz Academy.

Since 2014, MJAF has set up an intensive artistic residency based on its values , namely: transmission, exchanges between generations and cultures, creativity and freedom of expression.
The heart of the residency is to bring together musicians in a single location who are coached by renowned jazz mentors and professionals linked to the music world in order to benefit from their experience, knowledge and advice.

The first version of the residency, the Montreux Jazz Academy, invited a small number of musicians selected according to several criteria (background, virtuosity, writing and composition skills, personality, open-mindedness), in order to have different instruments represented and guarantee a good group dynamic. They are chosen as much for their personal and artistic qualities as for their instrument, cultural background and professional experience.

Since 2020, the Montreux Jazz Academy has taken place during the MJAF’s Autumn of Music festival, culminating in a final concert featuring the rearranged compositions of each “fellow ».

In 2023, the Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation (MJAF) autumn festival has changed its name and visual identity to Montreux Jazz Festival Residency. This update better reflects the unique spirit of this festival built around an artistic residency, and more clearly identifies it as part of the Montreux Jazz Festival brand.

academy 2019


The essence of the MJF Residency is to bring together promising and established artists from different cultures and backgrounds, as well as outside contributors. During the day, they follow a pedagogical program, and in the evening, the most emerging present their musical universe, while the most experienced share their experience and talent with public lectures and intimate concerts. Being in the same place for several days and sharing a daily routine enables them to discuss their respective music and the music world, learn from each other, play together and perhaps consider potential collaborations. 

Residency 2023


From 21 to 26 November 2023, the 8th Montreux Jazz Academy took place during the 3rd edition of Autumn of Music.

This year we welcomed 7 beneficiary musicians including Oscar Ogden (drummer), Abi Asisa (producer and cellist), Davina Aeosun-Bright (harpist), Kemani Anderson (singer), Jelly Cleaver (guitarist), Nils Boyny (pianist) and Rosa Brunello (bassist and composer). All were coached by renowned mentors including saxophone legend Chico Freeman, prolific producer and DJ Gilles Peterson, the brilliant Chelsea Carmichael, the eclectic and talented saxophonist and rapper, Soweto Kinch and finally the sunny Cuban pianist, Gonzalo Rubalcaba.  Together they worked on the rearrangement of their personal compositions to create a repertoire and give a final concert which took place on 26 November.

academy 2022 MJAF AOM


The 7th edition of the Montreux Jazz Academy took place in October 2021 during Autumn of Music. It brought together three of today’s leading figures on the buzzing UK jazz scene: saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, drummer Edward Wakili-Hick (both members of the Sons of Kemet) and pianist and organist Alexander Hawkins (collaborator of South African legend Louis Moholo-Moholo). Accompanied also by two renowned mentors, with the talented saxophonist Jowee Omicil and the wonderful soul singer José James, they surrounded and challenged 6 jazz musicians in the rearrangement and rewriting of their personal compositions.

In 2021, the musicians who took part in the Academy’s artistic residency were: Meskerem Mees (BE), winner of the 2021 Montreux Jazz Talent Award, Matt Brown (UK), the 2019 winner of the Montreux Jazz Talent Award (in the band category with his duo Run Logan Run), as well as 4 artists active on the Swiss jazz scene: Louise Knobil, Daniel McAlavey, Fabian Mösch and Djamal Moumène. All together they gave a final concert on October 30, 2021 which can be seen on the Youtube channel of the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Montreux Jazz academy 2021


In 2020, the participants were  lucky to have 3 musical directors Michael League, Bill Laurance et Justin Stanton, members of the American band Snarky Puppy. In addition, they were mentored by the legendary English guitarist John McLaughlin, the talented French drummer Anne Paceo and the gifted American singer China Moses. They had the chance to give a final concert on 17 October, 2020 at the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace. The concert is available on the Montreux Jazz Festival’s Youtube channel.

“It was a very special week working alongside the next generation of musicians, as part of the Montreux Jazz Academy, culminating in a final performance of the selected artists own compositions. Whilst teaching alongside my Snarky brothers Michael League and Justin Stanton with the incredible Anne Paceo and one and only John McLauhglin. Was a week to remember”

Bill Laurence, Montreux Jazz Academy’s musical director


In 2019, the Montreux Jazz Academy took place from 7 to 12 July and brought together 6 musicians from all horizons.  They were lucky enough to be accompanied by a talented mentor and musical director, the American trumpet-player Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah. Two other gifted and well-known mentors coached them in their composition work and in the creative process: Jacob Collier, the British arranger, composer and singer who won 4 Grammy awards, and Wolfgang Flür, one of the founding members of the famous electronic band Kraftwerk.

For one week, Academy’s participants attended a programme that included lectures on music business, meetings with musicians and daily participation in jam sessions. In parallel, the musicians and mentors met daily to prepare a final concert given on 11 July at the Montreux Jazz Club, opening for American trumpet-player, composer and jazz arranger Terence Blanchard.

Directing this year’s Montreux Jazz Academy was an absolute pleasure. The Academy is exactly the kind of opportunity I would like to see in all spaces of music education. The vision and valiantness of its directors is without question. Their willingness to build a reservoir for creative practice in music that welcomes ALL perspectives and looks to new approaches in finding a way to create music that actually brings people together is desperately needed. It is to put it simply “visionary”. I loved every moment of it!

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, 2019 Academy’s Musical director and mentor

In 2019, they were 6 musicians to join the Montreux Jazz Academy : Natasha Agrama, Diego Figueirdo, Amaro Freitas, Højde, Nicolas Stocker, Frida Split.


In 2018, 9 members took part to the Montreux Jazz Academy: Addison Frei, Alexander Lövmark, Kaspar Agnas, Billy Test, Sarah Decker, Felix Lalanne, Andrei Marukhin, Talie Monin et Sang Jun Ahn

They have been mentored by the Norwegian musician Bugge Wesseltoft, the German pianist-composer Hauschka and the American musician, DJ and producer of electronic music and jazz, Carl Craig.

Carl Craig Academy 2018