Stauffer Academy

Viktoria Mullova e Matthew Barley – Tradition and Improvisation

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11 - 16 June 2024
30 April 2024


Classical repertoire needs the spontaneity of improvisation, which, in turn, benefits from the deep listening and discipline of the repertoire. In the end, it is all simply making music, but these two different ways of expression have a great deal to offer each other – the great classical composers were all masters of both arts.

This masterclass offers an original opportunity for an in-depth study and experimentation in two areas of musical performance that are only apparently different and contrasting, and that are here approached by the two great artists in an integrated programme. The rigour of the Russian violin school will dialogue and interact with the creative and extemporaneous approach of improvisation.

Active students will be involved in individual and group lessons with both Professors; the master class will include performance moments and will end with a final concert.

Due to these peculiarities, attendance is open not only to violinists and cellists, but also to all other string players interested in developing and enriching their artistic skills and performance qualities.

The two modules will focus on the following topics:

Viktoria Mullova – Phrasing and expression in classical and romantic repertoire

The extraordinary violinist Viktoria Mullova, living witness to the value of the Russian violin school, will place particular emphasis on the features of legato and phrasing.
Through an in-depth study of pieces by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Sibelius, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, special emphasis will also be placed on good practice and improving the method of study. Under her guidance, students will develop the ability to identify technical problems and find appropriate solutions, as well as learn to listen to themselves and develop a critical approach to their practice.

 Matthew Barley – Improvisation as a creative approach to music-making
Matthew Barley – multifaceted cellist and composer – leads a module dedicated to improvisation. Students will be able to experiment and understand the dynamics underlying extemporaneous composition, both in solo and ensemble, mastering techniques drawn from traditional and non-traditional repertoires. Particular attention will be given to breathing and listening, aimed at the free expression of one’s own musical personality.


The course is open to citizens of any nationality, maximum age of 30 years.

It is open to both Stauffer Academy students and external students.

Level of training:

Bachelor or Master Degree / Diploma issued by a Music Conservatory or equivalent school/institution in Italy or abroad.

Exceptions to the above requirements may be allowed, in the presence of exceptional artistic and performing qualities, at the discretion of the Professor.

Language: Italian and English.


Please apply online, by filling in the form at the bottom of this page.

The following documents should be attached to the application form:

  • Copy of a valid identity document
  • Curriculum vitae and any repertoire already studied

Registration fee

Payment of a registration fee of €55.00 through the Stripe platform, which must be paid through the application form, is required.

The fee is non-refundable.

Students enrolled in Stauffer Academy Annual Courses are exempt from payment.


The admission exam consists of a video audition. The candidate must create a private link to a YouTube video, specifying in the description the program performed.
On this page you can find all the directions for making a video that meets all the requirements.


  • Violin:

Two contrasting pieces/movements from the repertoires of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Sibelius, Prokofiev, Shostakovich

  • Viola, cello and double bass:

Two pieces/movements of your own choice


Selection is at the sole discretion of the Professor and Academic Director.
Applicants will receive the results of the selections at the e-mail address provided during registration.



No tuition fee is required to attend the course.

Students will take charge of all other costs related to travel, board and lodging in Cremona.


Auditors may be admitted at the discretion of the Professor and the Director of the Academy.

Application for auditor attendance can be submitted through this link.

For any information regarding enrollment and/or the Academy’s study programs, please write to (subject line: Course Name | Last Name, for more efficient handling of inquiries).

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Download academic regulations


Stauffer Academy

Viktoria Mullova

Masterclass - Violin

Matthew Barley

Masterclass - Cello