In 2009 Philip Draganov founded the "International Music Week Montepulciano". In the picturesque surroundings of Tuscany, a unique music festival was created. During the first years, the "Palazzo Ricci" (http://www.palazzoricci.com) was the musical home for Draganov and his team.

The main focus of the festival was to promote young talented musicians from Switzerland and abroad. Soon, internationally renowned musicians were willing to share their knowledge and experiences with the young generation.

It was not long until many young talents from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the US, Russia, Belarus, Italy, France, Spain, Ukraine, Israel, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Kazakhstan and even Asia made their way to Italy to learn and to give concerts.
Many of these students wouldn’t have had the financial recourses to participate, if it wasn’t for the collaboration of Draganov with various foundations, companies and privat sponsors, which enabled these students to enjoy a first-class education.

Draganov himself experienced the importance and inspiration of participating in festivals and courses during his own years of study. Besides of instrumental lessons or chamber music, professional contacts and friendship can be established that often last for a lifetime. Culture and music often achieve great things that can not be reached by other means, such as politics.

Establishment of an association

In order to support young musicians in a more sustainable and structured way, Draganov decided to establish the association YOUTH CLASSICS (www.youth-classics.com) in 2011.

In cooperation with the entrepreneur Remo Schällibaum, the association YOUTH CLASSICS was founded. A close cooperation with conservatories, universities and music schools worldwide was quickly established.



On one campus

Inspired by festivals in the US, which Draganov attended himself as a student in the early '90s, his goal was to enable the faculty and students to live and work during the festival on one campus. Since this was not possible in Italy, Draganov decided in 2012 to carry out the festival in Germany. At Schloss Hallenburg in Hessen, Germany, more than 60 students and 15 professors could intensively teach, practice and make music.



a call from switzerland

Since YOUTH CLASSICS is organized and financed from Switzerland, too, the association decided to bring the festival to Switzerland as a long-term solution. Just in time for the opening of the "Musikinsel Rheinau" (http://www.musikinsel.ch/) in July 2014, YOUTH CLASSICS was one of the first organizations to use this wonderful location.

Since 2018, the summer course takes place under the name “YOUTH CLASSICS Swiss International Music Academy” (SIMA) and will celebrate it’s 10th anniversary from July 11th -20th 2019. We again anticipate numerous talented participants from Switzerland, whole Europe, Asia and the US.


The faculty at the "YOUTH CLASSICS Swiss International Music Academy" is among the world's leading instrumentalists and professors. Until today they have included and include among others:

  • Matthias Buchholz (University for Music and Dance Cologne)

  • Nora Chastain (Berlin University of the Arts, Zurich University of the Arts)

  • Ana Chumachenco (Long-standing professor for Violin at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich and the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofia, Madrid.)

  • Philip A. Draganov (Zurich University of the Arts/PreCollege, Conservatory Winterthur and Musikschule Konservatorium Zürich)

  • Jose J. Flores (Texas / USA)

  • Thomas Grossenbacher (Zurich University of the Arts, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich)

  • Andreas Janke (Zurich University of the Arts, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich)

  • Igor Ozim (Mozarteum Salzburg)

  • Dora Schwarzberg (University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna)

  • Volker Jacobsen (Artemis Quartet, University of Music, Drama and Media Hannover)

  • Susanne Basler (Zurich University of the Arts)

  • Rebecca Firth (Conservatory Zurich/MKZ and Zurich University of the Arts/PreCollege)

  • Louise Hopkins (Head of Strings, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London)

  • Jens-Peter Maintz (principal cellist of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, University of the Arts Berlin)

  • Orfeo Mandozzi (University of the Arts Würzburg, Zurich University of the Arts)


  • The training of talented young musicians. Musicians receive a wide-ranging education and attend solo lessons, chamber music lessons and improvisation courses.

  • Discussion rounds between faculty and students.

  • Workshops with topics such as "Dealing with stage fright", "Practicing in Flow", "baroque dance" or "Feldenkreis".

  • Preparing for competitions and examinations.

  • Cooperation with experienced orchestra musicians on audition training.

  • Organizing concerts for the participants.

What's special?

Once a student becomes a member of the "YOUTH CLASSICS family", Draganov and YOUTH CLASSICS support this student long after the last note of the SIMA has faded away. Numerous concerts are organized where young talents can present their skills to a wide audience at venues such as the Tonhalle Zurich, the Stadthaus Winterthur, the Saint Peter's Church in Zurich, but also in Germany and Italy.

The annual YOUTH CLASSICS CD documents this work and presents enthusiastic and inspiring young musicians over and over again.

YOUTH CLASSICS also tries to support highly talented students in case of financial difficulties by arranging scholarships, or by organizing an instrument through special awards.


The YOUTH CLASSICS Orchestra’s conception is designed for highly talented music students and young professionals from all over Europe. The aim is to prepare orchestral works as well as works for solo and orchestra during intense rehearsals with professional quality standards and to perform them.

The YOUTH ORCHESTRA CLASSICS is unique in the way that its members are all winners of national and international solo instrumental competitions. Every year countless competitions are taking place all over the world, where participants wow the audience, the jury and the press. The idea of YOUTH CLASSICS was to unite these young elite artists as an orchestra. The YCO gives these young talents the opportunity to rehearse orchestral literature at the highest level and perform, both in Switzerland and around Europe.

The orchestra performs as chamber orchestra or as well as symphony orchestra with winds and percussion. The repertoire ranges from works from early Baroque through classical and romantic music to works of modern times and even several crossover projects. It is part of the orchestra's philosophy, that selected participants of the Swiss International Music Academy (SIMA) perform as soloists with the YCO.

Many orchestra members are participants of the YOUTH CLASSICS SIMA.
One of the highlights of the YOUTH CLASSICS Orchestra was the appearance at "Art on Ice" in 2014 in the Zurich Hallenstadion.

Learn more about YOUTH CLASSICS and the SIMA at www.youth-classics.com