Don’t miss out: limited time free offer

Join us in Lausanne, Switzerland for masterclasses, group lessons, jam sessions, chamber music coaching, and concerts.  Teen, adult, professional, amateur—all bowed string players are welcome.

Creative Strings Workshop & Festival: Europe

November 16 - 19, 2023

Bowed string players and teachers: join us in Lausanne, Switzerland for masterclasses, group lessons, jam sessions, chamber music coaching, and concerts.   

Public tickets for evening concerts coming soon. (Click here to see 2022 Edition)

Network, jam, and learn with contemporary string players from around the world. Join masterclasses, group lessons, and chamber-music coaching for performers and teachers on bowed strings seeking professional development.  Teen, adult, professional, amateur, advanced jazz players, beginning jazz players—all welcome.

Why You Don’t Want to Miss This

  • Become creatively self-expressed and develop your musical voice.
  • Internalize harmony on your instrument.
  • Become fluent in contemporary styles so you can jam with musicians outside of classical music.
  • Be able to use amplification and effects.
  • Get gigs and expand career opportunities.
  • Teachers: Gain age-appropriate sequences to share with students.
  • Gain comfort in improvisation, composition, and arranging.  


I had a fantastic time….. I've been discovering new musical horizons, listening to great lessons on improvisation, having inspiring conversations and music with the participants, listening to excellent concerts. Simply feeling good and in the right place, judgement-free. Many thanks for making this happen and for being caring and supportive.

Ms Elena Califano
Violinist, Teacher


  • Workshops: November 17, 10am-6pm, November 18, 10am-6pm, November 19, 10am-4:30pm with breaks for food, etc. (Lunch is served at the venue for 10 Swiss Francs per person). 
  • Festival concerts: November 16, 7-11pm, November 17, 8-11pm. November 18, 8-11pm, and November 19, 5-8pm.
  • Optional Orientation Sessions (Jamming, Dinner, Social Activity) for Workshop Participants November 16th (3:30 pm – 6:30 pm). 


This was a great event for me. Even as an amateur I felt acceptance all around. Playing in small teams was so creative and "democratic". The Q&A session with Baju and Stephan was VERY helpful with the interesting questions and your driven answers.

Some Impressions from Last Year

Jam Session Video

Pictures from our previous editions!

List of Workshops

Workshops will take place on November 17- November 19, starting at 10:00.  

  • Improvisation, Arranging, and Composition
  • Amplification, Looping, & Effects 
  • Free Improvisation and Non-Tonal Composition
  • Blues-inspired idioms
  • Groove and Accompaniment techniques
  • Conducted Group Improvisation
  • Modal Approach to Improvisation
  • Internalizing Harmony 
  • Music Business Mastermind Seminar

Performing Groups from 2022:

Performing Groups:

Performances will take place each evening (November 16 – November 19) starting at 20:00 on November 16, 17, and 18, and at 17:00 on November 19.

  • Les Ministrings– (large ensemble: directed by Tina Strinnning and Baiju Bhatt)
  • Falsetas (duo: Marc Crofts, violin and Yardani Torres, violin)
  • Fanny Balestro / Compagnie MUance (duo: Fanny Balestro-Bergeron, cello, performance art, electronics; Félix Bergeron, percussion, electronics)
  • Cécile Delzant (solo: Cécile Delzant, violon)
  • Odayaka (trio: Victor Darmon, violon; Adam Naylor, guitare; Cyril Billot, contrebasse)
  • HOWES / BHATT / BRAUN (trio: Christian Howes, violin; Baiju Bhatt, violin; Stephan Braun, cello)
  • Alba Obert (quartet: Alba Obert, violin; Julien Ménagé, piano; Blaise Hommage, bass; François Christe, drumset)
  • Simon Heggendorn & Michael Zisman (Simon Heggendorn, violin; Michael Zisman, bandoneon)
  • Eva Slongo (quartet: Eva Slongo, violon, singing; Julien Ménagé, piano, Blaise Hommage, bass. François Christe, percussion)

…and nightly Jam Sessions with  Julien Ménagé, piano, Blaise Hommage, bass, and François Christe, drumset and our 2023 workshop participants

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Christian Howes music business coach

Christian Howes

Co-host and Teacher

American teacher, performer, and musical entrepreneur. He founded Creative Strings to expand music education to include improvisation, contemporary styles, and related subjects through online curricula, live workshops, and school residencies.

Baiju Bhatt

Co-host and Teacher

Swiss-Indian violin virtuoso, acclaimed teacher, and leader of the award-winning jazz-rock quintet Red Sun. He currently lives between Switzerland and Paris, and teaches at the Lausanne Conservatory.

Stephan Braun

Guest Teacher, Cello

Stephan currently resides in Berlin, Germany where he teaches at the “Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler” and the “Jazzinstitute”.  He has played at many famous festivals including the Pori Jazz Festival, Toronto Jazz Festival, New Directions Cello Festival, Cello Akademie Rutesheim, North Sea Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival, and Montreal Jazz Festival and recorded as leader on two CDS- The Raid (2008) and Façon (2012).

Join Us in Lausanne, Switzerland

Venue: Théâtre 2.21, Rue de l’Industrie 10, 1005 Lausanne

COVID-19 Safety Note: Participants will be expected to adhere to all COVID- related directives in force in Switzerland at the time of the festival.  You can double-check what the current national policies are here.

Accommodations Note: The workshop does not provide lodging. Please see our FAQ for suggestions on places to stay.

Workshops: Become a More Creative, Versatile String Player

Improvisation, Arranging, and Composition

Learn how to create functional melodies over chord progressions through a series of interactive exercises.

Discover how to construct melodies, bass lines, and accompaniment parts. 

Participants will improvise over chord progressions in a wide variety of styles.

* This includes composition, voice leading, arranging, contemporary styles/techniques, and tonal improvisation.

Amplification, Looping, & Effects in the Classroom, Practice Room, & Stage

Learn to use loops and effects for teaching, practice, and performance. 

"The Chop" and Extended techniques

Learn how to perform “The Chop” and multiple extended techniques (hard and soft chop, modern bowing techniques, left hand tapping, etc.)

Swing Phrasing

Learn how to practice swing phrasing with a bow incorporing multiple rhythms in your performance.

Blues-Inspired Idioms

Learn about the blues as:

  • a literary form
  • a musical form (harmonically, melodically, and rhythmically- in many iterations)
  • combining blues scales
  •  bass lines and accompaniment patterns

Free Improvisation and Non-Tonal Composition

Participants will compose in small groups using “composition games.”

During this interactive session you will feel empowered to perform your own original, “Free” improvisations and compositions.

Conducted Group Improvisation

Follow cue cards and a system of hand signals in large group improvisations. Engage in call and response, looping, vamps, modal grooves, and push the edges of musical chaos.

Participants will also conduct the ensemble!

Catered to the skill set of classically trained string players.

Modal Approaches to Improvisation

Learn how to apply a modal approach to your improvisation, arrangements, and compositions. 

Internalizing Harmony on the Violin, Viola, and Cello

Gain the ability to:

  • apply harmony on violin, viola, and cello
  • voice-lead arpeggios, scales, and double stops and triple stops.
  • Internalize chord progressions via bass line, inner voices, and sequential patterns.  

Music Business Mastermind Seminar

 Attract more projects, gigs, students, and clients, as detailed in testimonials from graduates HERE.

Nous continuons de voler sur l'élan des beaux jours passés, vraiment! Enseignement, pratique, concerts a volonté, c'était un cocktail magique... Mes notes et lectures au piano au conservatoire hier et aujourd'hui ont reçu une perspective tout à fait nouvelle maintenant. Extrêmement passionnant tout ça...
Ms Veronika Kuijken
Violist, Pianist, Teacher
Juste un petit mot pour te dire à quel point on a été comblés par ces trois jours exceptionnels, tant du point de vue musical comme de celui humain. Vous avez créé quelque chose d'extraordinaire dont on a tellement besoin! À part la réussite et la qualité du stage, j'aimerais aussi souligner la richesse des rencontres qu'on y a fait: des liens magnifique sont nés en si peux de temps!
Mr Gabor Bartá
Violonist, Teacher

Register as A Workshop Participant Today

Super Early Bird Full Workshop Participant Package– 299 CHF (compared to full price of 650 CHF)

Full Access to all Workshops and Concerts.

Special ends 1/03/2023

Super Early Bird Full Workshop Participant Package- DEPOSIT ONLY 150 CHF now, Remaining  200 CHF by February 15, 2022

Full Access to all Workshops and Concerts.

Special ends 1/15/2022

Early Bird Full Workshop Participant Package– 400 CHF

Full Access to all Workshops and Concerts.

Available only for a limited time and in limited quantities

Super Early Bird Full Workshop Participant Package– 499 CHF (compared to full price of 650 CHF)

Full Access to all Workshops and Concerts

Special ends 3/1/2023

Full Workshop Participant Package– 650 CHF

Full Access to all Workshops and Concerts

Weekend Only Workshop Participant Package– 450 CHF

Access to Saturday/Sunday Workshops and Friday/Saturday/Sunday Concerts only

Refund Policy: Workshop Packages are non-refundable except in the event that the event is cancelled due to COVID-19.

Have friends or family that don't play but love listening?

Workshop participants will receive tickets to all concerts automatically.

Is CSW Europe suitable for my age, background, and level? 

CSW Europe is designed for ages 14 and up, and open to a wide range of levels including teens, college, seniors, professional players, teachers, and amateurs.


We welcome players of all backgrounds, whether classical, fiddling, or other!


Previous experience with improvisation or contemporary styles of playing and teaching is NOT required. 

What if I’m already super-advanced at classical, jazz, or fiddle styles? Will I be challenged?



Can you play Giant Steps at 250BPM  improvising double stops without repeating yourself?


Can you play Sally Goodin at a fast tempo in any key and any position?


You will be challenged. 

What about food and lodging? 

**We do not provide lodging or specify where participants need to stay.** We suggest an AirB&B or a local hotel.  Swiss hotels are fairly expensive, but some options include: 

  •  Hotel du Marché (the cheapest, 8min walking distance from the venue)
  • Hotel Ibis Lausanne Centre (cheap, 10min walking distance from the venue)
  • Agora Swiss Night by Fassbind (close to the train station, 3 metro stops away from the venue)
  • Hotel City Lausanne (6min walking distance from the venue)
  • Hotel Swiss Wine by Fassbind (nice, 6min walking distance from the venue) 

Staying at another (local) participant's home in Lausanne may also be an option.  There is no guarantee that this option will work for every participant from abroad, but when it does, it's usually a lot of fun...!

If you're interested, we'll put you in touch with string players living in Lausanne who are also taking part in the workshop, and who would be willing to rent out a room in their apartment or house for the duration of the workshop (this has happened often in the past, for prices ranging from 0 to 150 CHF for the whole stay, to be discussed directly between participants).

Please contact Baiju directly with further inquiries about food and lodging at baiju@redsunprod.com

Can I receive professional development funding for these events?

Yes. We are recognized and/or have worked in conjunction with  many prominent educational associations, including American String Teachers Association, Ohio Music Educators, North Carolina Music Educators, Suzuki Association of Americas. 


We are happy to provide documentation for you to help you apply for funding through your school, employer, city/state, or association


Learn more about financial aid here.

How can I get involved? 

Thanks for asking! 

Yes, Creative Strings is a 501c3, nonprofit organization with a mission to build community, and lead the field through the improvement of standards and values for our entire community. We very much need help from volunteers, community partners, donors and sponsors.  Email us at chris@creativestrings.org for more info.

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