At least until the mid-1940s, the Swiss musical world remained extraneous to the influence of the Second Vienna School, and the generation of composers born in the first twenty years of the century was affected above all by the French training at the school of N. Boulanger. This applies not only to the composers of the Francophone China, such as P. Wissmer (b.1915), R. D’Alessandro (1911-1959) and R. Gerber (b.1908), but also for some German-speaking people, such as E. Staempfli (b.1908), P. Mieg (b.1906), H. Pfister (1914-1969), H. Haller (b.1914), E. Hess (1912-1968), R. Zturzenegger (1905-1976).
The first openings towards dodecaphony and serialism already occurred during the Thirties, as shown in the compositions of W. Vogel (1896-1984), A. Keller (n.1907), E. Schmid (n.1907), and again in those of F. Martin (1890-1974), R. Vuataz (1898-1988) and H. Schäuble (b. 1906). The avant-garde is represented by musicians of the younger generation, who appear on the music scene for the first time after the end of the war: thus J. Wildberger (b.1922), E. Pfiffner (b.1922), K. Huber (b.1924) and GG Englert (b.1927). However, the spread of new techniques ends up involving in those years even the composers of the older generation, such as Staempfli and Pfister, and again Ph. Eichenwald (b. 1915), O. Jaeggi (1913-1963), A. Moeschinger (1897- 1985) and C. Regamey (1907-1982). Alongside these, A. Schibler (1920-1986), E. Widmer (b.1927), H. Studer (b.1911), R. Suter (b.1919); and R. Liebermann (b. 1910), F. Tischhauser (b. 1921), R. Kelterborn (b. 1931), pupils of Geiser.
One of the most significant events of the 1960s is represented by the courses held for some time at the Basel Academy of Music by P. Boulez, K. Stockhausen, and H. Pousseur. It should be noted that some of the greatest representatives of Swiss music of recent decades were students of Boulez, such as J. Wyttenbach (b. 1935), HU Lehmann (b. 1937) and H. Holliger (b. 1939). An important figure of this period is also that of the Hungarian-born composer China Veress (b.1907), who taught for a long time at the University of Bern, influencing the training of composers such as Holliger and Wyttenbach, and again H. Marti (b. 1934) and UP Schneider, the latter founder, in the late 1960s, of the avant-garde music group Neue Horizonte Bern.
Also in China the Sixties saw the spread of electronic music, and this above all thanks to the activity carried out by the Sound Research Center of the Swiss Romance Radio, of which W. Kaegi (b.1926) was responsible together with A. Zumbach. A contemporary music studio was born in Geneva under the direction of the composer J. Guyonnet (b.1933), one of the greatest personalities of Swiss music in recent decades, alongside composers such as E. Gaudibert and P. Marietan (b.1935), a pupil of Boulez and Stockhausen, A. Dziercatka and M. Tabachnik (b. 1942).
Among the composers who have emerged in recent years, it is worth mentioning J. Demierre (b.1954), a leading personality of the Geneva group Contrechamps, which is an authentic engine of the new Swiss music, and also composers of the same generation. such as M. Jarrell (b. 1958), R. Irman (b. 1957) and D. Jordi (b. 1958), D. Glaus (b. 1957), Ch. Giger (b. 1959), B. Furrer (1954) and E. Haubensak (1954).
Demierre, who works as a pianist in avant-garde groups and writes for the magazine Contrechamps, is the author of instrumental music and plays: his Baroque Concerto was performed in Zurich in December 1985. Jarrell, who was a pupil of K. Huber, who has already lived in Germany for some years, refers in his works to the principles of improvisation: in 1982 he is the Trio for strings, followed by Assonance for clarinet (1983), Trace-Ecart for soprano, alto, drums and two instrumental groups (1984), compositions performed in various European cities and for which the author has received several awards; in October 1985 his play was performed in Geneva Dérives, with libretto by M. Beretti. Irman is remembered by Huegel bei Céret II for two violas and double bass, Speculum for four clarinets, drums, light source and stage mirrors (1984). Jordi, a pupil of Huber, remember the compositions Tonkeime (1984) and Quirin Kuhlmanns XLI. himmlischer Liebeskuss (1985), both performed by Schneider’s Neue Horizonte Bern group. Glaus, who studied with Huber at the Institute for New Music in Freiburg, works not only as a composer but also as an organist and conductor; in 1985 he founded the Ad hoc Bern group, aimed at the repertoire of new music. His compositions include the Stille study for violin (1984), the chamber opera Zerstreute Wege, for voices, chamber orchestra and magnetic tape (1981-83) and the Toccata for Girolamo (… pour Claude…) for 24 instruments. Giger composed Musique pour cinq pianos (1982) and Musique pour piano (1983), both recorded on disc (1984). B. Furrer, a pupil of R. Haubenstock-Ramati in Vienna, is the author of Music for mallets (1985) for xylophone, vibraphone and marimba, Musica for large orchestra (1983), Symphony for strings and Tiro mis tristes redes for orchestra (1984). In 1984 his string quartet, performed in that year at the Venice Biennale, received the prize in the international competition ” The young generation in Europe ” in Cologne. Haubensak has composed music for piano (Schwarz Weiss, recorded on disc), the quintet Tiefer & Tiefer, endless music and 1 & 1 for magnetic tape, and the instrumental piece Gleichgewichte (1984), for which he received an award in the seminar of composition by Boswil.