Switzerland has long had a distinct cultural identity, despite its diversity of German, French and other ethnicities. Religious and folk music dominated the country until the 17th century, with growth in production of other kinds of music occurring slowly. The first music conservatory in the country was founded in Geneva in 1835. Composers like Hans George Naegeli and festivals like the Fête des Vignerons helped establish a classical music tradition, and the Swiss Musicians Association was founded in 1900.
The early part of the 20th century saw Ernest Ansermet's Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, which was the focal point for musical innovation in Switzerland. Other musicians included Ernest Block, Arthur Honegger and Rolf Lieberman.
The rural Appenzell region is a major centre of folk music. Apenzell Quartetts were popular throughout Switzerland playing string quartets adding Austrian influences to popular acclaim. More recently, the band Appenzeller Space Schöttl has added psychedelic and other avant-garde influences to the music.