Ansermet's parents were both amateur musicians, and his father was a mathematician. While very young Ernest was strongly attracted to music, and studied the violin, clarinet, and several other wind instruments. However, although he was passionate about music, he was equally attracted to mathematics, which he studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the University of Lausanne, from which he graduated in 1903. He continued his mathematical studies in Paris as these allowed him also to attend the Paris Conservatoire. Returning to Lausanne as professor of mathematics between 1905 and 1909, he also during this period studied composition with Ernest Bloch. Between 1909 and 1910 he was in Berlin where he came into contact with the eminent conductors Nikisch, Weingartner and Mottl.