Chamber Music

NEC is a school that supports chamber music study like no other. The specialized chamber music programs, the superlative artist faculty, the facilities and resources availed to NEC’s students is a dream come true for those that cherish chamber music scholarship and performance.
Merry PeckhamNEC Chamber Music Chair and Faculty

The art of chamber music playing requires commitment and dedication – both in the rehearsal and performance process. The intimate bond and connections that can be achieved in chamber music alliances, both within a group as well as with an audience, are often some of the most fulfilling artistic occurrences in music-making. The development of young artists is dependent upon deep and proactive listening skills and as well as curiosity and depth of study of musical concepts and literature. Both musically and socially, chamber music is an invaluable tool for musical discovery. NEC has so many opportunities for students to gain meaningful, small ensemble experience – and the chamber music faculty-members at NEC are deeply committed to teaching the art of collaboration and chamber music making at a high-artistic level. 

Program Overview

Each semester, hundreds of NEC students participate in chamber music ensembles coached by NEC Chamber Music faculty. There are anywhere from 60 to 75 chamber ensembles enrolled in the chamber music course each semester. Differing genres, from string quartets, piano trios, woodwind quintets and brass quintets to mixed ensembles comprised of winds and piano, or winds, strings and piano, or percussion, strings and brass – representing a vast array of musical styles receive guidance and are presented in concert. 

How to Participate in the Chamber Music Course

All students interested in participating in the chamber music course must submit an application and audition video. Every effort is made to place individuals, and top priority is given to students needing chamber music credit to graduate; requests for pre-formed full groups are honored as much as possible; partial-group requests are not are accepted. 

During Orientation events, or at the beginning of every school year, either a chamber music reading party, or a virtual getting-to-know-you event occurs for individuals in order to meet possible collaborators with whom a group may be formed.

Roster of Chamber Music Ensembles and Getting Started

At the beginning of each semester, a roster of all the chamber music assignments will be posted, including group personnel, repertoire and coach for each group. If placed in a group, Student Services automatically registers individuals for the chamber music course. All groups are required to attend the designated organizational meeting, and in the subsequent days will meet with NEC administration to schedule space for the semester’s rehearsal meetings and coaching sessions.

Chamber Music Course Requirements

All chamber music groups are required to rehearse a minimum of three hours per week and schedule/receive 13 hours of private coaching. Each group is required to submit a mid-semester performance video to be reviewed by a faculty member other than the group’s assigned coach. Each group will play in a performance class and receive comments/feedback from a chamber music coach other than the groups’ regular assigned coach. At the end of the semester each group is required to perform on one of twelve scheduled chamber music showcase recitals.

Additional Chamber Music Opportunities

In early November of each year, ensembles have the option of auditioning for the NEC Honors Ensemble Program. Groups selected will be presented in-recital in Jordan Hall near the end of the Spring semester. Each group’s concert program will include a world-premiere of a select NEC-student composition. In addition, each select Honors Ensemble participates in the Honors Boost retreat designed to assist the group to prepare for community engagement performances for which group members receive a stipend.

String quartets have the option of requesting to participate in the Beethoven String Quartet Seminar during the Fall Semester in which the group will have the opportunity to work with each member of NEC’s quartet-in-residence, the Borromeo String Quartet and perform at the end of the Fall semester in Jordan Hall on or around Beethoven’s birthday.

Midway through the Fall semester, groups may apply to participate in the Community Performances and Partnership (CPP) Fellows Program. CPP is program that affords student ensembles the opportunity to connect and build relationships with the Boston community.

Individuals interested, may audition for the opportunity to collaborate and perform on the Borromeo Quartet’s Guest Artist Concert.