Collaborative artistry is a vital part of study and performance at Manhattan School of Music. Almost every classical instrumentalist and singer is required to take part in chamber music and ensembles at some point in their degree program. Each day, time is set aside as the whole school participates in instrumental or vocal ensembles.
Every semester, nearly 100 chamber ensembles ranging from duos to octets are coached. Chamber music faculty comprises 50 of the school's most experienced chamber musicians including players from the Juilliard, Tokyo, Guarneri and Mendelssohn string quartets, Orpheus, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the New York Philharmonic and other acclaimed concert artists. Our prestigious resident ensembles, the world renowned American String Quartet and woodwind quintet Windscape, coach and give frequent performances. In addition to studies with our expert chamber faculty, students are provided opportunities to play for and observe world-famous guest artists.
In addition to traditional ensembles, the contemporary group Tactus provides opportunities for the performance of new music. For singers there are ensembles as well as performance classes such as Opera Studio, American Musical Theater, Baroque Aria Ensemble, workshops with Mignon Dunn and Catherine Malfitano, chamber choir, among many others. Pianists are able to earn chamber music through regular chamber groups (two-piano duos are popular), through instrumental studio accompanying or in vocal accompanying ensembles.
Students are placed into instrumental and vocal ensembles by their department chairpersons in collaboration with the manager of chamber music and ensembles. They are encouraged to submit individual requests to participate in a specific type of ensemble, as well as request a particular chamber music coach. Groups that are already in formation may also make a request to study together.
Performance is an important element of the chamber music program. A final performance of each chamber group and ensemble is required. Toward the end of each semester, the manager of chamber music holds auditions for the Lillian Fuchs Chamber Music Winners Concert. Coaches recommend groups who audition for this gala public event. Vocal ensembles perform in school and off campus. Chamber Music Festivals—weekend-long celebrations featuring string, piano, woodwind, brass, guitar and vocal ensembles—take place each winter and spring.
Chamber Music Department Handbook