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Chamber music encompasses some of the greatest masterpieces of the Western tradition, yet is portable enough to be played anywhere. Chamber music performance plays an essential role in fulfilling the Eastman School’s goal of bringing music to every part of contemporary society.
While the School does not yet offer a major solely in chamber music, the influence of this department pervades all performance degrees. Dozens of ensembles – string, piano, woodwind, brass, percussion, voice, and eclectic mixed groups – are formed each semester, performing throughout the School. Many of the chamber music faculty members hold dual appointments in other performance departments, and therefore encourage and support collaborative projects of all types.
All chamber music groups take part in the innovative “Music For All” Program, performing at varied locations in the community such as schools, hospitals, and businesses. Preparing these programs challenges the students to synthesize their theoretical, historical, and instrumental training—and to develop the performance and communication skills necessary to relate to the wide range of audiences.
Students can also take specialized seminars for advanced study in chamber music. A recent seminar focused on the Bartók String Quartets, combining theoretical analysis of these works with a performance of the complete quartets in Kilbourn Hall.
In the Intensive Chamber Music Seminar, selected ensembles focus on a specific repertoire, such as the chamber music of Mendelssohn, and meet regularly for master classes in addition to their individual coaching. The Eastman Chamber Music Society, for outstanding graduate instrumentalists, performs in Hatch Recital Hall and gives concerts outside the School, as well as pursues educational and related projects together.
The training of pianists as artistic collaborators is the goal of the graduate programs in piano accompanying and chamber music. Recital requirements include performances with instrumentalists and vocalists, with many additional performance opportunities for accompanying majors.