Chamber music is a vital part of the Eastman community. With our first-year wind quintet and string quartet seminars, intensive and graduate chamber music seminars, Baroque chamber music, piano chamber music, tuba quartets, brass quintets, duo piano teams, and more, Eastman is a place to immerse yourself in chamber music. The skills you’ll develop, including listening, blending, flexibility, teamwork, leadership, discipline, and time management are crucial to any professional career, both in and beyond music. Students often share that their chamber music experiences are among their most enriching and memorable at Eastman, and group members become lifelong friends and artistic colleagues. Our alumni are some of the most dynamic and entrepreneurial voices in music today, transforming their skills into unique, creative careers with global impact.
"My introduction to chamber music at Eastman changed my life, and it has changed the lives of countless other musicians I know. I’m forever grateful for the education I received and the rewarding relationships, creative and personal, that continue to grow from this community.”
--Emlyn Johnson, Music in the American Wild
Chamber music study at Eastman fills a unique role in that it requires students to synthesize many different aspects of their study: technical mastery of their instrument; ability to make informed decisions about interpretation based on theoretical and historical knowledge; development of effective rehearsal techniques and good interpersonal skills; the ability to communicate with an audience and to serve as an ambassador for classical music, and much more.
Eastman boasts over fifty ensembles – string, piano, woodwind, saxophone, brass, percussion, harp, organ, guitar, and eclectic mixed groups – are formed each semester, and all complete a program of study that involves weekly coachings, guest masterclasses, and performances both in school and in the greater Rochester community.
Motivated and serious students can also take specialized courses for advanced study in chamber music. The department also offers occasional interdepartmental seminars, combining chamber music performance with historical, theoretical, or cultural perspectives.
After freshman year, students at Eastman are encouraged to form their own chamber music ensembles. For those that aren’t able to find groups, or have only partial groups formed, the faculty will provide assistance in completing and forming groups.
Faculty also help guide repertoire choices and assign coaches for chamber music.
The audition, placement, and registration process differs for chamber music students in the string/piano, woodwind and brass areas. Please follow the link below for the different procedures for each area.
“Chamber music (especially at Eastman) has been massive inspiration to me in ways that I didn’t expect. Arriving at Eastman I found it so unique that we had a woodwind quintet class for all incoming freshman (something I have found to be unique when I talk to friends at other conservatories). That course was a fantastic plunge into the world of chamber music, and I found that chamber performances quickly became some of my favorite playing.” Harrison Short, bassoon, Sequoia Reed Quintet
The Dr. James E. Clark Chamber Music Residency was established in 2014 by Dr. Clark, whose daughter Jamie (BM ’12) was an enthusiastic participant in the chamber music program at Eastman. The first residency in 2015 brought the Juilliard Quartet to Eastman for two days of private coachings as well as a public masterclass and performance in Kilbourn Hall. The next three years of the residency followed a similar format with guest artists the Brentano Quartet, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and the Jupiter Quartet. These residencies fulfilled Dr. Clark’s goal of providing Eastman student ensembles intense, up-close exposure to both the playing and teaching of world-renowned ensembles. This is an endowed program and any contributions made are in support of the continuation of this residency.
Eastman’s thriving chamber music culture is anchored by the resident faculty ensemble, the Ying Quartet. Many other faculty also bring a wealth of experience to their chamber music teaching. Faculty coaches include current and former members of the Tokyo Quartet, Kopelman Quartet, Los Angeles Piano Quartet, Borodin Quartet, New Arts Trio, Peabody Trio, Rochester Philharmonic Brass Quintet, and others.
Initiatives and Programs
Eastman To Go (ETG) is a one-semester chamber music course where select ensembles focus on the fine arts of audience engagement and development. In the late days of each fall semester, chamber groups audition for admittance into this spring-only course. In addition to weekly coachings with our chamber music faculty, groups selected for the program have private sessions with the program director, Prof. Mark Kellogg, and experience three guest artist master classes, all with an eye toward preparing a 40 minute program for a wide variety of audiences in our community (schools, independent living facilities, book stores, libraries, community centers, food pantries, sensory-friendly venues, etc.). The goals of the class are to support the highest level of playing while presenting the music in a manner that is most meaningful and impactful for each individual audience.
Frequent guests to the school take the time to interact with chamber music students in masterclasses, workshops, and/or private coaching sessions. Recent visitors include the Juilliard, Brentano, Miró, Takács, Pacifica, Danish, Daedalus, Dover, and JACK Quartets; pianists Peter Serkin, Joseph Kalichstein, Leon Fleisher, and Jeremy Denk; the Gryphon Trio; cellist Paul Katz; the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet; Alarm Will Sound; Roomful of Teeth; the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet; American Brass Quintet; Chicago Symphony Brass Quartet, and more.
If you’re passionate about chamber music, welcome to Eastman. Here you’ll find a vibrant community of creative, energized colleagues and inspiring, supportive faculty artist-mentors who share your obsession. As we celebrate one hundred years of musical excellence, we hope you will consider making Eastman your musical home.
We use these forms to keep track of pre-formed groups, help form groups that need players, and assign coaches and repertoire.
In addition to filling out this form, you still need to register for the course through the ESM Registrar or online registration.