Chamber music is a form of classical music characterized by its composition for a small group of instruments, typically meant for performance in a chamber or small room setting. This genre is distinguished by its intimate nature, where a small number of performers each play one part, as opposed to orchestral music where each part is played by multiple performers. This usually involves groups like string quartets, piano trios, wind quintets, etc.

Playing chamber music requires specific musical and social skills distinct from those needed for solo or orchestral performance. Musicians must closely listen to each other, communicate effectively, and collaborate seamlessly to achieve a unified interpretation.

Preparatory Program

seated young woman playing violin and seated young man playing celloAverage Age: Appropriate for advanced students in grades 9-12.  Middle school students may audition with a recommendation from their private instructor.

Instruments: Piano, String, and Wind instruments

Tuition: $355 per rotation, 3 rotations per year ($1065 for full academic year)

The Preparatory Program (Prep) is the pinnacle of the CMS sequential music education program offering students the opportunity to perform chamber music in various ensembles. Students receive high-caliber instruction from professional musicians on advanced repertoire, performance opportunities, music theory training, and special guest artist events. It is an intensive program devoted to developing the whole musician and preparing graduates for a lifetime of musical success.

Weekly Chamber Coaching

The academic year is divided into three rotations, each concluding with a chamber concert. Each chamber ensemble is coached weekly by a professional musician.

Repertoire Selection

Students perform a graduated series of chamber works of different instrumentations to experience the breadth of chamber literature covering everything from Baroque period ensemble works to recent commissions.

Biweekly Music Theory Classes

Upon acceptance into the Preparatory program, students’ music theory understanding is assessed. Students attend music theory classes biweekly and receive training based on their understanding of music theory concepts.

Performance Opportunities

Students are given the chance to perform during Preparatory Program recitals that occur once per rotation during the monthly class. Masterclasses are available throughout the academic year with guest artists-teachers. Some Prep students are invited to participate in national chamber music competitions like MYA Discover and Fischoff.

Special Guests

Special guests are invited to present at the monthly group classes. Guest speakers present topics such as team building, physical and emotional wellness, the college application process, and community engagement.

How to Audition for the CMS Preparatory Program

Auditions for the CMS Preparatory Program are held in September.

Learn more about CMS auditions.

Complete a Chamber Music Audition Application.

Rotation and Concert Dates

Rotation 2024-2025 Academic Year Concert Dates
Fall Rotation #1 (weekly coachings) Oct. 7–Nov. 17, 2024 6 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 17, 2024
Winter Rotation #2 (weekly coachings) Jan. 6–Feb. 19, 2025 6 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2025
Spring Rotation #3 (weekly coachings) March 3–April 20, 2025 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 23, 2025

Chamber Music Exploration

Average age: Appropriate for intermediate students in grades 4-12.

Instruments: Piano and string instruments

Tuition: $355 per rotation, 2 rotations per year ($710 for full academic year)

Chamber Music Exploration is a chance for advancing students to perform music in chamber group settings throughout the school year. This form of music is written for one player to play each part. Groupings may include trios, quartets, and quintets. Friday evening and Saturday afternoon availability preferred. 

Requirements: To participate in the program students must be at or beyond the following representative minimum skill levels:

Violin: Suzuki Book 4-Vivaldi a minor Concerto

Viola: Suzuki Book 4-Seitz Concerto No. 2, 3rd movement

Cello: Suzuki Book 4-Breval Sonata in C Major

Piano: Clementi or Kuhlau Sonatinas

Chamber Coaching

Students will meet with their chamber ensembles for rehearsals and receive coaching from a professional musician at each rehearsal.  Basic music theory training will be integrated into the coaching sessions.

Performance Opportunities

Chamber Music Exploration ensembles will perform at the end of each semester during a CMS student recital.

How to apply for Chamber Music Exploration

Auditions for the CMS Chamber Music Exploration Program are held in September.

Learn more about CMS auditions.

Complete a Chamber Music Audition Application.

*Students who participate in the Summer Program Chamber Music Encounter may participate in Chamber Music Exploration. No additional audition required.