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How SFCM’s String and Piano Chamber Music Program Launches Careers

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October 12, 2020 by Tim Records

In 1985, SFCM became the first school to offer a degree in chamber music. Since its inception, the Chamber Music program has forged the path forward, arming instrumentalists with the skill set to become expressive, communicative, and business-minded artists that flourish in today’s musical landscape. Students train like summer festival resident artists, performing in weekly concerts, workshops, open rehearsals, master classes, and collaborating with faculty and renowned guests from around the globe.

Chair Dimitri Murrath gave the Conservatory’s social media community an inside look into what has always been at the heart of SFCM, the Chamber Music program. Here are a few highlights.

Immerse Yourself

Why simply scratch the surface? Chamber Music students are guaranteed four hours of chamber coaching as well as individual instruction, access to studio and orchestra repertoire classes, and performance opportunities each week. Students frequently play with renowned faculty like Bonnie Hampton, Paul Hersh, Sharon Mann, and the Telegraph Quartet. They’re asked to dive into all types of repertoire by their mentors, from classical to romantic and new to old, and in doing so they become accomplished listeners, leaders, collaborators, and achievors of excellence. The experience is intense.

Influential Mentorship

One of the keys to being a thriving, mindful collaborator is being an accomplished individual artist with potential. The Chamber program is unique in that way; it unites a small group of like-minded musicians that listen with sincerity. Our students, as individuals or preformed groups, receive music and respond to it. They discover how their part weaves in and out of others’. They’re dedicated to the art of chamber music, which in turn, helps individuals discover their dream team of collaborators amongst their peers. They graduate with the tools to launch their careers and succeed in any setting.

Chamber Music classes push artists to blossom beyond the musical page, teaching them how to enthrall audiences time and time again. Students are guided and encouraged to be bold musicians and to perform chamber music in ways that are compelling, dynamic, and unforgettable.

Music and Business

Musicians need to have a business background in today’s world. It’s one element that isn’t typically taught at a conservatory, but SFCM believes that success in any field requires skills and experiences beyond what you learn in the practice room.

Chamber students get to rehearse, perform, and connect with visiting resident artists from ensembles like the Beaux Arts Trio and St. Lawrence String Quartet. During those week-long residencies, students learn first hand what it’s like to be a professional chamber musician from celebrated artists in the field. Experience with world class musicians is coupled with courses facilitated by the Professional Development and Engagement Center (PDEC) on basic finance, marketing, and technology. Other PDEC offerings include grant opportunities, internships, and one-on-one guidance. Chamber musicians are equipped with the duality of business theory and practice so they can hit the ground running after graduation.

Success is in our DNA

Our first graduating class went on to form the renowned Peabody Trio. Now you can see our alumni—like the Thalea String Quartet, Telegraph Quartet, and Meredith Kufchak ‘16—all over the world touring, winning principal player orchestra jobs, collaborating with other artists, and inspiring the next generation of game-changing musicians. The Chamber Music program is competitive for a reason, and you’re invited to apply for this elite training opportunity.

To learn more about the Piano and Strings Chamber program, watch this Q&A with Chair Dimitri Murrath.