At a school where the achievement of artistic excellence is the driving force of all performance programs, the Department of Chamber Music is where students are empowered to define, strive for, and expand their own conceptions of artistic excellence. The department was founded with the belief that chamber music offers today’s musicians the most vibrant avenue of creative expression along with abundant entrepreneurial career opportunities. Providing close, in-depth interactions with an exceptional faculty, the department develops the skills required to perform some of the best pieces of classical music ever written – from the traditional canon as well as new music – while stretching the boundaries of what classical music can and should be.
Working in small groups requires students to have a voice in repertoire, rehearsal planning, pedagogical goals, performance standards, and collaborative efforts. Chamber music encourages students to ask questions and take responsibility for the answers, especially when the answers might lead to a new way of achieving excellence. Collaborating closely with colleagues in multidisciplinary projects allows for new thought processes, new artistic priorities, and reinvigorated attention to the core activities of their own practices.
Led by Matt Albert (chair), a founding member of the cutting edge chamber ensemble Eighth Blackbird, the chamber music faculty comprises representatives of the School’s celebrated departments, including all instruments as well as theatre, jazz, musical theatre, dance, musicology, music education, composition, conducting, voice, and performing arts technology. In addition, an exceptional range of world class guest artists visit annually to conduct master classes and workshops. All of the resident faculty and the visiting artists excel in this genre, and they are moving it forward with their thinking, practice, and teaching.
Chamber music students work in state-of-the-art facilities, including the Earl V. Moore Building, which recently received a $29.5 million expansion and renovation, and they receive unprecedented entrepreneurial and career planning support through the school’s EXCEL program (Excellence in Entrepreneurship Career Empowerment & Leadership), poised to become the nation’s top program for funding student entrepreneurial ventures in the performing arts.
SMTD is also home to M-Prize, the largest chamber music competition in the world, which brings an international array of chamber music performers to Ann Arbor each spring, as both contestants and judges. The school also sponsors the Dale and Nancy Briggs Chamber Music Competition, which is exclusive to SMTD students. In addition, Ann Arbor abounds with cultural opportunities, including the University Musical Society (UMS), which presents world acclaimed artists in music, theatre, and dance, and features an exceptional chamber music series annually.
The University of Michigan is renowned for developing excellence. Combining the focus and rigor of a conservatory with the academic breadth and depth of a major public research university, an SMTD education is a transformative experience. Students receive a comprehensive program of instruction, performance, and pedagogy, along with academic opportunities made possible through the University’s vast spectrum of top-rated programs. The School fosters innovation, values diversity and inclusion, and graduates fully-engaged citizens who are eager to make a difference in their field and community.