The Contemporary Performance Program is dedicated to giving advanced student performers the opportunity to study with expert faculty and to work directly with living composers. The CPP concert series presents knowledgeable performances of 20th- and 21st–century masterpieces. Past concerts have featured both classic 20th-century repertoire by composers such as Webern, Schoenberg, Ives, Varèse, Cage and Ligeti, and very recent music played with the composer present, including Elliott Carter, Steve Reich, Charles Wuorinen and Julia Wolfe. The group presents music by MSM faculty composers and works with the Composition department to read and perform student compositions.
Coursework in the program is also especially tailored to the needs of the contemporary performer. A rigorous ear-training class, for instance, focuses on rhythmic and pitch issues that are frequently encountered in the music of today.
This new and innovative degree program features a small class size, and the intense level of cohesion among the students provides a fertile environment for creativity.
Specific courses and degree sequence plans can be found in the Course Catalog.
CPP students form the core of the School's resident contemporary ensemble, Tactus, playing a large variety of works written in the last 100 years. During its inaugural season, CPP students were featured in a performance by Tactus at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall. Performances in some of New York’s new music clubs are also a regular part of the schedule.
Tactus in Review
“Ambitious . . . finely polished . . . spirited”
—Allan Kozinn, The New York Times
“The deepest, grandest noise of the musical season so far”
—Alex Ross, The New Yorker
“Most school concerts don’t generate the sort of buzz that this one did.”
—Adam Baer, The New York Sun
MSM Piano Policy
Students in the Contemporary Performance Program, conducted by Chair Jeffrey Milarsky, in concert at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, photo by Brian Hatton.
General admission information
Contemporary Performance Audition procedures and repertoire