Chamber Music and Ensembles

Every semester, nearly 400 students at Manhattan School of Music are placed into Chamber Music and Ensembles, if required by credit, by their department chairs in collaboration with the manager of ensembles. Over ninety chamber groups are coached weekly by renowned faculty specializing in chamber music. Worthy chamber groups are given the opportunity to participate in master classes, compete in the Fuchs Chamber Music Competition, and perform on our Winter and Spring Chamber Music Festivals.

Instrumental groups vary from the classic piano trio or string quartet to woodwind or brass quintets, from the Baroque Aria Ensemble to the contemporary ensemble Tactus. Adventurous instrumentalists and singers can join guitar or sax groups or form larger ensembles to perform such major works as Stravinsky’s L’histoire du soldat. Pianists may also play in four-handed or two-piano teams, accompany vocal ensembles or even learn harpsichord. Graduate singers can audition for opera and musical theater or select from any number of ensembles ranging from Baroque to contemporary.

New students are assigned to groups before the semester begins. At the end of each semester, returning students may request the type of group into which they want to be placed. They fill out an Individual Request Form or, if they have formed their own group, they can submit a Group Request Form. Coach choices are also listed on the forms. We do everything possible to honor requests; however, limitations of space and availability are considered.

For vocal ensembles, graduate singers may fill out a Vocal Request Form to study without auditioning in a variety of vocal classes and ensembles: Songs of the Romantic Period, Vocal Performance Class, Baroque Aria Ensemble, Russian Romance Songs, and Voice & Guitar. Neil Rosenshein’s Preparing the Exit is our newest offering.  Auditions are held at the beginning of the fall semester for all Opera ensembles, American Musical Theater and Lab, Baroque Aria Ensemble, and Catherine Malfitano’s Revealing the Actor/Singer Within. If students are selected to participate in these ensembles, they will not need to take additional ensembles. However, singers are encouraged to take up to 3 vocal ensembles, all included in the same credit.

Final performances are required for all Chamber Music and Ensembles students, whether in school recital or outside engagement. Our Winter and Spring Chamber Music Festivals are popular ways of fulfilling the requirement and offer weekend-long celebrations for students and audiences alike.

Please visit the chamber music office in Room 201 to speak with Abby Fennessy, Interim Manager of Chamber Music and Ensembles, or e-mail her at

Chamber Music Department

Abby Fennessy
Interim Manager of Chamber Music and Ensembles