Participation in instrumental or vocal ensembles is a major feature of degree and diploma study at Peabody, providing an experience that is essential to one’s professional training. Please consult the Conservatory Catalog for the specific ensemble requirements of your degree program. These ensemble requirements must be met during the specific semesters outlined in the catalog. Students wishing to take ensembles at times other than those specified should petition the director of ensemble operations for permission to do so. Permission will generally only be granted in situations where irresolvable schedule conflicts prevent a student from taking a large ensemble during the specified semester.
Beginning with the Fall 2017 semester, Peabody’s large instrumental ensembles for orchestral instrument majors have been combined into a single course called Large Ensemble, designed to give participating students a wide range of ensemble experiences. Each student with a large ensemble degree requirement will be automatically enrolled in Large Ensemble, a two credit-hour per semester course. Students will not remain in any one particular ensemble for the duration of a given semester or academic year, but will instead rotate through a variety of different ensemble configurations. A single letter grade will be issued each semester which reflects a student’s participation and achievement in all their ensemble experiences during that semester.
Peabody has six orchestras and other large instrumental ensembles which each serve a distinct purpose, and which will explore different types of repertoire in varying sizes, configurations, and historical periods. Assignments to these ensembles are made by the Artistic Director of Ensembles (the resident conductor) in conjunction with studio faculty and the ensemble managers, based upon the instrumental requirements for each ensemble’s individual programs, each student’s placement audition, and the desire to afford everyone the opportunity to participate in a broad range of ensemble experiences.
The Large Ensemble rehearsal time-block is Monday through Friday from 3:30 to 5:30 pm, with dress rehearsals extended until 6:00 pm. Students enrolled in Large Ensemble should not schedule any other activities during that time which might interfere with their responsibilities to any of the ensembles to which they may be assigned. There may also be infrequent times when some ensembles have evening rehearsals, too, such as opera sitzprobes and dress rehearsals, and recording sessions.
Not all the ensembles run concurrently; for the most part only two ensembles will be rehearsing during the same period of time. Each student will have times during a given semester during which they might not be assigned to any ensemble, and there are blocks of time in each semester which are reserved for performances by chamber music groups, during which no large instrumental ensembles will be meeting.
The Ensemble Office staff will make available to all students enrolled in Large Ensemble their assignments for each semester as soon as those assignments are decided. This information will be disseminated by email to all students enrolled in Large Ensemble, posted in hard copy on the ensemble bulletin boards. Each student is responsible for knowing their ensemble assignments once that information is released. It is important for students not to make any advance assumptions about which ensembles they will be assigned to each semester, nor which programs within each ensemble in which they may be required to participate.
Specific daily schedules for each ensemble’s rehearsal will be posted on the ensemble bulletin boards and emailed to all students registered for Large Ensemble prior to a given day’s rehearsal.
In order that Peabody’s large ensembles be able to produce music of the highest possible caliber and to ensure that ensemble members receive the training and discipline necessary to prepare them for careers as professional musicians, students are expected to adhere to the following general requirements:
- Be at rehearsals, in place, warmed up, and ready to play at exactly the time for which the ensemble is scheduled to begin.
- Come to each rehearsal well-prepared; no rehearsal should ever be sight-read. Students are expected to pick up their music well in advance of the first rehearsal for each concert, and are expected to practice their parts between rehearsals.
- Be responsible for parts and folders, marking parts only with a #2 pencil, and returning parts at the end of each concert. Parts which are not returned within a week of the concert will be billed to the student, and in the case of rental parts can be quite expensive. Music folders must be returned at the end of the school year.
- Arrive at the check-in table in the appropriate concert attire by the call time posted for each concert. Students arriving 15 minutes after the call time will be counted late to the concert. Concert attire guidelines for the various ensembles are provided below. All players involved in a concert are expected to arrive by the posted call time regardless of whether they play on the first piece of the program.
- Abide by all the provisions of the Large Ensemble Attendance and Grading Policy. All students should take the time to read and understand it, and ask the Ensemble Office staff if they have questions about any part of it.
The staff of the Ensemble Office is here to support all students who are involved in Peabody’s ensembles, to make sure that they have all the necessary resources available to them to produce professional results. Students enrolled in Large Ensemble should feel free to visit the Ensemble Office and talk to the staff members any time they have a question or concern about any aspect of their involvement with ensembles.
A non-Conservatory student taking private lessons with a Conservatory teacher may participate in a large ensemble or chamber music group as the guest of the ensemble upon the recommendation of their teacher, if they pass the necessary audition for placement. No record of the student’s participation is maintained by the Registrar’s Office, and no tuition is charged. It is understood that ensemble guests participate in ensembles on a space-available/as-needed basis.