Success in today’s professional music landscape requires both excellence as a performer and musical flexibility across a wide range of performing contexts, musical styles, and ensemble configurations. These two key learning components of the Peabody Institute’s Breakthrough Curriculum in Music Leadership are at the core of the Conservatory’s large ensembles program.
The program is designed to acquaint the entire student body, as well as each participating student, with the rich and varied literature of many musical genres, and to provide students with the means, through rigorous rehearsals and frequent public performances in a variety of ensemble settings, of developing their musical skills and flexibility to a high level of artistic competence.
The acclaimed American conductor Joseph Young serves as Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Artistic Director of Ensembles. The large ensembles curriculum includes the following instrumental and vocal ensembles.
Employing the largest instrumental forces of all Peabody ensembles, the orchestras provide comprehensive orchestral training and performance experience. Repertoire is drawn from the Classical period to the present day, and includes frequent collaborations with prominent guest soloists and distinguished conductors. PSO and PCO may participate in recording sessions, student composition readings, or join with massed vocal forces to present large scale choral symphonic works.
A large wind and percussion ensemble, the Peabody Wind Ensemble performs works ranging from classic wind band literature to a wide variety of contemporary works for wind ensemble and wind symphony, sometimes including larger chamber ensemble pieces. Student compositions are occasionally premiered, and guest artists often perform concertos with the ensemble.
Peabody Opera Theatre is the banner under which we present our largest productions, with full orchestra, scenery, costumes, and lighting. Peabody Opera Theatre productions are presented in a variety of musical and dramatic styles, both on campus and in venues around Baltimore. Students involved in these operas typically collaborate with a mix of staff and guest directors, conductors, choreographers, and designers. Roles are open by audition, and students must be in good academic standing and have their primary voice teacher’s approval to audition for the opera.
The 2021-2022 repertoire for Peabody Opera Theatre is: Postcard from Morocco (Argento), La scala di seta (Rossini), and a double bill of Hin und Zurück (Hindemith) and Les Mamelles de Tirésias (Poulenc).
Brass ensemble will study and perform a wide variety of repertoire from 1600-present that will include a diverse group of composers and arrangers. The students will gain knowledge of diverse brass repertoire which will also include underrepresented composers/arrangers and enhance individual performance skills on your instrument.
Robert van Sice, Artistic Director
The Peabody Percussion Group is a flexible size ensemble performing percussion chamber music of the 20th and 21st centuries. The group’s repertoire includes European masterpieces, forward leaning American works and multi-media and multi-disciplinary collaborations.
West African Drum with Jabari Exum will be a world tour of music thru Djembe. It will cover Djembe technique, history, composition, musician’s health, how to approach music from all around the world thru the Djembe, and more.
This ensemble serves as a meeting point between acoustic and electronic instruments and various technological devices such as laptops, phones, and Arduinos; musicians from various backgrounds will have the opportunity to participate and collaborate together in music making that is unique to the 21st century.
The following ensembles offer additional performance opportunities in a range of musical styles and genres.
The Peabody Renaissance Ensemble consists of a vocal ensemble and instrumental consorts of violas da gamba, recorders, lutes and guitars, and percussion. Students and staff of Peabody and Johns Hopkins are joined by guests from the Baltimore-Washington early music community.
Baltimore Baroque Band is the baroque orchestra of the Peabody Conservatory. Students and faculty members play together in a conductorless large ensemble which combines the commitment and attentiveness of chamber music with the discipline of orchestral playing.
Led by renowned trumpeter Sean Jones, Richard and Elizabeth Case Chair of Jazz Studies, the Peabody Jazz Ensemble grounds its students in the remarkable history of jazz, while emphasizing the exploration of all American music. This ensemble course studies and performs a broad range of jazz idioms and encourages community-engaged artistry to develop expressive, flexible, creative, and collaborative musicians who are deeply invested in making an impact with their art.
The Pan-American Jazz Ensemble performs jazz repertoire informed by the music of the Americas. It features works by both pioneers and avant-garde artists, as well as workshops rhythmic and idiomatic concepts of this music under the direction of critically acclaimed and award-winning multi-percussionist, composer, and educator Fran Vielma.
Peabody Super Sax Ensemble (PSSE) is an instrumental course designed for saxophonist and jazz rhythm section players. The students enrolled in this course will rehearse and perform jazz chamber music with an emphasis on saxophone quintet arrangements of Charlie Parker’s music and some arrangements written by Benny Carter.
Directed by Sean Jones, the Graduate Jazz Ensemble (GJE) is a brand-new ensemble dedicated to the recipients of the Graduate Jazz Fellowship. This ensemble focuses on community-engaged artistry to develop expressive, flexible, creative, and collaborative musicians who are deeply invested in making an impact with their art. GJE provides developing artists with a platform to compose and perform original works, while gaining experience in roles of leadership and giving back to the community as educational artists.
The Jazz Combo is the primary chamber ensemble in Jazz Music. It is crucial that every aspiring jazz musician learns how to improvise, dialogue, and navigate in a jazz combo setting. This course explores common practices in jazz combo while providing students a vehicle to perform their compositions and learn various jazz pieces that have become common jazz combo repertoire. Students receive weekly instruction under the direction of Peabody’s All-Star jazz faculty, including Nasar Abadey, Warren Wolf, Charenee Wade, Richard Johnson, Tim Green, and Sean Jones, the Richard and Elizabeth Case Chair of Jazz.
The New Orleans style Brass Band is a brass ensemble deeply rooted in American tradition. The students in the ensemble will explore this stylistic origin of jazz and its current innovations. The Peabody NOLA Ensemble will provide the opportunity for brass and percussion students to embrace a historical and cultural musical art form rich in ethnic diversity.
Peabody’s premiere mixed vocal ensemble (16-24 voices) of advanced graduate and undergraduate musicians committed to the expansion of the vocal ensemble art. Specializing in the performance of new, early, x-disciplinary, and transformative repertoire, NEXT Ensemble is reimagining what it means to be a collaborative, creative vocal artist in the 21st century.
Peabody’s select soprano-alto vocal ensemble (16-32 voices), comprised of graduate and undergraduate musicians, and performing music for treble voices from the 12th century to present, with a focus on 21st-century repertoire. The Camerata shares a commitment to evolving and expanding the treble vocal aesthetic through the creation of new work, and the reimagining of existing repertoires.
Comprised of graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, staff, and community members from across The Peabody Conservatory, Johns Hopkins University and Greater Baltimore, the Peabody Hopkins Conservatory Choir explores and performs works from the past six centuries, with an emphasis on choral-orchestral repertoire in collaboration with the Peabody Orchestra and guest artists.
Open to all Peabody/JHU students, faculty, staff, and members of the Baltimore Community. Auditions held at the start of each semester. Please contact the Peabody Ensemble Office for more information.
The Ensemble Office manages the personnel, rehearsal, and performance activities of many of the Conservatory’s instrumental and vocal ensembles.