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The study and performance of chamber music is an essential part of every student’s artistic development at Peabody. Collaborating with others in the interpretive process sparks the imagination which expands our sense of articulation, character and color, and inspires us to recreate a work in a more meaningful way. The vast and infinitely rich repertoire of chamber music allows students to participate in groups of widely varied instrumentation from the baroque period to the music of today.

All groups receive individual coaching, perform each semester, and have the opportunity to participate in chamber music seminars and master classes given by Peabody faculty and visiting artists. The chamber music faculty is drawn from departments throughout the Conservatory reflecting Peabody’s commitment to chamber music as an experience which will have a profound impact on every student’s musical life.

For any questions about Chamber Music at Peabody, please email Michael Kannen.

Chamber Music in the Time of Covid

For details about signing up for chamber music, navigate to “Current Students”.

Dear Students,

Like all of you, I’ve been here in my home for the past several months and I wanted to let you know what I’ve been up to this summer. Like all of the faculty and staff and administration at Peabody, I’ve been hard at work planning for next semester- figuring out how we can safely and effectively be together to learn about music and make music.

We all know by now that despite some really great efforts and lots of technical and musical creativity, chamber music doesn’t really work online. The whole essence of chamber music revolves around the idea of being together in a room- with each other and with our audience.

Chamber Music On Campus

The good news is that chamber music is very well suited to our current situation.

Because chamber music is small and adaptable, when we come back in the fall, we’re going to be able to do chamber music like we normally do. Well, almost normal. Sure, we may have to sit a little further apart than we might do during normal times, but that’s ok- we can make that work. We’re going to have rooms set aside for chamber music- rooms that will be big enough for for a chamber group and a coach to be in safely. We should still be able to do trios and quartets, at least, and maybe we’ll do some duos as well. Pianists- you’ll still be able to do Piano Ensemble if you like- probably not the four-hand literature, but two- pianos for sure.

So I am very excited to report that we have every reason to believe that we will be able to sit together and make music once again- to hear music come directly out of our instruments, instead of out of speakers, and to fill a room with the magical sound of music.

Online Chamber Music

We all know that it is not possible to actually play chamber music over the internet, but for those of you who might not be able to make it back to campus right away, we haven’t left you out either. We have worked hard to design an online chamber music course that we think will be meaningful, useful and enjoyable.

As you know, chamber music is a complex activity that involves so many different kinds of skills- instrumental, interpretive, organizational and personal. And sometimes, when we’re struggling to learn the notes and play in tune, some of the other extremely important aspects of playing chamber music don’t get as much attention as they should. Well, we think this is a chance to take a closer look at some of those skills: how do you decide, looking at a score, how a piece of music should go? How do you transform those little dots and dashes on the page into beautiful and meaningful sound? How do you discuss these ideas with others in your group, and persuade others to your point of view, and let yourself be persuaded by theirs? In short, how do you come to a collective interpretation of a great piece of music? These are just some of the things that we can explore online. We’ll still form small groups of 3 to 5 people who will meet with their coach online each week. And, there will be some actual playing involved, too- as you learn some of the most important chamber music excerpts for your instrument that you’ll need to know as you go out into the professional world. So- even if you can’t be in Baltimore right away, there is so much to learn about chamber music.

For those of you learning remotely, there will be some interesting options, as well.

So stay tuned and look for my emails in a few weeks!

All best,

Michael Kannen
Director of Chamber Music

Departmental Mission Statement

The Peabody Chamber Music Department strives to give every Peabody student the skills they need in order to make music effectively with other people- including those of deep listening; dynamic interaction; thoughtful, imaginative and informed interpretation; and strategies for concert preparation- as well as providing meaningful performance opportunities and exposing each student to the widest possible range of the vast chamber music repertoire.