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Graduate Chamber Music

Arnaud Sussman, co-director
James Austin Smith, co-director

The study of chamber music is one of the pillars, and indeed, the heart and soul of the Stony Brook Department of Music. Ensembles, generally formed by students themselves, may request specific faculty coaches, often working with multiple coaches in a semester. Ensembles are expected to engage in substantive, self-directed rehearsal, guided by periodic coachings from faculty. In this way the chamber music program is more akin to a professional life in chamber music than a typical conservatory model. Ample performance opportunities are offered in our Recital Hall in the Staller Center as well as in venues across the Stony Brook campus. High-quality film and audio documentation offer students ready access to recorded materials for festivals and pre-professional programs.

Within our rich chamber music program there are three in-depth, specialized intensives.

Five to six duos per semester meet regularly in a group setting in Christina Dahl’s Duo Seminar and focus on an in-depth study of one major piece per duo. The participants, aside from pianists, can be string, brass woodwind players, singers and percussionists. A key part of the class is learning to comment and offer constructive criticism to one’s colleagues. The course culminates in a concert during our chamber music festival in which each duo performs.

One or two piano trios per semester are selected for Colin Carr’s Piano Trio Intensive. Ensembles choose a major work from the trio repertoire, for in depth work throughout the semester, and perform it in its entirety during the Chamber Music Festival.

Gilbert Kalish offers an intensive that is open to piano trios, quartets or quintets. There are generally two groups chosen for this intensive. These groups each perform a full recital of the works they have studied.