We are pleased to invite you to apply for MYSO’s Chamber Ensemble Program. Each year, MYSO supports motivated students by providing professional coaching and performance opportunities to small ensembles. You have been chosen to apply as a result of your status in a MYSO ensemble and/or your excellent participation in past chamber groups. We hope you will consider applying for this exceptional opportunity.
Working with a smaller ensemble (generally 4 to 5 people) is very different from playing with an orchestra or band. When performing chamber literature, you learn how to make the musical decisions that conductors normally make. With this responsibility, your own musicianship will improve. It is a unique and important part of your MYSO education and is one of the best opportunities to learn about chamber music and how to think about making music. This wonderful program is made affordable to MYSO members at a cost of $250 per participant. (Financial aid is available.)
MYSO hires professional coaches to work with your ensemble; these musicians come from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, Frankly Music, MYSO staff, and other professional groups. In addition, we provide a performance opportunity for each ensemble. Selected ensembles may also be invited to play additional performances and/or participate in master classes. MYSO’s Chamber Ensemble Program supports a variety of ensemble configurations; we are especially interested in organizing string quartets, and brass and woodwind quartets and quintets.
In order to be part of the Chamber Ensemble Program, it is critical that the students and families have a very high level of commitment to the project and a flexible mind-set, especially with regard to scheduling rehearsals. The Chamber Ensemble Program is student- and parent-driven, with groups making all their own arrangements, communicating with the coach, and setting up their own rehearsals, etc. Mr. Dan Duffy, MYSO Artistic Administrator, will serve as the contact point for parents to facilitate the reservation of rehearsal space and other administrative matters. All rehearsals will take place in the new rehearsal spaces at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. Participation will require considerable time and effort, as well as serious preparation.
It is very important that all members of the ensemble be willing to learn their music outside of rehearsal. MYSO staff will place students in groups that are appropriate, based on instrumentation needs, age, musical expertise, experience, etc. Please know that we may not be able to place all students who express interest in chamber ensembles. Should students wish to organize a specific group of MYSO musicians, please indicate that on the application. Typically, we try to honor these requests when they help to achieve the program’s overall mission.
The Chamber Ensemble Program will culminate in early spring with your ensemble performing on Sunday, March 20, 2022, in MYAC’s Youth Arts Hall. Since we do not yet know who will be participating, or what literature will be chosen by students and coaches, we will not be able to pinpoint your group’s exact performance time right now. The times you should keep available are 1:00 – 8:30 pm. Further details will be communicated as we get closer to the March 20 date. When you apply, keep your schedule open for this entire block of time, and mark your calendars now to avoid future conflicts.
Please know that while we would like to include all interested students, it is not always possible to do so. Final decisions as to which applicants are selected for the program will be made by MYSO staff, based on instrumentation, ability, etc. You will be notified in late December as to whether we have been able to place you in an ensemble for this season.
We request the assistance of parents in coordinating rehearsals. The parent coordinator would schedule rehearsals in consultation with the other musicians in the ensemble, their parents, the coach, and Mr. Duffy. Rehearsals will take place at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, and can be set up at times that work for your group and MYAC. If you are willing to fill this adult role, please indicate this below; we will contact you. MYSO appreciates your essential support of this program!