Chamber music is at the heart of the Academy programme. Students are placed in ensembles, sometimes with one of the Academy musicians, and rehearse roughly fortnightly on Sunday afternoons. The programme is split into two terms, the first term running from September to December and the second running from January to May. Ensembles rehearse for five Sundays per term and work toward performing in the end-of-term recitals. Sessions are held at St John's College School.
Senior Chamber Music Ensembles
Senior Ensembles rehearse for two hours every session, one hour coached by one of the Academy musicians and the second hour split between independent rehearsal and rehearsing from the score with composer Darren Bloom. This is to get ensembles making musical decisions on their own - a critical aspect of chamber music.
Senior students also develop their individual playing skills through participation in a masterclass and a solo recital once per term. Masterclass Days are held at West Road Concert Hall. Solo recitals usually take place just after the Masterclass Day and are designed to give students valuable performing experience to compliment their chamber music training.
Junior Chamber Music Ensembles
Junior Ensembles rehearse for one hour every sessions under the guidance an Academy musician where they get familiar with chamber music basics.
A conversation among friends
Chamber music is one of the best educators there is. Not only does it teach critical musical skills, it develops leadership, teamwork and analytic skills at a level far beyond what GCSEs, A levels or often even university do. However, certain hurdles need to be overcome for this to happen and unfortunately many chamber music settings pass them over entirely. They are things that take time to understand, often years, but once assimilated they never leave and last a life time.