Laura Blustein, String & Piano Chamber Music Department Chair

Aimee Tsuchiya, Assistant Chair

The NEC Preparatory School offers chamber ensembles for string, wind, brass, and piano players ages 8-18, in both classical and jazz. Chamber music at NEC connects young musicians together based on the common interest of their love of music, and is an excellent complement to instrumental education alongside private lessons and large ensembles.

NEC Prep chamber music is a place where students join in learning some of the most powerful pieces in the repertoire. It demands a high level of artistic exploration, creativity, and expression from each member. Students have the opportunity to:

  • Share musical opinions and ways to interpret their scores.  Motivated by their peers, they mature into deeper levels of musicianship.
  • Develop sensitive listening while playing
  • Develop practice and rehearsal techniques
  • Gain independence

Playing chamber music is a great way to meet new friends and fellow musicians. Some of our NEC Prep chamber groups play together for years. Their friendships grow and it is a huge part of their lives.

Each group is coached by a highly experienced teacher and performer who has a passion for chamber music and loves to work with young musicians.

Groups receive 28 coaching sessions and may have the opportunity to play in and attend master classes given by distinguished chamber music faculty from the NEC college and other outstanding visiting chamber music artists.

String & Piano Chamber Music

The NEC Preparatory School offers chamber music coaching to ensembles of various levels and ages. Groups will be determined by age, ability, and instrumentation. Each will receive 28 coaching sessions and two end-of-semester workshops. Students are expected to participate in festival concerts each semester.

Sonata-Duo Class

Maria Benotti and Naoko Sugiyama, instructors

Saturday, 1:00 - 2:00 PM

Violinist-pianist partners study specific works from the violin-sonata literature, two duos share a one-hour lesson in workshop format. Each pair performs for their colleagues and in turn observes the others’ instruction, scores in hand. Intensive study of technical as well as interpretive aspects of each sonata is the focus. Performance presence and refinement of ensemble playing, discussion, and hearing of concepts are encouraged. Open to upper-intermediate to advanced players.

Cello Choir

Boston Cello Quartet, coaches

Saturday, 11:00 - 12:00 PM

This new prep ensemble is open by audition to intermediate to advanced cello players. Cellists will work together with members of the Boston Cello Quartet to prepare music in a variety of styles and sharpen their ensemble skills. The Boston Cello Quartet was founded in 2010 by four of the Boston Symphony Orchestra cellists, Blaise Dejardin, Adam Esbensen, Mihail Jojatu and Alexandre Lecarme. Since its acclaimed debut concert, the BCQ has quickly won the hearts of music lovers through its arrangements of staples of the classical music repertoire, as well as jazz, contemporary works, and even comic medleys, all of which showcase the limitless possibilities of the instrument they love.

Prep Bass Ensemble/Bass Class

Christopher Rathbun, instructor

Prep Bass Ensemble is open to beginner and advanced beginner double bass players. Students placed in this ensemble have mastered basic technical aspects of the instrument and have generally studied their instrument for at least 1-3 years. The music is specifically tailored to provide challenging individual parts. Emphasis is on ensemble playing, reading, and common repertoire. Fun will be required as needed.


Auditions for String & Piano Chamber Music and the Sonata-Duo class take place each September. For more information about how to audition, please click here.

If you would like to audition for the Prep Bass Ensemble/Bass class, please contact the Prep office at (617) 585-1160 or

Please note that the NEC Prep Chamber Music audition committee tries their best to place all students who audition into chamber groups. However, appropriate chamber groups are only formed if other students of similar age, skill level, and Saturday time availability audition.