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In the Community

Born at NEC

Ever since our founding in 1867, NEC has been instrumental in bringing forth many other Boston cultural institutions of note.

Boston Symphony Hall

Boston Symphony Orchestra

In 1881, Henry Higginson called upon 19 members of the New England Conservatory faculty to serve as section leaders in his new Boston Symphony Orchestra. The connection persists—today half of the BSO is composed of Conservatory faculty and alumni.

Tanglewood Festival Chorus

In 1970, just a few years after his graduation from NEC, John Oliver founded the Tanglewood Festival Chorus— the BSO's "house choir"—at a time when NEC ran the Tanglewood Institute. The NEC Chorus had previously served this role with the BSO.

Emmanuel Music

In 1970, the year he completed his undergraduate degree at NEC, Craig Smith founded Emmanuel Music to perform the complete cycle of sacred cantatas by J.S. Bach in the liturgical setting for which they were intended. 

Collage New Music

Founded in 1972 by alumnus and faculty member Frank Epstein, Collage has commissioned and performed more than two hundred new works.

Boston Chamber Music Society

Co-founded in 1982 by NEC alumnus Bruce Coppock; current Artistic Director is Marcus Thompson of the faculty.

Project STEP

Project STEP (String Training and Educational Program for Students of Color)—created in 1982 by NEC, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Boston University School for the Arts—identifies, trains, educates, and guides promising young string players of color toward successful careers in classical music.

From the Top

Now heard nationwide on more than two hundred stations, From the Top, a talent show for young classical musicians, began weekly broadcasts in 2000, hosted by pianist Christopher O’Riley ’81 A.D., with NEC as the program’s home and educational partner.

A Far Cry

Founded in 2007 as a tightly-knit collective of young string players—many of whom met as students at NEC—A Far Cry developed an innovative structure of rotating leadership, with NEC's unconducted Chamber Orchestra as one source of inspiration.

Music for Food

In 2010 violist Kim Kashkashian of the NEC faculty launched Music for Food, a concert series to help relieve food insecurity in the Greater Boston area, with support from two successive Entrepreneurial Musicianship Grants. Music for Food now has chapters across the U.S. and a growing international presence.

NEC: All over Boston

From the Boston Public Schools to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the impact of New England Conservatory musicians is heard, felt, and lived. 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Art lovers enjoy superb NEC music at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston through the Sound Bites: Nancy Lee Clark Concert Series, as well as occasional ticketed concerts, programmed in conjunction with special exhibitions.


Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Music has been an integral part of the Gardner experience ever since the Museum opened in 1903. Isabella Stewart Gardner filled the Museum with artists of all kinds during her lifetime, and for many years New England Conservatory musicians have peppered the Gardner's calendar.

A flutist plays for kids

Community Performances & Partnerships

A national model for community programs, NEC's CPP program maintains relationships with over 125 community partners. Each year, students participate in close to 400 events reaching nearly 16,000 people, including such public venues as the Boston Athenaeum and Old South Meeting House.

Boston Modern Orchestra Project in rehearsal

Boston Modern Orchestra Project

Starting in 1998, NEC welcomed BMOP as its affiliate orchestra for new music, and a Jordan Hall concert dedicated to “NEC Composers, Past, Present & Future” set the stage for subsequent concerts built around compositions and performances by NEC musicians.

Handel + Haydn Society Vocal Arts Program

This collaboration between H+H, NEC, and Boston Latin School comprises five youth choruses. Working with K–12 school children, the program provides students with the intensive preparatory music instruction and academic guidance necessary to audition and apply to college successfully.

Boston Opera Collaborative

Founded by singers, this innovative organization provides singers with opportunities for artistic growth and development of entrepreneurial skills by engaging these emerging artists in the operation and management of the company.

Boston Children's Chorus

With NEC as lead artistic partner, Boston Children's Chorus allows children to learn discipline, develop leadership skills, and proudly represent the city of Boston as ambassadors of harmony Among the highlights of every season. 

Learning under Two Roofs

Through dual-degree and other collaborative programs, New England Conservatory offers musical education to students who are simultaneously pursuing other disciplines.

Harvard University

This joint five-year program leads to a Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) at Harvard College and a Master of Music (M.M.) at NEC. The program benefits musically and intellectually talented students who wish to pursue both a professional music education at NEC and a rigorous liberal arts education at Harvard.

Tufts University

This Five-Year Combined Degree program provides an opportunity for students who want to combine an intensive music program with a strong liberal arts curriculum. It is a difficult but rewarding program for talented students who are prepared to make a commitment to both areas of study.

Walnut Hill School for the Arts

This independent boarding and day high school offers a transformational educational experience purposefully designed for student artists in grades 9–12, and a postgraduate year. Its music department is the only high school program linking a major conservatory, NEC, with an independent school.

Regional, National & Global Leadership

Through institutional relationships and individual initiatives, New England Conservatory and the NEC community play trailblazing, leadership roles here in New England and around the world.

Panama Jazz Festival

NEC has been a participant in this festival every year since its founding in 2003. In addition to sending faculty, alumni, and student groups to perform, NEC representatives meet with prospective students from the region.

El Sistema movement

From 2009 to 2014, the Sistema Fellows Program was NEC's one-year, postgraduate certificate program for accomplished musicians and music educators who seek to guide the development of El Sistema programs in the U.S. and beyond. In five years, NEC trained 50 Fellows.


The Professional Arts Consortium is an association of seven neighboring Boston institutions of higher education dedicated to the visual and performing arts.

Fenway Alliance

Founded in 1977, The Fenway Alliance is a membership service and advocacy organization dedicated to the prosperity and growth of the Fenway Cultural District.


NEC alumnus David C. Howse is Executive Director of this major presenting organization with a notably international point of view.

Music-in-Education National Consortium

Formed in 2000 as a confederation of major schools of music, schools of education, arts organizations, and public school partnerships, the MIENC’s mission is to promote the evolution of music teaching and learning practices, advocacy, research, and policy, so that music can provide its essential contribution to promoting a culture of equity and excellence in every school.