Elective Ensembles

Opportunities abound for elective participation in a number of specialized ensembles that perform music of a specific period or instrumentation, listed below. Honors Ensembles, professional chamber music programs, outreach, and paying performance opportunities also supplement the core curriculum ensemble programs.

NEC Bach Ensemble

NEC Bach Ensemble, directed by John Gibbons, is a select group that performs Baroque works on modern instruments. The ensemble performs twice a year. Neither chamber music nor ensemble credit is given for participation in this ensemble.

NEC Contemporary Ensemble

NEC Contemporary Ensemble, directed by John Heiss, presents several concerts annually at NEC and in Boston.

Repertoire includes works by Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Ives, Berio, Carter, Ligeti, prominent local composers, NEC faculty, and students. Guest composers who have visited to coach performances of their works have included Boulez, Messiaen, Schuller, Maxwell-Davies, Tippett, Lutoslawski, and Ligeti.

The ensemble has performed under the auspices of the Fromm Foundation at Harvard, the International Society for Contemporary Music, and WGBH-FM.

(No ensemble credit is earned for participation in Contemporary Ensemble.)

NEC Guitar Ensemble

NEC Guitar Ensemble studies basic ensemble practices, strives to improve sightreading skills, and performs repertoire from the 14th century to the present day.

Historical Performance Ensemble

Historical Performance Ensemble performs vocal and instrumental music of past centuries with historical and modern instruments, attempting to find modern equivalents for the musical intentions of the composers and performers of the past.

[nec] shivaree

[nec] shivaree, the NEC Avant-Garde Ensemble directed by Stephen Drury, is the attack wing of NEC's new music program, performing the modern, the new, and the avant-garde. Sounds provided by such composers as John Cage, Steve Reich, Morton Feldman, Galina Ustvolskaya, and Giacinto Scelsi. The players of [nec]shivaree have worked with composers John Zorn, John Luther Adams, Christian Wolff, and Frederic Rzewski. The group gives concerts both inside and outside of the Conservatory, and has performed regularly at the Zeitgeist Gallery in Cambridge and Tonic and The Stone in New York. Past and present members of [nec]shivaree also perform in the Callithumpian Consort, an independent touring ensemble.