Looking Back at a Successful First Year of NEC Studio Sessions, NEC’s Inventive Digital Performance Series

The Jonathan Paik Trio, comprising pianist Jonathan Paik '23, bassist Will Mabuza '23, and drummer Noah Mark '25, starred in the inaugural episode of NEC Studio Sessions in May 2023.

In the spring of 2023, New England Conservatory launched its innovative NEC Studio Sessions series to provide a dynamic platform for students to showcase their musical talents and artistry and engage with a broader audience. As the first year of Studio Sessions concludes, the series has exceeded expectations, offering a unique blend of musical exploration, technical prowess, and artistic expression that has resonated with digital audiences worldwide, garnering over 65,000 views across 15 episodes.

The most-viewed episode of NEC Studio Sessions features NEC's Irish Music Ensemble.

A Platform for Diverse Talent

NEC Studio Sessions was designed to reflect the diverse talents within the Conservatory, spotlighting a wide array of musical genres and styles, from classical solos and jazz ensembles to contemporary compositions and experimental projects. This inclusivity allowed students to push their creative boundaries and present their work in a professional and supportive environment.

High-Quality Production

One of the standout features of NEC Studio Sessions is the high production quality. Each session was meticulously recorded and produced, providing students with a professional-grade portfolio piece. The use of state-of-the-art recording equipment and acoustically optimized studio spaces ensured that each performance's audio and visual aspects were top-notch. This commitment to quality enhanced the viewing experience for audiences and gave students a valuable learning opportunity to work with professional production standards.

An operatic edition of Studio Sessions featured soprano Josie Larsen ’23 MM, ’25 AD, baritone Hyungjin Son ’24 MM, and pianist Sujin Choi ’23 GD, ’24 GC, who performed Puccini, Frank Bridge, and Mozart.

Notable Performances

Several performances stood out during the first year of the NEC Studio Sessions. Highlights included a stirring rendition of Beethoven's late string quartets by a talented chamber group, an innovative jazz improvisation set that blended traditional and modern elements, and an experimental electronic music project that captivated viewers with originality and technical skill. These performances demonstrated the high caliber of NEC's students and the conservatory's commitment to fostering creativity and excellence.

NEC Studio Sessions marked International Jazz Day with an episode featuring the Cooper Malanowsky Jazz Quartet, comprising jazz trombonist Cooper Malanowski ’25, percussionist Alex Yoo ’23, guitarist Kai Burns ’25, and bassist David Macchione.

Looking Ahead

As NEC Studio Sessions moves into its second year, the series aims to build on its initial success. Plans include expanding the range of genres and formats featured, incorporating more interdisciplinary collaborations, and increasing opportunities for student involvement. 

The first year of NEC Studio Sessions has been a resounding success, showcasing New England Conservatory's dedication to innovation, excellence, and the holistic development of its students. As the series evolves, it promises to continue being a platform for musical exploration and a testament to the vibrant artistic community within the NEC.

Explore more episodes of NEC Studio Sessions