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NEC Open Studios

Thank you for joining us! Even though Open Studios is over, our doors are still open. Come visit!

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NEC's Preparatory School

Young musicians! Want more hand drumming? Children's chorus? P-trumpet? NEC Prep has a place for every player—whether you're just starting out, or are looking for a musical community to grow in.

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NEC's School of Continuing Education

Open Studios saw a packed house for workshops like Alexander Technique, the History of Rock, and more. Did you know that workshops like these are offered year round?

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NEC Concerts & Events

Open Studios included string quartets, Brazilian choro music, jazz ensembles, an Americana trio, a saxophone quartet playing "Sweet Caroline" on the steps of Jordan Hall, and so much more. Come by to hear what the rest of the concert season has to offer!

01. Swing Trio performs in front of the SLPC.
02. A young visitor meets her musical lady bug.
03. CI ensemble Ruthless Moon charms passers-by on Huntington Avenue.
04. The Borromeo Quartet host a workshop on Feeding Innovation.
05. NEC's Contemporary Rock Ensemble closes the day on a high note!

NEC Open Studios
Saturday, September 23
8am - 10pm

Welcome to NEC: a living laboratory and part of Boston’s rich cultural history and musical life for 150 years.

Dive in and explore all things musical from jazz to Brazilian to Beethoven.

Enjoy concerts and workshops all day across our entire campus, including the new, state-of-the-art Student Life and Performance Center and our own national landmark, Jordan Hall.

Roam. Explore. Join in!

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Where?

Join us at our new Student Life & Performance Center:
255 St. Botolph Street

01. LISTEN: The Ladles | 6:30-8pm
02. PLAY & LEARN with the Borromeo String Quartet | 8-9pm
03. SING: Join a chorus for a day! Prep Chorus Bring-A-Friend
04. TELL your story. Visit the NEC Story Booth | 11am-2pm & 5-8pm
05. DANCE: Barn Dance with American Roots Ensemble | 7:30-9:30pm

Where to eat?

OUTSIDE: Food trucks!

11:00AM-3:00PM

St. Botolph St.

  • Food trucks: lunch, snacks, and a slushie truck!

  • The Cookie Monstah: fresh baked cookies and ice cream sandwiches

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INSIDE: The Green Room Café

10:00AM-7:00PM

SLPC at 255 St. Botolph St.

  • Grab breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the Green Room Café on the first floor of the Student Life & Performance Center.

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Live music on outdoor stages!

Two outdoor stages will showcase ten NEC student projects, from string quartet to Korean folk music! As Entrepreneurial Musicianship 150 Fellows, Andrew Barnwell (BM’20)and Yifan Yin (MM’18) programmed and produced ten hours of eclectic music across two stages! 

Huntington Avenue (outside Jordan Hall)

12:00pm: Ruthless Moon Guitar, accordion, tenor banjo, bass, and vocals
12:55pm: Composition Ensemble Flute, string quartet, clarinet, flute
1:50pm: Ravos Quartet String quartet
2:45pm: Departure Duo Double bass, soprano
3:40pm: Sax Quartet

St. Botolph Street (outside SLPC)

12:30pm: Ivani Quartet String quartet
1:25pm: Gapi Gagyageum, piano
2:20pm: Piano Duo Four hands
3:15pm: Brass Quintet
4:10pm: Boston Swing Trio Piano, guitar, bass

40 minute sets.

Drop-In Activities

Make Your Own Instrument

9:30-11:30AM

The Speed Dining Commons

Come grab a glue stick, get crafty, and make your own instrument to take home! Drop in any time for this hands-on activity. All ages welcome.

Face Painting

9:30AM-2:00PM

Butterflies, super heroes, fairy princesses, animals...what design will you choose?

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Vendor Booths

9:30AM-2:00PM

The Speed Dining Commons

Instruments & accessories from Johnson String Instruments and Virtuosity Musical Instruments (wind & brass)

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Morning Events

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Children's Chorus: "Bring A Friend!"

8:00-8:45AM | Ages 6-8

9:00-10:00AM | Ages 8-12

10:15-11:45AM | Ages 10-14

Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre

Join in for this morning’s Children’s Chorus rehearsal! Come sing along with your friends and make new ones. All are welcome. No previous experience is required for today’s session.

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An Introduction to Suzuki

9:00-9:45AM
Intended for ages 4-10, and their parents

Michael Rudyak Reading Room

The Suzuki  approach to learning is based upon a close relationship between the child, parent, and teacher. One of the beginning pathways for string instruction, we invite families to join us for an introduction to the Suzuki method and the opportunity to try out some of the smaller string instruments. Musical journeys await!

See also: Suzuki Demo & “Play-Down” | 1:00-1:45PM

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Hand Drumming

10:00-10:45AM & 11:00-11:45AM
Intended for all ages

Elfers Commons

Come explore Latin and Afro-Cuban hand drumming! Join in on our NEC conga and bongo drums as we journey through key rhythmic patterns from the Cha Cha Cha, Salsa, Bolero, Guanguanco, Merengue, and Plena. Find your inner beat!

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Musical Storytelling

10:00-10:40AM & 11:00-11:40AM
Intended for ages 4-7

Michael Rudyak Reading Room

Join Musical Storytelling Fellows from NEC's Community Performances and Partnerships Program for a fun-filled morning of instrument demonstrations, musical games, and favorite children’s stories set to music. Best suited for preschool and early elementary ages, but all are welcome!

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The Musician's Brain: Childhood Through Adolescence

10:30-11:10AM
Intended for older teens & adults

Ute and Patrick Prevost Instruction Room

Music has a profound impact on young minds and developing brains, and now science has the research to prove it. Dr. David Silbersweig, Chairman of the Psychiatry Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Co-Director of the Institute for Neurosciences, and Harvard Medical School Academic Dean, will share findings on the positive effect and lasting benefits that music has on brain development during these crucial, early years.

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NEC Story Booth

11:00AM – 2:00PM & 5:00 – 8:00PM
Intended for all ages

Blumenthal Family Library — Group Listening Room

Do you have a story to tell about your time at NEC? Come to the Story Booth to record your NEC tales as part of our celebration of the 150th and for the listeners of tomorrow. Drop by day-of, or sign up for a Story Booth slot in advance!

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An Introduction to Eurhythmics

12:00 - 12:40PM
Intended for ages 4-10

Michael Rudyak Reading Room

Sing, move, listen, create! Eurhythmics is the study of music through movement, based on the interaction of ear, mind, and body. Join us for this interactive demo session. All are welcome!

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String Workshop and Recital

12:00 – 12:45PM
Intended for all ages

Two sessions:
Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre
Eben Jordan Ensemble Room

Come look behind the curtain to see how faculty work with our NEC Prep string students. These informal workshops are an opportunity to hear prep students perform solo works and receive feedback from our faculty. Join us for the entire workshop or stop by to hear one piece.

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NEC Prep Alumni Jazz Group

12:00 – 12:45PM
Intended for all ages

The Joseph L. Bower Family Stage in The Speed Dining Commons

Grab a bite and sit back for one our inaugural Jazz Café performances in our SLPC. One of our 26 Prep Jazz Bands will rock out during the lunch hour. These ensembles are designed for instrumentalists and vocalists desiring a small ensemble experience with emphasis on the exploration of various jazz, third stream, popular, and fusion styles.

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Alexander Technique Demo

12:00 – 12:45PM
Intended for all ages

Ute and Patrick Prevost Instruction Room

Your whole body, your psychophysical self, is your main instrument. For more than one hundred years, actors, musicians, dancers, athletes, and others have used the Alexander Technique, a practical, educational method to deal with unnecessary body tensions. Instructor Clara Sandler will demonstrate how to maintain poise and presence and to find ease and natural coordination of movement.

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Afternoon Events

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Suzuki Demo & "Play-Down"

1:00-1:45PM
Intended for ages 4-10 and their parents

Michael Rudyak Reading Room

Hear current Suzuki students play! Meet current Suzuki parents and teachers! During the “play-down,” students play advanced pieces, then move toward beginner repertoire, with more and more students joining in until every child is playing together. Suzuki is one of the beginning pathways for string instruction and is based on a close relationship between child, parent, and teacher.

See also: An Introduction to Suzuki | 9:00-9:45AM

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Introduction to Contemporary Improvisation

1:00-1:45PM
Intended for teens & adults

Eben Jordan Ensemble Room

The term “Contemporary Improvisation” (CI) liberates the idea of improvisation from any specific genre. It reflects what has been happening for years among musicians who refuse to allow style or genre definitions to limit their creativity. In this “Open Studio” we will discuss the CI methodology that allows conceptual ideas and interdisciplinary collaborations to occur over a wide range of improvisational traditions.

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Jazz: America's Only Original Art Form

1:00-1:40PM
Intended for teens & adults

Ute and Patrick Prevost Instruction Room

Led by School of Continuing Education faculty member Rick McLaughlin, this session will focus on the history of American jazz from its beginnings in the late 19th century, through its evolution to contemporary interpretations.

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Morse Quartet: NEC Prep Chamber Music

1:30 – 2:00PM
Intended for teens and adults

Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre

The NEC Preparatory School offers chamber ensembles for string, wind, brass, and piano players. Chamber music at NEC brings 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. Today’s NEC Prep Chamber Music Group is one of the inaugural performances in the Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre.

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Applying to College Music Programs

2:00 – 2:45PM
Intended for ages 13-18

Michael Rudyak Reading Room

The college admissions process is too often shrouded in mystery and misinformation, and this can be compounded by the added step of the audition process for music programs. Come meet with representatives from the NEC Admissions Office who will dispel myths and answer your questions about music admissions.

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The Musician's Brain: Adolescence Through Adulthood

2:00 – 2:40PM
Intended for older teens & adults

Ute and Patrick Prevost Instruction Room

The impact of music isn’t just on the developing brain. Dr. David Silbersweig, Chairman of the Psychiatry Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Co-Director of the Institute for Neurosciences, and Harvard Medical School Academic Dean, will share how recent research shows how making music positively influences the brain and cognitive functions in adults of all ages.

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Artist Diploma Performance: In Mo Yang

2:00 – 2:30PM
Intended for ages 12+

Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre

Violinist In Mo Yang has been hailed by the Boston Globe for his “…seamless technique and a tender warmth of tone,” combined with “…an ability to project an engaging sense of inner sincerity through his playing,” As the winner of the 54th International Violin Competition “Premio Paganini,” In Mo has played numerous prize performances with prestigious orchestras, including his recent Carnegie Hall recital debut. As a current student in NEC’s highly selective Artist Diploma program, In Mo performs on the Joachim-Ma Stradivarius violin, on loan to him by the Conservatory.

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Songwriting Workshop for Youth

2:00 – 2:45PM
Intended for ages 13-18

Eben Jordan Ensemble Room

Dreaming of becoming the next Taylor Swift? If you ever wanted to try your hand at writing your own songs, now is your chance! Join Amanda Ekery—jazz vocalist, songwriter, and NEC graduate student—for a user-friendly songwriting demonstration and hands-on workshop.

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History of Rock

3:00 – 3:40PM
Intended for teens & adults

Ute and Patrick Prevost Instruction Room

Radiohead. Frank Zappa. Meridian Brothers. Listen to how diverse repertoire from different decades (starting in the 1960s) has used Rock music as a platform for compositional and improvisational approaches. And how this music has inspired and shaped societies for generations.

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Youth Philharmonic Orchestra Open Rehearsal

3:00 – 6:00PM
Intended for all ages

Jordan Hall

Observe an open rehearsal of NEC’s acclaimed Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (YPO) at Jordan Hall. Go behind the scenes and hear our YPO players prepare Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique for their November 16th performance in Jordan Hall, in concert with Lexington High School Orchestra.

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School of Continuing Education String Workshop

4:00 – 5:00PM
Intended for adults

Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre

Led by the sibling team of Sam and Carol Ou, SCE's String Department regularly holds workshops that are open to the general public. From masterclasses and student and faculty performances to lectures, Tai Chi, and chamber music readings, these workshops cover a range of topics pertinent to strings players and their repertoire, all while building community. Join us as SCE's String Department kicks off the academic year!

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The Carr Consort

4:30 – 5:00PM
Intended for all ages

Burnes Hall 

Come hear a diverse program of vocal music from renaissance to contemporary works, sung by the Carr Consort and led by NEC’s conducting major Holly Druckman.

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NEC Prep: Jazz Jam Session

4:30 – 6:00PM
Intended for ages 13-18

Eben Jordan Ensemble Room  

Bring your instrument and join in! NEC Prep invites all young jazz musicians to join members of our Youth Jazz Orchestra for today’s NEC Prep Jazz Jam Session in our new Eben Jordan Ensemble Room.

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NEC Story Booth

5:00 – 8:00PM & 11:00AM – 2:00PM
Intended for all ages

Blumenthal Family Library — Group Listening Room

Do you have a story to tell about your time at NEC? Come to the Story Booth to record your NEC tales as part of our celebration of the 150th and for the listeners of tomorrow. Drop by day-of, or sign up for a Story Booth slot in advance!

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Verona String Quartet

5:15 – 6:00PM
Intended for ages 12+

Burnes Hall

Hailed by The New York Times as an “outstanding ensemble of young musicians,” the Verona Quartet is currently enrolled in NEC’s highly selective Professional String Quartet Training Program, directed by NEC faculty Paul Katz. The Quartet has performed across four continents in some of the world’s most prominent venues, such as Wigmore Hall in London, Izumi Hall in Osaka, and Carnegie Hall in New York, and has won prizes from various international quartet competitions. The Quartet has also completed quartet residencies at both The Juilliard School and The Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.

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Opera Scenes Followed by "Talk Back With Josh"

5:15 – 6:45PM
Intended for all ages

Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre

After a brief introduction by Joshua Major, Chair of NEC’s acclaimed opera department, students from the opera program will perform short opera scenes featuring some of the most famous arias from the beloved opera repertoire. Josh and the students will then return for a Talk Back session with the audience.

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Evening Events

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The Ladles

6:30 – 8:00PM
Intended for ages 14+

Burnes Hall

During their first year at NEC, Katie Martucci, Lucia Purpura-Pontoniere, and Caroline Kuhn’s friendship and love of folk music sparked the creation the Ladles. Combining beautiful vocal lines, confident instrumental prowess, and creative arrangements, the Ladles give new life to folk classics and perform original, soon-to-be-classic songs!

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Zoffer Jazz Ensemble

6:30 – 8:00PM
Intended for all ages

The Joseph L. Bower Family Stage in The Speed Dining Commons

Enjoy the arrangements of jazz standards and original tunes played by students in the School of Continuing Education’s Jazz Department.

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Inside the Mind of Beethoven

7:00 – 8:00PM
Intended for ages 13+

Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre

Hear NEC faculty Nicholas Kitchen, first violinist in the Borromeo String Quartet, and pianist Iris Hsu as they explore Beethoven’s genius – and tirades – through an eye-opening examination of the details on the composer’s original manuscripts.  The duo will perform Beethoven’s "Spring" Sonata and other violin works, as you follow and feel the emotion behind the dots and strokes on the score as projected on a big screen.

See also: Feeding Innovation — by the Borromeo String Quartet | 8:00-9:00PM

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Open Mic

7:00 – 10:00PM
21+ | cash bar

Eben Jordan Ensemble Room

Want to show off your musical talents and hear from others like you? If so, bring your instrument and be prepared to play or just relax as others perform in the intimate, lounge-like setting. You may sign up day-of, or sign up for an Open Mic slot in advance!

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Improvised Music Quartet

7:30 – 9:30PM
Intended for ages 18+

Pierce Hall | Jordan Hall building

There is an indescribable feeling in the air when music is created spontaneously. Sights and sounds of the environment inspire split second musical decisions. Come experience the musical conversation of four fantastic improvisers in the intimate space of Pierce Hall.

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Barn Dance

7:30 – 9:30PM
Intended for all ages

Brown Hall | Jordan Hall building

Put on your dancing shoes and join us for a night of fantastic music and dancing! Hosted by members of the American Roots ensemble, our barn dance will feature the sights and sounds of traditional American folk music. No prior dance experience necessary as we will have a caller to teach you all the right steps!

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Feeding Innovation — by the Borromeo String Quartet

8:00 – 9:00PM
Intended for ages 13+

Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre

The Borromeo String Quartet demonstrates how Beethoven reaches the extreme of new innovation by re-building the past. Bring your instrument to play and follow along the projected score of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier and learn how it led Beethoven to write the ultimate perpetually “modern” Grosse Fugue Opus 133.

See also: Inside the Mind of Beethoven | 7:00-8:00PM

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Brazilian Music Jam

8:00 – 9:30PM
Intended for ages 18+

The Joseph L. Bower Family Stage in The Speed Dining Commons

Come experience the joy and excitement of Choro, a beautiful style of music born from the cultural melting pot of Brazil. In a roda de choro, musicians play hauntingly poignant melodies that dance above intricate harmonies and driving rhythms. Take a musical trip with us to São Paulo without setting foot off campus!

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Night Tree

8:30 – 10:00PM
Intended for ages 16+

Burnes Hall

Rooted primarily in Celtic traditional music, Night Tree creates original music that also borrows from the Swedish, Jewish and American folk traditions. Cello, baritone sax, cajón, accordion, and fiddle combine to produce an edgy, timeless, uniquely colorful sound. Night Tree originated as an NEC Honors Ensemble in the 2016-17 school year, formed by students hailing from the jazz, classical and Contemporary Improvisation worlds here at NEC.

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Mantilla Contemporary Rock Ensemble

9:15 – 10:15PM
Intended for ages 18+

Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre

There is an unmistakable power in the air when guitar, drums, and bass burst from amplifiers filling the room with raw musical energy. Join Lautaro Mantilla and his Contemporary Rock Ensemble for a concert unlike any that you’ve experienced at a conservatory.

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