Chamber Music

What is NEC Prep?
Watch to find out more about Chamber Music at NEC Prep!

Laura Blustein, String & Piano Chamber Music Department Chair
Aimee Tsuchiya, String & Piano Chamber Music Department Assistant Chair

The NEC Preparatory School offers chamber ensembles for string, woodwind, brass, and piano players ages 8-18. 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 fellow musicians and make new friends. Some NEC Prep chamber groups play together for years.

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 are determined by age, ability, and instrumentation. Each ensemble receives coachings throughout the full academic year, participates in two end-of-semester workshops, and performs in the Chamber Music Festival at the end of each semester. Student groups may also have the opportunity to play in and attend master classes given by distinguished chamber music faculty from the NEC college and outstanding visiting chamber music artists. If you have any questions about our Chamber Music program, please contact the Prep Office.


Registration for the 2023 Fall Semester is open!  Deadline to apply for CHIPS is May 20, 2023, for other chamber groups, students must apply and register by August 30th.  Placements for chamber groups will be determined in early September before the start of the Fall semester.

If students are unable to be placed in a chamber group, as placements are determined by age and level, students will receive a full refund from their registration.

In order to be considered for a Chamber Music Ensemble, students must first register for Chamber Music.  Please email if you have any questions.

Pre-formed groups are welcome and interested students should email Chamber Music Chair, Laura Blustein, at directly.

Have more questions about NEC Prep Chamber music? Please contact our Chamber Music Chair, Laura Blustein, at

Chamber Music Intensive Performance Seminar

For students with a strong interest in chamber music, NEC Prep is excited to offer the Chamber Music Intensive Performance Seminar (CHIPS)! CHIPS offers advanced students an in-depth chamber music immersion experience, with an emphasis on enhancing chamber music skills and performance practice at a high artistic level. Led by faculty member Merry Peckham and Laura Blustein, accepted students will be placed into a string quartet or piano trio and assigned repertoire to study over the year. The CHIPS program is open to violinists, violists, cellists, and pianists. 

Significant emphasis will be placed on performance; groups will have the opportunity to perform in recitals at NEC and in the community, as well as potential international performance opportunities. During the 2023-2024 year, CHIPS students will meet on Saturdays, Piano Trios from 10:00 AM-noon and String Quartets from 12:30-2:45 PM. The program will include several special guest artist masterclasses during the year; visiting guests for 2022-2023 included Miriam Fried and Don Weilerstein, among others.  Given the intensity of this program, attendance at all CHIPS events is required.

Interested violinists, violists, cellists, and pianists between the ages of 13 and 18 years old are encouraged to apply. Applications for CHIPS are open until May 20, 2023.

Audition Requirements


To Apply

Parent/guardians of these students must first create a Parent/Guardian Portal Account online. Once your Parent/Guardian Portal is active, you can add your student(s) information and fill out the NEC Prep application. All application materials, including videos, are submitted via Slate (the platform in which you create your Parent/Guardian Portal Account).

Once your placements are confirmed and you receive your admit letter, you will register for the course(s) you are placed in through ActiveNet accounts.

Create Parent/Guardian Portal Account

Where should you go if you already have a Parent/Guardian Portal Account?
Parent/Guardian Portal Accounts only need to be set up one time. Click the button below to access your existing account.

Existing Parent/Guardian Portal Account Login

Additional Chamber Music Offerings

Sonata-Duo Class

Maria Benotti, Instructor

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.

Honors Woodwind Quintet

Open by audition to advanced wind players. Students must be enrolled in an NEC large ensemble in order to qualify. Auditions will occur online via Slate and will be due on May 1st. Late applications will be considered on a space-available basis. 

Honors Brass Quintet

Open by audition to advanced brass players. Students must be enrolled in an NEC large ensemble in order to qualify. Auditions will occur online via Slate and will be due on May 1st. Late applications will be considered on a space-available basis.