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 2024 Fall Semester is open! 

Visit our Ensemble Requirements page to learn more about auditioning.

Chamber Music Intensive Performance Seminar

For advanced students ages 13-18 with a strong interest in chamber music, the Chamber Music Intensive Performance Seminar (CHIPS) program is open to violinists, violists, cellists and pianists. CHIPS offers selected students an immersive opportunity for advanced musical study. The objective of the program is to build high level collaborative music-making skills with an emphasis on performance. In addition to receiving weekly faculty coaching and participating in regular performance classes, CHIPS students perform multiple times each year in Guest Artist masterclasses and are presented in a concert in Jordan Hall at the end of the year. This year’s student artists performed in masterclasses given by renowned chamber musicians such as Donald Weilerstein and Miriam Fried, Vivian Weilerstein and Seth Knopp. Past guest artists have included the Verona Quartet, Paul Biss, Roger Tapping, Peter Salaff, Paul Katz, Areta Zhulla, The Claremont Trio, George Li, Mai Motobuchi and Kim Kashkashian. Support is provided for student participation in major chamber music competitions such as the Fischoff Competition and the Coltman Competition. Graduates of the CHIPS program are young leaders in the world of chamber music and have gone on to study at top conservatories and colleges in the US and abroad.

For 2024-2025 we are thrilled to be offering two CHIPS programs. One program will focus on String Quartets and the other on Piano Trios. Piano Trios will meet on Saturday mornings between 10-12 noon. String Quartets will meet on Saturdays between 12:30 and 2:45 pm. Given the intensity of this program, attendance at all CHIPS events is required.

NEC Prep’s Chamber Music Intensive Seminar is generously supported by The Robert and Jane Morse Endowed Chamber Music Fund at NEC.

Audition Requirements

Additional Chamber Music Offerings


Advanced woodwind students are selected based on their audition results. Students must be enrolled in an NEC Prep large ensemble in order to qualify. Accepted students will receive a 50% scholarship.

Gregory Newton, Instructor

Saturday, 1:00-2:00 pm


Advanced brass students are selected based on their audition results. Students must be enrolled in an NEC Prep large ensemble in order to qualify. Accepted students will receive a 50% scholarship.

Eli Epstein, Coordinator

Members of the Brass Faculty Quintet, Instructors (rotating)

Saturday, 1:00-2:00 pm