The Alaria Chamber Ensemble has for 24 years played host to a series of chamber music classes at Mannes School of Music.
Players of all instruments, including voice, all ages and levels are welcome. Placement depends on compatibility with others, determined in an open audition. Because compatibility for chamber music involves much more than instrumental technique and musical sophistication, we consider personal elements such as motivation and adrenalin flow in forming groups, which may or may not turn out to be standard instrumental combinations. Repertoire, the last decision to be made, may be chosen from a wide range of periods and styles but is always tuneable.
Participants usually work in trios or quartets. Where possible everyone has the opportunity to refine instrumental technique in ensembles of like instruments-winds, strings, and key-board. For mixed ensembles the coaches rotate. Thus, students learn to conceptualize music in terms of different instruments and musical personalities. Every attempt is made to acquaint players with repertoire of various periods and styles, including 20th-century works, preferably by living composers. Ensembles perform informally at the end of each half term.
The program has been beneficial for players of significant accomplishment as well as for beginners. Alaria's database of previous participants may be tapped to match players and round out ensembles.