Boston Conservatory at Berklee's collaborative piano program offers practical training for pianists interested in branching out beyond the concert stage to become professional accompanists, coaches, and music collaborators. An opera emphasis is available to students who may be interested in focused training that prepares them for a collaborative career in the opera business and repertoire.
Because the program trains pianists on how to lead rehearsals and coach musicians, there is a heavy focus on operatic repertoire and coaching, which students can explore further if they are pursuing an opera emphasis. The program also provides students with a wide variety of collaborative performance experiences that cover everything from song literature to symphonic orchestras, chamber ensembles, and pit orchestras for dance, opera, and theater productions. This continual hands-on practice helps students master a vast catalog of repertoire and grow comfortable collaborating with artists in various styles and settings.
What It Takes to Succeed
Students in the Conservatory's collaborative piano program are accomplished pianists who are passionate about working with other artists on both existing and new works. They are collaborative by nature, and appreciate diverse musical styles and aesthetics. Collaborative piano students are dedicated to delivering high-quality instruction and performance, and work tirelessly with their peers to make artistic discoveries.
The Conservatory's collaborative piano curriculum focuses on giving students as many collaborative performance opportunities as possible. Through this experience, students build a vast knowledge of instrumental and vocal repertoire and develop the expertise and confidence needed to lead musical collaborations.
Throughout the two-year program, students perform with various Conservatory singers, instrumentalists, and large and small ensembles, including pit orchestras for dance, opera, and theater productions. Additionally, students participate in weekly seminar classes that culminate in a themed studio performance in which students present pieces selected by Andrew Altenbach, Boston Conservatory's music director of opera.
Collaborative piano students will also take weekly private lessons with the school's renowned piano faculty, as well as courses designed to strengthen their musical sensibilities, including harmony, counterpoint, ear training, music history, opera studio (mainstage rehearsals, opera score reduction, scene study, and characterization), foreign languages and diction study (French, Italian, and German), theory and musicology electives, and opera coaching.
Graduates from this program are prepared to:
- Create an operatic score to partner a conductor in staging, musical, or coaching rehearsal
- Accompany a piano rehearsal for a soloist and conductor of a symphony orchestra
- Partner with a vocalist or instrumentalist in recitals, master classes, and advanced study courses
- Partner with a chamber ensemble that explores standard and contemporary literature
- Command language proficiency in Italian, French, and German, sufficient to communicate an informed rubato and accurate ensemble balance, and continue to grow towards fluency or near-fluency
- Collaborate in musical theater score preparation and pit orchestra performances and rehearsals
- Develop the art and skill of vocal coaching
- Partner with a dance production through rehearsal and performance, with or without a conductor