Boston Conservatory at Berklee's contemporary classical music performance program is designed to expand and develop students' capacities to work independently and collaboratively in the area of contemporary classical music (post-1950). Engaging with a diverse range of repertoire from early 20th-century classics to newly written works, students are exposed to the enormous variety of styles and influences that have shaped the evolution of classical music over the last 150 years. Students will gain the skills and insight needed to achieve a life in music, as performers, composers, teachers, directors, or entrepreneurs.
Each year, the Conservatory presents more than 700 performances by students, faculty, and guest artists, 260 of which are new works. Students in the contemporary classical music performance program alone premiere more than 150 new works, which include commissioned pieces by established composers, as well as new compositions by the Conservatory's talented student composers. In addition to performing in the school's various small and large ensembles, contemporary classical music students participate in contraBAND: Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s Contemporary Music Ensemble, a group that performs several concerts throughout the year devoted entirely to contemporary classical music.
The Conservatory's prime location in the culturally diverse city of Boston provides students with an abundance of opportunities to gain real-world experience with some of the nation's leading organizations. This positions students to work alongside and learn from groundbreaking artists who are creators and champions of new music and contemporary classical performance.
What It Takes to Succeed
Students who flourish in the Conservatory's contemporary classical performance program appreciate classical music, but are energized by new works. They are passionate about using their classical training to explore new performance experiences and techniques, and are fearless in their pursuit of new music and new forms of expression. They are collaborative by nature and thrive in all types of performance settings.
Throughout the two-year program, students participate in contraBAND: Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s Contemporary Music Ensemble and take courses in improvisation, theory and musicology, writing and communicating about music, and contemporary compositional methods and techniques. Additionally, students will receive weekly private lessons in their chosen instrument from renowned faculty members. Students are encouraged to audition for and participate in any additional Conservatory ensembles that may enhance their studies in contemporary performance.
Graduates in contemporary classical music performance have gone on to create, lead, and perform in various ensembles, serve in administrative capacities, and have pursued doctoral studies. With the skills gained in this program, graduates will be prepared to lead a life in the musical community as performers, composers, teachers, directors, or entrepreneurs.