One-on-one lessons with our talented teachers offer students invaluable learning opportunities, but the chance to play with peers provides another dimension to music education. Ensembles allow students to hear how they contribute to a group and build collaborative skills. The Community School supports various ensemble classes.
Audition information for the 2021–22 academic year is now available for select groups. See below for information.
Weekly group classes and small ensembles enable students new to the Chamber Music Institute to concentrate on fine-tuning specific skills. Our experienced faculty hold personalized coaching lessons, master classes, as well as group instruction. Smaller ensembles display their accomplishments through various performances, not the least of which is an end-of-the-year recital.
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The Ed and Mari Edelman Chamber Music Institute offers one of the most comprehensive and intense pre-college level chamber music learning experiences of any music school in North America. Accepted students attend weekly coaching sessions with our esteemed faculty.
Ensembles also participate in chamber music competitions. Previous groups have garnered numerous accolades, including from the Fischoff Competition, Coleman Chamber Music Competition, M-Prize, Pasadena Chamber Music Competition, and the Young Artists Peninsula Music Festival.
Ensembles have appeared on the nationally broadcast From the Top show on the Public Radio International as well as annually on LACMA’s Sundays Live. Students frequently perform in Colburn’s Friday Night Recital series, School Recitals, Honors Recitals, and local schools through the Colburn Musical Encounter program. The year culminates in the Chamber Music Recitals in Colburn’s Thayer Hall.
The Ed and Mari Edelman Chamber Music Institute also supports the Honors Chamber Music Scholarship program. This is awarded through an audition process to students who demonstrate a high level of skill.
The Community School has several instrumental ensembles, including small combos and a Big Band, devoted to the performance of jazz repertoire and the development of the students’ musical concepts, improvisations, and compositions.
All instruments (including stringed instruments) are welcome in these ensembles. Groups perform and record each semester, and rehearsal and performance attendance is mandatory.
A number of Colburn Jazz Workshop groups have advanced to the finals of the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival, where they have garnered a several group and individual student awards. Students have also been honored in the DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards, The Music Center’s Spotlight Competition, and by the National YoungArts Foundation. Past master class clinicians include Wynton Marsalis, Eric Reed, Joe LaBarbera, Reggie Thomas, and John Clayton.
Colburn’s Adult Jazz Workshops consist of musicians who are proficient on their instruments and experienced in jazz studies. Various styles of jazz repertoire are explored and learned aurally along with some discussion of jazz theory and approaches to improvisation. This ensemble is a great opportunity for adults to grow individually and as a cohesive unit in an encouraging, challenging environment. All instruments (including strings) are welcome.
Audition required for new students. Please submit an inquiry form to set up your audition.
The Violin Ensemble is specifically designed as an entry-level ensemble for the Community School of Performing Arts orchestra program, and open to students from either the Suzuki method or traditional private lessons. The ensemble challenges students to elevate their skills to the orchestral level.
Age minimum: 3rd grade; eight years old by September 1
The String Ensemble is made up of about 30 violins, violas, cellos, and double basses. Students in the ensemble will focus on development of orchestral performance techniques, musicianship, sight-reading, and ensemble skills. Repertoire is in the intermediate range.
Age minimum: 5th grade; 10 years old by September 1
The String Orchestra is made up of about 30 violin, viola, cello, and double bass. Musicians in the String Orchestra have achieved a level of intermediate or advanced musicianship and can tackle the challenge of a more intricate repertoire. Featured composers often include Corelli, Handel, Mozart, Holst, and Richard Meyer.
The String Orchestra enjoys several performance opportunities both at Colburn and throughout Los Angeles, including the LA Opera’s community opera projects, Hollenbeck Palms, and Disneyland.
Age minimum: 6th grade; 11 years old by September 1
Colburn Youth Orchestra is the largest advanced ensemble of the Community School, performing regularly throughout the year. This is a full symphonic orchestra with strings, winds, brass, and percussion. The Colburn Youth Orchestra is conducted by Maxim Eshkenazy, who also directs the Colburn Chamber Orchestra and the Colburn Sinfonietta.
Age requirements: 13–18
Colburn Sinfonietta is a mid-sized ensemble of the Community School, performing regularly throughout the year and featuring student soloists. This ensemble combines winds and strings to play works by composers like Beethoven and Haydn. The Colburn Sinfonietta is conducted by Maxim Eshkenazy, who also directs the Colburn Youth and Chamber Orchestras.
Colburn Chamber Orchestra is a small ensemble for advanced strings conducted by Maxim Eshkenazy, who also leads the Colburn Youth Orchestra and the Colburn Sinfonietta. The orchestra regularly appears on LACMA’s Sundays Live, broadcast on KUSC 91.5 FM.
Directed by Karen Lundgren, the Adult Flute Choir provides the opportunity for flute players to play a diverse range of repertoire, work with a talented Colburn faculty member, and become part of a supportive community of musically minded individuals. This ensemble consists of five or more flutists.
Interested students should submit an inquiry form.
Led by Flute and Piccolo Faculty member Diana Morgan, the Adult Flute Ensembles are comprised of 3–4 members. The ensembles allow confident flutists explore their musicality and develop their skills.
Cello Ensemble consists of intermediate and advanced students ages 11 and older. The more experienced musicians perform a variety of genres, including classics, film music, and pop. The ensemble may also play original works and arrangements. Students often give community concerts.
Age minimum: 11 years old by September 1
Recommended minimum playing level: Scherzo C. Webster (Suzuki Vol. 3)
Double Bass Ensemble is an enrichment class that is highly recommended for all bass players registering for private study.
Open to all ages, this ensemble rehearses and performs a wide variety of guitar ensemble music from around the world (classical, jazz, indigenous, and pop), covering six centuries, led by one the country’s most experienced and versatile ensemble guitarists. Standard notation, TAB, and chord symbol reading helpful, but not required.
To set up an audition, interested students should submit an inquiry form.
Build and expand upon private lessons with the Percussion Workshops. Activities will include solo performances, demonstrations of various performance techniques by Mr. McGrath, participation on various percussion topics, and master classes from guest artists. Each semester culminates in a recital of student and faculty performances. Class meets 14 weeks per semester which includes the end of semester recital.
Middle School Percussion Workshop
Student requirements: Grades 6–8, at least one year of private instruction or comparable experience
Duration: Saturdays, 1–2 pm
High School Percussion Workshop
Student requirements: Grades 9–12, at least two years of private instruction or comparable experience
Duration: Saturdays, 2:30–3:30 pm
Taught by Harvey Pittel, this ensemble is for intermediate to advanced saxophone students. Students will be placed according to their level of musicianship and experience.
The Symphonic Band is designed for fifth through eighth graders who have played their wind and percussion instrument for 1–3 years. No previous band experience is required. This ensemble emphasizes band fundamentals, instrumental technique, and ensemble skills.
Saturdays, 12–1:30 pm
Thursdays, 4–6 pm
Concert Band is an ensemble designed for middle school wind and percussion students who demonstrate playing ability at the intermediate level. No previous band experience is required. This ensemble emphasizes music reading and ensemble skills.
Thursdays, 5–6:30 pm
Saturdays, 2–3:30 pm
Wind Ensemble is intended for high school intermediate through advanced level wind and percussion students. Repertoire includes original and arranged works for winds. This ensemble emphasizes music reading and ensemble skills.
Mondays, 6–9 pm