Ensembles

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.

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. Approximately 24 students are accepted each year, and both new and returning students must audition for placement.

Recommended minimum playing level: Ensemble members must study privately and demonstrate basic reading skills

The Cello Choir is specifically designed as an entry-level ensemble for the Community School’s orchestra program. The Cello Choir is open to both Suzuki and traditional students. Instructional emphasis is placed on orchestral performance techniques along with advancing musicianship and reading skills. Although no previous orchestral experience is required, both new and returning students must audition for placement; approximately 16 students are accepted each year.

Age minimum: 3rd grade; eight years old by September 1

The String Ensemble consists of violin, viola, cello, and double bass. Approximately 30 students are accepted each year, and placement is based on demonstrated ability and musical promise. The repertoire demonstrates members’ intermediate skill range and the ensemble performs twice a year in Zipper Hall.

Although previous orchestral experience is not mandatory it is encouraged. New and returning students audition for placement.

Age minimum: 5th grade; 10 years old by September 1

The String Orchestra is made up of violin, viola, cello, and double bass. Approximately 30 students are accepted each year, and placement is based on demonstrated ability and musical promise. 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. They frequently perform at Hollenbeck Palms and Disneyland. Past performances have been held at the Angelus Plaza Senior Center, USC’s United University Church, and Kingsley Manor. One of the most prestigious honors bestowed on the String Orchestra is a recurring invitation to participate in the LA Opera’s community opera projects.

Both new and returning students audition for placement and previous orchestral experience is recommended.

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.

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.

Audition requirements:

  • Two pieces, one technical and one lyrical
  • Sight-reading demonstration

To schedule an audition, contact the Community School registration office.

is the flagship ensemble of the Community School. This is a full symphonic orchestra. Members, ranging in age from 13 to 18, are chosen through an audition process.

Members are directed by Maxim Eshkenazy, who attended USC’s Thornton School of Music as well as completed a fellowship at the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival. He currently serves as director of both the Community School Youth Orchestra and Colburn Chamber Orchestra. The group embarked on their inaugural international tour to Europe in the summer of 2016, visiting Prague, Salzburg, Vienna, and Munich.

The Colburn Youth Orchestra makes appearances throughout the year. It’s a regular guest on LACMA’s Sundays Live, broadcast on KUSC 91.5 FM. Oftentimes concerts spotlight student soloists. The annual highlight is the Community School’s Collaboration Concert, an evening with the Colburn Youth Orchestra, Colburn Chamber Orchestra, Colburn Concert Choir, Young Men’s Chorus, and ballet and modern dancers from the Advanced Studies program.

Auditions traditionally are held every June for the coming season, and both new and returning students are required to audition.

Age minimum: 13 years old by September 1

Audition requirements:

  • A solo concerto of student’s choice, etude or sonata, without an accompanist.
  • Pianists should prepare one piece with contrasting sections, or two pieces that illustrate lyrical and technical proficiency.
  • Prepared orchestra excerpts(pianists exempt)
  • Students may be asked to sight read during audition

Check back for audition dates and details for the 2018–2019 academic year.

Our Chamber Orchestra is a small ensemble for strings. Musicians between the ages of 13 and 18 follow the direction of Maxim Eshkenazy, who also leads the Colburn Youth Orchestra. The orchestra has had the honor of performing works by internationally known composers, including Thea Musgrave and Steven Stucky. In 2004, the orchestra debuted at Walt Disney Concert Hall on the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Sounds About Town series, and performed a joint concert with the Colburn Conservatory of Music Orchestra. You can also listen to students on LACMA’s Sundays Live, broadcast on KUSC 91.5 FM.

Auditions traditionally are held every June for the coming season, and both new and returning students are required to audition.

Age minimum: 13 years old by September 1

Audition requirements:

  • A solo concerto of student’s choice, etude or sonata, without an accompanist, that demonstrates technical and interpretive accomplishment
  • Prepared orchestral excerpts

Check back for audition dates and details for the 2018–2019 academic year.

The Ed & 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 & 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.

Admittance into the Ed & Mari Edelman Chamber Music Institute is limited; students studying privately at the Colburn School are awarded priority assignments. Also, we require members to attend an orientation meeting at the beginning of the fall semester.

Audition requirements:

  • A solo concerto of student’s choice, etude or sonata, without an accompanist.
  • Pianists should prepare one piece with contrasting sections, or two pieces that illustrate lyrical and technical proficiency.
  • Prepared orchestral excerpts (pianists exempt)
  • Students may be asked to sight read during audition

Check back for audition dates and details for the 2018–2019 academic year.

Concert Band and Wind Ensemble

The 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.

The 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, as well.

Both ensembles meet once a week for 16 weeks each semester. If you have any questions, please contact 213-621-4748.

Duration
Concert Band: Mondays, 6 pm–7 pm
Wind Ensemble: Mondays, 7:15 pm–8:30 pm

2018–19 Audition Information will be announced soon. Below is a sample of last year’s requirements:

2017-2018 Audition Information

Minimum Age Requirements
Concert Band: 6th grade (some age exceptions made)
Wind Ensemble: 9th grade (some age exceptions made)

Concert Band Audition Requirements
1. Major scales (up to four sharps and four flats) and a chromatic scale
2. Solo piece, without an accompanist; an etude or other solo work that shows lyrical and expressive ability as well as technical facility
3. Sight-reading (music provided at audition)

Wind Ensemble Audition Requirements
1. All major scales and a chromatic scale in full range
2. Solo piece, without an accompanist; an etude or other solo work that shows lyrical and expressive ability as well as technical facility no more than three minutes in length
3. Sight-reading (music provided at audition)
4. Excerpts

Select your instrument to download the appropriate excerpts for your audition.

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.

Students interested in jazz studies should contact the department chair, Mr. Lee Secard at lsecard@colburnschool.edu. Mr. Secard will be able to provide information and guidance on the most appropriate enrollment for the student. Interested Adult Jazz Combo students should contact Liz Kinnon at ekinnon@colburnschool.edu.