At the beginning of each year, students are matched into small ensembles. Each ensemble has a professional chamber musician coach, and is assigned a piece to learn, including works from early, classical, romantic, modern, and contemporary repertoire. Ensembles are expected to perform each semester in the Performance Workshop, as well as in the Winter and Spring concerts.
The vocal ensemble, like our chamber music ensembles, is an opportunity for singers, including instrumentalists who want to develop their voices, to participate in an intimate ensemble with only one or two on a part. The ensemble is expected to perform in the Performance Workshop, as well as at the Academy Winter and Spring concerts.
The weekly Performance Workshop is the heart of the Academy. In this hour, students, faculty, and parents come together to study the art of performing. In a master class format, students have the opportunity to perform—both pieces they are working on in private study, as well as with their Academy ensembles—and receive feedback from their fellow students, other audience members, and from faculty. Students in the audience are prompted to develop skills to articulate their observations about what they are hearing. For our young composers, it is an opportunity to learn the idioms of different instruments as well as a chance to workshop their own music. The course addresses the whole range of issues for the performer, from dealing with stage fright to bowing protocol, memorization, speaking and interaction with audiences, and of course issues of musical interpretation and presentation.
Masterclasses and Workshops
The Academy brings special guest artists for Master Classes. These classes are open to the public. Guest artists we have invited include... world acclaimed pianists Adam Neiman, Geoffrey Duce, violist Toby Appel (sponsored by the Seattle Chamber Music Society) and cellist Anthony Arnone. 2013-2014 Master Classes and Workshops will be announced soon.
Academy Chamber Orchestra
The Academy Chamber Orchestra rehearses every Wednesday, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at the Haller Lake United Methodist Church, 13055 First Avenue Northeast, Seattle, WA 98125. Students must re-audition each year for placement and seating in the orchestra. For more information, visit the ACO Website.
Advanced Performance Curriculum
The Honors Ensemble provides pre-formed chamber ensembles with advanced rehearsal and performance experiences in an increasingly self-directed setting. Only pre-formed ensembles will be accepted to this program, and it is expected that all members of the ensemble will have had significant prior chamber music experience. Individual ensemble members will submit an application (including an application fee) to the Academy. In addition, the ensemble will submit a letter stating their intent to apply as a pre-formed ensemble to the Honors Ensemble Program. Auditions will include an interview with the ensemble, and an open rehearsal in which Academy faculty members observe the ensemble's rehearsal skills.
Honors Ensembles will be overseen by a mentor from the Academy. They are required to rehearse a minimum of six hours per month; rehearsal schedule and location will be determined by the ensemble, with input from their Academy mentor. Though the Academy mentor may choose to attend rehearsals, the Honors Ensembles are expected to rehearse primarily on their own. Students will have had prior experience with regular coaching sessions, and will now have regular accountability with master teachers. The Honors Ensemble format is therefore designed to transition advanced young musicians from a student setting into a more professional setting.
Honors Ensembles will participate in public masterclasses approximately once a month, and will be expected to have at least one movement of a piece prepared for each performance. Masterclass teachers will be prominent performers and chamber musicians. Honors ensembles will prepare at least two complete chamber works per year and perform in approximately six concerts per year in venues associated with the Academy of Music Northwest. Concerts will include prominent recitals, fundraising events, and outreach programs.