It is classical music composed
  • for a small group of players (2 to 8)
  • with a separate part for each musician
  • for musical ensembles of strings, woodwinds, brass, guitar, piano, or harpsichord
  • or for piano four-hands
  • by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, Schumann, Ravel, Bartok, and many others
It is rehearsed and performed
  • without a conductor
  • with a coach who gives suggestions to help musicians learn the music, but does not stand in front of the ensemble and conduct

They joined because

"I could see there were performers at a number of different levels, and therefore felt that there was room for me"

of the "non-intimidating atmosphere"

"there are no music majors... everyone else only got to practice by squeezing in some time between problem sets"

"I had never played in a chamber group format before and the idea sounded very intriguing and interesting"

They find chamber music rewarding because

"chamber music fills a sort of addiction I have for music. It sounds bad, but if I didn't have chamber music, I'd probably suffer withdrawal"

of "small groups and individual attention"

"working together with a few other people to puzzle out a difficult rhythm, or decide on how to handle balance and dynamic constrasts: that can be very stimulating"

"groups are small, you get to know others that are in your group and teamwork is essential"

"I have a significant role in a chamber group. Without one of the members the group cannot function properly"

"being a pianist, my role was previously one of two extremes; either being soloist or accompanist. Participating in chamber music allows me to perform with others where each member's part is equally weighted"

"I think the music program keeps me sane! It is one of the very few things I do here that completely takes my mind off work."

"with music we are given freedom to become passionate, emotional, and irrational because it is part of the music and part of us that needs to be expressed"

  • one hour per week is required, more is encouraged
  • are longer or more frequent close to concert time
  • are both independant and with a professional coach
  • include everyone in the chamber music program
  • each ensemble plays once on a January concert and once on a concert in May
  • are scheduled not to coincide with finals
  • take place on weekends and weekdays at noon (with free lunch provided)

Wide variety of people
  • 40 or so undergrads from all options and all houses
  • 20 or more grad students - your TA might be in your trio!
  • An occasional post-doc, staff, faculty member, or JPL employee, only as needed to fill a student ensemble
Wide range of musical experience
  • musicians who have never played chamber music before
  • advanced players
  • many people with mid-range experience and ability

Audition Sign-Ups
  • at Club Fair during Orientation Week
  • or at The Performing and Visual Arts Office, located at 305 South Hill
  • are friendly, not competitive
  • are for ensemble placement - so you can work with other musicians at your l evel
  • need not involve long prepared pieces; play whatever you can and sight read
  • take place just before classes begin
Academic Credit
  • is available for all music ensembles, including chamber music
  • is 3 units per term
  • sign up at registration or add the class later
  • it's OK to be in chamber music if you don't sign up for credit

Delores Bing
  • organizes the groups, helps select music, and coaches most ensembles
  • is a professional cellist who plays with groups as varied as the Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra and the studio orchestra for the X-Files movie

Robert Ward

  • coaches piano four-hands, and two piano four-hands ensembles
  • is an internationally acclaimed pianist and teacher

William Bing

  • coaches brass chamber music and directs Caltech's concert and jazz bands
  • is a professional trumpet player whose credits also range from playing with the LA Philharmonic to the studio orchestra for Wall-E

Donald E. Hudson Visiting Artists

  • coach all types of chamber ensembles
  • are distinguished musicians drawn from many orchestras and university faculties in the Los Angeles area


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