Chamber music encompasses some of the greatest masterpieces of the Western tradition, yet is portable enough to be played anywhere. The Butler School of Music Chamber Music Department defines chamber music groups as un-conducted ensembles of three of more players, one person per part. The chamber music faculty are committed to the philosophy that small group collaborations, from duo sonatas to larger, un-conducted chamber groups, establish an essential foundation in musical communication and listening skills while providing rewarding music-making opportunities. The chamber music program offers course credit towards undergraduate and graduate degree requirements in piano, strings, brass and woodwinds.
All students registered for chamber music courses must complete certain requirements for credit, including registering for the appropriate class, performing on a master class, participating in an outreach seminar offered by any member of the chamber music faculty, performing in a community outreach situation coordinated through the Outreach Office of Daniel Seriff, and performing on a chamber music recital appropriate to the student's group. At the beginning of each semester, all chamber music information is explained at the Chamber Music Organizational Meeting.
Groups with strings have the opportunity to be coached and taught by the internationally recognized Miró String Quartet. With the Miró Quartet, string chamber music at the Butler School of Music is a dynamic affair. Every student group receives individual coaching with a Miró Quartetmember, as well as multiple master class opportunities with the Miró Quartet and visiting artists. Student performances at the end of the semester are open to the public, and student groups give additional recitals both on and off campus. Repertoire studied covers the entire gamut of the chamber music genre: baroque, classical, romantic, 20th and 21st century pieces, as well as every ensemble configuration from duos to octets, with a special emphasis on the core string quartet literature. The communication, listening and interpretive skills essential to every mature string player are mastered in the study and performance of chamber music. Each fall the Miró Quartet teaches an intensive string quartet class focused on the repertoire of a particular composer. Six quartets are selected annually for this special course, which culminates in a full performance of all six quartets at the end of the semester.