Membership in CMS

The Chamber Music Society’s mission is to provide students with the unique music-making experience of one-on-a-part ensemble playing without a conductor. CMS aims to introduce students to a wide range of repertoire and a variety of ensemble experiences. In an effort to expand the experience of its participants and include as many qualified players as possible, some of the music and groupings are less familiar. All ensembles are thoughtfully created with the goal of contributing to the musical growth and experience of its members.

Each ensemble receives a weekly hour coaching from an assigned coach. The ensemble is also expected to meet weekly for an hour independent of their coach (This is required for students who elect to take CMS for credit. Additional information is available regarding requirements and procedures for taking CMS for credit.)

Participation is open to intermediate and advanced players of all orchestral instruments as well as to pianists, singers, guitarists, harpsichordists, and players of Baroque historical instruments who seek the special experience of one-on-a-part ensemble participation. A preliminary audition, held at the beginning of the applicant’s first semester, is required for acceptance into CMS.

After the applicant’s audition, the student will be asked to fill out a schedule card. By turning in a schedule card, each student is agreeing to participate in the group in which she is placed. (Occasionally, it is not possible to place all qualified applicants.) The ensemble and the piece will be assigned by David Russell and Jenny Tang, based on level of accomplishment, scheduling, and available repertoire. (Resigning from an ensemble can only be permitted for health reasons – complications in scheduling the large number of ensembles do not allow for reconfiguration of groups after the schedule has been set.)

Students who have played in CMS for at least one year may be allowed to make proposals to form specific groups. All such proposals require advance approval from the Director. Any questions, please email David Russell at