Contemporary Musical Arts Program at the New England Conservatory – Music Connection Magazine

History and breakthrough innovation: Founded in 1867, the New England Conservatory in Boston is the oldest independent conservatory in the United States and the only school of music designated as a National Historic Landmark. One of the institution’s most dynamic and innovative crown jewels is its transformative program of contemporary musical arts, which emphasizes ear training, technique, conceptual ideas, cross-disciplinary collaboration and a wide range of improvisational traditions, which uniquely positions him to produce the complete musician of the 21st century. Created as “Third Stream” by Gunther Schuller and Ran Blake, the CMA program celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with concerts, residencies and conservatory-wide collaborations during the 2022-23 season.

Eclectic group of musicians: Over the decades, he has launched and expanded the careers of artists from a multitude of genres – Japanese koto player, flamenco guitarist, singer-songwriters, klezmer musicians, world musicians, jazz, folk, new and rock music, artists specializing in Persian music and Latin jazz, an Arabic music specialist, a tango singer and more.

Various Sets and Workshops: As noted by Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Sarah Jarosz, the department “pushed me out of my musical comfort zone. There are no lines or musical boundaries that cannot be crossed. It is this adventurous spirit that makes programming so unique and fascinating. The Boston Globe calls it “a forward-looking cabal within this classical conservatory…a thriving center of musical exploration.”

Currently, the department offers ensembles and classes focusing on African American roots, songwriting, Jewish music, interdisciplinary collaboration (drawing on poetry, painting, and dance), music world, 21st century repertoire, American roots music, film noir, John Zorn’s play pieces (including “Cobra” and “Hockey”), Indian modal improvisation, Persian and Middle Eastern music, music and ecology, music and spirituality, and composition and improvisation.

What makes CMA unique: The program is unparalleled in its emphasis on auditory learning and personal style development, with a structured approach to auditory training involving singing, memorization, harmonic sophistication, aesthetic integrity and stylistic openness. Acclaimed international violinist and vocalist Eden MacAdam-Somer, co-chair of the department with Klezmer Conservatory Band founder Hankus Netsky, says, “What sets us apart is the opportunity to develop your personal voice through exposure to many different types of music, combined with a rigorous approach to auditory learning, autonomy and creativity. The first step in any field is to listen, then sing or reproduce what you have heard, assimilate that into your own voice, repeat that process, re-examine it, and respectfully build on it. in your own creative work. The point is that students develop a deep respect for and absorb the skills, sounds and structure of many types of music, which enriches their own work and hopefully their whole being.

Contact the NEC Contemporary Musical Arts Program, 617-585-1388