The members of the String Faculty are internationally recognized performers with performing and teaching experience in the three main areas of practical concentration: solo, chamber music, and orchestral playing. With this diversified faculty, the string area has been very successful in developing a string program that gives students a very comprehensive training in string performance. Studio lessons include a program of study with specific repertoire requirements on the three levels of performance exams, ensuring a broad basis of musical style and performance practice. Performance opportunities are numerous, from weekly studio master classes, to regular student concert venues in the three concert hall facilities of the school.
The performance department also runs a visiting Master Class Series. Chamber music is the second cornerstone in the string area program. Every student is required to play in a string quartet for two years, after which they may continue in quartets or pursue experience in mixed ensembles. The string area has on average sixteen quartets and approximately a dozen mixed ensembles each semester, each scheduled to perform in one of nine concert dates. The coaching of the ensembles is done by the string area faculty, with a coaching session scheduled each week during the term. Two terms of chamber music on viola are a further requirement for all performance major violinists.
The McGill Symphony, an ensemble of some ninety musicians, plus the McGill Chamber Orchestra, and the Contemporary Ensemble are the ensembles that make up the Orchestral Training Program. Each large ensemble performs a concert per month, and rehearses three times a week, including sectional rehearsals with faculty members of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
The Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra have also performed to critical acclaim in Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York, and have released a number of recordings, including a performance of Mahler's First Symphony from a live performance in Carnegie Hall. The large ensemble program runs a concerto competition, which provides performance opportunity for a number of students. The school also has a Baroque Orchestra, which offers experience on period instruments and bows.
Program overview and requirements:
For a complete list of the School's ensembles, with descriptions and audition information, visit our Ensembles webpages.