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Department of Chamber Music


At a school where the achievement of artistic excellence is the driving force of all performance programs, the Department of Chamber Music is where students are empowered to define, strive for, and expand their own conceptions of artistic excellence. The department was founded with the belief that chamber music offers today’s musicians the most vibrant avenue of creative expression along with abundant entrepreneurial career opportunities. Providing close, in-depth interactions with an exceptional faculty, the department develops the skills required to perform some of the best pieces of classical music ever written--from the traditional canon as well as new music--while stretching the boundaries of what classical music can and should be.


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Working in small groups requires students to have a voice in repertoire, rehearsal planning, pedagogical goals, performance standards, and collaborative efforts. Chamber music encourages students to ask questions and take responsibility for the answers, especially when the answers might lead to a new way of achieving excellence. Collaborating closely with colleagues in multidisciplinary projects allows for new thought processes, new artistic priorities, and reinvigorated attention to the core activities of their own practices.

Led by Matt Albert (chair), a founding member of the cutting edge chamber ensemble ‘eighth blackbird’, the Chamber Music faculty comprises representatives of the School’s celebrated departments, including all instruments as well as theatre, jazz, musical theatre, dance, musicology, music education, composition, conducting, voice, and performing arts technology. In addition, an exceptional range of world class guest artists visit annually to conduct master classes and workshops. All of the resident faculty and the visiting artists excel in this genre, and they are moving it forward with their thinking, practice, and teaching.

Chamber music students work in state-of-the-art facilities, including the Earl V. Moore Building, which recently received a $29.5 million expansion and renovation, and they receive unprecedented entrepreneurial and career planning support through the school’s EXCEL program (Excellence in Entrepreneurship Career Empowerment & Leadership), poised to become the nation’s top program for funding student entrepreneurial ventures in the performing arts.

SMTD is also home to M-Prize, the largest chamber music competition in the world, which brings an international array of chamber music performers to Ann Arbor each spring, as both contestants and judges. The school also sponsors the Dale and Nancy Briggs Chamber Music Competition, which is exclusive to SMTD students. In addition, Ann Arbor abounds with cultural opportunities, including the University Musical Society (UMS), which presents world acclaimed artists in music, theatre, and dance, and features an exceptional chamber music series annually.




Matt Albert (Chair, violin/viola)


Faculty Coordinators

Bill Campbell (trumpet)

Amy Cheng (piano)

Joe Gascho (early music)

Joe Gramley (percussion)

Freda Herseth (voice)

Andrew Jennings (violin)

Martin Katz (piano)

William King (winds)

Timothy McAllister (saxophone)

Kathryn Votapek (violin)

Associated Faculty

Evan Chambers (composition)

Caroline Coade (viola)

Gillian Eaton (theatre)

Michael Gurevich (performing arts technology)

Michael Hopkins (music education)

Robert Hurst (jazz & contemporary improvisation)

Christian Matijas Mecca (dance)

Carmen Pelton (voice)

Oriol Sans (conducting)

Aleksandra Vojcic (music theory)

Cynthia Westphal (musical theatre)

Steven Whiting (musicology)


SMTD logo for news
Dean Dworkin's statement on proposed elimination of NEA and NEH

In a letter to all SMTD constituents, Aaron Dworkin lays out the importance of the NEA and NEH to our nation and to the future success of our students.  more

image for Always Inspirational, Forever Valiant: A Bicentennial Appreciation for the Performing Arts at Michigan
Always Inspirational, Forever Valiant: A Bicentennial Appreciation for the Performing Arts at Michigan

The University of Michigan Bicentennial marks 200 years of extraordinary research, education, and public service.  more

See more department news

image for  2017 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition: Accepting Applications
2017 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition: Accepting Applications

M-Prize, offering an unprecedented grand prize of $100,000, is now accepting applications, with a deadline of February, 1, 2017. more



image for M-Prize Chamber Arts CompetitionM-Prize Chamber Arts Competition

May 1 - 4
Earl V. Moore Building
Free - no tickets required

image for M-Prize Grand Prize Gala ConcertM-Prize Grand Prize Gala Concert

Thursday, May 4 - 5:30pm
Hill Auditorium
Free tickets required

See more department events

SMTD logo for eventBaroque Chamber Orchestra and the Brandenburg Project

Sunday, May 7 - 3:00pm
Earl V. Moore Building, Hankinson Rehearsal Hall
Free - no tickets required

"The vast possibilities inherent in chamber music empower it with the unique ability to serve as a catalyst for interdisciplinary exploration and, ultimately, transformational artistic experiences."
Dean Aaron Dworkin

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower