Success in today’s professional music landscape requires both excellence as a performer and musical flexibility across a wide range of performing contexts, musical styles, and ensemble configurations. These two key learning components of the Peabody Institute’s Breakthrough Curriculum in Music Leadership are at the core of the Conservatory’s large ensembles program.
The program is designed to acquaint the entire student body, as well as each participating student, with the rich and varied literature of many musical genres, and to provide students with the means, through rigorous rehearsals and frequent public performances in a variety of ensemble settings, of developing their musical skills and flexibility to a high level of artistic competence.
The acclaimed American conductor Joseph Young serves as Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Artistic Director of Ensembles. The large ensembles curriculum includes the following instrumental and vocal ensembles.
Employing the largest instrumental forces of all Peabody ensembles, and delivering the most performances during the season, the Peabody Symphony Orchestra draws repertoire from the Classical period to the present day, and includes frequent collaborations with prominent guest soloists and conductors.
New in 2017-18, the Peabody Chamber Orchestra performs music ranging from the Baroque and early Classical eras, to works for string orchestra and contemporary works for smaller orchestral forces, and may sometimes perform without a conductor.
With an emphasis on living composers who continue to score works for traditional orchestral instruments, the Peabody Modern Orchestra showcases a cross section of 21st century and late 20th century works, highlighting important trends of the present and recent past and blurring the stylistic distinctions between a broad range of musical genres.
A large wind and percussion ensemble, the Peabody Wind Ensemble performs works ranging from classic wind band literature to a wide variety of contemporary works for wind ensemble and wind symphony, sometimes including larger chamber ensemble pieces. Student compositions are occasionally premiered, and guest artists often perform concertos with the ensemble.
The Peabody Opera Theatre Orchestra is the pit orchestra for all Peabody Opera main stage productions, performing repertoire from traditional grand opera to more recent works.
New in 2017-18, the Peabody Studio Orchestra performs works ranging from film scores to typical pops-oriented programming, collaborating on occasion with vocalists, big band, and other performing artists across disciplines.
A select ensemble of roughly 40 to 50 members with excellent skills and previous choral experience, the Peabody Singers focus on virtuosic choral literature, both a cappella and accompanied.
The Peabody-Hopkins Chorus is a large choral ensemble of Peabody students and students from Johns Hopkins’ Homewood campus. The ensemble performs large-scale works from the standard choral-orchestral literature, typically in collaboration with the Peabody Singers and one of the Peabody orchestras.
The following ensembles offer additional performance opportunities in a range of musical styles and genres.
Historical Performance Ensembles
Celebrating its 30th anniversary season in 2017-18, the Peabody Renaissance Ensemble consists of a vocal ensemble and instrumental consorts of violas da gamba, recorders, lutes and guitars, and percussion. Students and staff of Peabody and Johns Hopkins are joined by guests from the Baltimore-Washington early music community.
Baltimore Baroque Band is the baroque orchestra of the Peabody Conservatory. Students and faculty members play together in a conductorless large ensemble which combines the commitment and attentiveness of chamber music with the discipline of orchestral playing.
The Peabody Jazz Ensemble performs a wide range of repertoire encompassing all of the jazz idioms in varied and flexible group settings, from septet to big band, and features both traditional and non-traditional jazz instrumentation. The PJE has often collaborated with prominent guest artists, including John Abercrombie, Sam Rivers, Peter Erskine, and Mark Feldman, among others.
With its varied forces including strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, and voices, the Peabody Improvisation and Multimedia Ensemble’s aim is to expand the boundaries of traditional big band performance by incorporating elements of other genres of artistic expression.
Peabody’s newest new music group, Now Hear This is an ensemble of varying size delivering exciting and imaginative programs of all different genres of contemporary music – from classical to crossover, from minimalism to modernism.