Chamber Music Program

Faculty member Tom Kraines gives an introduction to Chamber Music in this episode of Settlement 101.

Joseph and Marie Field Chamber Music Program 

All Ages
Tuition: $770

Nationally recognized chamber music program for students of all ages and abilities. More than 40 chamber ensembles for piano, strings, woodwinds, and brass that perform regularly throughout the city. Settlement encourages chamber music participation as an essential part of every musician’s training. Also serves as excellent preparation for the Advanced Study Program.  Chamber auditions are scheduled for June 11, 2019 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Mary Louise Curtis Branch. Contact your nearest branch for more information.

Shirley Curtiss Center for Woodwind Studies 

Ages 12-18
Tuition: $770

Part of the Joseph and Marie Field Chamber Music Program focusing on woodwind chamber ensembles and developing skills in ensemble playing. Settlement Music School’s nationally-renowned woodwind ensemble program is named in honor of the founder of Settlement’s woodwind program, Shirley Curtiss.

The center honors Mrs. Curtiss’ nearly 50 years of service as the founder and lead faculty member of Settlement’s woodwind ensemble program and in gratitude to her and her husband Sidney Curtiss, also a Settlement faculty member and former violist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, for their ongoing dedication and generosity to Settlement.

Advanced Study Program 

Part of the Joseph and Marie Field Chamber Music Program, the Advanced Study Program is a special scholarship program for 13 – 18 year old students (or through completion of high school) who have an interest in pursuing pre-professional training.

The scholarships include:

  • Participation in an Advanced Study Chamber Ensemble, at no fee.
  • A scholarship for individual study with a senior member of the Settlement Music School faculty or with a recognized artist/teacher in the community.
  • Participation in an advanced study section of Musicianship (music theory) at any branch of Settlement where it is offered, at no fee.

Advanced Study ensembles perform several times per year in concerts at Settlement and in the community. Occasionally, Advanced Study ensembles are engaged for outside performances through Settlement’s Concert Division, and performers may be offered modest honoraria.

It is expected that recipients of Advanced Study scholarships will make participation in the ensemble and in Settlement Music School concerts and events their first priority after their school musical obligations.

Ensembles include:

  • Benjamin and Carol Auger Contemporary Ensemble, coached by Linda Reichert
  • Gabriel Braverman String Quartet, coached by Sidney Curtiss
  • Gray Charitable Trust Piano Trio, coached by Sandra Carlock
  • Ann Newman String Quartet, coached by Sidney Curtiss
  • Myer Schwartz Piano Trio, coached by Sandra Carlock
  • Trowbridge String Quartet, coached by Thomas Kraines
  • Gail W. Snitzer String Quartet, coached by Sidney Curtiss
  • Rosalie Magen Weinstein and Matthew B. Weinstein Advanced Study Woodwind Quintet, coached by Rie Suzuki
  • The Helen K. Schwartz Advanced Study Jazz Ensemble, coached by Tony Miceli

Auditions are held in the spring and fall for openings as needed. Auditions for Advanced Study Openings for Strings and Piano will be held by appointment in spring 2019.  Dates to be determined.

Audition Requirements: 
Applicants should prepare two, contrasting movements from one or more concertos or solo works and a scale of their choice. The audition will also include sight-reading. No accompanist is necessary.

For an audition appointment, please send your application to Kris Rudzinski via email or mail to Settlement Music School, PO Box 63966, Philadelphia, PA 19147-3966.  Please check back in Spring 2019 for the 2019-2020 application form.

Settlement Music School’s Gray Charitable Trust Piano Trio, coached by Settlement piano and chamber music faculty member and Arthur Judson Distinguished Faculty Chair Sandra Carlock, performed at the 2016 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. The Trio, comprised of violinist Brenden Zak (age 18), cellist Cindy Yeo (age 17), and pianist Kelly Zhang (age 18), has performed together as an ensemble since 2013. The ensemble’s selection reflected a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication over the past three years, with preparation for this competition having begun at the start of the 2015-16 season. Numerous Settlement ensembles have been invited to take part in the Fischoff competition since its inception in 1973. Most recently, the Gail W. Snitzer String Quartet, coached by Sidney Curtiss, competed in 2014 and received an Honorable Mention.

Application Process 

All Chamber Music applicants should fill out the form below.  Advanced Study applicants will need to fill out a different form when it is available in Spring 2019.  Please check back in the Spring for more information on the 2019 Advanced Study Season.