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Large Ensemble Handbook

Mission of the Large Ensemble Office

The mission of the Large Ensemble Office is to serve both the students and conducting faculty of the Boston Conservatory Ensembles. We will make every effort accommodate requests.

Table of Contents:

Introduction

Large Ensemble Information and Staff

Ensembles Website

Scheduling: Ensembles Bulletin Board

School Closings

Student Contact Information

Auditions

Seating Assignments

Instrument Loans

Section Requirements

Rehearsals

Attendance & Grading Policies

Artistic Grading
Attendance Grading

Large Ensemble Failure

Audio and Video Recording Waiver

Concert Dress

Concert Services

Performance Venues

Introduction

Over time, professional orchestras have developed and refined a code of conduct and a set of procedures. Some of these have become formal written regulations, especially since the advent of unionization. Others are unspoken and subtle – many, in fact, are just a variation of common sense and mutual respect.

This handbook comprises our agreement with each other, and serves to protect the musical working environment within which we practice our art. These policies and procedures are designed to create a safe, productive, and enjoyable ensemble experience for all.

Regardless of your experience level, you must read, understand, and familiarize yourself with all of the practices contained in this handbook to make your years at the Conservatory successful.

Large Ensemble Information and Staff

The Boston Conservatory has numerous instrumental ensembles including: Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Hemenway Strings, Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonietta, Brass Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Saxophone Ensemble, Opera, Dance, Musical Theater, and others. Placement into all ensembles is by audition at the beginning of the school year. 

Faculty and staff members involved with large ensembles include:

Bruce Hangen (Director of Orchestral Activities and Orchestra Conductor) 
Mr. Hangen serves as the artistic director and conductor of the Orchestra, chairs the conducting program, and works closely with faculty who lead other instrumental ensembles such as the Orchestral Repertoire class, Chamber Orchestra and Hemenway Strings.

Eric Hewitt (Wind Ensemble Conductor) 
Mr. Hewitt serves as the artistic director and conductor of the Wind Ensemble, Sinfonietta, and New Music Festival. He is also chair of the Woodwind Department.

Larry Isaacson (Associate Director, Music Division)
Mr. Isaacson, who also serves as the chair of the Brass Department, is responsible for logistics, planning, and support of the ensembles and artistic directors above, as well as others such as Opera, Theater and Dance ensembles. He leads the process of advance season planning, assists preparations for guest conductors and soloists, coordinates productions involving the Dance and Theater divisions, coordinates the purchasing and renting of parts and scores, oversees attendance taking for the ensembles, oversees planned and emergency absences of student musicians, hires and processes contracts for guest performers, and oversees long-term space and facilities planning.

Tuaha Khan (Concert Manager) 
Mr. Khan works with the artistic directors above, other staff, and his own student support workers to support ensemble needs in the areas of equipment moves and placement, set-up, and take down.

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In addition to the four key individuals named above, there are various support staff who work with the instrumental ensembles.

  • The Ensembles Coordinator (Michelle Zwi) oversees ensemble attendance, scheduling, and grade distribution.
  • The Ensemble Manager (Lindsey Stein) takes attendance and oversees the other attendance takers.
  • The Ensemble Assistants (Emily Pecoraro and Victoria Garcia) assist the conductors in their area and also take attendance in the ensembles.
  • The Performance Librarian (Angela Lickiss) and her staff are responsible for organizing, distributing, and collecting all performance materials. 

Ensembles Website

Everything you need to know about Large Ensembles is on our website: http://www.bostonconservatory.edu/ensembles/office. Here you will find links to a staff directory, schedules and assignments, the handbook, directions to venues, CD order forms, performance library policies, ensemble performance dates, and the excused absence request form. It is to your benefit to become well acquainted with this website as it is the quickest and most accessible way to stay updated on all Large Ensembles information. The schedules and assignments are constantly updated reflecting the most recent rehearsal schedules and assignments.

Scheduling: Ensembles Bulletin Board

The Ensembles bulletin board is the glass bulletin board located near the Admissions office in 8 The Fenway. This is one of two official sources for information, the other being the website. Please consult the bulletin board or website regularly for schedule information (including schedule changes), program and personnel information, seating assignments, rehearsal order, and other important information. Students are responsible for the information posted here. If you have any questions regarding the posted materials, see the Ensembles Coordinator or the Large Ensemble Manager.

School Closings

Very rarely, the decision will be made to close the Conservatory due to weather-related or other emergency conditions. The most common reason for this sort of cancellation is to permit our commuter staff to be able to return home safely when bad weather is anticipated. Since students and many of our faculty live in close proximity to the school, activities such as rehearsals and performances usually take place even when the staff offices of the Conservatory have closed.

The default position for all performance activities is always "on", unless the Conservatory has specifically notified you that a rehearsal or performance has been cancelled.

In the event of inclement weather or another emergency, the Conservatory posts official information using a variety of means:

  • e-mail to all students via the @bostonconservatory.edu address on file 
  • posting on the TBC homepage. 
  • posting on the official ensemble board of the Music Division
  • notification by ConnectEd

In these situations, students giving individual recitals are urged to contact both Audio Visual Services (Richard Malcolm, rmalcolm@bostonconservatory.edu) and Concert Services (Tuaha Khan, tkhan@bostonconservatory.edu) to confirm details of the performance. Under extreme conditions, it may not be possible to record or usher your concert, although we will always try to support activities whenever possible. Keeping in close contact with these offices will allow them to coordinate the services we have available. Emergency closures happen very rarely, but when they do happen we will make every effort to provide each of you with the most current and accurate information available.

Student Contact Information

Contact information for all ensemble members will be gathered at the start of the school year. It is your responsibility to check your Boston Conservatory e-mail address, where all of the large ensemble communications will be sent. Sudden schedule changes or weather-related cancellations may be relayed to students via phone, so please remember to keep an up-to-date phone number on file. 

Auditions

Entrance into all ensembles is by audition. All new and returning students are required to play an audition at the beginning of the school year for a panel that will include a variety of faculty members, chairs, and artistic directors. Remember that the auditions are to determine your proficiency and will influence both your seating and ensemble assignments for the entire year – so make the most of the opportunity. 

Seating Assignments

Seating assignments are generally done by the chair of each department. They are based primarily on the auditions held in September, but also through ongoing performance reviews by the appropriate conductor and individual private lesson teachers.

Seating assignments may vary from program to program. Wind and brass assignments are intended to achieve an appropriate degree of rotation throughout the season while considering repertoire requirements relative to playing strengths. If you have questions about your seating within an ensemble, please direct these questions to the chair of your department.

Barring unforeseen emergencies, such as a sudden change in program, we will have seating assignments posted four weeks prior to the first rehearsal of any given cycle. To better assist us, Excused Absence Request (EAR) forms are due no later than two weeks prior to the first rehearsal of any cycle. This form can be found on our website: http://www.bostonconservatory.edu/form/excused-absence-request-form. It allows us enough time to make any necessary changes before the music is handed out. Thank you for your consideration of this deadline.

Instrument Loans

Please note that the Performance Librarian and her staff are in charge of the instrument library. Please contact them to borrow any of our instruments. These currently include: (2) Piccolos, Flute, Alto Flute, Eb Clarinet, English Horn, Alto Clarinet, Bass Clarinets (3), Contrabass Clarinet, Contrabassoon, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone (2), Baritone Saxophone, Piccolo Trumpet, Cornet, Flugelhorn (2), Alto Trombone, Bass Trombone, and Euphonium.

Section Requirements

Strings, Winds, and Brass

At the discretion of the conductor, sectionals may be required in addition to daily rehearsals. Assigned sectionals are scheduled and coached by Conservatory faculty or guest artists. Additional sectional rehearsals may be scheduled outside the regular large ensemble rehearsal time and led by the principal player of the section. Attendance for such extra sectionals is not mandatory, but it is expected you will make every reasonable attempt to attend at least one extra sectional rehearsal per concert program when it is called at the request of the conductor.

Strings – Alternate Policy

The Boston Conservatory maintains a policy of alternate string players in the event a vacancy occurs before or during a production. The alternate may be assigned to play at any time during the rehearsal process and you should be prepared accordingly.

If you are an alternate, you are required to be available for any or all rehearsals and performances in the event a vacancy occurs. If the alternate player wishes to be released from this commitment for any personal or employment reason, s/he must seek approval first from the Associate Director of the Music Division, Larry Isaacson.

Percussion

All assigned percussionists for a given event are expected to assist the percussion liaison in setting up and breaking down rehearsals. In addition, all assigned percussionists are responsible for being present and participating in load-ins and load-outs, which usually occur several times during a concert cycle. Times will be posted on the percussion bulletin board in Ipswich.

When small instruments are required, the assigned player is responsible for supplying the instrument (snare drum, triangle, claves, etc.).

Rehearsals

All great orchestras of the world have, as one component of their greatness, the characteristic of discipline. Elements of discipline include such things as starting and stopping on time, tuning in an orderly and sensible way, staying fully present to the conductor as the rehearsal proceeds, listening intently, stopping immediately when the conductor stops conducting, writing and marking music appropriately, speaking with colleagues only when absolutely necessary, and as minimally and quietly as possible, and so forth. Discipline also involves what one brings to the rehearsal with them: a fully prepared and practiced part; a positive, open and expectant attitude; and, of course, a pencil! This code of conduct is universal, and the sooner you make a habit of it, the more satisfaction you will derive from your participation in ensemble.

Rehearsals begin precisely on time. Arrive early enough to unpack, soak reeds, warm-up, and get your music in order before tuning. Allow extra time for unexpected delays or problems.

Please pay particular attention to the following specific expectations. These are particularly important because of the impact on grading they may produce.

  • To be considered on time, you need to be in your seat and ready to play at the posted start time for the rehearsal. Entering the rehearsal space at the start time or later is considered tardy and will result in the appropriate grading penalty.
  • Ensemble members are expected to practice individual parts in advance, so as to be completely prepared for the first and subsequent rehearsals of all programs. Complete preparation includes an understanding of foreign musical terms and general conception of the repertoire at hand. Inadequate preparation, as well as how the conductor perceives your musical contribution and attitude, can also result in a grading penalty.
  • A pencil is required at every rehearsal to mark music appropriately.

The rehearsal time for all ensembles is weekdays from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. While not every ensemble will meet every day for the entire semester, students must keep this time available for sectionals and other ensemble requirements. Also, see "Instrumental Performances" (link to http://www.bostonconservatory.edu/ensembles/instrumental-performances) for additional times that students enrolled in Large Ensembles must be available.

Tuning Procedure for all ensembles

 At rehearsals and concerts, the concertmaster requests an A-440 from the principal oboist. The A-440 is given to each section in the following order: 

1. Woodwinds 
2. Brass 
3. Basses, Cellos & Violas 
4. Violins

Please tune quickly, but carefully, during the allotted time and not while another section is tuning. Once the first tuning A is sounded, there is to be no talking during the entire tuning procedure, even if you have already tuned.

Ensemble Etiquette

 Failure to understand these written and unwritten codes of conduct in the professional world might well cost a musician his or her job. Fortunately, at The Boston Conservatory, most mistakes do not have such a permanent and devastating effect. However, failures in observing these procedures will result in lower final grades, failing grades (meaning your four-year degree has just become a five-year degree!) or, in extreme cases, expulsion from an ensemble.

Additional elements of ensemble etiquette, for everyone to understand, include these guidelines:

  • Remain facing forward, and do not talk while the conductor rehearses individuals or sections other than yours.
  • There should be no conversation during rehearsal. Whenever the conductor begins to speak in rehearsal you should assume he is speaking to you. To use that time to ask your own questions of others is disrespectful of the conductor and your colleagues. Even in the occasional question of bowing, if you cannot simply follow your conductor's and principal's leadership then wait until a declared break, or end of the rehearsal to ask your question.
  • Stop playing immediately when the conductor stops conducting. This is the sign of a truly great (and truly respectful) orchestra, and a way in which the orchestra communicates its esteem to the conductor. To continue playing after the conductor has stopped indicates lack of attention (if accidental) and extreme disrespect (if intentional).
  • While the conductor is working with others, you must remain silent, both verbally and musically. Listen to the conductor's comments anyway; it is more than likely that they apply to you too.
  • If you become aware of an inadequacy on your own part, make a note (mental or physical) of the passage which needs your attention, and attend to it in the practice room.
  • Gum, candy, food, and drinks, including coffee, are not allowed in rehearsal. The only exception is water in a covered container.
  • Technology Clause: Student and guest performer use of computer-driven devices is not allowed in rehearsals or performances. This is including, but not limited to: phone, tablets, laptops, TV's, projectors, radios, or other internet capable devices. All performers (guests and students alike) are expected to abide by this policy, or else they will be removed from rehearsal. The only student allowed to have a powered-up device is the attendance taker (phone only) and for means of communication around issues ONLY related to the rehearsal or performance at hand.
  • Cell phones must be turned off for the duration of the rehearsal. All phone conversations and text messaging should happen outside of the rehearsal itself and outside of the entire rehearsal time.
  • Special note for strings: Section string players all follow their section leader in the execution of bowings and articulations, whether or not you personally agree with them. It is the responsibility of each player on each stand to observe the stand in front of them and make all changes to the parts as the front stand makes them.
  • Special note for winds & brass: The Principal player is a "co-captain" of the "team", and is a representative of the conductor. It is the responsibility of all members of any section to follow the lead of the principal player, in terms of blend, articulation, dynamics and any other musical facet the principal decides.
  • Ensemble members should come prepared to remain in the room for the entire rehearsal duration. Leaving rehearsal for the bathroom is allowed only for rare and exceptional times of emergency.
  • Before rehearsals and concerts, playing should be limited only to that required to warm-up on your instrument. Avoid louder-faster-higher excerpt playing, out of respect for your colleagues, all of whom are also trying to tune and warm-up before rehearsal. Ensemble members all share the same acoustical space, so it is important to bear this in mind. Before a concert, it becomes even more important to be aware that others are hearing us and to balance our need to warm up with our desire to preserve an attractive sound world for them.
  • Ensemble members are expected to be in attendance at the entire rehearsal unless specifically excused in advance by the conductor. If you are playing a part that is significantly tacet, remain in the room unless you specifically have been excused by the conductor.
  • All rehearsal schedules, no matter how specific, are always subject to change at the last minute at the conductor's discretion, based on how the rehearsal cycle is progressing. Therefore, please always keep the entire rehearsal period in reserve, even if you might not initially be called for the entire period.

Music

The Performance Librarian and her assistants are responsible for the distribution and collection of all music. Music will normally be available two weeks prior to the first rehearsal and can be picked up in the library space in the Ipswich building. Library hours vary but are clearly posted on the large ensemble board at the beginning of the week. You must pick up your own music before the first rehearsal. Students will not be allowed to pick up music for another student. At the end of the final concert, please place your music in the box provided off-stage. Do NOT leave your music on the music stand. String players who have an extra set of parts must return them at the concert as well.

In cases of bad page turns in your individual part, you are personally responsible for alleviating the situation by making a photocopy. The librarian is not responsible for this particular issue.

For those students who do not return their music at the final concert, music must be returned to the library within three days after each performance.

  • Beginning on the fourth day, there will be a $1 fine for each day an item is overdue with a maximum fine of $15.
  • Additionally, you will receive notification that a replacement charge of $50 per piece has also been added to your tuition bill.
  • If you return the material by the last day of classes for that semester, this charge will be reversed on TBC owned materials only, but not on rental materials. The $15 overdue fine will be charged in either event, and cannot be removed.

Attendance & Grading Policies

Your ensemble grade will have two components to it.  1) An artistic grade is determined by the ensemble conductors and includes musical understanding, preparation and improvement, personal conduct, ensemble etiquette, cooperation and contribution to the ensemble.  2) In addition, your attendance at each activity (concerts, rehearsals, sectionals, or other meetings) is mandatory. Absences and tardies from required ensemble activities will affect your final grade.  The artistic grade will be submitted by the conductors and in most cases shared with the students within a couple of weeks of the end of a concert cycle.  The attendance penalties will be added to the artistic grades at the end of the semester. 

Ensemble Grading

 

Artistic Grading

Your ensemble grade will have two components to it: 

1) Your attendance at each activity (concerts, rehearsals, sectionals, or other meetings) is mandatory. Absences and tardies from required ensemble activities will affect your final grade. 

2) In addition, an artistic grade is determined by the ensemble conductors and includes musical understanding, preparation and improvement, personal conduct, ensemble etiquette, cooperation and contribution to the ensemble. 

The artistic grade will be submitted by the conductors and in most cases shared with the students within a couple of weeks of the end of a concert cycle.  The attendance penalties will be added to the artistic grades at the end of the semester. 

Attendance Grading

Your attendance at each activity (concerts, rehearsals, sectionals, or other meetings) is mandatory. Absences from required ensemble activities will affect the final grade in the following ways:

  • Each unexcused absence from a required ensemble activity will result in the lowering of the artistic grade for that cycle by 15 points.
  • Students who are not in their chair and ready to play at the posted start time for the rehearsal will be considered late to rehearsal. Each tardy will carry a penalty of 5 points off the artistic grade for that cycle.  Students who arrive at rehearsal more than 20 minutes late are recorded as absent from that rehearsal.
  • Attendance at dress rehearsals and concerts is mandatory. Penalties for absence and tardiness are doubled for all dress rehearsals and concerts. A dress rehearsal consists of any full dress rehearsal prior to the concert as well as any warm-up rehearsals.

A maximum of two excused absences per semester are allowed, and authorizations are given only for serious reasons. Such things as non-emergency doctor appointments, private lessons, or recital participation should not be scheduled during rehearsal time and are not considered valid criteria for an excused absence.

As a courtesy, anytime you will be missing a rehearsal on late notice, please make sure to email both Mr. Isaacson AND the conductor of your ensemble so that they know you will not be in attendance. It can be disruptive to a rehearsal to have you absent without any warning to the conductor.

If you are sick or have an emergency, you can be excused for a rehearsal once per semester without documentation by leaving a message at least fifteen minutes before the rehearsal begins on Mr. Isaacson's answering machine at 617-912-9246 or at his email address - lisaacson@bostonconservatory.edu.  This does not apply to dress rehearsals or performances.  Doctor's notes will be required for additional absences. Any request for an excused absence one day before or after a school break will also need a doctor's note.

The following are examples of acceptable excused absences

  • Illness with a doctor's note (original notes are due no later than 1 week after absence) --A significant audition, performance or educational experience (with at least 2 weeks' notice prior to the first rehearsal of the concert cycle that would include your excused absence)
  • Family emergency
  • You are allowed to request a rehearsal off on the day of your recital, as long as it is not the final 2 rehearsals of a cycle. It is best to schedule your recital so that there is no conflict with rehearsals and performances, but if you must schedule your recital during a concert cycle, please request the rehearsal off for your recital day at least 2 weeks before the first rehearsal of that cycle so that we can easily accommodate your request.

You will find a complete schedule of events here that happen outside of the regular weekday rehearsal times. If you become aware that you will have a conflict with any of these dates, please see Mr. Isaacson in the Music Division office immediately.

To be excused from any performance, consult with the chair of your department. They will discuss the request with you and do their best to accommodate it. We are pleased to try to support outside opportunities, but only if they do not put your education or the ensemble in question in jeopardy. Requests to be excused from a complete performance cycle should ideally be made before the end of the drop/add period, but if that is not possible, no later than two (2) weeks before the first rehearsal of the concert cycle in question. After that date, only extraordinary circumstances will be considered. This timing will give us enough time to recast the ensemble and alert any new players who will be assigned to the cycle. These requests will be considered by the chair of your department in consultation with the conductors.

To be excused from any individual rehearsal, please submit an Excused Absence Request (EAR) form found here. These forms should be submitted as early as possible, but no later than two (2) weeks before the first rehearsal of the concert cycle that would include your excused absence. After that date, only extraordinary circumstances will be considered. These requests will be considered by the Associate Director of the Music Division in consultation with the Conductors.

Medical notes for absences must be original and must be submitted no later than one week after the date of the absence. Notes submitted later than one week after the absence will not be accepted. The use of fraudulent documents to support an Excused Absence Request will result in immediate failure of the course. Any absence that is not approved will be considered unexcused.

Please note that forgery is a serious crime, and that forging a doctor's signature or treatment instructions may constitute practicing medicine without a license, which is itself a violation of the law. The Music Division will refer any suspected criminal behavior to the appropriate agency for investigation and possible prosecution.

The Conservatory has priority over outside activities, including extra-curricular performances. It also has priority over social events such as a wedding when the student is not a family member. You are expected to be available for rehearsal on all days that school is in session. Rehearsals or concerts missed due to travel plans will be considered an unexcused absence. The performance schedule for the year has been planned with the current pool of musicians in mind. Successful performances require full attendance at all rehearsals and concerts.

Artistic Grading

Each student is expected to come to rehearsals and performances with a singular focus; to perform at the highest level of musicianship while engaged in the ensemble.

Students are expected to prepare their ensemble music individually and outside of the rehearsals and to rehearse and perform to the best of their ability. Musical elements such as pitch, rhythm, intonation, phrasing, style, dynamics, dramatic interpretation, and memorization are expected to be mastered so that the ensemble may perform at the highest level.


Expectations of an "A" 
You consistently watch the conductor, consistently respond to the conductor's requests, and consistently strive to perform at your best.

Your attendance is perfect. Your intonation is consistently accurate, your rhythm is consistently precise, and you produce a beautiful and characteristic tone. Your music is consistently performed with specified phrasing and style, and dynamic markings are consistently adhered to. Your music is consistently practiced outside of rehearsal and ready for the ensemble. Your music is consistently memorized as required. Your attitude is consistently positive and enthusiastic with respect for colleagues and conductor. You inspire the musicians around you.

Expectations of a "B" 
You usually watch the conductor, usually respond to the conductor's requests, and usually strive to perform at your best.

Your attendance is almost perfect. Your intonation is usually accurate and you adjust well to what you hear around you. Your rhythm is usually precise, and you are sensitive to the sounds of the sections of the orchestra. You produce an appealing tone, and usually choose colors which characterize the music. Your music is usually performed with specified phrasing and style, and dynamic markings are usually adhered to. Your music is usually practiced outside of rehearsal and ready for the ensemble. Your music is usually memorized as required. Your attitude is usually positive and enthusiastic with respect for colleagues and conductor.

Expectations of a "C" 
You sometimes watch the conductor, sometimes respond to the conductor's requests, and sometimes strive to perform at your best.

You have some issues with consistent attendance. Your tone and intonation are sometimes unstable, and it is not clear that you are able to adjust to what you hear around you. Your rhythm is sometimes precise, but sometimes disconnected from the ensemble pulse. Dynamic markings are sometimes overlooked, and you sometimes play out of balance. Your music is sometimes performed with specified phrasing and style, but such performance is inconsistent. Your music is sometimes practiced outside of rehearsal and ready for the ensemble, but you are sometimes unprepared. Your music is not always memorized as specified. Your attitude is sometimes positive and enthusiastic with respect for colleagues and conductor, but you sometimes need to be motivated to do your best.

Expectations of a "D" 
You seldom watch the conductor, seldom respond to the conductor's requests, and seldom strive to perform at your best.

You are too often tardy or absent. Your tone and intonation are seldom stable, and it's clear to the conductor that you are not adjusting to the sounds around you. Your rhythm is seldom precise, and it is often clear that you are disconnected from the ensemble. You often seem unaware of dynamic markings, and play out of balance. Your music is seldom performed with specified phrasing and style. Your music is seldom practiced outside of rehearsal and it is often evident that you are not prepared for ensemble rehearsal. Your music is seldom memorized as specified. Your attitude is seldom positive and enthusiastic with respect for colleagues and conductor. You need special attention and persistent monitoring in order to keep up.

Expectations of an "F" Student
You almost never watch the conductor, almost never respond to the conductor's requests, and almost never strive to perform at your best.

You are so often tardy or absent that you cannot function as a member of the ensemble. Your tone and intonation are almost never stable, and you stick out of the blend of the ensemble. Your rhythm is almost never precise, and it is clear that you are disconnected from the ensemble pulse. You seem unaware of dynamic markings. Your music is almost never performed with specified phrasing and nuance, and you often get in the way of your colleagues' music making. You are usually unprepared for first rehearsals, and don't make much progress with the ensemble. Your music is almost never memorized as specified, and you often seem unaware of the conductor's requests. You appear detached, lethargic, unenthused, and uncommitted in rehearsal.

Large Ensemble Failure

If for some reason you do fail Large Ensembles, (below D for undergraduates, or below B- for graduates) make sure to be in touch with Mr. Isaacson to learn about your options for making up the credit.

Audio and Video Recording Waiver

As a condition of participation in the Large Ensemble performances at The Boston Conservatory, the enrolled student agrees that:

  • all rehearsals and concerts and other activities of the TBC Large Ensembles in which the student participates or attends may be recorded, filmed, or videotaped for use in personal study.
  • all rehearsals and concerts and other activities of the TBC Large Ensembles in which the student participates or attends may be recorded, filmed, podcasted or videotaped for possible promotion and publicity on behalf of The Boston Conservatory.

The student's release is given freely and without any expectation of payment for any of the services or use of materials described herein.

Concert Dress

Students of The Boston Conservatory are required to own the appropriate forms of concert attire. Any student not in required concert attire is subject to a grading penalty of 5 points per performance, disciplinary action and may be excluded from performing.

The Boston Conservatory utilizes two primary dress requirements:

  • Formal Concert Dress is required of all Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, Sinfonietta, Hemenway Strings, String Orchestra, and String Ensemble concerts. 
  • Informal Concert Dress is used for all pit performances such as Musical Theater, Dance, and Opera.

Concert Attire can alter by ensemble, so make sure to check with the ensemble director if you have any questions about what to wear for an event.

Attire for Women

Formal Concert Dress

  • Long-sleeved black dress blouse with floor or tea length (2" above ankles) black skirt or black dress slacks
  • Floor or tea-length long-sleeved black dress
  • Black hosiery
  • Black low to mid high heel (closed toe dress shoes)

Informal Concert Dress

  • Solid black
  • Long-sleeves and pants/long skirt must be worn
  • No jeans, logos, sandals, shorts, tee-shirts, or athletic shoes

In all the above attire, strapless dresses, shirts or blouses, or translucent outerwear are not acceptable, nor is dance or exercise style clothing (stirrup pants, leotard-type wear, skin-tight clothing).

Attire for men

 Formal Concert Dress

  • Black tuxedo (no tails) and pants
  • Black cummerbund or black vest
  • Black bow tie
  • White plain, pleated or pique wingtip collar tuxedo shirt with studs and cuff links
  • Black socks
  • Black, polished dress shoes

For men who forget their bowtie on the concert day, please see the Large Ensemble Manager to borrow a tie for the day. Leave your ID and you will be loaned a bowtie for the concert.

Informal Concert Dress

  • Solid black
  • Long-sleeves and pants
  • No jeans, logos, sandals, shorts, tee-shirts, or athletic shoes

Where to buy a tuxedo

Inexpensive
Keezer's 
140 River Street 
Cambridge, MA 02139 
(617) 547-2455 
http://www.keezers.com/

Medium quality
Classic Tuxedo 
223 Newbury St, Boston 
(617) 424-7707 
www.classictuxedo.com 
At a tuxedo shop you can sometimes buy a used tuxedo, especially in the fall.

Good quality
Jos. A. Bank 
399 Boylston Street 
Boston, MA 02116 
(617) 536-5050 
http://www.josbank.com

Men's Wearhouse
406 Boylston St, 
Boston 
(617) 266-9296 
http://www.menswearhouse.com

Concert Services

Concert Services stage crew consists of work-study students who are supervised by the Concert Manager, Tuaha Khan. The stage crew is responsible for all rehearsal and concert stage set-ups. This includes placement of all chairs, music stands, pianos, risers, and conductor podium. All rehearsal and concert staging will be set at least 15 minutes prior to the event and will be removed promptly at its conclusion.

The concert services crew is there to help and support you, so please be careful not to interfere with them as they attempt to do that. It is extremely important that students allow the stage crew to perform all tasks efficiently. Please keep away from the area until the set-up has been completed. At the conclusion of each rehearsal/concert, please leave quickly so that they can strike your ensemble and set up for the next one.

Performance Venues

The Boston Conservatory's large ensembles perform at many venues throughout the greater Boston area. Please check the concert schedule for performance and rehearsal locations. The following is a list of frequently used on- and off-campus campus performance facilities:

  • The Boston Conservatory Theater, 31 Hemenway Street, Boston, MA
  • Seully Hall, The Boston Conservatory, 8 The Fenway, 4th floor, Boston, MA
  • Studio 401, room T-401, 31 Hemenway Street, Boston, MA
  • Ipswich, 132 Ipswich Street, Boston, MA
  • Sanders Theatre, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
  • Fenway Center, 77 Saint Stephen Street, Boston, MA
  • Old South Church, 645 Boylston Street, Boston, MA

For some off-campus concerts and/or rehearsals, The Boston Conservatory will provide transportation. Please refer to the Music Division bulletin board or see the Large Ensemble Manager for more specific information.

Call for Concerts and Productions

We recommend that you arrive at least 30 minutes prior to a scheduled performance. In some cases you will need to arrive even earlier for sound checks or warm-up rehearsals. Please check the music division bulletin board for more information.

For productions in the Mainstage Theater, the call time is 30 minutes before any performance is scheduled to start. This will usually be a 1:30 p.m. call for a matinee and a 7:30 p.m. call for an evening performance. You must sign in with the attendance taker by this time or you will be marked as tardy. The attendance taker will be in the Green Room in the theater with a sign- up sheet. If you are not in the theater by the scheduled start of the show, you will be marked as absent. Keep in mind that all penalties, both tardies and absences, are doubled for performances.

Concert Times

Concerts of ensembles from The Boston Conservatory generally begin at 8 p.m. In addition, orchestra and production concerts may also begin at 2 p.m. and/or 7 p.m. Please check the current concert schedule for exact times.

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