Ensembles

ECMS supports a range of large and small ensembles. Whatever your musical taste and skill, you're sure to find an ensemble to suit you. Having said that, if you find that the ensembles on offer aren't for you, please do talk with the President about starting a new one.

Folk Ensemble

The Folk Ensemble is both a folk band and a chamber orchestra. It offers a more adventurous orchestral experience, performing pieces by Bartók and Ives, as well as music from Klezmer, British, Celtic and American traditions. The ensemble also plays a range of improvised and self-arranged material, and regularly performs at ceilidhs across Cambridge and beyond. In recent years, it has hosted a Klezmer and Balkan music workshop with players from She'Koyokh, as well as providing a workshop of its own at the Inter-Varsity Folk Dance Festival!

Emmanuel College Chorus

The Emmanuel College Chorus is a relaxed and welcoming, non-auditioned ensemble for anyone who enjoys singing. Like the Orchestra and Big Band, the Chorus rehearses weekly throughout Full Term, usually in the College's Wren Chapel on Monday evenings after dinner (7.15pm). We focus on repertoire for the end-of-term concerts. Chorus have joined forces with Big Band in recent years to perform some festive compilations and spread Christmas cheer!

Emma Big Band

Emma Big Band

Emma Big Band plays a variety of full big band arrangements, including funk and latin tunes, swing classics and songs made popular by the likes of Michael Bublé, Nina Simone and Robbie Williams. The Band is also available to play at events in and around Cambridge at extremely competitive rates. Past engagements include MCR dinners, Boat Club cocktail nights, VarsiTV shows, Society Balls, and June Events. As well as a full Big Band, we can also provide a smaller jazz ensemble perfect for garden parties and private functions. We also put on our own very popular 'Jazz and Cocktails' evening at Emma in Michaelmas.

Emma Big Band rehearses on Tuesday nights during Full Term.

Current repertoire includes:

  • The Pink Panther
  • Chattanooga Choo Choo
  • La Cucaracha
  • Blue Danube
  • I Got Rhythm
  • Lady Marmelade
  • The Chicken (with Soul Intro)
  • Blues Brothers Revue 
  • September 
  • Pick up the Pieces
  • Crunchy Frog
  • Virtual Insanity
  • Sing, Sing, Sing
  • Don't Stop Believing

SECCO (Sidney Sussex, Emmanuel and Corpus Christi Orchestra)

SECCO is a non-auditioned, joint orchestral project which began in Michaelmas 2015.  Repertoire across the past year has included Schubert's 5th Symphony, Morning Mood from Grieg's Peer Gynt suite and Elgar's Dream Children. Please contact the President for further information.

Chamber music scheme

ECMS offers a chamber music scheme that fosters small ensembles (usually of two to eight players) of any instrument combination and stylistic focus. If you're interested in leading or joining a group, please contact the President.

Ensembles are self-coordinated, and levels self-nominated (i.e. there are no auditions). Ensembles set their own rehearsal schedules and programmes, perhaps in consulation with the President, depending on the goals of the group. For example, workshops occur throughout the year and ensembles are warmly invited to participate in these. Also, guidance is available regarding your ensemble's choice of repertoire, and to help you find musical partners of a similar standard and stylistic interest. Advanced performers may be invited to participate in other Colleges' recital series, for alumni events, or on concert tours outside Cambridge. Solo instrument workshops (for example, for pianists) are also held. If you're an advanced performer and would like to present a recital, there are several highly skilled pianists in College interested in vocal and instrumental accompaniment. However, everyone, even beginners, can get involved and enjoy playing music with others.

Some groups come together for a term or two to prepare a programme for the public ECMS Sunday Recital Series; less experienced musicians may prefer to aim for a more informal performance just for friends (we organise those too). Two long-term ensembles include the ECMS Flute Choir (a group for flautists of all standards to enjoy playing in a relaxed, fun atmosphere); and the North Court Baroque Ensemble (led by Sheila Guymer), which focuses on Renaissance, Baroque, and early Classical repertoire. Other ensembles may include a variety of duos (piano four-hands, voice & piano, harpsichord & guitar), piano trios, string quartets, wind ensembles, and Klezmer, jazz, folk, and pop groups. Advanced ensembles are encouraged to audition for College May Balls and June Events across Cambridge, and for the Faculty of Music's Recital Series.

In addition to chamber music at Emmanuel, once you've received an offer of a place for next year, you are strongly encouraged to apply for a Cambridge University Instrumental Award for Chamber Music. These scholarships include free tuition with distinguished musicians, and undergraduates from any College may apply. The competition is high, but if you're serious about music, you should consider an application. More information is available here. Note that you need to apply in February, well before you arrive in Cambridge, and that you would be expected to audition in September.

Past chamber ensembles in College have included:

  • Flute Choir
  • North Court Baroque Ensemble
  • John Ash (countertenor) & Robert Mathias (guitar): Renaissance and Baroque songs
  • The Nielsen Quintet: wind quintet of CU instrumental award holders with Robin Foster (flautist)
  • Charlotte Bröker (soprano) & Adam Mathias (piano): Lieder and art song duo
  • Duos and trios with Zina Ward (oboe), Naomi White (soprano), Luc Giraud (flute), and Anthony Wainman (violin) in collaboration with Yelena Wainman (pianist)
  • The Smith Quartet: string quartet of CU instrumental award holders with Robbie Stanley-Smith (cellist)
  • The Mathias Duo: Robert Mathias (guitar) & Adam Mathias (harpsichord)
  • Jonathan Adlam (cello) & Sheila Guymer (piano)
  • Soloists from the Chapel Choir, accompanied by Adam Mathias
  • Yelena Wainman (piano), Teng Jian Khoo (violin) & Daniel Grace (cello): piano trios

  • John Ash and the Angels of Desire
  • Ella Tunnicliffe-Glass (flauto traverso) and Dan Tidhar (harpsichord)
  • The Cambini Quintet: wind quintet of CU instrumental award holders with Freya Smith (clarinettist) 
  • ECMS Baroque Trio: Imogen Flower (recorder), Stella Hadjineophytou (violin) and Adam Mathias (harpsichord)