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Euro­pean Cham­ber Music Mas­ter Programme

  • Acronym: ECMAster.
  • Duration: 120 ECTS, two years of full-time study.
  • Language of instruction: English and local language if applicable.

The European Chamber Music Master Programme is an advanced two-year programme, which aims to educate students to act as strong, independent and innovative musicians with a profile in chamber music and to meet the high, professional standards that are expected in tomorrow's music scene.

Key aspects of the programme include the development of the ensemble’s artistic intentions and abilities as chamber musicians and the individual student’s abilities of artistic self-expression as well as refinement of her or his musical presentation, communication, and technical skills. The programme will cover rehearsal and performance of a comprehensive, balanced repertoire. The individual group’s area of interest and musical preferences will be emphasised and challenged. The programme focus on development of the students’ artistic and technical skills on their principal instrument and their ability to convey musical expression in a chamber music group.

The European Chamber Music Master is a joint programme, which means that the programme has a joint programme description and structure that applies to all institutions, as described in this document. The detailed course descriptions might differ from institution to institution, within the framework of this document and the general programme description, and each institution awards the degree to its own students. Students have the opportunity to take advantage of the expertise, culture and tradition of three separate institutions, as well as gaining access to a European network of contacts in the relevant profession through ECMA. Students spend semesters 1 and 4 at their home institution and semesters 2 and 3 at two different host institutions. Exchange semesters at partner institutions and intensive programmes are both obligatory in this master programme.

The order of rotation is as follows:

  • Semster 1: Home institution.
  • Semester 2: Fiesole, Manchester, Oslo or Vienna.
  • Semester 3: Paris, The Hauge or Vilnius.
  • Semester 4: Home institution.

Admission requirements

Bachelor’s degree in Music or equivalent qualifications. Applicants must be a member of an established ensemble, and all ensemble members must apply at the same time and to the same institution. The programme is open to established ensembles with a standard instrument combination:

  • String quartets.
  • Piano trios.
  • String trios.
  • Piano quartets.
  • Wind quintets.
  • Brass quintets.
  • Saxophone quartets.
  • Other ensembles with an established original repertoire of sufficient scope. These will need specific approval by the home institution and the host institutions for semesters 2 and 3. These ensembles must have a minimum of three and a maximum of five musicians. Larger ensembles may be accepted, by agreement of the home institution and both host institutions, and approval from the Programme Board.

Degrees awarded

Students who complete the programme will have the right to use the following degree titles, pursuant to the respective national and institutional regulations:

  • Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris: Prix de musique de chambre.
  • Fondazione Scuola di Musica di Fiesole Onlus: Diploma accademico de secondo livello in Chamber Music*.
  • Koninklijk Conservatorium, Den Haag: Master of Music in Chamber Music
  • Lietuvos Muzikos ir Teatro Akademija, Vilnius: Master of Arts
  • Norges musikkhøgskole, Oslo: Master of Music in Performance
  • Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester: Master of Music in Performance
  • Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst, Wien: Master of Arts.

* The degree will be awarded by Conservatorio statale di musica Giuseppe Verdi Torino, in accordance with an agreement between Fondazione Scuola di Musica di Fiesole Onlus and Conservatorio statale di musica Giuseppe Verdi Torino.

A documented supplement to the diploma (ECMAster Certificate), will be provided for all graduates of the programme. The document shall be signed by the home institution and will provide the following information:

  • Names and logos of all partners.
  • Short programme description.
  • Information on which institutions the ensemble have visited.
  • Name of the ensemble that has completed the programme.

Learning outcomes

Students graduating from the ECMAster programme demonstrate:

  • Ability to realise and convey their artistic intentions as chamber musicians with a clear profile.
  • A high level of technical ability on their principal instrument
  • Advanced level of performance and ensemble skills.
  • Autonomy when meeting demanding artistic challenges and by initiating, implementing and directing a variety of projects.
  • Ability to contribute to innovation and advancement in the field of chamber music as well as understanding the demands of music life and the music industry.
  • Ability to apply new knowledge to expand their academic, artistic and creative perspectives.
  • Ability to develop new knowledge through independent artistic research activity.
  • Ability to reflect upon, discuss and present issues concerning music as an art form and its functions in a societal context.
  • Insight and critical assessment of ethical norms and issues of a musical and professional nature.
  • Ability to show social responsibility in sharing the values of (chamber) music with a wider public in artistic, educational and social settings.
  • Skills in dealing with social aspects encountered within the work of a chamber music ensemble.
  • Exhibit knowledge of improvisational patterns and processes, and the ability to apply these in a chamber music setting.
  • Utilise specific technologies to enable the creation, dissemination and/or performance of music appropriate to chamber music.
  • Ability to play a leading role in a collaborative activity in a multi-disciplinary setting.
  • Ability to identify and utilise a wide range of repertoire to inform their practice and development as a chamber music ensemble.


The study programme consists of teacher-led instruction, artistic and/or academic supervision and independent study in connection with this instruction. The individual programme descriptions will specify the organisation of the programme further.

Each ensemble is appointed a principal artistic supervisor from the home institution and artistic supervisors form each host institution. The responsibility of the principal artistic supervisor is to have regular contact with the students, to have a full overview of the ensemble’s progression and to act as a contact person for the other institutions’ artistic supervisors. Each institution may also have additional administrative and academic supervisors/ contact persons which handle other aspects of the programme.

ECTS credits are used as the unit of measure to express the workload and scope of the courses in the study programme. The complete Master’s degree programme consists of 120 credits. One year of full-time study is equal to 60 credits. One credit corresponds to 27-30 hours of work including instruction and self-study work.

The students pursue the programme in a given order, spending semester one at their home institution, semesters two and three on study periods at two of the partner institutions, and the final semester back at their home institution.


All subject areas are to be assessed at the end of each semester, in accordance with institutional rules and requirements concerning assessment. The individual course descriptions indicate which assessment and grading system will be used.

Eligibility requirements and admission

a) Eligibility requirements

In order to be eligible to apply for the programme, applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree in music performance or equivalent qualifications pursuant to requirements at the home institution. Applicants must be member of an established ensemble, and all ensemble members must apply at the same time and to the same institution. Equal opportunity regulations of each institution apply.

b) Joint admission criteria

In all areas listed below, applicants must demonstrate skills and experience at a level sufficient to commence the programme, individually and as an ensemble.

Applicants must

  • have advanced instrumental and musical skills
  • have the relevant skills and experience in chamber music
  • have the ability to reflect upon and make independent artistic choices

c) Application procedure

Applications are to be submitted to the institution the ensemble wishes to be considered their home institution.

It is strongly recommended to do live auditions, but live auditions via online systems may be allowed.

The application must include:

  1. A curriculum vitae containing the applicant’s relevant artistic activities.
  2. A description of the ensemble’s activities.
  3. Documentation of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent (to be completed before the commencement of the master study).
  4. A master project proposal according to the requirements of the home institution.

Institutions might require further documentation.

d) Audition

The audition includes:

  1. A prepared ensemble program of 60 minutes of at least three contrasting works or movements in different styles relevant for the ensemble type.
  2. An interview.

Quality Assurance

The institutions in the Consortium each have systems for educational quality assurance and development that applies to all aspects of the education provided. Every two years the programme is also evaluated as a whole. Students play a vital role in these efforts by, among other things, participating in student evaluations of courses and programmes.

Joint intensive modules (ECMA sessions)

The ensembles are committed to attending a minimum of 6 ECMA sessions within the two years, normally one session in semesters 1 and 4, and two sessions in semesters 2 and 3. In semesters 2 and 3, one of the sessions will be at the host institution. In semester 1 or 4, the ensemble will participate in the session at their home institution. Ensembles are encouraged to visit each partner country. Each institution must put up funds for travel and accommodation for normally three (and maximum four, if necessary) ECMA sessions for their home ensembles over the two years. Intensive modules are organized by ECMA. Ensembles may also attend ECMA sessions at institutions/ venues that are not partners in the joint master programme. Participation in such ECMA sessions, and participation in more than 6 sessions, is subject to approval by ECMA and the hosting organisation/ institution.

Course Structure

The overall structure of the programme is described below. Each partner institution will adopt its own programme structure and relevant course offerings within this overall structure. The number of ECTS credits in each subject area may differ from institution to institution. Semesters 1 and 4 are flexible for the home institutions to decide, but semesters 2 and 3 will be subject to mutual agreement between home and host institutions with regards to study content.

Chamber Music/Performance

  • Semester 1: 15–25 ECTS.
  • Semester 2: 15–25 ECTS.
  • Semester 3: 15–25 ECTS.
  • Semester 4: 0–15 ECTS.

Electives/institution specific subjects

  • Semester 1: 5–15 ECTS.
  • Semester 2: 5–15 ECTS.
  • Semester 3: 5–15 ECTS.
  • Semester 4: 0–15 ECTS.

Master project

  • Semester 1: 0–7,5 ECTS.
  • Semester 2: 0–7,5 ECTS.
  • Semester 3: 0–7,5 ECTS.
  • Semester 4: 7,4–30 ECTS.


  • Semester 1: 30 ECTS.
  • Semester 2: 30 ECTS.
  • Semester 3: 30 ECTS.
  • Semester 4: 30 ECTS.
  • Total: 120 ECTS.

In the Master project, ensembles will acquire advanced knowledge of a self-selected thematic area or repertoire. The Master project is to be an independent project that reflects artistic maturity in musical performance for the ensemble and each of its members. The project should have a limited topic with a defined artistic issue. The repertoire should normally be of 120 minutes where minimum 60 minutes should be performed in public before the final artistic presentation.

Dependent on institutional and/or national regulations, the master project may also include a written part, closely connected to the artistic output.

The Master project is mainly comprised of the ensemble’s work with developing and implementing their own artistic project, researching, rehearsing and interpreting the repertoire for the Master project and developing, preparing and implementing public presentations of the output of the project.