As a new season begins, we celebrate prestigious awards and rave reviews for Curtis students, faculty, and alumni; successful summer programs; and new partnerships bringing music to audiences around the world. Read the latest stories in Curtis in the News.
2015-16 Season Begins
Experience the kickoff performance in Philadelphia or join us online
The 2015-16 season begins at Curtis this Sunday, when Christina and Michelle Naughton return to Curtis. Their performance on the Curtis Presents recital series was one of Philadelphia Magazine‘s top 5 picks for the month. Hailed for their “stellar musicianship, technical mastery, and awe-inspiring artistry” (San Francisco Examiner), the Naughton twins have captivated audiences around the globe since their graduation from Curtis in 2011.
A Tradition of Excellence
Students and alumni earn accolades and attention around the globe
Curtis pianists Daniel Hsu and Micah McLaurin received the 2016 Gilmore Young Artist Award, presented every two years to the most promising of the new generation of U.S. pianists. Nominations are made by music professionals from around the world and the evaluation process is anonymous and confidential; candidates are unaware they are being evaluated by a selection committee.
Another prestigious award went to Curtis violinist Benny Tseng (pictured), who won the top honor in the International Tchaikovsky Competition; this news was covered locally and in Asia. Watch his prize-winning performance with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. Fellow Curtis violinists Stephen Waarts and Xiao Wang (’09)advanced to the finals of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium, with Stephen ultimately winning fifth place and both public awards: the VRT-Prize and the Musiq’3 Prize of the RTBF.
What is life like for such a highly successful young musician? Two online magazines took a more personal look. Ozy recently covered Andrew Hsu, winner of the 2014 Gilmore Young Artist Award, and his Curtis siblings, calling them the “millennial von Trapps.” And in a piece for Slate, Hilary Hahn (’99) recalled her first two violin teachers, including Jascha Brodsky at Curtis, who inspired her recent release of concertos by Mozart and Vieuxtemps. That recording was also covered by NPR.
The world premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s opera is a Curtis affair
People around the country are buzzing about the world premiere of Cold Mountain, “further proof that we are living in a Golden Age of American opera” (Washington Post) by Curtis faculty member Jennifer Higdon (’88). NPR and Opera News offered previews of this wildly popular new opera, workshopped at Curtis in 2013 and 2014. With tickets virtually sold out weeks before the premiere, the Santa Fe Opera added a sixth performance and arranged for a live recording to be released on the Pentatone label.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegramhighlighted the collaboration between Jennifer Higdon and fellow Curtis graduate Miguel Harth-Bedoya (’91), music director of the Fort Worth Symphony. Miguel Harth-Bedoya led the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra and Curtis students and alumni in the cast and cover roles, including Robert Pomokov (’03), Adrian Kramer (’09), Jarrett Ott (’14), and Roy Hage. Cold Mountain comes to Opera Philadelphia in February 2016 for the East Coast premiere, in which additional Curtis students have roles.
Students from around the world come to Curtis Summerfest
A fourth successful year of Curtis Summerfest draws to a close, having brought 178 students from 15 countries to Curtis for summer programs open to the public. Demonstrating “how powerfully the city benefits from importing talent beyond the usual sources while folding it into the school’s own” (Philadelphia Inquirer), musicians studied with Curtis faculty, alumni, Philadelphia Orchestra musicians, and soloists and chamber musicians with thriving careers.
Profiles of some of the young musicians at Summerfest appeared in media outlets from New Zealand to New Jersey. In addition, the new Summerfest Faculty Recital Series, “a wonderful jolt of established Curtis insiders with outside talent” (Philadelphia Inquirer), presented three sold-out performances in Field Concert Hall.
On Tour in Latin America
High Praise for the Aizuri Quartet and Roberto Díaz in Chile
This summer Roberto Díaz joined the Aizuri Quartet for Curtis on Tour performances in Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico. “In terms of choosing a calling card to send out into the world, the Curtis Institute of Music could hardly do better than the Aizuri Quartet” (Philadelphia Inquirer).
The program included Gabriella Smith’s Carrot Revolution, a new work commissioned by Curtis and the Barnes Foundation, which the Inquirer called “high-voltage and wildly imaginative…It’s hard to think of another composer who has so radically changed the sound vocabulary of the string quartet.” In Chile, the local press agreed, writing that Gabriella Smith “shows complete mastery of her trade” and affirming that “the explosive power of the Aizuri quartet was strengthened with the magnificent sound of Díaz.”