The Curtis Institute of Music Brings Music to the World in 2015-16; Season highlighted by expanded online initiatives, stellar performances in Philadelphia, and a commitment to sharing music with the community at home and around the globe

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The Curtis Institute of Music Brings Music to the World in 2015-16

Season highlighted by expanded online initiatives, stellar performances in Philadelphia, and a commitment to sharing music with the community at home and around the globe

PHILADELPHIA,PA—October 20, 2015— This season the Curtis Institute of Music pairs tradition with innovation, combining over 90 years of outstanding artistry with a commitment to engaging communities at home and around the globe. Through online initiatives that share Curtis worldwide, a stellar season of performances in Philadelphia, and an expanded social entrepreneurship curriculum, students become artist-citizens who advocate for the art form and engage audiences through music-making of the highest caliber.


Music-lovers around the globe can listen, explore, and learn through the school’s many online offerings. Beginning October 23, Curtis will offer free HD live-streamed broadcasts every Friday night to a worldwide audience through Curtis Performs ( Additional video content is added to the site weekly and viewable from any device–desktop, phone, or tablet–extending Curtis’s footprint in the digital space.

Free online music courses offered through Coursera continue to attract lifelong learners from around the world. Over 90,000 learners from 182 countries have enrolled since the launch of this partnership. Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, taught by Jonathan Biss (’01), and World of the String Quartet, taught by Arnold Steinhardt (’59) and Mia Chung, are offered in a new on-demand format that allows learners to join at any time.

In response to the overwhelming popularity of Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, Jonathan Biss now offers three new lectures taking a deeper look into specific sonatas, against the context of Beethoven’s life and times as established in the original series. He also plays several examples, in addition to describing the music. The new lectures focus on the sonatas Op. 2, No. 1; Op. 10, No. 2; Op. 57, the “Appassionata”; and Op. 101. Mr. Biss will eventually film lectures to include all of the Beethoven piano sonatas.

Curtis also brings live performances to destinations around the world through Curtis on Tour, the school’s global touring initiative. An embodiment of the school’s “learn by doing” philosophy, it offers students real-world, professional touring experience alongside celebrated alumni and faculty. In addition to performances, students frequently offer master classes, in-school demonstrations, and other community engagement activities. Over the past season Curtis on Tour has reached nine countries on four continents, including performances in Hong Kong; Seoul; Taipei; Dresden; Berlin; Paris; Bremen; Boston; New York City; Washington, D.C.; Miami; San Diego; Nantucket; Mexico City; Santiago; and Athens. As Curtis continues to expand touring in Latin America and Asia, a full orchestra tour of Europe is also being planned for 2017.


2015-16 Media Calendar of Events :: Season by Series

At home in Philadelphia, Curtis is launching another stellar season of performances, which are the core of the school’s “learn by doing” philosophy. Tying together many of the season’s events is the all-school project focusing on the Darmstadt school of avant-garde composers that emerged in the mid-20th century. Since 2007 Curtis has leveraged an annual all-school project–hailed by the New York Times as the “best teaching idea” of 2008–to serve as a focal point for artistic programs and the academic curriculum.

The Curtis 20/21 Ensemble sets the stage with performances throughout the season dedicated to the revolutionary impact of the Darmstadt school (November 11-April 29), the majority as part of the Student Recital Series. Continuing its celebrated legacy as the leading concert stage for some of the world’s finest young musicians, the Student Recital Series is the school’s signature performance series, offering free performances every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday night throughout the school year (October 23-May 13). World-renowned faculty and guest artists also join Curtis students throughout the season.

The Curtis Symphony Orchestra recently opened its season with Philadelphia Orchestra music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin leading a program of 20th-century masterworks (October 18). Later this year, Ludovic Morlot brings the orchestra to Carnegie Hall (February 1) following a performance in Philadelphia (January 31), and Michael Stern (’86) conducts the final concert of the year (April 17).

The Curtis Opera Theatre celebrates the 30-year legacy of artistic director Mikael Eliasen with the Amadeus Affair (May 6), a special gala performance of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro at the Kimmel Center (also offered May 4, 7, 8). Also featured this season is Massenet’s Manon (November 19-22), the fast-selling world premiere of Empty the House by Curtis composition student Rene Orth and Pulitzer Prize-winning librettist Mark Campbell (January 21-24), and the nearly sold-out production of Richard Strauss’s Capriccio (March 2, 4, 6), an annual joint production with Opera Philadelphia and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

Recently named a resident company of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Curtis expands the number of performances on the Kimmel Center campus. This includes two offerings on the Curtis Presents series: a music, dance, and cabaret-inspired collaboration with duende and the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble (December 3), and celebrated bass-baritone and Curtis alumnus Eric Owens (’95) and friends (January 17). Harold Hall Robinson, principal double bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra, concludes the Curtis Presents season (April 3).

Other offerings throughout the year include interactive family concerts presented in collaboration with the Philly Art Center and Pennsylvania Ballet II and recitals at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Barnes Foundation, and Longwood Gardens.

ARTIST CITIZENSA dynamic social entrepreneurship curriculum, supported by a prestigious Advancement Grant from The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, helps students hone the bold thinking and collaborative skills necessary to pursue careers as 21st-century musicians. Throughout their time at Curtis, students are encouraged to consider their role and responsibility as artists, and to bring arts access and education to the community, through the Social Entrepreneur course, project-based Community Artist Program (CAP), and post-graduate Curtis ArtistYear Fellowship program, among other offerings.

Now in its second year, the Curtis ArtistYear Fellowship program expands from three to five ArtistYear Fellows in 2015-16, thanks to funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Wells Fargo, and an anonymous individual donor. Curtis was the first higher-education arts institution to join ArtistYear and respond to the challenge issued by the Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project: to foster a 21st-century national service system, with a goal of one million service-year positions created by 2023.

The five Curtis ArtistYear Fellows, all recent graduates of the school, have already begun collaborating with local Philadelphia community partners to bring arts access and education to communities with limited access. Fellows are creating impact- and metrics-driven pilot programs to scale and replicate nationally. Their projects include engaging children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, bringing music to patients at Philadelphia-area hospitals and the homeless population in Philadelphia; rebuilding the music program at South Philadelphia High School; and curating a concert series with an emphasis on integrating classical music into underserved communities in a meaningful way.

About Curtis
Each year 175 students come to the Curtis Institute of Music, “one of the world’s finest music academies” (BBC Culture), drawn by a tuition-free, performance-inspired learning culture. In this intimate environment, they are nurtured by a celebrated faculty and inspired by the school’s distinctive “learn by doing” approach, offering more than 200 concerts each year in Philadelphia, as well as performances around the world through Curtis on Tour.

The extraordinary young musicians of Curtis graduate to join 4,000 alumni who have long made music history. Each season leading orchestras, opera houses, and chamber music series around the world feature Curtis alumni. They are in the front rank of soloists, composers, and conductors and hold principal chairs in every major American orchestra. Curtis graduates are musical leaders, making a profound impact on music onstage and in their communities. To learn more, visit

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