The Curtis Institute of Music Joins the Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project to Inspire a Million Service-Year Positions by 2023

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The Curtis Institute of Music Joins the Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project to Inspire a Million Service-Year Positions by 2023

ArtistYear Fellowship Program, Curtis’s New Arts-Based Service Corps, Launches in September 2014

PHILADELPHIA, PA–June 3, 2014–The Curtis Institute of Music–together with the Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project–is launching ArtistYear, an arts-based service corps that brings arts access and education to underserved communities. Inspired by the Franklin Project‘s challenge to America to create one million service year positions by 2023, Curtis will pilot the ArtistYear Fellowship Program in Philadelphia during the 2014-15 academic year.

The Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project aims to inspire a 21st-century national service system. It has challenged institutions of higher education to join in creating a system of national service that calls upon every young person, between the ages of 18 and 28, to serve for one year. The Franklin Project’s vision is a country where a year of fulltime national service is a cultural expectation, common opportunity, and civic rite of passage for every young American.

Gen. (ret.) Stanley McChrystal, chair of the Franklin Project’s Leadership Council, said “Thank you to the Curtis community and the ArtistYear Fellows for leading this mission to bring the arts into national service. Our vision at Franklin Project is for all citizens to have the opportunity to serve our great nation. This is a rare opportunity to create a shared common experience across talents and backgrounds. Engaging young artists in this experience is essential–for the students and the gifts they will share bringing the arts to underserved communities.” 

During the 2014-15 academic year, three recent graduates of Curtis will participate in an impact-and metric-driven pilot program in Philadelphia, creating a foundation for ArtistYear to scale and replicate around the region and the country. The mission is to enable students with a deep passion for their art form and humanity to give back to areas in their local communities through one-year fellowships.

“Curtis is committed to preparing all of its students to become artist-citizens whose musical excellence impacts the world around them in profound ways. The ArtistYear Fellowship Program provides an important new opportunity to develop extraordinarily talented young musicians who are also deeply engaged in their community,” said Curtis President Roberto Díaz. “Beyond the technical skills and artistry that all Curtis students must possess, the ArtistYear Fellows are keenly aware of the importance of building new audiences for classical music and of advocating for the art form. They recognize that the experience of giving back to the community can encourage their growth as artists.”

Michelle Cann (Piano ’13), Wade Coufal (Bassoon ’14), and Alexandra von der Embse (Oboe ’12) have been named the inaugural ArtistYear Fellows. During their fellowship year, they will collaborate with local community partners such as City Year, Teach For America, and AmeriCorps to engage young people and others in the Philadelphia community in creative expression and introduce them to the power of music. In the coming weeks, the fellows will design programmatic project concentrations for the 2014-15 school year.

The ArtistYear Fellowship Program is the latest in an array of fellowship programs introduced by Curtis–including string quartet and conducting programs–that provide professional bridge opportunities to help students and young alumni transition into musical careers. The ArtistYear Fellowship Program provides an annual service allowance and living stipend, medical insurance, and monthly professional development opportunities. In return, the fellows will commit to full-time work serving the Philadelphia community through music.

The ArtistYear Fellowship program will be announced at the Aspen Institute’s Summit at Gettysburg, June 4-6, which will convene 350 outstanding Americans from the private sector, higher education, government, military, faith community, philanthropy, and nonprofit organizations to advance the nation’s longstanding tradition of service and civic engagement, and to challenge the country to recommit itself to the promise laid out by its founders. Participants will hear from some of the nation’s most respected leaders on national service and the American character. The summit will also focus on innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to national service and consider how this effort to revive meaningful citizenship can and must transcend divisions in politics, business, and society. The Franklin Project is convening the summit in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship, Service Nation, and Voices for National Service. Video of summit speakers and panels will stream live online during the June 4-6 summit.

The Curtis Institute of Music educates and trains exceptionally gifted young musicians for careers as performing artists on the highest professional level. One of the world’s leading conservatories, Curtis provides its 175 students with full-tuition scholarships and personalized attention from a celebrated faculty. Its distinctive “learn by doing” approach has produced an impressive number of notable artists, from such legends as Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber to current stars Jonathan Biss, Juan Diego Flórez, Alan Gilbert, Hilary Hahn, Jennifer Higdon, and Lang Lang. Curtis alumni hold principal chairs in every major American orchestra, and each season they are featured as guest soloists with the world’s leading orchestras, opera houses, and chamber music series.

Curtis’s innovative programs encourage students to perform often and hone 21st-century musical skills. The school’s facilities offer superb spaces for music-making, as well as state-of-the-art technologies to enhance learning. In addition to more than 200 performances in and around Philadelphia each year, students perform internationally with Curtis On Tour. When they graduate, they become musical leaders, making a profound impact on music around the globe. To learn more, visit

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Further details about ArtistYear:

Bios for 2014–15 ArtistYear Fellows:
Michelle Cann (Piano ’13)
Wade Coufal (Bassoon ’14)
Alexandra von der Embse (Oboe ’12)

More information on the 2014 Summit on National Service at Gettysburg, June 4-6:

Schedule for 2014 Summit: 

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