The Curtis Institute of Music’s 2011–12 all-school project focused on the school’s rich heritage and forward momentum, as well as its indelible impact on music in Philadelphia, across the nation, and around the world.
Throughout the year performances, courses, and activities illuminated Curtis’s place in the broader cultural landscape, as well as the artistic exchange between Curtis and its many collaborators throughout its history. The all-school project celebrated the relationships and traditions that have shaped Curtis and traces its evolution, from its 19th-century conservatory roots to its recent innovations in the education of exceptionally gifted young musicians.
Harvey Sachs's class The Master Builders covered Henrik Ibsen, Johannes Brahms, and Paul Cézanne. As part of the all-school project, the class took a guided tour of the Cézanne collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
In February Music History I visited Penn's Rare Book and Manuscript collection to look at original musical manuscripts from different musical periods, dating back to the Medieval era.
Virginia Allen's Conductor's Forum included a session on leadership with Stewart Friedman from Wharton and meetings with David Devan (general director, Opera Company of Philadelphia) and Katy Kammeyer (personnel manager and operations manager, the Philadelphia Orchestra).
Harmony, Counterpoint, and Solfège classes studied biographies and discussed the teaching methods of Ed Aldwell, late chair of the Musical Studies department, and Nadia Boulanger.
Franklin and the Cult of Genuis, taught by Vincent McCarthy, offered a study of Franklin, Nietzche, and Wagner, among others. The class visited Philadelphia sites related to Ben Franklin, including the Franklin Institute to see Franklin's glass armonica.
In Philadelphia and the Enlightenment, taught by Peter Gaffney and Gordana-Dana Grozdanić, students read texts by William Penn, Ben Franklin, Sophie La Roche, Montesqueiu, Foucault, and Adorno, among others. They visited numerous Philadelphia sites, as well.
Carla Puppin introduced students to Philadelphia painter Thomas Eakins as part of 19th-Century Art History, and the class visited the Philadelphia Art Museum to see the Van Gogh exhibit.
Language and Literature and Fiction Workshop, taught by Jeanne McGinn, includes the One Book One Philadelphia selection, Edwidge Danticat's Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work (Princeton 2010). Jennifer Higdon's composition student Gabriella Smith composed a piece for the celebration of the book, premiered on March 15, 2012.