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Curtis Breaks Ground on New Facility

Building named Lenfest Hall in honor of Curtis Board Chairman H. F. "Gerry" Lenfest and his wife, Marguerite

First major expansion of the Curtis campus in more than two decades is scheduled to open in 2011


The Curtis Institute of Music announces the groundbreaking for its new facility on the 1600 block of Locust Street. The first major expansion of the Curtis campus in more than two decades, the new building is a central part of the school's strategic plan, which commits Curtis to the bold vision to be the finest music conservatory in the world and the first choice for students seeking performance careers.

Named Lenfest Hall in honor of Curtis Board Chairman H. F. "Gerry" Lenfest and Curtis Overseer Marguerite Lenfest, his wife, the building is designed by renowned Philadelphia architects Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates. Scheduled to open in 2011, the facility addresses Curtis's long-established needs for additional space, including an appropriate orchestra rehearsal room and greatly expanded teaching and practice facilities to relieve excessive pressures on the historic main building at 1726 Locust Street. The building will also allow Curtis to provide, for the first time, student residences and dining facilities for the entire Curtis community.

"This is a significant milestone in Curtis's history," said Curtis President Roberto Díaz. "We've long needed added space for rehearsal and learning, and Lenfest Hall is tailored to the requirements of our extraordinary students and faculty. The new facility will be a stunning addition to the campus that allows us to maintain our priceless musical traditions while positioning us for the future."

Situated one block from the current facilities at 1718, 1720, and 1726 Locust Street, Lenfest Hall will create a city campus, completing a "Curtis corridor" along Locust Street from Rittenhouse Square to the Avenue of the Arts, where the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and Curtis Opera Theatre perform regularly at the Kimmel Center.

"The design of Lenfest Hall pays tribute to the historic block of 1600 Locust Street while providing a state-of-the-art educational setting for the talented young musicians that come to Curtis," said Daniel McCoubrey, principal architect for Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates. "We have preserved the façades of two nineteenth-century townhouses and at the same time created inviting community spaces, ample teaching and practice rooms, and student housing within the new building."

Philadelphia real estate development company Razak Company and Athenian Properties LLC is leading the project development team, which in addition to Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates includes construction manager Intech Construction, Inc.; structural engineers Keast & Hood Co.; Marvin Waxman Consulting Engineers, Inc.; acoustics consultants Kirkegaard Associates; and historic preservation architect Noble Preservation Services, Inc. The project is financed by PNC Bank.

"Razak/Athenian is thrilled to lead the development team on behalf of one of Philadelphia's most revered cultural institutions," said Alan Razak, principal of Razak Company. "This project combines best practices in development, design, and historic preservation that will have a lasting impact on Philadelphia and beyond. Once completed, Lenfest Hall's expanded facilities will benefit generations of young musicians by providing critical space to learn, live, and excel."

Construction of the building will strengthen the local economy and create jobs at a time when this is vital to the region. Intech Construction co-owner William Schwartz said, "Intech has long felt a sense of civic responsibility to the City of Philadelphia. This project will not only benefit the city by supporting the economy, but it will provide much needed facilities for one of Philadelphia's renowned musical institutions while respecting the historic nature of the block. Intech is honored to play a key role in bringing Lenfest Hall to fruition."

A generous $30 million challenge grant from Mr. and Mrs. Lenfest accelerated the funding of the building. The challenge campaign raised $60 million which, added to $5 million previously raised from the Annenberg Foundation, completes a $65 million campaign to fund the building's construction. Curtis received gifts from more than sixty donors in support of the Lenfest Hall project, including 100 percent participation from the school's Board of Trustees, a substantial grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and $3 million from The Pew Charitable Trusts.

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 music schools, Curtis provides full-tuition scholarships to all of its 162 students, ensuring that admissions are based solely on artistic promise. A Curtis education is uniquely tailored to the individual student, with personalized attention from a celebrated faculty and unusually frequent performance opportunities. This distinctive "learn by doing" approach to musical training has produced an impressive number of notable artists, from such legends as Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber to current stars Juan Diego Flórez, Alan Gilbert, Hilary Hahn, Jennifer Higdon, Leila Josefowicz, and Lang Lang.


Lenfest Hall Support

LEAD DONORS
H. F. "Gerry" and Marguerite Lenfest
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Hon. Edward G. Rendell, Governor
The Annenberg Foundation

The Pew Charitable Trusts
Bruce Jay Gould, M.D.

The Allerton Foundation
Sueyun and Gene Locks
J. J. Medveckis Foundation
The Neubauer Family Foundation
Mark E. Rubenstein, in honor of his wife, Robin Rubenstein
Charidu Fondation UBS AG/Nina von Maltzahn

GROUND BREAKERS
Anonymous
Nina and Billy Albert
Amaranth Foundation
Edith W. "Bonnie" Barnes
Frank S. Bayley
Peter Benoliel and Willo Carey
Joanne and Graham Berwind
Victoria and DeWitt C. Bok
Blair Bollinger*
Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz
Elaine and Joe Camarda
Miles* and Susan Davis, in honor of Roger M. Scott*
Roberto Díaz* and Elissa Lee Koljonen*
William B. Dietrich Foundation
Mary Lou Falcone*
Ben and Julia Folk^
Deborah M. Fretz
Edward P. Gazouleas*
Bernice B. Gordon
Janet K. Grace
Carole Haas Gravagno and Emilio Gravagno*
John C. and Chara C. Haas Charitable Trust
Carol A. Hauptfuhrer
George Hecksher
William A. Horn*
Patrice and Jeff Kaplan^
Plato S.* and Dorothy K. Karayanis*
Bobby Ellen Kimbel
Steve and Lee Laden
William W. and Imelde Della Valle† Langebartel
Mr. and Mrs. James R. Ledwith
Bong S. Lee, M.D.
Lisa and Gie Liem^
Christina and Jeffrey Lurie
James and Betty Matarese
John H. McFadden and Lisa D. Kabnick
Jeanne and Joseph McGinn
Susan and Frank Mechura
Sandra N. Miller* and Wayne Olson
Susan and Edward Montgomery
Rev. Mary June Nestler*
M. A. O'Donnell
John N. Park
Rose Paul
Albert and Joan Piscopo
Robert and Lynne Pollack
Claudia Post
The Presser Foundation
John W. Rich
Ben† and Martha Rinaldo
Suzanne F. and Ralph J. Roberts Foundation
William H. Roberts
Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Rock
Mary Ellen and Carl Schneider
William H. Smith
Michi I. Tashjian*
Irving and Arlene Tashlick
Jay H. Tolson
The Peggy and Ellis Wachs Family Foundation
Mr. and Mrs. Helge H. Wehmeier

* alumna/alumnus
^ parent of Curtis student
† deceased


Press Contacts

Jennifer Kallend
Senior Director of Public Relations and Patron Engagement
(215) 717-3190
jennifer.kallend@curtis.edu

 

Elizabeth Racheva
Vice President of External Affairs and Patron Engagement
(215) 717-3187
elizabeth.racheva@curtis.edu
 


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