Distinguished Clarinet Faculty Donald Montanaro to Retire; Tribute Concert March 16
Students and colleagues pay tribute to a distinguished teaching career spanning more than 30 years with March 16 concert at Curtis
Philadelphia Orchestra principal Ricardo Morales and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra principal Michael Rusinek to teach clarinet
(March 11, 2014) After more than three decades on the Curtis faculty, Donald Montanaro will retire at the close of the 2013-14 school year. A member of the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1957 to 2005 and a Curtis faculty member since 1980, his students can be found around the world, occupying important positions in Beijing, Dallas, Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Malmö, Mexico City, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seoul, and Toronto; as well as the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
His former students and colleagues gather at Curtis on Sunday, March 16 at 3 p.m. for a tribute concert in Field Concert Hall, 1726 Locust Street. The concert is free and open to the public, and no ticket is required. Performers include Anthony McGill ('00), Yao Guang Zhai ('09), Han-Yo Son ('06), Keith Lipson ('98), Victoria Luperi ('02), Gregory Raden ('94), Richard Hawley ('93), and Juyong You ('13), with remarks from Mark Gigliotti (Bassoon '79), Sam Caviezel ('96), and Francois Kloc, President and CEO of Buffet Group USA.
As a clarinet student at Curtis, Mr. Montanaro inherited a musical legacy from the school's first clarinet teacher, Daniel Bonade, and the first oboe and woodwind chamber music teacher, Marcel Tabuteau. After joining the faculty himself, he drew upon them to create a unique emphasis on sound quality and singing style. Curtis woodwind students have been inspired by his knowledge of the quintet repertoire and love of the medium for 34 years. A passionate collaborative musician, Mr. Montanaro is the music director of the Philadelphia Chamber Ensemble, a group he founded in 1977.
"Mr. Montanaro is the embodiment of the great Philadelphia tradition of wind playing going back to Marcel Tabuteau," said Gregory Raden, principal clarinet of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. "Through his unparalleled attention to detail, his teaching instilled in me the lifelong pursuit for elegance, refinement, and vocal expression."
Ricardo Morales and Michael Rusinek will teach Curtis clarinetists starting with the 2013-14 school year. Mr. Morales is principal clarinet of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and has been on the Curtis faculty since 2008. Mr. Rusinek is principal clarinet of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and joined the Curtis faculty in 2012. A 1992 Curtis graduate, he is a former student of Donald Montanaro.
Prior to joining the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2003, Ricardo Morales was principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, a position he assumed at age 21 under the direction of James Levine. He has performed as guest principal clarinetist several times with the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and, at the invitation of Sir Simon Rattle, the Berlin Philharmonic. He also performs as principal clarinetist with the Saito Kinen Festival Orchestra, at the invitation of Seiji Ozawa.
He has been a featured soloist with many orchestras including the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; the Chicago, Cincinnati, Flemish Radio, and Indianapolis symphonies; and the Seoul Philharmonic. During his tenure with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Mr. Morales soloed under James Levine in Carnegie Hall and on two European tours. He made his solo debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2004 with Charles Dutoit, and has since performed as soloist on numerous occasions.
An active chamber musician, Mr. Morales has performed in the MET Chamber Ensemble series at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall with James Levine at the piano; on NBC's Today Show, and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; as well as at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and Saratoga Chamber Music Festival,. His debut solo recording, French Portraits, is available on the Boston Records label. Mr. Morales's recent recordings include performances with the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and the Pacifica Quartet. He serves on the faculties of the Juilliard School and Temple University as well as Curtis.
Michael Rusinek joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 1998 as principal clarinet. He has also performed as principal clarinet with the orchestras of Philadelphia and St. Louis, the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada; and as assistant principal clarinet of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. Mr. Rusinek has often been a concerto soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony, where in 2008 he premiered a new concerto by Alan Fletcher. He has performed as a soloist and recitalist throughout Canada, the United States, and Israel, including appearances with the Belgrade and Czech philharmonics and the Toronto Symphony.
In 1985 Mr. Rusinek received the grand prize in the International Clarinet Society competition. He returns regularly to the Grand Teton, Santa Fe Chamber, and Aspen music festivals. He has also participated in the Tanglewood and Marlboro festivals and toured with the acclaimed Musicians from Marlboro. Born in Toronto, Canada, Mr. Rusinek studied with Avrahm Galper at the Royal Conservatory of Music. He is on the music faculty of Carnegie Mellon University in addition to Curtis.
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 168 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 www.curtis.edu.
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Senior Director of Public Relations and Patron Engagement