Board Chair Nina Baroness von Maltzahn Affirms Curtis Leadership and Future Direction with $11.5 Million in Gifts
$10 million establishes the Nina von Maltzahn President's Chair held by Roberto Díaz; additional $1.5 million in support for Curtis On Tour
PHILADELPHIA, PA—December 15, 2014—The Curtis Institute of Music announces a combined $11.5 million in gifts from Board Chair Nina Baroness von Maltzahn, including a $10 million endowment gift to establish the Nina von Maltzahn President's Chair held by Roberto Díaz. Baroness von Maltzahn has directed an additional $1.5 million from the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation to support Curtis On Tour, the school's global touring initiative and the program which first introduced her to Curtis in 2007. Her gifts are among the largest the school has received in its 90-year history.
"Since becoming board chair in June I've been even more impressed by the excellent work of the school's leadership to envision the best possible education and training of these young musicians," said Baroness von Maltzahn. "These gifts reflect my confidence in the administration and also my passion for Curtis's programs and for student support."
"I am immensely grateful to Nina for her tremendous generosity and belief in our shared vision, and I am honored to hold the President's Chair named for her," said Roberto Díaz. A violist of international reputation, he became president and CEO of Curtis in 2006, following in the footsteps of renowned soloist/directors such as Josef Hofmann, Efrem Zimbalist, Rudolf Serkin, and Gary Graffman. A member of the faculty, he also holds the James and Betty Matarese Chair in Viola Studies at Curtis.
Mr. Díaz continued, "Nina is an excellent partner, deeply committed to Curtis as we look towards our centenary in 2024. Her international reach allows us to bring music to audiences and potential new supporters and friends around the world. And her support over the years demonstrates the care and concern she has for our students."
Baroness von Maltzahn joined the Curtis board of overseers in 2008 and the board of trustees in 2010. She became chair of the board of trustees in June 2014, succeeding H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest. As board chair, an area of particular significance for Baroness von Maltzahn is financial assistance for students, beyond the full-tuition scholarships that all receive. Currently 75 percent of Curtis students require additional aid for help with living expenses. "I want to make sure students receive the financial assistance they need," Baroness von Maltzahn said. "Nothing should stop the best musicians in the world from coming to Curtis."
Baroness von Maltzahn has also been instrumental in establishing new educational opportunities for students, including touring initiatives which embody the "learn by doing" philosophy at the heart of a Curtis education. Her latest $1.5 million gift of term funding for Curtis On Tour allows further development of the program to strategic locations worldwide, while Curtis seeks to endow the initiative in perpetuity. Building upon the more than 50 destinations on four continents to which students, faculty, and alumni have traveled since 2008, this gift will make possible expanded touring opportunities in Asia and Latin America and a full orchestra tour of Europe, anticipated in 2017.
Since 2009, Baroness von Maltzahn has provided groundbreaking support for Curtis On Tour in Europe, with performances in Italy, Spain, Denmark, England, France, and Germany. Thanks to her introduction, this fall Curtis On Tour performed at the high profile Henry A. Kissinger Prize Ceremony at the American Academy in Berlin, where Baroness von Maltzahn is a member of the board of trustees. She also helped establish two new programs at Curtis, the guitar department and the string quartet program, and has endowed two faculty chairs: the Nina von Maltzahn Chair in Violin Studies, held by Ida Kavafian; and the Fondation Charidu Chair in Guitar Studies, held by David Starobin.
Baroness von Maltzahn's leadership reflects the growing globalization of Curtis's governing bodies. While maintaining a strong representation in Philadelphia, the board of trustees has welcomed two other members with an international presence in the past year: Harry Lee, a native of Hong Kong based in London and New York; and internationally renowned bass-baritone and Curtis alumnus, Eric Owens.
One of the world's finest and most selective conservatories, the Curtis Institute of Music offers a tuition-free, performance-inspired learning culture to 175 students from all corners of the world. Nurtured by a celebrated faculty, its extraordinary young musicians graduate to join 4,000 alumni who have long made music history. Curtis graduates play in ensembles worldwide, holding principal and titled chairs in every major American orchestra. Each season they are featured as conductors and guest soloists with the world's leading orchestras and chamber music series, and they are on the rosters of the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Covent Garden, the Vienna Staatsoper, and the San Francisco Opera, among others.
A busy schedule of performances, including more than 200 a year in Philadelphia and around the world, is at the heart of Curtis's distinctive "learn by doing" approach. Dedicated to a tradition of excellence and innovation since its founding in 1924, Curtis is looking toward its centenary in a flexible and forward-thinking way, evolving strategically to serve its time-honored mission.
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Managing Director of External Affairs and Patron Engagement