Alumni Council Welcome
Welcome to the Class of 2012
Bobbi Moskow (Voice ’50)
By lunchtime today your status will be changed. You will no longer be a student at the Curtis Institute, you will be an alum. Yours will be the 79th graduating class from Curtis.
If you will indulge me for a moment I would like to do what all old people do. No, I’m not going to take a nap, and I hope I don’t put you to sleep either. For two minutes I would like to reminisce.
I was part of the 17th graduating class and it seems like yesterday or the day before yesterday … when I was dashing up the steps and dashing through the hall on my way to a lesson.
Dashing past me were other students on their way to their lessons. Joey Silverstein, Aaron Rosand, Seymour Lipkin. They barely spoke to us because they were musicians. We were merely singers.
Their perception was that our pitch was often questionable, we couldn’t count past four, and our instrument was somewhat unreliable. There probably are a few conductors today who would agree with that assessment.
Sounds coming from other rooms were from the other teachers: Piatigorsky, Primrose, Tabuteau, Serkin, Kincaid, Salzedo, Zimbalist, Menotti. When I arrived at my lesson, at the piano sat Uncle Billy—Vladimir Sokoloff. He played for every lesson. He played for every concert. He could play anything, anywhere, anytime, in any key and he usually did.
Mr. and Mrs. Zimbalist sat in that balcony and attended every concert. Mrs. Zimbalist poured tea every Wednesday afternoon—from the same samovar we use now—but then it didn’t leak. Now, I have the pleasure of pouring tea with Eleanor Sokoloff, who recently celebrated her 75th year here at Curtis.
Many traditions remain and much has been implemented to keep pace with the changing world. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Lenfest!
At the time I was sitting at my graduation I wasn’t thinking about the financial generosity or the generosity of spirit that a scholarship meant, but in order to perpetuate these beautiful traditions we must be active members of the Curtis family. I am the past, you are the present, and the students coming in today are the future. The Alumni Council is an important part of this family and we are asking you to be active in it. Also, the Friends of Curtis, the Board of Trustees, the Overseers, the development office make up links in the chain that holds tradition and innovation together.
In addition, you have another important job ahead of you. More important than you may even realize. War does not work. Religious fanaticism does not work. But Issac Stern going to China, Pinchas Zuckerman playing in Berlin and taking Wagner to Israel, listening to music where people rise to their feet not with guns but with shouts of “Bravo”, having been touched at the core of our universal humanity, THAT can bring peace to our troubled world. Through your talent and education you are the ambassadors of peace and that you should embrace.
Your careers will take you to different parts of the country and different parts of the world. Let us know where you are, how you are, and how you are doing. You no longer have to reach us by carrier pigeon or pony express. You can e-mail, twitter, text, or do whatever it is you do on those horrible little things you are always playing with.
You are graduating from a wonderful school and we wish you a wonderful career and a wonderful life—may you always make wonderful music!