Back to Top
Events Calendar
Loading Events...
View full calendar

Meet the Class of 2016


Congratulations to the Class of 2016! In honor of this milestone, we asked some of our graduating students to share stories of their experiences at Curtis.


Thomas Shivone

Thomas Shivone, opera

How do you feel about performing in your last Curtis opera, Le nozze di Figaro, this month?

It feels very special. Figaro was my first opera when I arrived here at Curtis nine years ago and also my first opera ever. I was Bartolo then, and to be graduating singing Figaro now is sort of surreal. It's been my favorite opera role since I first started loving opera, so I can't think of a more appropriate to end my wonderful years here at Curtis.

Why did you choose to attend Curtis?

Curtis has always been this dream for just about everyone in the classical music world and as soon as I heard about it I knew that it's where I wanted to go. I had a wonderful voice teacher in high school that recommended it to me and as soon as I stepped in the lobby to audition there was no question at all about where I wanted to be.

Marié Rossano

Marié Rossano, violin 

Do you remember where you were or what it was like when you learned you were accepted to Curtis?

It was St. Patrick's Day and I was taking a nap on my couch. My mom woke me up with the phone in her hand, and I was still groggy (and slightly bemused that I had been awakened so abruptly) that the dean's words on the phone just didn't seem real. It took the whole summer, until I actually arrived at Curtis, for it to really sink in and feel real.

What is the first thing you would like alumni to know about being a student today?

To this day, the Wednesday Tea is served by the one and only Mrs. Sokoloff!

Kirsten MacKinnon

Kirsten MacKinnon, opera 

How do you feel about performing in your last Curtis opera, Le nozze di Figaro, this month?

I've always had a special love for Mozart, and for long as I can remember I've dreamt of singing La Contessa Almaviva. There's something so fitting about finishing my time at Curtis with her.

All the action in this opera takes place in just one day and somehow that too feels reflective of my years at Curtis—so full and yet you blink and it's over. I'll always remember this as a time of tremendous growth and look back with fondness.

Pearson Altzier

Pearson Altizer, bassoon

What are the biggest takeaways from your time at Curtis?

SOUND SOUND SOUND. I came to Curtis with a decent amount of facility and could navigate the intonation of the instrument (as best as any of us can). Being at Curtis has allowed me to develop a much deeper, warmer, and expressive tone that my non-musical parents now say "is bearable to listen to."

What does it mean to you to join the Curtis alumni community?

Well, I can't wait to have my graduation picture put up in the halls! But aside from that, it is extremely exciting to be a part of what I think is the oldest tradition of American classical music. It's an honor to be a Curtis alum. Plus I am very excited for the new global Alumni Network!

George Fu

George Fu, Piano

What was it like to study with your teacher?

I have been studying with Méng-Chieh Liu since before Curtis, and it is not an exaggeration to say that he is the single biggest musical influence in my life. From the moment I first heard him touch the piano eight years ago, I knew he was a pianist with a lot to say and I had so much to learn from him. His life story is an incredible, inspiring journey, and a real testament to resilience of the human spirit. 

The year I have also been studying with Jonathan Biss, who is a visionary spirit of sorts. Everything he sees in music is so impeccably thought out that it seems to transcend beyond the notes of the page - one gets the sense of striving for an ideal that goes past the instrument. In him is this urgency to say something so vitally important with every note, and from that I am inspired to always extend past myself, to find meaning in everything I do, and to show the audience just how much these pieces mean to me.



Make a gift to Curtis by May 31!

When 47 students graduate from Curtis in May and join the alumni community, know that your gift helped support the education of each one—and that they, too, will be prepared to give back and support the next generation of Curtis students.