Season features over 200 performances in Philadelphia, highlights Leonard Bernstein centenary
PHILADELPHIA, PA—August 24, 2017—The 2017–18 season begins at the Curtis Institute of Music in October, with programming that includes orchestra, opera, chamber music, family concerts, and free student recitals, totaling more than 200 performances in Philadelphia now through May.
Each year 175 young musicians come to Curtis, “both a conservatory and a buzzword…known for taking the best music students in the world” (Washington Post). In this intimate environment, they are nurtured by a celebrated faculty, supported by a tuition-free policy, and inspired by the school’s distinctive “learn by doing” approach. The 2017–18 season marks the centenary of the birth of distinguished alumnus Leonard Bernstein (Conducting ’41). Curtis honors his legacy with performances highlighting his versatility as a composer across several genres.
Curtis Opera Theatre overview:
• October 5, 6, 7, 8: Innovative director R.B. Schlather returns to open the Curtis Opera Theatre season with Debussy’s Impressions of Pelléas, as intimately retold by Peter Brook and Marius Constant.
• November 16, 17, 18, 19: Tchaikovsky’s deeply moving drama Eugene Onegin appears at the Prince Theater.
• March 7, 9, 11: Curtis Opera Theatre presents the American premiere of Garth Edwin Sunderland’s chamber adaptation of A Quiet Place by Leonard Bernstein. The fully staged production breathes new life into this rarely performed opera as part of Bernstein’s centenary celebration. Additional New York City performance on March 13.
• May 3, 5, 6: An innovative double bill combines Weill’s Mahagonny: Ein Songspiel with alumnus Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Medium in a study of empty promises.
Curtis Presents overview:
• October 17: The Curtis Presents series continues to bring distinguished faculty, alumni, students, and friends together in the timeless setting of Field Concert Hall. Chamber music icon and longtime faculty Peter Wiley (Cello ’74) partners with renowned performers Noah Bendix-Balgley and Robert Levin to present trios by Schubert.
• December 9: Former quartet in residence at Curtis, the Aizuri Quartet joins forces with the imaginative and expressive pianist Jonathan Biss (’01) of Curtis’s piano faculty.
• February 10: A centenary tribute to Leonard Bernstein highlights chamber music and songs featuring the Zorá String Quartet, Curtis’s string quartet in residence; renowned alumni Dominic Armstrong, tenor (’09) and David Shifrin, clarinet (’71); and the exciting young pianist Jiacheng Xiong.
• March 4: A favorite of Philadelphia audiences, soprano Sarah Shafer (’14) presents an afternoon of song accompanied by Mikael Eliasen, artistic director of the Curtis Opera Theatre.
• April 15: The ever-evolving Marinus Ensemble collaborates with Michael Rusinek (’92), principal clarinet of the Pittsburgh Symphony, in an engaging program of chamber selections.
Curtis Symphony Orchestra overview:
• October 29: The opening concert of the CSO season features two students from within the orchestra performing the technically and emotionally challenging soloist roles in Strauss’s whimsical Don Quixote, led by conductor Juanjo Mena.
• January 28: British conductor Gilbert Varga leads the orchestra in Rimsky-Korsakov’s lush Scheherazade. A student concertmaster weaves the legends through a prominent violin solo.
• April 29: “The model of a modern musician” (Los Angeles Times) and winner of the 2016 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, Curtis alumna Karina Canellakis (Violin ’04) takes the orchestra on a rhapsodic journey.
Curtis 20/21 Ensemble overview:
• October 31: The first concert of the series features works for solo instruments involving theatrical or narrative elements.
• December 1: Curtis 20/21 delves into the chamber works of composer-in-residence Chen Yi, whose early influences of Chinese traditional music and Western classical music shaped her masterful technique; and enable her to connect audiences of different cultural backgrounds.
• February 24: The season continues by exploring The Edge Effect, the theme of Curtis’s 2017–18 all-school project, as it relates to composers and their environmental influences. The Edge Effect focuses on cultures and traditions as they collide to provoke new forms of constructive expression.
• May 4: The Zorá String Quartet performs new works created by Curtis student composers.
• October 1, February 18: Awakening a sense of wonder in listeners ages 5 to 12, Curtis Family Concerts share music with young audiences through interactive, educational presentations. These hour-long performances take place in a friendly setting, uniting entertainment with exploration. This season’s offerings feature the Zorá String Quartet, Curtis’s string quartet in residence; and invite families to explore the Carnival of the Animals.
Student Recital Series:
• With over 100 free performances this season, the Student Recital Series continues its celebrated legacy as the leading concert stage for some of the finest young musicians in the world. Recitals take place most Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays and are featured year-round on YouTube, WHYY’s On Stage at Curtis, and WWFM’s Curtis Calls.
Curtis on Tour:
• Curtis on Tour, the Nina von Maltzahn global touring initiative of the Curtis Institute of Music, is an embodiment of the school’s “learn by doing” philosophy and offers students real-world, professional touring experience alongside celebrated alumni and faculty. Fall tours include a return to Greece for the Nights of Classical Music Festival and an extensive trip across Latin America with a string sextet. Additional details will be available throughout the season.