The start of a new school year also brought the start of a new touring season for Curtis.
A string sextet including students and Curtis President Roberto Díaz recently completed an eighteen-day, six-city tour of Latin America. From October 5–23, they traveled and performed in Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, and three venues in Chile (Santiago, Talca, and Chillán). Along the way, the group performed for schools, gave master classes, and worked with local musicians at every opportunity.
Joshua Halpern, a 24-year-old cello student on the tour, commented, “The wonderful thing about touring is that every day brings new challenges and memorable experiences. One night we may play in a 3,000-seat hall, and the next day we're playing in a classroom for ten-year-old kids. We have had phenomenal experiences playing for large audiences, like when we played at la Sala Nezahualcoyotl in Mexico City, and we've had just as memorable experiences performing for 30 Uruguayan schoolchildren.”
A particular highlight of the Latin America tour was the opportunity to reach large numbers of local music students. In Montevideo, Uruguay, they spent time at the Escuela Universitaria de Música, giving master classes for violin, viola, and cello students.
Also in Uruguay, Curtis on Tour visited the Liceo Espigas, a free high school funded by Nina von Maltzahn’s Fundación Retoño and serving 150 students in a disadvantaged neighborhood of Montevideo. As a special gift to the school and Baroness von Maltzahn, former chair of the Curtis board of trustees, the ensemble performed a newly created school song, with words by Curtis President Roberto Díaz and music by David Ludwig, chair of composition studies.
The tour ended in Chile, the home country of Curtis President Roberto Díaz. Reviewing a performance in Santiago featuring student Andrea Obiso and Mr. Díaz playing Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, El Mercurio praised “Obiso’s daring violin and the extraordinary sound of Díaz,” and wrote that the Brahms’s Sextet No. 1 in B-flat major was “exquisite in the hands of this group of teacher and disciples.”
Reflecting on the experience, Maria Ioudenitch, a 21-year-old violin student on the tour, said “I saw, with great admiration and humility, a genuine enthusiasm in the eyes of kids and young adults like us, in every country and city where we had given master classes. To feel their hunger for knowledge, to see their joy in finally understanding a concept and succeeding, to hear how much they love what they do, was incredibly rewarding and a beautiful thing to witness and learn from.”