The Curtis Institute of Music believes that students “learn by doing.” Students enjoy numerous and varied performance opportunities from recitals within the school to tours around the globe.
Curtis’s famed Student Recital Series presents over one hundred free performances annually to the Philadelphia community and continues its celebrated legacy as the preeminent concert stage for emerging musical leaders. Students perform a wide variety of solo and chamber works in historic Field Concert Hall almost every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday night from mid-October through early May, with additional recitals in the winter and spring. Special recitals take place at nearby venues such as Gould Rehearsal Hall in Curtis’s Lenfest Hall and St. Mark’s Church.
All recitals are recorded by Curtis for educational use and possible broadcast. Highlights are frequently featured on radio and television stations throughout the area, including WHYY and WWFM, as well as online at Instant Encore. Selected performances can also be seen at Curtis Performs, the online stage for the Curtis Institute of Music.
The Curtis Symphony Orchestra performs three concerts each season in nearby Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center under the direction of eminent conductors. Programs are frequently repeated at Carnegie Hall and in run-out concerts throughout the region. Recent visiting conductors include Charles Dutoit, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Simon Rattle, Robert Spano, and Michael Tilson Thomas. This professional training has enabled Curtis alumni to assume leading positions and principal chairs in major orchestras across the United States, Canada, and abroad.
Orchestral concerts are supported by the Jack Wolgin Orchestral Concerts endowment fund.
Under Artistic Director Mikael Eliasen, the engaging and innovative programs presented by the Curtis Opera Theatre have enabled recent graduates to join the sixty-plus alumni who have performed with the Metropolitan Opera, as well as other major opera companies worldwide. They present four staged operas each year, often with double casting to increase performance opportunities for students, and work with professional directors and designers create fresh interpretations of both standard repertoire and contemporary works.
Performances take place each season in the nearby Prince Music Theatre, as well as in the intimate Curtis Opera Studio, a black-box theatre in the main Curtis building. The Curtis Opera Theatre also performs a fully staged production each season in the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center, presented in conjunction with the Opera Company of Philadelphia and Kimmel Center Presents.
Curtis 20/21 is the contemporary music ensemble of the Curtis Institute of Music. Performing a wide range of music of 20th- and 21st-century composers, the group is flexible in size and scope to include works for solo performers, chamber groups, and larger ensembles with conductor. Curtis 20/21 frequently collaborates with guest artists and composers, including eighth blackbird, Matthias Pintscher, Lucy Shelton, Charles Dutoit, and Peter Serkin, as well as Curtis faculty and alumni. Guest composers-in-residence include John Corigliano, Joan Tower, George Crumb, and Krzysztof Penderecki.
The 20/21 ensemble often performs in major venues outside of school and is committed to performing and commissioning works from Curtis composers, both current students and alumni.
Curtis On Tour embodies the remarkable traditions of Curtis, with tomorrow’s leading musicians performing alongside celebrated Curtis faculty and alumni. Each season Curtis On Tour brings world-class performances to venues throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and South America.
The Collegium provides instruction in historically informed performance of music of the 17th and 18th Centuries. Students are guided through the skills required for appropriate performance by discussing, playing, and building on concepts like rhythmic interpretation, ornamentation, reading from facsimiles, and figured bass accompaniment. Repertoire ranges from smaller chamber ensembles to larger orchestral repertoire of the early and late Baroque, under the guidance of distinguished faculty and guest artists.
Through the Community Engagement Program, Curtis students perform in the widely praised Family Concerts in Field Concert Hall and Gould Rehearsal Hall; and in the Albert M. Greenfield Concerts, which provide interactive educational presentations for area schools, hospitals, senior centers, and community venues.
Curtis works to place student performers in concerts within the community for curricular and paid non-curricular performances. Students perform regularly on series at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Kimmel Center, Longwood Gardens, and other institutions.
Curtis students often substitute with The Philadelphia Orchestra and play with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra, and various regional orchestras and programs.