/ About / Overtones: Fall 2019


Overtones is the semi-annual magazine of the Curtis Institute of Music. The latest issue explores Curtis Summerfest's collaboration with the Sphinx Organization; renowned percussionist Robert van Sice's work with Curtis students; Jonathan Biss's deep relationship with Beethoven and his "Emperor" Concerto; and more.



COVER STORY: Meet Percussion Faculty Robert van Sice

Marimba master Robert van Sice embraces the sonic possibilities of the percussion studio.



Listen to percussion students perform works by Alejandro Viñao, Mark Applebaum, and Iannis Xenakis during a student recital featuring the Curtis percussion studio.









FEATURE: Imperial Wonder

After 200 years, the power of Beethoven’s most majestic concerto endures, prompting deep reflection in performers like Curtis piano faculty Jonathan Biss.



Watch an excerpt from the newly-released fifth part in Jonathan Biss's Coursera course, Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas. Or, make plans to hear Jonathan perform the "Emperor" with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä this January—in Philadelphia or on tour!









FEATURE: Growing Artists

The Sphinx Performance Academy at Curtis Summerfest offers a conservatory experience to young Black and Latinx string players.



Hear from Sphinx participants and explore more photos from the Sphinx Performance Academy.

Sphinx Performance Academy participants pose together

FEATURE: Close-up on Composition

Hong Kong’s Intimacy of Creativity festival promotes interaction among composers, performers, and the audience. Curtis participants share their impressions.



Learn more about the festival and listen to recordings from the festival's world premier recitals.

Jennifer Higdon speaks during the Intimacy of Creativity Festival

Meet the Alumni

Double bassist Paul Kowert blazes a unique career path through classical, jazz, bluegrass, and folk forms, driven by his desire for musical growth.



Paul Kowert


Listen to a track from Paul's group Hawktail, from their newly released album.









First Person

The historic and irreplaceable instrument of Notre Dame de Paris, nearly lost forever, is saved—and organists breathe profound relief, writes Alan Morrison.


Notre Dame Organ

The Compleat Musician

Is music innate? Curtis students explore the origins of speech and song in infants, guided by liberal arts faculty Caroline Meline.


Curtis students in class

Commencement 2019

Celebrate the class of 2019! Relive Commencement in photos, video, and quote from the keynote speeches.

Graduates Andrea Obiso (Violin) and Erika Gray (Viola)

Overtones Archive

Read selections from previous issues.

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