Community-based projects are an essential part of a Curtis education, informing students’ development as artists and empowering them to invent careers with impact after their graduation.

The most inspiring professional musicians of today conceive and realize projects rooted in their art, and understand how to engage audiences of all kinds, deeply and fully. At the Curtis Institute of Music, students develop these skills by leading community-based projects that meaningfully affect the lives of others. In the process they become artist-citizens who are committed to deploying their world-class artistry to engage audiences and transform lives.

Community engagement has been part of the Curtis student experience since 1998. In 2014 the school launched a new artist-citizen curriculum to equip students with the essential skills they will need as musicians in the 21st century. At each stage of the curriculum, Curtis students work with their peers and community partners in Philadelphia to provide rich artistic experiences through performance. 

Meet our Partners Community Impact


Sequential Curriculum

This one-semester course teaches students to create and sustain social value through collaborations in the community. In addition to work on projects conceived by the chair of career studies, participants also:

  • attend the Careers in Music Speaker Series
  • build their online portfolios
  • can apply for small grants to continue their projects after their coursework concludes

CAP seeks to empower the next generation of leaders in classical music. CAP participants design and implement unique performance projects that combine artistry with invention, leadership with advocacy, and citizenship with community. In collaboration with partner organizations, CAP offers additional training in:

  • teaching artistry,
  • interactive performance, and
  • entrepreneurship

Curtis faculty and alumni encourage and mentor CAP students throughout the year-long process, providing advice and helping students make connections within the community.

Beginning in 2017–18, recent Curtis graduates will bring their artistry to underserved communities in Philadelphia through the Curtis Community Artist Fellowship, a program that fortifies Curtis's commitment to service and allows alumni to extend, where possible, work they may have begun as students through the Community Artist Program (CAP). Curtis Community Artist Fellows are placed in existing partnerships between Curtis and institutions such as schools, hospitals, prisons, and rehabilitation centers. Fellows are able to continue their vital performance careers while serving the community.



Wells FargoThe Community Artist Fellowship is generously supported by Wells Fargo.