Meet our 2019–20 Community Artist Fellows

Recent Curtis graduates 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. The 2019–20 Fellows are Abigail Fayette (Violin ’17), Marlène Ngalissamy (Bassoon ’19), and Hanul Park (Bassoon ’18).

Throughout their year of service, each fellow will take leadership of a specific project and participate in the work managed by the other fellows. Additionally, all three fellows will assist with music-making at Phoenix prison outside Philadelphia, under the supervision of former Community Artist Fellow Emily Cooley (Composition ’17). 



Abigail Fayette (Violin ’17)

Ms. Fayette will manage a teaching effort in three Philadelphia public schools, providing 30 promising student instrumentalists with twice-weekly coaching and mentoring focused on effective practice, as well as access to Curtis performances and the opportunity to perform in recital at Curtis in Spring 2020. This mentorship program continues to build on the success of past fellows’ involvement at the William Cramp School (which has reintroduced a string program to elementary-level students) and South Philadelphia High School (which, due to Curtis’s presence, has invested in a full-time music teacher and is committed to using the arts to accomplish its goals). In 2019–20 the fellows will work with students at George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science, William H. Hunter Elementary School, and Cayuga Elementary School.

Ms. Fayette shared this vlog about her students’ progress at the end of the Fall 2019 semester.



Read about a past fellow’s work at another School District of Philadelphia location from the Philadelphia Inquirer



Marlène Ngalissamy (Bassoon ’19)

Ms. Ngalissamy will manage projects at the Penn Memory Center, where the fellows will teach weekly classes for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers, exploring the effects of music-making on cognitive facility and quality of life and providing opportunities for social interactions.

Ms. Ngalissamy describes a typical class for the Penn Memory Center in her first vlog report.



Learn more about Community Artist Fellows’ work at the Penn Memory Center




Hanul Park (Bassoon ’18)

Ms. Park will work closely with Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission and other organizations serving the homeless population to create interactive musical performances. Ms. Park’s service is part of Curtis’s sustained activities with groups that provide for the emotional and physical needs of homeless and disadvantaged people in the Philadelphia area, bringing music to a significant percentage of Center City’s homeless population. 

Ms. Park shares photos and interviews from her work at Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission.




Community Artist Fellows in Overtones

Composer Nick DiBerardino relates his experience composing a new children’s opera with the participation of hundreds of Philadelphia schoolchildren.

Composer Emily Cooley’s Community Artist Program project in 2017–18 set the stage for musical collaboration and celebration at a Pennsylvania prison. 

Harpist and 2015–16 fellow Anna Odell offered music to soothe suffering, and received a priceless present in return. 

Bassoonist Wade Coufal, one of the inaugural class of fellows in 2014–15, reflects on opening the world of music to young hospital patients. 




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