Careers in Music Speaker Series

Curtis is wholly committed to preparing its students and alumni to invent 21st-century careers, and to this end, aims to equip them with a variety of on-stage and off-stage skills.

This speaker series, curated by Mary Javian, chair of career studies and director of professional development and community engagement, gives the Curtis community the opportunity to hear from a variety of illustrious performers and others from the music world, each with a uniquely successful career.

All events are open to Curtis students, faculty, and staff, as well as local alumni.  


Clive Gillinson

September 20 at 4 p.m.
Gould Rehearsal Hall

The Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall will discuss his recently released book Better to Speak of It: Fostering Relationships & Results Through Creativity. The book offers first hand experiences from artists such as Joyce DiDonato, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Jessye Norman and Michael Tilson Thomas. 

Brooklyn Rider

October 24 at 4 p.m.
Gould Rehearsal Hall

Hailed as “the future of chamber music” (Strings), Brooklyn Rider offers eclectic repertoire in gripping performances that continue to attract legions of fans and draw rave reviews from classical, world, and rock critics alike. The quartet will present a workshop on how to design and implement recording projects, using examples such as the Brooklyn Rider Almanac and collaborative albums with Bela Fleck and Gabriel Kahane.

Sarah Robinson

November 11 at 11 a.m. 
Gould Rehearsal Hall

Author of the book Clubbing for Classical Musicians: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Working in Alternative Venues, Ms. Robinson will lead a workshop on selecting venues, programming, booking and marketing concerts outside of the concert hall.

Fifth House Ensemble

December 14 at 5 p.m.
Gould Rehearsal Hall

The Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble is a versatile and dynamic group praised by the New York Times for its “conviction, authority, and finesse.” The group will workshop how to commission new works with composer Dan Visconti and Curtis faculty Jason Vieaux.


March 3 at 12 p.m. 
Gould Rehearsal Hall

The British vocal ensemble VOCES8 is now established as one of the world's most versatile and best-loved singing groups. Touring extensively throughout Europe, North America and Asia, the ensemble performs a repertory from Renaissance polyphony to contemporary commissions and arrangements. The group will lead a workshop on speaking from the stage as well as how to develop educational residencies. 

Joseph Conyers

April 21 at 2 p.m.
Gould Rehearsal Hall

Assistant Principal Bassist of the Philadelphia Orchestra as well as founder and Executive Director of Project 440, Mr. Conyers will speak about his passion and drive for musicians using their art to serve their communities as well as auditioning and being a member of a major orchestra.

Past Speakers Have Included 

Chia-Jung Tsay

Tsay graduated Phi Beta Kappa with an A.B. in psychology and an A.M. in the history of science from Harvard University. As a classical pianist, Tsay has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the U.S. Embassy, among other venues. She holds degrees from the Juilliard School and the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, where she later served on the faculty. Tsay received a Ph.D. in organizational behavior and psychology, with a secondary Ph.D. in music. from Harvard University. She previously taught at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Pachaysana Institute

“We are a collective of Ecuadorian and international educators, teaching artists, development specialists, and community organizers who seek to bridge the divide between community development and international development, as well as between local and global education. We bring together our diverse experiences and skills, using creative educational programming, to foment a balanced and sustainable dialogue between local and global change agents."

Jennifer Koh
Violinist Jennifer Koh is recognized for her intense, commanding performances, delivered with dazzling virtuosity and technical assurance. An adventurous musician, she collaborates with artists of multiple disciplines and curates projects that find connections between music of all eras from traditional to contemporary. She believes that all the arts and music of the past and present form a continuum and has premiered over 50 works written especially for her. She made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 11. Ms. Koh is Musical America’s 2016 Instrumentalist of the Year, a winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, and the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Oberlin College and studied at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she worked extensively with Jaime Laredo and Felix Galimir.

“Their rock-star well deserved. Their classically honed technique mixed with grit and all out passionate attack transfixes the audience...” That is how the Sarasota Herald Tribune described Sybarite5, the first string quintet ever selected as a winner of the Concert Artists Guild International Competition. Comprising violinists Sami Merdinian and Sarah Whitney, violist Angela Pickett, cellist Laura Metcalf, and bassist Louis Levitt, Sybarite5 has taken audiences worldwide by storm, forever changing the perception of chamber music performance. From the moment their bows hit the strings, this quintet of talented, diverse musicians takes the audience on an exciting ride that engages the senses and redefines the rules.

David Lang
David Lang is one of the most highly esteemed and most frequently performed American composers writing today. His works have been heard around the world in most of the great concert halls. Lang's simple song #3, written as part of his score for Paolo Sorrentino's acclaimed film YOUTH, received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations in 2016.

Tony Woodcock
Tony Woodcock has worked for major symphony orchestras in the U.S. and England and in higher education with the New England Conservatory. He planned and celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the 100th anniversary for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; commissioned Paul McCartney to write his first-ever classical work, Liverpool Oratorio; created the Sistema Fellows Program and Entrepreneurial Musicianship at the New England Conservatory; successfully negotiated 13 collective bargaining agreements with orchestras, avoiding both strikes and lockouts; and raised more than $250 million for music in the past ten years. 


Questions about the series? Contact Mary Javian, chair of career studies and director of professional development and community engagement, at (215) 717-3149.