Curtis on Tour: Curtis Symphony Orchestra

“The most dynamic orchestra in the city” (Philadelphia Inquirer), the Curtis Symphony Orchestra brings a youthful exuberance to new audiences in its first-ever appearances on the U.S. West Coast. Under the direction of Osmo Vänskä, who previously led the ensemble in U.S. East Coast and European tours, the talented young musicians of Curtis showcase sparkling virtuosity and masterful artistry. They are joined on the program by piano sensation Yefim Bronfman, one of the newest additions to the faculty, in award-winning interpretations from the concerto repertoire.

Artists

  • Osmo Vänskä has been music director of the Minnesota Orchestra for 17 years and is music director of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra since 2020. Recognized for compelling interpretations of repertoire of all ages and an energetic presence on the podium, his democratic and inclusive style of work has been key in forging long-standing relationships with different orchestras.

    With the Minnesota Orchestra, Vänskä has undertaken five major European tours, as well as historic trips to Cuba in 2015, at the invitation of the Cuban Ministry of Culture—the first visit by an American orchestra since the two countries announced steps to re-establish diplomatic relations—and South Africa in 2018, as part of worldwide celebrations of Nelson Mandela’s Centenary. The latter was the first visit by an American orchestra to the country and drew together South African and American performers in musical expressions of peace, freedom and reconciliation, on a five-city tour that followed a successful return to London’s BBC Proms.

    Other highlights of his tenure in Minnesota include 20 album recordings, leading and mentoring young composers during the annual Composer Institute seminar and conducting its Future Classics concerts, performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and Chicago’s Symphony Center, and various educational and outreach projects in Minneapolis and other cities across the United States.

  • Internationally recognized as one of today’s most acclaimed and admired pianists, Yefim Bronfman is an artist regularly sought by the world’s leading orchestras, recital series, and festivals. His performances are consistently lauded by the press and audiences alike.

    Although the coronavirus pandemic has curtailed most in-person performances, Mr. Bronfman is engaged in a number of online concerts in Fall 2020, including appearances with the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, a solo concert for the Gilmore Foundation, and a recital with the Emerson String Quartet for the 92nd Street Y.

    Born in Tashkent in the Soviet Union, Mr. Bronfman immigrated to Israel with his family in 1973, where he studied with pianist Arie Vardi, head of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University. In the United States, he studied at the Juilliard School, Marlboro School of Music, and the Curtis Institute of Music, under Rudolf Firkusny, Leon Fleisher, and Rudolf Serkin. A recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, one of the highest honors given to American instrumentalists, he received the Jean Gimbel Lane prize in piano performance from Northwestern University in 2010 and an honorary doctorate in 2015 from the Manhattan School of Music.

    Mr. Bronfman joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 2020. He also teaches at the Manhattan School of Music.

  • Acclaimed for its “otherworldly ensemble and professional level of sophistication” (New York Times), the Curtis Symphony Orchestra offers a dynamic showcase of tomorrow’s exceptional young talent. Each year the 100 extraordinary musicians of the orchestra work with internationally renowned conductors, including Osmo Vänskä, Vladimir Jurowski, Marin Alsop, Simon Rattle, Robert Spano, and Yannick Nézet Séguin, who also mentors the early-career conductors who hold Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellowships. This professional training has enabled Curtis alumni to assume prominent positions in America’s leading orchestras, as well as esteemed orchestral, opera, and chamber ensembles around the world.

Programs

Repertoire may be interchanged between programs.

Program 1

DAI WEI New work commissioned for this tour
BARTÓK Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major, Sz. 95
Yefim Bronfman, piano
—intermission—
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Scheherazade, Op. 35

 

Program 2

JAMES RA  New work commissioned for this tour
SCHUMANN Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54
Yefim Bronfman, piano
—intermission—
MAHLER Symphony No. 1

Media

The Curtis Symphony Orchestra performs Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 with conductor Jahja Ling in Verizon Hall in 2013.

Christoph Eschenbach leads the orchestra in Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie in 2011.

View selections from previous touring ensembles.

01 - 14 Osmo Vänskä (credit Lisa-Marie Mazzucco)

02 - 14 Osmo Vänskä (credit Joel Larson)

03 - 14 Yefim Bronfman, piano (credit Dario Acosta)

04 - 14 Curtis Symphony Orchestra (credit Igor Ripak)

05 - 14 Curtis Symphony Orchestra (credit Igor Ripak)

06 - 14 Curtis Symphony Orchestra

07 - 14 Curtis Symphony Orchestra (credit Kai Bienert)

08 - 14 Curtis Symphony Orchestra (credit Kai Bienert)

09 - 14 Curtis Symphony Orchestra

10 - 14 Curtis Symphony Orchestra

11 - 14 Curtis Symphony Orchestra in Dresden

12 - 14 Curtis Symphony Orchestra in Verizon Hall (credit David DeBalko)

13 - 14 Curtis Symphony Orchestra rehearsing in Dresden (credit Oliver Killig)

14 - 14 Curtis Symphony Orchestra in Berlin (credit Kai Bienert)

High-resolution files are available to download from the full promotional kit

Reviews

Browse select reviews from the orchestra’s United States tour in 2020 and European tour in 2017.

 

“…the performance was of such a high level of quality that the players of every orchestra in the world would and should have envied it.”

Chestnut Hill Local (Philadelphia), February 2020

“The Curtis Symphony Orchestra is a young classical ensemble, uniquely gifted and well-trained, advancing in experience every day. Add a renowned conductor like Vänskä and a world-class pianist … and you have an extraordinary concert experience. Those who braved the rainy, stormy night were richly rewarded.”

CVNC (North Carolina), February 2020

“The fact that [the Curtis Symphony Orchestra] has proved itself in many styles under the incredibly inspired direction of Osmo Vänskä can be instantly experienced in Ravel’s Suite “Daphnis und Chloë”: fragrant atmosphere, dazzling colors, impressive portrayal from sunrise to the ecstatic dance.”

—Kulturradio (Berlin, Germany), May 2017

“The young musicians from Philadelphia, under the direction of Finn Osmo Vänskä, made a convincing performance filled with passion, precise playing and good solo performances, and were acclaimed by the audience.”

Lausitzer Rundschau (Dresden, Germany), May 2017