Curtis Symphony Orchestra in Europe

May 20–June 2, 2017

The most ambitious sojourn for the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in nearly two decades took place in May 2017. Covering nine cities in eighteen days, the orchestra’s 2017 European tour was packed with music-making, rehearsals, and on-the-ground learning. Students marveled at the acoustics and décor of classic old-world concert palaces and ultra-modern symphony halls, and reveled in their collaboration with renowned artists, including Osmo Vänskä, Benjamin Schmid (Violin ’91), Roberto Díaz (Viola ’84), and Peter Serkin (Piano ’64).

The tour started in Helsinki with a two-day residency at the Sibelius Academy; then the orchestra was off to Germany, with concerts in Bremen, Berlin, and Dresden. A quick flyover to London was unexpectedly extended, giving the musicians a free day to roam the British capital before boarding a chartered plane to Salzburg, with a “run-out” to Vienna. The tour concluded in Poland, with performances in Wrocław and Lusławice at the Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music.

From the Road

  • Bremer Nachrichten: May 24, 2017

    Bremen, Germany

    “There is no need to mention this brilliant youth orchestra’s flexible modulation and intuitive musicality…They also gave an impressive performance of Krzysztof Penderecki’s Double Concerto for Violin, Viola and Orchestra. Lush sound and subtle rhythmic motor skills led to an electrifying night of music.”

    Kulturradio: May 24, 2017

    Berlin, Germany

    “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.”

    Lausitzer Rundschau
    : May 26, 2017

    Dresden, Germany

    “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.”

    Classical Source
    : May 26, 2017

    London, England

    “The [Brahms] slow movement was especially soulful, taken very spaciously, divine in many ways, Serkin especially tender in the opening paragraphs, the orchestra hushed, but not afraid to disrupt the line later with much intensity. The Adagio closed to spellbinding tranquility.”

    The Telegraph
    : May 27, 2017

    London, England

    “The exuberance of the opening registered well, and certainly the work was a good showcase for an orchestra of young virtuosi — the sweet-toned, quicksilver violin solos from the leader, Maria Ioudenitch, were a highlight.”

    : May 30, 2017

    Salzburg, Austria

    “The way that Osmo Vänskä, with the Curtis Symphony and Serkin, tenderly succumbed to the adagio before the latter virtuously elicited the rondo from the Steinway, was a moment that brought you to your knees. A terrific interpretation!”

  • May 19, 2017: Curtis Orchestra is off to Europe, with us on their tail 
    The Curtis Symphony Orchestra embarks on a tour of Europe, to perform and gain valuable experience as traveling musicians.

    May 23, 2017: Curtis Symphony Orchestra has a whirlwind Tuesday in Berlin
    The orchestra arrives in Berlin, where students explore the city, take lessons with Berlin Philharmonic musicians, and perform a concert at the Berlin Konzerthaus.

    May 24, 2017: Curtis Symphony Orchestra day-trips to Dresden with nervous anticipation of London
    The orchestra makes a brief trip to Dresden to perform at the Kulturpalast as part of the Dresden Music Festival.

    May 25, 2017: Curtis in London: ‘Suspect’ package curtails BBC broadcast… and then there’s the laundry
    The orchestra navigates the unpredictable nature of touring in the twenty-first century.

    May 26, 2017: Reunited with their instruments and feeling so good, Curtis plays London
    The orchestra arrives in London to play at Cagodan Hall.

    May 27, 2017: Curtis Symphony Orchestra is turned back at Heathrow Airport for an extra unscheduled day in London
    The orchestra maintains high spirits while stranded in Heathrow airport as the result of a British Airways computer glitch.


BRAHMS Concerto No. 1 in D Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 15
PENDERECKI, Concerto doppio for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra
RAVEL Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2
STRAUSS Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40

BERSNTEIN Overture to Candide (encore)
PROKOFIEV March from The Love for Three Oranges (encore)


Helsinki, Finland
May 20 at the Helsinki Music Centre
Presented by the Sibelius Academy

Bremen, Germany
May 22 at Die Glocke, Grosser Saal
Presented by the Philharmonische Gesellschaft Bremen

Berlin, Germany
May 23 at Konzerthaus Berlin, Grosser Saal
Presented in cooperation with Young Euro Classic

Dresden, Germany
May 24 at Kulturpalast Dresden
Presented by the Dresden Music Festival

London, England
May 26 at Cadogan Hall

Salzburg, Austria
May 29 at Mozarteum, Grosser Saal
Presented by Kulturvereinigung in cooperation with Mozarteum University Salzburg

Vienna, Austria
May 30 at Wiener Konzerthaus, Grosser Saal
Presented by Jeunesse

Wroclaw, Poland
May 31 at National Forum of Music
Presented by the Ludwig van Beethoven Association

Lusławice, Poland
June 2 at Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music
Presented by the Ludwig van Beethoven Association in cooperation with the Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music