Curtis on Tour: Winds and Strings

In Fall 2019 Curtis on Tour brought a unique ensemble of winds and strings to locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., performing expansive chamber music works of Beethoven and Penderecki. The ensemble was led by two Curtis alumni: Austrian violinist Benjamin Schmid, recognized as one of today’s most versatile artists; and Gabriel Kovach, principal horn of the Phoenix Symphony.

On the Air

The touring ensemble stopped by WRTI-FM in Philadelphia midway through the tour to share selections with a live radio and YouTube audience.


Clarinet student Sara Han led an Instagram takeover, sharing the challenges of traveling with instruments, meet-ups with alumni in Pittsburgh, and more.


  • Gabriel Kovach has been principal horn of the Phoenix Symphony since 2006. He is also principal horn of the Glimmerglass and Artosphere festival orchestras; and previously served as principal horn of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, and the Moscow Chamber Orchestra. He has toured with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, sharing duties as principal and second horn; and has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

    Mr. Kovach has participated in the Casals, Norfolk Chamber, Verbier, and Sarasota music festivals; the National Repertory Orchestra; and the Marlboro Music Festival and School, where he founded the Sonoro Winds with several colleagues. He has taught clinics and master classes for the Southwest Horn Conference; Interlochen Arts Academy; and Arizona, Arizona State, and New Mexico State universities.

    In 2001 Mr. Kovach recorded the world premiere of Max Schubel’s Esquisses en désarroi with cellist Inbal Segev and the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He has been a featured soloist with the Phoenix Symphony, performing Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 on two separate occasions.

    Mr. Kovach holds a bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Myron Bloom; and a master’s degree from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Julie Landsman and Jerome Ashby.

  • Benjamin Schmid was born in Vienna and grew up in Salzburg. In 1992 he won the Carl Flesch Competition in London, where he was also awarded the Mozart, Beethoven, and Audience prizes. Since then he has performed on the world’s major stages with renowned orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Orchestra (London), the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam) under conductors such as Christoph von Dohnányi, Valery Gergiev, Ingo Metzmacher, Seiji Ozawa, and David Zinman.

    In addition to the standard concerto literature, Mr. Schmid includes concertos by Hartmann, Gulda, Korngold, Lutoslawski, Muthspiel, Schoenberg, and Szymanowski in his repertoire, and is skilled in jazz improvisation. He has recorded about 40 CDs, receiving such awards as the German Record Prize, the Echo Klassik Prize, the Gramophone Editor’s Choice, and the Strad Selection. His June 2011 performance with the Vienna Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev was broadcast internationally and released on DVD by Deutsche Grammophon. Mr. Schmid is professor of violin at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and gives master classes in Berne, Switzerland. In the summer of 2006 he was awarded the International Prize for Art and Culture of the City of Salzburg. A 1991 graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, he plays the ex-Viotti 1718 Stradivarius violin.

  • Additional artists include:

    Sara Han, clarinet
    Doron Laznow, bassoon
    Haeji Kim, viola
    John Lee, cello
    Marcus Elliott Gaved, double bass
    Benjamin Krasner, piano


PENDERECKI      Duo Concertante for violin and double bass
BEETHOVEN Septet in E-­flat major, Op. 20


Philadelphia, Pa.
Saturday, November 16 at 5 p.m.
Woodmere Art Museum
Presented by the Woodmere Art Museum
This event is a lecture performance on Beethoven’s Septet in E-flat major, Op. 20. David Serkin Ludwig, chair of composition studies, offers insights into the work, followed by its complete performance by the ensemble.


Washington, D.C.
Sunday, November 17 at 3:30 p.m.
National Gallery of Art, West Garden Court
Presented by the National Gallery of Art


Pittsburgh, Pa.
Monday, November 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Carnegie Music Hall
Presented by Chamber Music Pittsburgh


Philadelphia, Pa.
Wednesday, November 20 at 8 p.m.
Curtis Institute of Music, Field Concert Hall
Presented as part of the Curtis Presents series


West Orange, N.J.
Thursday, November 21 at 7 p.m.
Jewish Community Center MetroWest, Maurice Levin Theater
Presented by the Jewish Community Center MetroWest