The Curtis Institute of Music’s all-school projects are interdepartmental, educational, and cultural extravaganzas, characterized by a simultaneous, intensive examination of a specific composition, genre, or era across the academic curriculum, performance studies, and extracurriculum.

The projects provide a unique opportunity for all Curtis students to:

  • deepen and broaden their artistry by studying and performing together a defined repertoire;
  • practice critical listening and analysis of that repertoire, along with research, writing, and discussion in musical studies courses; and
  • explore the surrounding social history, literature, philosophy, psychology, visual art, politics, and general cultural ethos in liberal arts courses.

Extracurricular programs such as outside concerts, lectures, museum visits, and social activities expand the students’ learning experience beyond the walls of Curtis.

All-School Project 2021-22: The Civil Rights Era and the Music of Change

In the United States, the 1960s are often associated with “The Civil Rights Era” and yet scholars remind us that the 1964 Civil Rights Act addressed calls that echoed across decades and centuries. The school-wide examination of the historic events and the artistic outpouring between 1950 and 1975 may suggest that the work of composers, musicians, and artists during the U.S. Civil Rights Era provided the impetus, inspiration, and invitation for a nation to reckon with injustice and to begin to change.

One goal of the project is to allow students to explore the ways in which the work of the civil rights era continues to inform and impact the lives of Philadelphians. Under the auspices of a Pew Foundation grant, Curtis students will have the opportunity to collaborate with Drexel University peers and composer Ari Benjamin Meyers in a large-scale public art project that asks: How Can We Be Together?

Through performance projects, musicians will revisit the innovative sounds of the era and craft new sounds. In coursework, students will engage with musical, historical, literary, sociological, artistic, and philosophical investigations that continue to resonate. Co-curricular projects will offer students forums in which to discuss the films, marches, speeches, writings, and concerts that continue to galvanized generations. In support of these explorations, the librarians and archivists of Rock Resource Center will augment research and performances with scores, special collections, and archival exhibitions.

Past All-School Projects

The projects, uniquely envisioned by Curtis President Roberto Díaz, began in 2007–08 with the Opus 95 Project, which focused on Beethoven’s string quartet masterwork. That first project received praise from the New York Times for its innovation and inspired a yearly tradition at Curtis.

  • 2008–09: Beethoven’s Late Quartets
  • 2009–10: Paris Between the Wars
  • 2010–11: Music of the Second Viennese School
  • 2011–12: Appassionato
  • 2012–13: Romeo and Juliet
  • 2013–14: Sojourns in Russia
  • 2014–15: The Influence of Russia
  • 2015–16: Darmstadt
  • 2016–17: Beyond Darmstadt
  • 2017–18, 2018–19: The Edge Effect
  • 2019–20: China: A Nation, Practice, and Influence
  • 2020–21: Beyond China