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.

2023-24 All-School Project: Music of the Earth

Rain. Wind. A stand of birches rustling. A wave whispering as it turns with the tide. What is the Music of the Earth?

Each year, the Curtis All-School Project opens innovative spaces for students to perform, study, and create music in response to a genre, theme, or epoch. In 2023-24, on the cusp of the school’s centenary, what better moment to celebrate Music of the Earth?

Whether engaging with ancient percussion traditions, the Renaissance concept of the music of the spheres, or Messiaen’s fascination with birdsong, the all-school project invites students and faculty to ask questions about the music that emanates from the earth and its inhabitants. Those questions will prompt deeper engagement with the scores, stories, art, and operas that compel us to confront contemporary issues of climate change and global justice.

Through performance projects, musicians will revisit the responses of other generations to the music of the earth, even as they craft their own sonic replies. In coursework, students will engage with musical, historical, literary, sociological, artistic, and philosophical investigations that concern the environment. Co-curricular projects will offer students forums in which to discuss historical and social movements in support of environmental health, clean air, and clean water. In concert with 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: The Edge Effect
  • 2018–19: The Edge Effect
  • 2019–20: China: A Nation, Practice, and Influence
  • 2020–21: Beyond China
  • 2021–22: Civil Rights and the Music of Change
  • 2022–23: Civil Rights and the Music of Change