Artist Citizen Curriculum

Community-based projects are an essential part of a Curtis education, informing students’ development as artists and empowering them to invent careers with impact after their graduation.

The most inspiring professional musicians of today conceive and realize projects rooted in their art, and understand how to engage audiences of all kinds, deeply and fully. At the Curtis Institute of Music, students develop these skills by leading community-based projects that meaningfully affect the lives of others. In the process they become artist-citizens who are committed to deploying their world-class artistry to engage audiences and transform lives.

Community engagement has been part of the Curtis student experience for over 20 years. In 2014 the school launched a new artist-citizen curriculum to equip students with the essential skills they will need as musicians in the 21st century. At each stage of the curriculum, Curtis students work with their peers and community partners in Philadelphia to provide rich artistic experiences through performance. Graduates have the option to continue their work in the community through the Community Artist Fellowship program, which tailors placements to the discipline, experience, and interests of young Curtis alumni.

Sequential Curriculum

  • Social Entrepreneur

    This one-semester course, required of all students in the Bachelor of Music program, teaches Curtis musicians to create and sustain social value through faculty-led, community-based service opportunities. In addition to work on projects conceived by the chair of career studies, participants also:

    • attend the Careers in Music Speaker Series
    • build their online portfolios
    • can apply for small grants to continue their projects after their coursework concludes
  • Community Artist Program (CAP)

    CAP seeks to empower the next generation of leaders in classical music. CAP participants design and implement unique performance projects that combine artistry with invention, leadership with advocacy, and citizenship with community. In collaboration with partner organizations, CAP offers additional training in:

    • teaching artistry,
    • interactive performance, and
    • entrepreneurship

    Curtis faculty and alumni encourage and mentor CAP students throughout the year-long process, providing advice and helping students make connections within the community.

  • Community Artist Fellowship (CAF)

    Recent Curtis graduates will bring their artistry to underserved communities in Philadelphia through the Curtis Community Artist Fellowship, a program that fortifies Curtis’s commitment to service and allows alumni to extend, where possible, work they may have begun as students through the Community Artist Program (CAP). Curtis Community Artist Fellows are placed in existing partnerships between Curtis and institutions such as schools, hospitals, prisons, and rehabilitation centers. Fellows are able to continue their vital performance careers while serving the community.

Careers in Music Speaker Series

Open to Curtis students, faculty, staff, and alumni, this series gives the Curtis community the opportunity to hear from a variety of illustrious performers and others with a uniquely successful career.

Special Thanks

The Community Artist Fellowship program is generously supported by Professor Frank F. Furstenberg Jr., in memory of Nina Segre.