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2019–20 Season Begins at the Curtis Institute of Music

Programming includes orchestra, opera, chamber music, family concerts, and free student recitals

View the complete season calendar


PHILADELPHIA, PA—August 28, 2019—The 2019–20 season begins at the Curtis Institute of Music in October, with programming that includes orchestra, opera, chamber music, family concerts, and free student recitals, totaling more than 200 performances in Philadelphia now through May.

This year, 171 students—ages 14 to 30, hailing from 20 different countries—come to Curtis, “both a conservatory and a buzzword…known for taking the best music students in the world” (Washington Post). In this intimate environment, they are nurtured by a celebrated faculty, supported by a tuition-free policy, and inspired by the school’s distinctive “learn by doing” approach.

Special events in Fall 2019:

  • The Curtis Institute of Music serves as an official location partner and content architect for Independence Blue Cross’s B. PHL, a new city-wide innovation festival taking place from October 15–17.
  • The first annual Philadelphia Music Week runs from October 15–21 at venues around the city and showcases the diverse musical offerings in Philadelphia and their impact on the community. A city council resolution honoring the Curtis Institute of Music’s 95th anniversary and a free concert kick off the festival in Center City on October 15.

Curtis Opera Theatre overview:

  • November 21, 22, 23, 24: Rossini’s effervescent comedy The Barber of Seville overflows with farcical twists and sparkling arias in the opera season opener at the Perelman Theater.
  • March 5, 6, 7, 8: The March production of Britten’s Albert Herring sees the return of celebrated conductor George Manahan and the Curtis debut of director Eve Summer.
  • April 30, May 1, 2, 3: The season closes with La clemenza di Tito, Mozart’s melodious and noble drama of ancient Rome, directed by resident stage director Chas Rader-Shieber.

Curtis Presents overview:

  • November 20: The Curtis Presents series continues to bring distinguished faculty, alumni, students, and friends together in the timeless setting of Field Concert Hall. In Winds and Strings, Curtis alumni Benjamin Schmid—recognized as one of today’s most versatile violinists—and Gabriel Kovach—principal horn of the Phoenix Symphony—lead a collaborative ensemble through works by Beethoven and Penderecki. The November 20 recital takes place in the midst of a United States tour.
  • December 7: Curtis’s latest all-school project, centered on the culture of China, is realized in a portrait recital featuring composer in residence Bright Sheng and the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble. The program is also presented at New York’s Miller Theatre.
  • February 16: A midwinter recital by bass-baritone and Curtis alumnus Eric Owens celebrates the renowned performer’s homecoming in 2019–20 as a faculty member and director of the Curtis Opera Theatre.
  • April 11: Improvisation and innovative programs are the hallmarks of Garden Music. Each Curtis alumnus in this ensemble—Teddy Abrams, Nathan Farrington, Gabriel Globus-Hoenich, and Harrison Hollingsworth—performs on multiple instruments to draw upon music traditions from the around the world.

Curtis Symphony Orchestra overview:

  • October 20: Beloved conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera, collaborates with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and members of the Curtis Opera Theatre for their opening concert in Verizon Hall, with selections from Così fan tutte and Le nozze di Figaro. The Percussion Collective also shares the stage for the Philadelphia premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’s Drum Circles.
  • January 31: The CSO celebrates Beethoven’s 250th birthday and his masterful “Emperor” Concerto in an exciting program featuring esteemed soloist and Beethoven interpreter Jonathan Biss at the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia. The orchestra then embarks on a domestic tour of this program, finishing at Carnegie Hall on February 8.
  • April 26: The closing program of the CSO season looks back on the life of the legendary Isaac Stern. Led by the late violinist’s son, Michael Stern, the program is centered on Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D, performed by soloist and violin faculty member Pamela Frank.
  • All three programs will also be performed at Immaculata University on October 29, January 30, and April 25, respectively. The October 29 program features Mozart’s Serenade in B-flat major (“Gran Partita”) for winds in place of the opera selections and is led by Curtis conducting fellows Robert Kahn and Yuwon Kim.

Curtis 20/21 Ensemble overview:

  • December 7: The Curtis 20/21 Ensemble appears as part of the Curtis Presents series with Bright Sheng (see above).
  • February 22: In #Persona, the ensemble focuses on composers who project their internal, personal identities onto their musical voices. Prepared in collaboration with Imani Winds, this program features works by David Del Tredici, Reena Esmail, Luciano Berio, and recent Curtis composition alumni.
  • April 4: Soprano Lauren Eberwein and the 20/21 Ensemble present Osvaldo Golijov’s song cycle Ayre, combining sounds of technology and worldwide folk traditions with Western classical instruments.

Family Concerts overview:

  • November 10, February 23: Awakening a sense of wonder in listeners ages 5 to 12, Curtis Family Concerts share music with young audiences through interactive, educational presentations. These hour-long performances take place in a friendly setting, uniting entertainment with exploration. This season’s offerings include a collaboration with the Enchantment Theater Company to tell the tales of Mother Goose alongside Ravel’s whimsical music; and Winter House, an original composition by Paul Smith of the international vocal ensemble and educational organization VOCES8.

Student Recital Series:

  • With over 100 free performances this season, the Student Recital Series continues its celebrated legacy as the leading concert stage for some of the finest young musicians in the world. Recitals take place most Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays, beginning Friday, October 11. Recital highlights are featured year-round on YouTube, WHYY’s On Stage at Curtis, and WWFM’s Curtis Calls, and Friday recitals are live-streamed at Curtis.edu/YouTube.

Curtis on Tour:

  • Curtis on Tour, the Nina von Maltzahn global touring initiative of the Curtis Institute of Music, is an embodiment of the school’s “learn by doing” philosophy and offers students real-world, professional touring experience alongside celebrated alumni and faculty. A busy fall season includes tours to Greece for the Nights of Classical Music Festival, continuing to venues in France, Germany, and Spain; a first-ever tour to Singapore, with stops in Korea and Hong Kong; and a U.S. tour led by esteemed alumni Benjamin Schmid and Gabriel Kovach. In Winter 2019, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra performs in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, and New York’s Carnegie Hall. Additional details will be available throughout the season.

View the complete season and ticketing information
. Additional programming details to be announced throughout the year.


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