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Alumna Karina Canellakis leads the Curtis Symphony Orchestra on April 28 in Allentown and April 29 in Philadelphia

Diverse program highlights Curtis alumni: soprano Amanda Majeski featured, orchestra performs work by George Walker. Gala prior to April 29 concert celebrates longtime Curtis supporters Joseph and Marie Field.

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PHILADELPHIA—April 18, 2018—“The model of a modern musician” (Los Angeles Times), Karina Canellakis, Curtis alumna and winner of the 2016 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, leads the Curtis Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown, Pa., and Sunday, April 29 at 8 p.m. in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. She is joined by fellow alumna and Metropolitan Opera soprano Amanda Majeski.

Curtis conducting fellow Carlos Ágreda opens the program with the pensive Lyric for Strings, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and Curtis alumnus George Walker (Composition and Piano ’45). Walker, who will receive Curtis’s Presidential Distinguished Alumni Award on May 12, wrote this piece in memory of his grandmother. Soprano Amanda Majeski (Opera ’09) joins the orchestra in Strauss’s poignant Four Last Songs, a perfect match for her “glowing” soprano (Opera News). Webern’s Six Pieces for Orchestra offers an otherworldly counterpoint to Scriabin’s rarely heard Poem of Ecstasy, which provides the exhilarating close.

Tickets for the Allentown performance are available from the Miller Symphony Hall Box office at MillerSymphonyHall.org or (610) 432-6715. Tickets for the Philadelphia performance start at $20 and can be purchased through the Kimmel Center Box Office at (215) 893-1999 or KimmelCenter.org. This concert is supported by the Jack Wolgin Curtis Orchestral Concerts Endowment Fund.

Immediately preceding the concert on April 29, the Curtis Institute of Music will hold its annual gala at the Bellevue Hotel. This year’s gala pays tribute to the vision, commitment, and leadership of longtime Curtis supporters Joseph and Marie Field. This special event is chaired by John H. McFadden and Lisa D. Kabnick; honorary chairs are the Mary Louise Curtis Bok Foundation Board of Directors. Guests will enjoy cocktails at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m., followed by the concert. For more information, visit Curtis.edu/Gala.

Acclaimed for its “otherworldly ensemble and professional level of sophistication” (New York Times), the Curtis Symphony Orchestra offers a dynamic showcase of tomorrow’s exceptional young talent. Each year the 100 extraordinary musicians of the orchestra work with internationally renowned conductors, including Osmo Vänskä, Vladimir Jurowski, Marin Alsop, Simon Rattle, Robert Spano, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who also mentors the early-career conductors who hold Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellowships. This professional training has enabled Curtis alumni to assume prominent positions in America’s leading orchestras, as well as esteemed orchestral, opera, and chamber ensembles around the world.

Karina Canellakis first made headlines in 2014, filling in at the last minute for Jaap van Zweden with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, where she held the position of assistant conductor for two seasons. She made her European conducting debut in 2015 with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, replacing the late Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

Notable debuts in the 2017–18 season include l’Orchestre de Paris; the Bamberg, BBC, Berlin Radio, Seattle, and Vienna symphonies; and the Hallé Orchestra. Ms. Canellakis has also appeared with the Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and Royal Stockholm philharmonics; the Swedish Radio Orchestra; the Danish and Royal Scottish national orchestras; the Cincinnati, Detroit, Houston, Milwaukee, San Diego, Toronto, Vancouver, and City of Birmingham symphony orchestras; Concentus Musicus Wien; and the Los Angeles and Scottish chamber orchestras.

This season Ms. Canellakis returns to the Zurich Opera to conduct Die Zauberflöte. Other appearances in opera have included the world premiere of David Lang’s The Loser at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Peter Maxwell Davies’s The Hogboon with the Luxembourg Philharmonic, and a fully staged performance of Verdi’s Requiem at the Zurich Opera. In 2016 she conducted Le nozze di Figaro with the Curtis Opera Theatre. Ms. Canellakis is a 2004 violin graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music. She also holds a master’s degree in conducting from the Juilliard School.

Amanda Majeski has earned acclaim for a voice of “silvery beauty” (Musical America) that is “ample and expressive” (New York Times). In 2018 Ms. Majeski returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Fiordiligi in a new production of Così fan tutte. Also this season, she debuted at Paris Opera as Vitellia in La clemenza di Tito and with the Hong Kong Philharmonic as Gutrune in Götterdämmerung.

Ms. Majeski has appeared as the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Glyndebourne Festival, Semperoper Dresden, and Washington National Opera; Vitellia in La clemenza di Tito at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Teatro Real in Madrid, and Semperoper Dresden; Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare at the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires; the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier at Oper Frankfurt; and Marguerite in Faust at Zürich Opera.

Ms. Majeski’s roles at the Lyric Opera of Chicago also include Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and as Marta in Mieczysław Weinberg’s The Passenger. At Oper Frankfurt she has sung the title role in Dvořák’s Rusalka, the Goose-Girl in Humperdinck’s Königskinder, and Vreli in Delius’s A Village Romeo and Juliet. She has appeared at Opera Philadelphia as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, at Pittsburgh Opera as Blanche in Dialogues des Carmélites, at Santa Fe Opera as Ottone in in Vivaldi’s Griselda, and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Ms. Majeski holds degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and Northwestern University.

Born in Washington, D.C., George Walker was one of the first African-Americans to graduate from the Curtis Institute of Music. He was also the first black pianist to debut at New York’s Town Hall, to earn a doctorate from the Eastman School of Music, and to perform with the Philadelphia Orchestra (in 1945). In 1996, he became the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize in Music.

Walker attended Oberlin College, graduating at age 18. He continued his piano studies with Rudolf Serkin at Curtis, where he was also a composition student of Rosario Scalero. He subsequently went to Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger, continuing his piano studies with Robert Casadesus. Walker later earned a doctorate from the Eastman School of Music. He has taught at Smith College, the University of Colorado, the Peabody Institute, the University of Delaware, and Rutgers University, where for many years he was department chair and distinguished professor.

Walker has written a large volume of music, including orchestral, chamber, solo piano, and choral works. His Sinfonia No. 5 employs narration, spirituals, and other elements to address the Charleston church massacre of 2015; the National Symphony will premiere it in the 2019–20 season.

The Curtis Institute of Music educates and trains exceptionally gifted young musicians to engage a local and global community through the highest level of artistry. One of the most selective schools in the United States, Curtis accepts four percent of applicants each year on average. A tuition-free policy ensures that talent and artistic promise are the only considerations for admission. With a small student body of about 175, Curtis provides each young musician with an education of unparalleled quality, distinguished by personalized attention from a celebrated faculty and a “learn by doing” philosophy. Curtis students hone their craft through than 200 orchestra, opera, and solo and chamber music offerings each year in Philadelphia and around the world.



The Jack Wolgin Orchestral Concerts


Karina Canellakis (Violin ’04), conductor
Amanda Majeski (Opera ’09), soprano
Carlos Ágreda, conducting fellow


WALKER            Lyric for Strings
STRAUSS  Four Last Songs
WEBERN    Six Pieces for Orchestra
SCRIABIN  The Poem of Ecstasy


Saturday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Miller Symphony Hall, 23 N. 6th Street, Allentown, Pa.

Single tickets: $25–$35 sold by the Miller Symphony Hall Box Office at MillerSymphonyHall.org or (610) 432-6715.


Sunday, April 29 at 8 p.m.
Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center, Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia

Single tickets: $20-75 sold by the Kimmel Center Box Office at KimmelCenter.org or (215) 893-1999.


Curtis Institute of Music 2018 Gala
Sunday, April 29 at 5 p.m.
The Bellevue Hotel, 200 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia

Tickets and sponsorships available through the Curtis Institute of Music at Curtis.edu/Gala or (215) 717-3141.


The guest conductor for these Curtis Symphony Orchestra performances is made possible by the Gustave and Rita Hauser Chair. 

Ms. Majeski’s appearance is made possible in part by a gift from Carol and Howard Lidz.


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