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On May 12, Curtis celebrated the 2018 class of graduates

On May 12, Curtis awarded degrees, diplomas, and certificates to 53 graduates. Nine students, a cherished alumnus, and a distinguished commencement speaker received special honors.  Congratulations to the Class of 2018!

Ashley Robillard (Voice) andMicah McLaurin (Piano) celebrate after the commencement ceremonyView more photos from the 2018 commencement ceremonies








Commencement Speaker: Joseph W. Polisi, D.M.A., president, The Juilliard School

Joseph W. Polisi, D.M.A., president, The Juilliard School

“With your profoundly powerful communicative abilities as musicians, you enter a world that is currently short on empathy, nuance, and civility. ... Realizing that these challenges exist, we remain hopeful because we believe that you will use your persuasive power as artists to realize positive change in the time ahead and that our global population will embrace your humanity in all its forms.”





Student Speakers: Xiaobo Pu (Guitar) and HéloÏse Carlean Jones (Harp)

Xiaobo Pu (Guitar) and HéloÏse Carlean Jones (Harp)"We are leaving a beloved community that has carried and watched over us for so many years. … Today, I want to share with you what I’ve learned from these four years.  Don’t be afraid to embrace the uncertainties in life. Try to stay out of your comfort zone and expand your horizons. … Challenge yourself and try to do something that is unpredictable. In the end, as we head toward our future, the things that will always guide us are the experiences we have shared here. And I believe that no matter where we go, Curtis will always be the home we can return to."

—Xiaobo Pu

"Music isn’t just something that we’ve been doing since the age of five, something that we’re passionate about, or something that we can’t live without.  Music is our responsibility. It’s our responsibility to do it justice, to inspire others with it, to keep it alive, and to pass it on for generations to come.  And being alumni of Curtis means that we can do this together. … Curtis is a place, but it is also an experience that we have shared together. During our time here, we have inspired each other to do better. Now it’s time to go inspire the world."

—HéloÏse Carlean Jones

President’s Alumni Award: George Walker (Piano and Composition ’45)

George Walker (Piano and Composition ’45)The distinguished composer George Walker (Piano and Composition '45) received the President’s Alumni Award in honor of a lifetime of musical achievements. Over the course of his trailblazing career as both composer and performer, Dr. Walker has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and numerous honorary doctorates, and remains an active composer—his latest work, Sinfonia No. 5, deals with the 2015 Charleston church massacre, and will be premiered by the National Symphony.

Learn more




Welcome to the New Alumni: Mimi Stillman (Flute '99)

Mimi Stillman (Flute ’99)“With the impeccable training and transformative experiences you’ve had at Curtis, you are poised to forge your own path in music—to hone your craft and pursue your individual artistic vision. … You as musicians get to seek the meaning in every note, striving for understanding of the organic whole.  As you take this momentous next step in your lives, I encourage you to work tirelessly, to bring your talent, your intellect, your creativity to bear on every note-from the smallest detail to your grandest dream—and to do it with great joy.”

Watch full speech




Degrees and Diplomas

Diploma: 3
Post-Baccalaureate Diploma: 17
Bachelor of Music: 26
Master of Music in Opera: 6
Certificate of Professional Studies: 1

Awards and Prizes

Lifetime Achievement Award
Joseph W. Polisi, D.M.A., president, The Juilliard School, in recognition of his extraordinary influence on the lives and development of actors, dancers, and musicians as performers, creators, and artist-citizens

President’s Alumni Award
George Walker (Piano and Composition ’45), in recognition of his trailblazing career as both composer and performer

Joan Hutton Landis Award for Excellence in Academics
Stephen Franklin (Trumpet)

Edward Aldwell Award for Excellence in Musical Studies
Bryan Christopher Dunnewald (Organ)
Stephen Franklin (Trumpet)

Charles Miller Prize: The Alberto Casella Award
Chelsea Komschlies (Composition)

Milka Violin Artist Prize
Stephen Kim (Violin)

Angelo Sylvestro Festorazzi Scholarship
Elena Perroni (Opera)

Paul G. Mehlin Scholarship
Linzi Pan (Piano)

Richard F. Gold Career Grant
Evan LeRoy Johnson (Opera)

The Presser Foundation Undergraduate Scholar Award
William Langlie-Miletich (Double Bass)