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Commencement 2019: Curtis Celebrates its New Graduates

On May 11, Curtis celebrated the class of 2019

On May 11, Curtis awarded degrees, diplomas, and certificates to 45 graduates. Special honors went to six graduates, two retiring faculty, a distinguished commencement speaker, and others who have served Curtis with distinction. Congratulations to them and to the Class of 2019!


Commencement Photo Album


Student Speakers:
Zubin Hathi (Timpani and Percussion) and Sophia Hunt (Voice)

Zubin Hathi (Timpani and Percussion)“In our profession, it’s not nearly enough to simply be a good musician. We also have to know how to maintain good relationships with the people with whom we work. Being at Curtis has taught me that when you are part of a group of people that are willing to truly support one another, the ways in which your musical persona get shaped as a result are magical.”  



Sophia Hunt (Voice)“Curtis has given me the tools to use my artistry however I wish: The coaches and teachers who have inspired me, guided me, and pushed me with truly limitless care and love; being surrounded by all of you every day, who never fail to amaze me with your passion and dedication; becoming a part of the true family that is Curtis, as we celebrated thrilling concerts and achievements, and as we grieved heartbreaking losses; being a part of operas which made me realize art’s purpose in the world to touch, comfort, push boundaries, and inspire.”



Commencement Speaker:
Claire Chase, founder and flutist, International Contemporary Ensemble

Claire Chase“As you join past and current generations of musicians in reimagining the world of music, I want to ask you to go down deep into the roots of your musical souls and take very, very good care of your joy. As a musician, joy is your currency. There is no greater responsibility than to tend to it, taste it, and listen to it.” Read the full speech.


Claire Chase involved the graduates and guests in a collective performance of Sounds from Childhood (1992) by Pauline Oliveros.

She also quoted the “hydra-headed heroine, composer, author, scientist, mystic, and inventor of languages,” Hildegard of Bingen, who lived in the 12th century:

We cannot live in an interpreted world.
A world that is interpreted for us by others.
An interpreted world is not a home.
Part of the terror
Is to take back our listening
See our own light
Use our own voice.


Musical Interlude
After Ms. Chase’s speech, musical studies faculty and alumnus Matthew Glandorf (Organ ’91) improvised an interlude based on a theme by Hildegard, suggested by Ms. Chase.





Welcome to the New Alumni:
Barbara Moskow (Voice ’50)

“When I think about [my graduation] day, I realize that I didn’t totally appreciate the wonderful gift I had been given.  It is really only in retrospect, I think that we realize we graduated debt-free, we had wonderful teachers, we had wonderful training, we had wonderful classes. The names of the faculty have changed, but the level of teaching remains the same. … You are about to embark on the next chapter of your journey.  It will be your turn now to play it forward.”


Awards and Prizes

Lifetime Achievement Award
Presented to Mikael Eliasen, in recognition of his visionary leadership of the Curtis Opera Theatre and vocal studies department, and of his extraordinary impact on the lives and careers of countless singers

Joan Hutton Landis Award for Excellence in Academics
Grace Clifford (Violin)

Edward Aldwell Award for Excellence in Musical Studies
William Langlie-Miletich (Double Bass)

Charles Miller Prize: The Fritz Kreisler Award
Adé Williams (Violin)

Milka Violin Artist Prize
Andrea Obiso (Violin)

Angelo Sylvestro Festorazzi Scholarship
Tiffany Renee Townsend (Opera)

Paul G. Mehlin Scholarship
Daniel Hsu (Piano)

The Presser Foundation Undergraduate Scholar Award
Andrew Moses (Composition)

Certificates, Degrees, and Diplomas

Diploma: 1
Post-Baccalaureate Diploma: 14
Bachelor of Music: 24
Master of Music in Opera: 3
Certificate of Professional Studies: 3
Honorary Doctorates: 4