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Curtis Institute of Music Fall 2021 Preview

In-person performances resume in Philadelphia alongside new film and virtual offerings

PHILADELPHIA, PA—August 10, 2021—The 2021–22 season begins at the Curtis Institute of Music in October, with a mix of in-person performances and robust digital offerings, including opera, chamber music, family concerts, and free student recitals through December. Detailed ticketing and venue information for audiences and a complete media calendar of Spring 2022 performances will be shared at a later date.

Each season Curtis celebrates the excellence of the living artists of today through composer residencies: the 2021–22 composer in residence is Tania León. A recent Pulitzer Prize-winner known for “inspiring generations of artists” (International Musician), Ms. León will lead master classes, coach student musicians for public performances, and more during her residency. Highlights include a portrait concert in the spring.

Audiences in Philadelphia and across the globe will enjoy the artistry of the 153 student musicians of Curtis—ages 14 to 30, hailing from 23 different countries. “Both a conservatory and a buzzword … known for taking the best music students in the world” (Washington Post), for nearly a century Curtis has provided each member of its small student body with an unparalleled education alongside musical peers and a celebrated faculty, with nearly 200 yearly performances fueled by a “learn by doing” philosophy.


Fall 2021 Highlights

  • With twice-weekly events, the free Student Recital Series returns to the Philadelphia campus on Friday, October 15. Recitals of varied repertoire performed by the extraordinary young musicians of Curtis take place most Mondays and Fridays in Gould Rehearsal Hall with limited audience. Free reservations should be made in advance. Recitals highlights are featured year-round on WHYY’s On Stage at Curtis and WWFM’s Curtis Calls; and full-length broadcasts are available weekly at Curtis.edu/YouTube. Added performances are expected in the spring in the newly refurbished Field Concert Hall.
  • Curtis Opera Theatre reimagines La clemenza di Tito for the silver screen. Entitled MERCY, the opera/film production directed by Chas Rader-Shieber and Alek Shrader creates fantastical new worlds around Mozart’s noble drama of ancient Rome. In-person screenings begin November 4.
  • Awakening a sense of wonder in our youngest listeners, Curtis Family Concerts share musical concepts through interactive exploration and entertainment. Curtis artists, in partnership with First Person Arts, perform works inspired by personal stories on November 13.
  • Alumni Josef Špaček, Timotheos Petrin, and George Xiaoyuan Fu represent Curtis on Tour at top venues across Europe, beginning at the Nights of Classical Music at the Gennadius Library festival in Athens on September 21. Another dynamic ensemble of renowned alumni artists reconnects with music lovers in Latin America through a new virtual tour this October.


Spring 2022 Highlights

All dates and programs are subject to change

Curtis Symphony Orchestra:

  • January 28: Conductor Peter Oundjian leads the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and organ soloist Alan Morrison in their highly anticipated return to Verizon Hall. A celebratory program includes works for strings by Jessie Montgomery and George Walker and Richard Strauss’s dramatic tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra. Morrison dazzles in Samuel Barber’s Toccata Festiva.
  • April 29: A newly minted member of the piano faculty, Yefim Bronfman performs Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the orchestra in Verizon Hall to close the season. Robert Spano conducts Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.

Curtis Opera Theatre:

  • March 3, 4, 5, 6: Eve Summer directs a fully staged production of Così fan tutte at Philadelphia’s Prince Theater. Sung in Italian, Mozart’s comic score follows pairs of lovers through unlikely scenarios that put their relationships and fidelity to the test.
  • May 5, 7: Premiered by the San Francisco Opera in 1994, The Dangerous Liaisons mirrors the plot of the 18th-century French novel. A tale of revenge and seduction, a string of deceits leads to unexpected and ultimately tragic consequences.
  • Dates TBD: Curtis presents a double bill of American opera by two of the school’s most distinguished alumni: The Medium by Gian Carlo Menotti and Triple-Sec by Marc Blitzstein. The performances will be filmed in Fall 2021 for a Spring 2022 video release.

Ensemble 20/21:

  • Under the leadership of new director Nick DiBerardino, Curtis’s contemporary music ensemble emphasizes 21st-century works from Purple Project for Democracy competition winners Alexis C. Lamb and Camilla Tassi, and student and faculty composers from the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Recent Pulitzer Prize-winner Tania León visits Curtis as the 2021–22 composer in residence. Highlights of her residency include a portrait concert by Ensemble 20/21. Of the ensemble’s previous Joan Tower portrait program, the New York Times wrote, “Ms. Tower could hardly have hoped for more passionate performances.”

Special Events and Collaborations:

  • Rehearsing Philadelphia, a meta score by Berlin-based artist and composer Ari Benjamin Meyers, is jointly produced and presented by Curtis and Drexel University’s Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. This large-scale public project explores how we can come together as a city through musical rehearsal with live and virtual events from March 21–April 10. To learn more visit RehearsingPhiladelphia.com.

Additional programming and relevant ticketing and venue information will be updated frequently throughout the fall. A full media calendar is pending. Visit Curtis.edu/Performances for the most up-to-date information.




Tuesday, September 21–Tuesday, September 28

Josef Špaček (’09), violin
Timotheos Petrin (’17), cello
George Xiaoyuan Fu (’16), piano

September 21–24      Athens: Nights of Classical Music at the Gennadius Library
September 26 Berlin
September 28 Paris

More information at Curtis.edu/Europe.

Curtis on Tour is the Nina von Maltzahn global touring initiative of the Curtis Institute of Music.


First Recital—Friday, October 15
Gould Rehearsal Hall

With an average of 100 free performances each year, the Student Recital Series provides a platform for the extraordinary young musicians of Curtis, and world-renowned faculty and guest artists also join for special residency recitals throughout the season.

In the fall semester, recitals take place most Mondays and Fridays in Gould Rehearsal Hall for in-person audiences. Limited space is available; free registration is required. For a complete listing of the week’s performances and to register visit Curtis.edu/Calendar.

Highlights from the Student Recital Series are featured year-round on WHYY-TV’s On Stage at Curtis and WWFM Radio’s Curtis Calls. Full-length broadcasts are available weekly at Curtis.edu/YouTube.


Starting Friday, October 16
Virtual tour, broadcast online

Mimi Stillman (’99), flute
Bella Hristova (’08), violin
Roberto Díaz (’84), viola
Gabriel Cabezas (’13), cello
Michelle Cann (’13), piano

October 16 Mexico
Date TBD Lima, Peru
Date(s) TBD     Chile

More information at Curtis.edu/LatinAmerica.

Curtis on Tour is the Nina von Maltzahn global touring initiative of the Curtis Institute of Music.


Screenings begin November 4
Prince Theater
1412 Chestnut Street

Chas Rader-Shieber, writer and director
Alek Shrader, writer and director
Grant Loehnig, music director
Robert Kahn, conductor

MOZART      Selections, La clemenza da Tito
  (with original music for percussion)

90-minute opera/film with members of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, sung in Italian with English subtitles

More information at Curtis.edu/Mercy.

The Curtis Opera Theatre is generously supported by the Ernestine Bacon Cairns Trust, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and the Wyncote Foundation.

Storytelling Through Music
Saturday, November 13 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Gould Rehearsal Hall

This interactive concert celebrates the power of music and storytelling working as one. Curtis students and Community Artist Fellows perform works inspired by personal anecdotes and crafted in partnership with professional storytellers from First Person Arts. Audiences are invited to explore their own experiences as they participate in games and performances designed to engage the whole family!

More information at Curtis.edu/Family.

The Curtis Institute of Music received funding from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Pennsylvania Council on the Arts logo




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Press Contact

Patricia K. Johnson
Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs
(215) 717-3190