Relive 2018 in photos
As 2018 draws to a close, we at Curtis are feeling grateful—for a wonderful year of music-making and learning, and for the support of our audiences and donors, who are so important to the education of our exceptionally gifted students. This extraordinary year has brought successful tours, prestigious awards for students and alumni, and innovative ways to reach audiences around the globe and in our own community. Review the year with us in photos below, with our thanks!
Composition faculty Jennifer Higdon (’88) was awarded the Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for her Viola Concerto, performed by Curtis President Roberto Díaz (’84) with the Nashville Symphony and conductor Giancarlo Guerrero. Co-commissioned by the Curtis Institute of Music, the Library of Congress, the Aspen Music Festival and School, and the Nashville Symphony, the concerto was featured on a Naxos album that also won the Grammy for Best Classical Compendium.
When the Curtis Symphony Orchestra performed John Corigliano’s Mannheim Rocket during its January concert in Verizon Hall, the composer was on hand to congratulate Curtis conducting fellow Yue Bao backstage.
PHOTO: David DeBalko
Curtis kicked off its celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s (’41) centenary with a tribute concert featuring chamber music and songs by this prodigiously gifted composer and conductor. Curtis on Tour brought the program to venues around the country throughout February and March. Curtis continued the celebration all year with blogs from the Archives and bonus content at Curtis.edu/Bernstein.
PHOTO: Paul de Heuck, courtesy of the Leonard Bernstein Office
Curtis partnered with Enchantment Theatre Company to bring Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals to life in a spirited family concert.
PHOTO: David Swanson
Continuing the Bernstein celebration, Curtis Opera Theatre presented Bernstein’s A Quiet Place in Philadelphia and New York, in a new chamber version. Curtis partnered with the National Museum of American Jewish History to present "Bernstein, Identity, and A Quiet Place," a probing panel discussion.
Two fast-rising stars, conductor Karina Canellakis (’04) and soprano Amanda Majeski (’09), joined forces with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra for an ambitious program including Webern’s Six Pieces for Orchestra, Strauss’s Four Last Songs, and Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy. George Walker’s (‘45) Lyric for Strings opened the concert, led by conducting fellow Carlos Ágreda as the 95-year-old composer listened in the audience.
PHOTO: David DeBalko
International business consultant Brian MacNeice, co-author of Powerhouse: Insider Accounts Into the World’s Top High-Performance Organizations, visited Philadelphia to speak at Curtis—one of the organizations profiled in the book—and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Curtis student composers, coached all season by visiting faculty Tod Machover, delved into live electronics with premieres of six new works. Composition student Nick DiBerardino summed up the experience: “The ambitiousness of this concert, with all its innovation, had created many challenges. But in the end, this music was worth it.”
PHOTO: Pete Checchia
Curtis named distinguished bass-baritone Eric Owens (’95) and principal opera coach Danielle Orlando to lead the vocal studies department beginning in Fall 2019, succeeding Mikael Eliasen.
A larger-than-usual graduating class of 53 young artists crossed the stage at Commencement, joining the next generation of great musicians. Joseph Polisi, retiring president of the Juilliard School, received a Lifetime Achievement Award and addressed the graduates; and George Walker (’45) received the President’s Alumni Award, three months before his death at age 96.
PHOTOS: David Swanson
Curtis Summerfest partnered with the Sphinx Organization to bring the Sphinx Performance Academy, a full-scholarship summer program designed for young Black and Latinx string players, to Philadelphia.
PHOTO: Pete Checchia
Two student ensembles from Curtis Summerfest’s Young Artist Summer Program appeared on WRTI Radio, as part of the regular series of live performance chats involving Curtis musicians.
New Student Orientation leaders welcomed a large incoming class representing nearly one-third of the 2018–19 student body. They came to Curtis with many accomplishments on their youthful CVs, including top prizes from the Princess Astrid International Music Competition and the Premio Rodolfo Lipizer International Violin Competition.
PHOTO: David Swanson
The school year began right after Convocation, with a whirlwind of lessons, rehearsals, coachings, and classes—and the first Wednesday tea.
PHOTO: Thomas Oltarzewski
The Curtis Opera Theatre kicked off the 2018–19 performance season with Trouble in Paradise, a topsy-turvy double bill of Leonard Bernstein’s (’41) Trouble in Tahiti and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas that had the audience and performers trading places midway through.
PHOTO: William Brown
Curtis students—including the entire Curtis Symphony Orchestra—performed in tribute to the late Gerry Lenfest, the school’s transformational former board chair and benefactor, during a memorial event at the Academy of Music.
As the Student Recital Series opened for a new year, Curtis resumed live-streamed Friday-night recitals after a ten-month hiatus caused by flooding in late 2017.
Longtime faculty member and former president Gary Graffman (’46) celebrated his 90th birthday. Mr. Graffman was honored at the Curtis Symphony Orchestra’s fall concert, featuring his onetime student, Haochen Zhang, in a blazing performance of the Rachmaninoff Third Piano Concerto. Tributes flowed in from colleagues, students, and friends, and were published online and in Overtones, the Curtis magazine; and the New York Times covered the birthday party in his legendary New York studio.
The Curtis Opera Theatre offered a haunting production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, which artistic director Mikael Eliasen calls “the greatest American opera.” Explore more photos from the production.
PHOTO: Ken Howard
Wrapping up another successful year, we are excited to see what 2019 will bring. Curtis wishes all of our friends and family a happy holiday season!
Curtis students and alumni are making waves throughout the musical world by winning major competitions, appointments, and honors! Enjoy musical highlights from the past season, demonstrating the unparalleled music-making that takes place at Curtis, including orchestra, opera, and chamber music.
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