Curtis Presents: "L’Histoire du Soldat" ("The Soldier’s Tale") on March 21 at the Philadelphia Film Center

Internationally beloved actor John de Lancie joins award-winning clarinetist David Shifrin, prominent violinist Soovin Kim, and an ensemble of extraordinary Curtis students for an evening of virtuosic performances, twentieth-century classics, and electrifying new works.

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Patricia K. Johnson | | (215) 717-3190
Ryan Scott Lathan | | (215) 717-3145

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PHILADELPHIA, PA—March 14, 2023—The 2022–23 Curtis Presents series continues on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at 8:00 p.m. at the Philadelphia Film Center with Igor Stravinsky’s exhilarating L’Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier’s Tale) featuring iconic actor John de Lancie as the narrator, award-winning performer David Shifrin (Clarinet ’71), acclaimed recitalist Soovin Kim (Violin ’99), and Curtis’s extraordinarily talented young musicians under the baton of Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow Micah Gleason. The program also features the Philadelphia premiere of Darmok & Jalad, a Star Trek-inspired work by Nick DiBerardino (’18), Ensemble 20/21 director, acclaimed composer, chair of composition studies, and senior associate dean of performance studies at Curtis, alongside works by Viet Cuong (’19), Francis Poulenc, and Krzysztof Penderecki. This eclectic concert of intergalactic firsts and innovative favorites is proudly presented as part of Curtis on Tour, the school’s Nina von Maltzahn Global Touring Initiative, for its March 2023 tour across the U.S., beginning on March 11 in Irvine, California, and ending on March 26, in Overland Park, Kansas.

Top Clockwise (Left to Right): David Shifrin (’71), clarinet, James Vaughen, trumpet, Derek Gullett, trombone, Tae McLoughlin, percussion, William McGregor (’22), double bass, Micah Gleason, conductor, John de Lancie, narrator, Soovin Kim (’99), violin, Luis Marquez Teruel, bassoon

The concert kicks off with American composer Viet Cuong’s Well-Groomed for solo snare drum, hair comb, and card. Called “alluring” and “wildly inventive” by the New York Times, the award-winning young musician is known for his whimsical compositions, and this ingenious piece redefines any perceived boundaries of the snare drum, drawing unexpected, innovative sounds from the instrument. Building in intensity as the tempo shifts from a slow-burning groove to explosive bursts of energy, this inventive piece mesmerizes with it tongue-in-cheek sound palette, finding quirky inspiration in everyday objects.

The program continues with Francis Poulenc’s vivacious Sonata for clarinet and bassoon. Noted for its jazzy, bitonal passages and lively rhythmic counterpoint, this sparkling three-movement work has become a popular staple in the woodwind repertoire since its premiere at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in 1923. Poulenc’s playful Sonata is followed by Krzysztof Penderecki’s rhapsodic Duo for violin and bass. This lively, lyrical showpiece underscores the stark contrast between the two stringed instruments as they engage in an emotionally charged, delightfully spirited dialogue within its short, seven-minute timespan.

The first half of the concert concludes with composer Nick DiBerardino’s Darmok & Jalad, an exciting new work for the L’Histoire septet. The theatrical L’Histoire du Soldat is full of vibrant dance forms. It marches, waltzes, ragtimes, tangoes, and even dances with the Devil. Inspired by this visionary chamber work, the “weird, rusty machines” underlying the vocabulary of tonal composers, and one of his favorite Star Trek episodes, Mr. DiBerardino’s original composition takes up Stravinsky’s emphatic focus on rhythm, finding a slinking, syncopated new way for this septet to dance.

Darmok & Jalad is an unabashedly nerdy piece of music,” says Mr. DiBerardino. “Fellow nerds may recognize that the title refers to an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. In that episode, Patrick Stewart’s Captain Picard encounters a spacefaring civilization called the Tamarians. We quickly learn that it isn’t possible for humanity to communicate with these intelligent aliens—a strange and concerning fact, since the “universal translator” in the ship’s computer magically solves this problem most of the time.”

Mr. DiBerardino continues: “This piece atomizes and twists standard grammar from Mozart and Beethoven, revealing once-familiar patterns as slightly strange, only partially translated bits of musical material. A delightful squealing of gears, even—music that is made of a mashing up of familiar moves. I hope the slinking, slithering result brings you some of the same suspenseful enjoyment the Tamarian language first brought me.”

The evening closes with a riveting performance of Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier’s Tale). For over a century, this Faustian tale of trickery, desire, temptation, and magic for chamber orchestra and narrator has captured the imagination of audiences worldwide. Inspired by Stravinsky’s discovery of American jazz, the disillusionment caused by World War I, and a Russian folk tale based on Alexander Afanasyev’s The Runaway Soldier and the DevilL’Histoire marks the composer’s final break with the Russian orchestra school in which he had been fostered. This masterful, rhythmic piece follows a soldier who trades his fiddle to the Devil in return for limitless wealth and power—and the tremendous cost the soldier must ultimately pay.

Left to Right: Micah Gleason, conductor, John de Lancie, narrator, David Shifrin (’71), clarinet, William McGregor (’22), double bass, Derek Gullett, trombone, James Vaughen, trumpet, Tae McLoughlin, percussion, Soovin Kim (’99), violin, and Luis Marquez Teruel, bassoon. Photo by Jeff Reeder.

 Conceived by Stravinsky and Swiss writer C. F. Ramus in 1917 as a traveling piece to be toured and performed in villages across Switzerland, this celebrated work calls for an intimate ensemble of seven musicians—two instruments selected from each instrumental family, as well as a percussionist. Curtis’s performance features internationally beloved actor, director, producer, writer, and comedian John de Lancie as a soldier, the devil, and a narrator. He is joined by two renowned Curtis alumni—clarinetist David Shifrin and violinist Soovin Kim—alongside five of Curtis’s remarkable emerging professional artists. One of the great musical masterpieces of the twentieth century, L’Histoire du Soldat reminds audiences around the world that, in the end, none of us can truly have it all.

Tickets to L’Histoire du Soldat ($24) are available at Seating is general admission.


About Curtis Presents
Past and future meet through Curtis Presents, which features a diverse collection of artists—alumni, faculty, students, and contemporary creators—whose musical foundations are rooted in the Curtis community. This series of intimate and innovative recitals offers a unique experience with exceptional artistry and one-of-a-kind programs.

About Curtis on Tour
Curtis on Tour is the Nina von Maltzahn global touring initiative of the Curtis Institute of Music. Grounded in the school’s “learn by doing” philosophy, tours feature extraordinary emerging artists alongside celebrated alumni and faculty. In addition to performances, musicians offer master classes, educational programs, and community engagement activities while on tour. Curtis on Tour also manages solo engagements for Curtis artists with professional orchestras and presenters. Since the program was established in 2008, Curtis on Tour ensembles have performed more than 375 concerts in over 100 cities in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

About the Artists

Micah Gleason, conductor
Micah Gleason, from Chapel Hill, N.C., a student of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, is the Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow and entered Curtis in 2022.

Derek Gullett, trombone
Derek Gullett, from Uniontown, Ohio, a student of Nitzan Haroz and Matthew Vaughn, is the Edwin B. Garrigues Fellow and entered Curtis in 2019.

Soovin Kim, violin
Praised by the Berkshire Review as “superb…impassioned,” Curtis alumnus violinist Soovin Kim (’99) enjoys a broad musical career. In addition to being an active performer, he is a teacher on faculties of the New England Conservatory of Music and the Yale School of Music, and he is artistic director of the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival and co-artistic director of Chamber Music Northwest.

John de Lancie, narrator
John de Lancie, known for his iconic role of Q on the Star Trek series The Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space 9, and Picard, has had an eclectic career working in genres as diverse as television, film, opera, theater, and symphonic music as an actor, director, producer, writer, educator, and comedian. He is the son of renowned oboist John de Lancie, former principal oboist of the Philadelphia Orchestra and former director of the Curtis Institute of Music.

Luis Marquez Teruel, bassoon 
Luis Marquez Teruel, from Maracaibo, Venezuela, a student of Daniel Matsukawa, is the William Curtis Bok Bassoon Fellow and entered Curtis in 2019.

William McGregor, double bass 
William McGregor, from Ann Arbor, Mich., a student of Edgar Meyer and Harold Hall Robinson, is the Shaun F. O’Malley Fellow and first entered Curtis in 2018.

Tae McLoughlin, percussion 
Tae McLoughlin, from South Orange, N.J., a student of Ji Su Jung, Don Liuzzi, and Eric Millstein, is the Carol Coe Conway Memorial Fellow and entered Curtis in 2021.

David Shifrin, clarinet 
One of only two wind players to have been awarded the Avery Fisher Prize since the award’s inception in 1974, Curtis alumnus clarinetist David Shifrin is in demand as an orchestral soloist, recitalist, and chamber music collaborator. He is on faculty at the Yale School of Music, and his storied career has included serving as artistic director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (1992–2004) and Chamber Music Northwest (1981–2020).

James Vaughen, trumpet 
James Vaughen, from Champaign, Ill., a student of David Bilger, is the Stanley and Bertha Rogasner Fellow and entered Curtis in 2018.

About the Curtis Institute of Music
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. For nearly a century Curtis has provided each member of its small student body with an unparalleled education alongside musical peers, distinguished by a “learn by doing” philosophy and personalized attention from a faculty that includes a high proportion of actively performing musicians. With admissions based solely on artistic promise, no student is turned away due to financial need. Curtis invests in each admitted student, ensuring no tuition is charged for their studies and they enter the profession free from educational debt. Each year Curtis students hone their craft through more than 200 orchestra, opera, and solo and chamber music offerings in Philadelphia and around the world. Learn more at



Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at 8 p.m.
Philadelphia Film Center
1412 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia

John de Lancie, narrator
Soovin Kim (’99), violin
William McGregor (’22), double bass
David Shifrin (’71), clarinet
Luis Marquez Teruel, bassoon
James Vaughen, trumpet
Derek Gullett, trombone
Tae McLoughlin, percussion
Micah Gleason, conductor


VIET CUONG Well-Groomed
FRANCIS POULENC Sonata for Clarinet & Bassoon
KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI Duo Concertante for Violin & Double Bass
IGOR STRAVINSKY L’Histoire du Soldat

Single tickets for L’Histoire du Soldat ($24) and are available at Seating is general admission.


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Micah Gleason, from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, entered the Curtis Institute of Music in 2022 and is the conductor of Igor Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat (The Solder's Tale) and the world premiere engagement of Nick DiBerardino's Darmok & Jalad. The work receives its East Coast premiere on March 21 at the Philadelphia Film Center, part of the 2022–23 Curtis Presents series.