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Curtis Faculty Members Mikael Eliasen and Aaron Rosand to Retire at the End of 2018–19

Eliasen celebrates with recital alongside former students and colleagues on May 5; Rosand and Eliasen will be recognized at Curtis Commencement on May 11

PHILADELPHIA—May 3, 2019—Two longtime faculty members of the Curtis Institute of Music, Mikael Eliasen and Aaron Rosand, will retire at the close of the 2018–19 school year, each having served the school for more than three decades. Mr. Eliasen, the Hirsig Family Chair of Vocal Studies and artistic director of the Curtis Opera Theatre, has been a member of the faculty since 1986. Mr. Rosand, who holds the Dorothy Richard Starling Chair in Violin Studies, joined the faculty in 1981.

During his time at Curtis, Mikael Eliasen has built an unparalleled training program for vocal artists. Coming to Curtis in 1986 as a vocal coach, he took charge of the vocal studies department in 1988 at the invitation of former Curtis director Gary Graffman, and immediately set the Curtis Opera Theatre at the center of the curriculum. The program’s wealth of performance opportunities and unique characteristics have had a lasting influence on the careers of 30 years’ worth of graduates who now sing on prominent stages around the world, including J’Nai Bridges, Juan Diego Flórez, Amanda Majeski, John Relyea, and Rinat Shaham.

Mr. Eliasen was music director of the San Francisco Opera Center from 1994 to 1996 and artistic director of the European Center for Opera and Vocal Art in Belgium from 1984 to 1994. For twenty summers he has taught at the Chautauqua Institution, and in 2013 he was appointed artistic adviser to Opera Philadelphia. Each summer he leads the Mikael Eliasen Voice Program as part of Curtis Summerfest.

“Mikael’s leadership has put the vocal and opera department at Curtis in a league of its own,” said Curtis president and CEO Roberto Díaz. “He has made Philadelphia a destination for vocal excellence, and has molded some of the greatest artists and singers on stage today.” Mr. Eliasen will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at Curtis’s Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11.

Mr. Eliasen has arranged a farewell recital for Sunday, May 5 at 3 p.m. in Field Concert Hall at 1726 Locust Street. He will perform alongside current and former students, including famed contralto Meredith Arwady (Opera ’04), and faculty colleagues Roberto Díaz (Viola ’84) and Pamela Frank (Violin ’89). The concert is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required at Curtis.edu/Register. The program will include works by Samuel Barber (Composition ’34), Leonard Bernstein (Conducting ’41), William Bolcom, faculty member Richard Danielpour, and emeritus faculty Ned Rorem (Composition ’44).

In Spring 2018 Curtis announced a new artistic leadership team to guide the Curtis Vocal Studies Department and Curtis Opera Theatre following Mr. Eliasen’s retirement. Master vocal coach Danielle Orlando and renowned bass-baritone Eric Owens (Opera ’95) and will lead the department beginning in the 2019–20 season.

Aaron Rosand, a 1948 Curtis graduate, is renowned worldwide as a violin virtuoso and pedagogue. He leaves behind a unique legacy, having provided generations of Curtis students with an invaluable link to the Russian violin school and the tradition of Leopold Auer and Eugène Ysaÿe through his own studies with Efrem Zimbalist and Leon Sametini. Mr. Rosand’s students have won every major violin competition; can be found as concertmasters in top ensembles including the Metropolitan Opera, Saint Paul Chamber, and National Symphony orchestras, Deutsch Oper Berlin, and the Royal Danish Opera Orchestra; and are themselves highly sought-after teachers.

Born of a Russian mother and Polish father, Mr. Rosand gave his recital debut at age nine and his orchestral debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra a year later. He made his New York recital debut in 1948 and his New York Philharmonic debut with Leonard Bernstein in 1960; and has since been a solo artist with major orchestras and conductors around the world.

“It is with mixed emotions that we say goodbye to Aaron,” said President Díaz. “He is one of the truly great violinists and teachers of the 20th century, and Curtis has been honored to benefit from his wisdom, expertise, and generosity for over three decades. The legacy he leaves behind is unmatched.”

Mr. Rosand will receive an honorary doctorate from Curtis at the school’s Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11.

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. One of the most selective schools in the United States, Curtis accepts four percent of applicants each year on average, and a tuition-free policy ensures that talent and artistic promise are the only considerations for admission.

With a small student body of about 175, Curtis ensures that each young musician receives an education of unparalleled quality, distinguished by a “learn by doing” philosophy and personalized attention from a faculty that includes a high proportion of actively performing musicians.

Curtis students hone their craft through more than 200 orchestra, opera, and solo and chamber music offerings each year and programs that bring arts access and education to the community. This real-world training allows these extraordinary young musicians to join the front rank of performers, composers, conductors, and musical leaders, making a profound impact on music onstage and in their communities. To learn more, visit Curtis.edu.


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