Evening Seminars: Biss Plays Beethoven

For the first time, access the academic expertise of Curtis Institute of Music in a flexible, in-person course that is open to all.

Curtis’s evening seminars will deepen your experience of concertgoing through an exploration of the repertoire presented on a Curtis Symphony Orchestra concert. Taught by the chair of Curtis’s musical studies department, Jonathan Coopersmith, the seminars provide an expert dive into each composer’s life and the historical context of the corresponding programming. After attending, you’ll hear the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in performance with intimate knowledge of the repertoire and performers, transforming your listening experience.

Each seminar will focus on a particular piece from an upcoming concert, providing insight on the biography of the composer, the historical context of the piece, and an analysis of its form and what to listen for. Each night will also introduce a discussion topic related to classical music and the concert-going experience. Sign up for all three sessions for a full view of the repertoire being performed, or choose the sessions that most interest you for a closer look at a specific work.

January seminars focus on the repertoire performed by the Curtis Symphony Orchestra on January 31 at the Merriam Theater and on tour through February 8 at destinations along the east coast.

Each seminar participant receives a prime seating ticket to the January 31 concert.

 

Explore January Seminar Topics:

 6–8 p.m. in Locks Board Room, 1616 Locust Street

Beethoven’s masterful “Emperor” Concerto is a monument of musical architecture, driven forward with beautiful flourishes and cascades. This piece will feature esteemed Curtis piano faculty, Beethoven scholar, and Coursera host Jonathan Biss as the soloist.

Cost of seminar includes prime seating ticket for Curtis Symphony Orchestra concert on Friday, January 31 at 8 p.m.

6–8 p.m. in Locks Board Room, 1616 Locust Street

2016 graduate Gabriella Smith’s music has been described as “high-voltage and wildly imaginative” by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Her recent work f(x) = sin²x –1/x makes its Philadelphia premiere with this January concert.

Ms. Smith elaborates on the title: “I often first think about [music] in terms of the overall arc and shape of the piece. I picture it as a curve that moves horizontally from left to right as time progresses and moves up and down as the energy and dynamic content of the music changes. You can describe any of these curves as a mathematical function...the curve [of this piece] follows a section of the function f(x) = sin²x –1/x, where the horizontal axis represents time and the vertical axis indicates the energy and dynamic content of the piece. In practical terms, this means the music begins quietly and builds up to a small climax, decays, and then builds again and continues to build to the end of the piece.”

Learn more about this new work by a living composer. Discussion topics for this seminar include the programming of new music. 

Cost of seminar includes prime seating ticket for Curtis Symphony Orchestra concert on Friday, January 31 at 8 p.m.

6–8 p.m. in Locks Board Room, 1616 Locust Street

Sibelius’s majestic Symphony No. 2 will provide the rousing conclusion to the Curtis Symphony Orchestra concert. Dr. Coopersmith provides insight on the historical context of this majestic work, which will be led by the composer’s fellow Finn, Osmo Vänskä.

Cost of seminar includes prime seating ticket for Curtis Symphony Orchestra concert on Friday, January 31 at 8 p.m.

 

 

Pricing:

One seminar (one orchestra ticket included) is $175
Two seminars (one orchestra ticket included) is $300
Three seminars (one orchestra ticket included) is $400
Add on an extra orchestra ticket for just $20