The Edge Effect: Composers and their Environmental Influences

Join the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble on Saturday, February 24 at 8 p.m. as they present an iconic 20th-century work.

Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire depicts the macabre world of Pierrot the clown, exploring the character’s dark fantasies and hallucinatory visions. At once a revolutionary and a traditionalist, Schoenberg drew from his own cultural history to create new expressive modes of extreme emotion. The first performance in 1912, featuring a noted cabaret singer, caused a scandal, and Schoenberg would feel the effects for the rest of his life. Mezzo-soprano Kendra Broom, a Curtis opera student, headlines the performance.

In an evening of conversation and performance, David Ludwig, Chair of Composition Studies and artistic director of the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble, leads a discussion about the piece’s connection to Curtis’s all-school project, “The Edge Effect,” and Arnold Schoenberg’s response to turbulent times through words, music, and theater.



Pierrot lunaire





Join us online—the performance will be streamed live on the Curtis YouTube channel beginning at 8 p.m. ET on February 24.

Watch and Listen

In December, the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble performed works by Chen Yi, the Chinese-American composer known for blending genres in her work. Each Curtis 20/21 performance this season explores a different facet of the "edge effect," from composers' historical influences to their reaction to the events of their time.