The Curtis Institute of Music announces a season-long celebration, “Appassionato,” highlighting the renowned conservatory’s storied past, its innovative future, and its indelible impact on music in Philadelphia and the world. As Curtis carries its rich musical traditions into the future, it remains a magnet for the finest international talent. Frequent student performances are at the heart of the school’s unique, time-tested “learn by doing” philosophy, which has produced so many leading musicians. In more than 130 public performances each season, Curtis annually offers Philadelphians an unmatched gift of music. In 2011-12, the “Appassionato” celebration ventures further, with an expansion of international touring, new and ongoing collaborations with cultural partners in Philadelphia and beyond, and a stepped-up schedule of artist residencies and faculty recitals. Curtis hosts guest artists and composers from the uniquely eminent body of Curtis alumni, and offers frequent celebratory surprises for the audience at ticketed performances.
“Appassionato” extends beyond public performance to encompass Curtis’s curriculum and special events throughout the year. It celebrates the landmark opening of Lenfest Hall, which expands the school’s facilities for the first time in decades, as well as the numerous strategic initiatives launched in the last three years. It occasions an Alumni Reunion expected to bring hundreds of the world’s most eminent musicians back to Philadelphia for a reminiscence-packed fall weekend. The annual all-school project – in which performances, classes, and academic projects focus on a central theme – will highlight Curtis’s unique heritage and its influential role in Philadelphia’s cultural landscape and the classical music world.
More than 70 volunteer ambassadors and an honorary committee of over 20 eminent artists are offering their support to celebrate the Curtis story during the “Appassionato” season. The honorary committee includes luminaries from the music world, many of them Curtis alumni, including Meredith Arwady (’04), Charles Dutoit, eighth blackbird, Richard Goode (’64), the Guarneri Quartet, Jennifer Higdon (’88), Leila Josefowicz (’97), Jennifer Koh (’02), Robert Levin, Midori, Eric Owens (’95), John Relyea (’96), Ned Rorem (’44), Wolfgang Sawallisch, and Robert Spano (’85).
In a three-concert subscription season in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, each performance features distinguished conductors, soloists, and composers who are Curtis alumni; a recent or new work by a member of the composition faculty; a work led by one of Curtis’s uniquely gifted student conductors. Subscriptions ($15 to $110) are available at www.curtis.edu. In addition, in May the Curtis Symphony Orchestra opens the 2012 summer season of the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, then tours to Europe to open the Dresden Music Festival.
Guest artists in Philadelphia and on tour include Efe Baltacigil (’02), Jonathan Biss (’01), Ray Chen (’10), Miguel Harth-Bedoya (’91), Juliette Kang (’91), Rossen Milanov (’94), Robert Spano (’85), and Michael Stern (’86). The orchestra will perform works by composition faculty members Richard Danielpour, Jennifer Higdon (’88), and David Ludwig (’01). A Curtis commission, the Ludwig work will receive its world premiere during the “Appassionato” season. Other featured Curtis-connected composers include Samuel Barber (’34) and Leonard Bernstein (’41).
Curtis Opera Theatre
A three-production subscription series takes place in the Prince Music Theatre and at Curtis’s own venue at 1726 Locust Street. Subscriptions for three performances ($75) or two performances ($50) are available at www.curtis.edu. In addition the Curtis Opera Theatre collaborates with Opera Company of Philadelphia and the Kimmel Center for the Philadelphia premiere of Hans Werner Henze’s Elegy for Young Lovers.