The mission of the Curtis Institute of Music is to educate and train exceptionally gifted young musicians to engage a local and global community through the highest level of artistry. Curtis students are nurtured by a celebrated faculty and inspired by the school’s distinctive “learn by doing” approach. All students are encouraged to perform frequently, and they present more than 200 public performances each year to critical acclaim and enthusiastic audiences. The Curtis Opera Theatre offers four productions per season, casting all voice and opera students repeatedly. The Curtis Symphony Orchestra, in which all but the very youngest students of orchestral instruments participate, gives a three-concert season in Philadelphia’s Verizon Hall and performs often in Carnegie Hall. All instrumental students participate in chamber music, and Curtis offers more than one hundred student recitals each season. Students also hone 21st-century skills through social entrepreneurship programs that bring that bring arts access and education to the community.
An Institute Dedicated to Excellence
With an average acceptance rate around 4%, Curtis is among the most selective schools in the United States. Its high standard of admissions ensures that students will rehearse and perform alongside musical peers whose talents will challenge and inspire them. All Curtis students receive merit-based full-tuition scholarships. As a result, artistic promise is the only consideration for admission. Generous financial aid likewise ensures that no student accepted to Curtis will be unable to attend because of financial need.
Alumni of Curtis, having experienced extraordinary one-on-one training and valuable performance opportunities as students, go on to outstanding musical careers around the world. Curtis graduates have received Pulitzer Prizes, Guggenheim Fellowships, and Avery Fisher Awards.
They are in the front rank of soloists, composers, and conductors. They are members of the world’s leading orchestras, including principals in every major American symphony orchestra. They have sung with the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Covent Garden, the Vienna Staatsoper, and the San Francisco Opera, among many others.
An Historic Campus
Facilities at Curtis are housed in several stately mansions on Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square that pair nineteenth-century charm with twenty-first-century amenities. In 2011 the school opened Lenfest Hall, which greatly expanded the school’s spaces for teaching, rehearsal, and practice and provided student residences and a dining hall.
Roberto Díaz, a Violist of International Repute
Roberto Díaz is President and CEO of the Curtis Institute of Music, following in the footsteps of renowned soloist/directors such as Josef Hofmann, Efrem Zimbalist, and Rudolf Serkin. As a teacher of viola at Curtis and former principal viola of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Mr. Díaz has already had a significant impact on American musical life and continues to do so in his dual roles as performer and an educator.
As a soloist, Mr. Díaz collaborates with leading conductors of our time on stages throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia. He has also worked directly with important 20th- and 21st-century composers, including Krzysztof Penderecki.
Since founding Curtis on Tour eight seasons ago, Mr. Díaz has taken the hugely successful program to North and South America, Europe and Asia, performing chamber music side-by-side with Curtis students and other faculty and alumni of the school. His tenure as president of Curtis has also seen the construction of the significant new building which doubled the size of the school’s campus; the introduction of a classical guitar department and new conducting and string quartet programs; the launch of Curtis Summerfest, summer courses open to the public; and the debut of an online stage called Curtis Performs. In the fall of 2013 Curtis became the first classical music conservatory to offer free online classes through Coursera.
Musical Events for all by the Curtis Students
The Student Recital Series offers free public performances most Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during the school year. Students often perform with distinguished faculty, alumni, and guest artists.
Praised by the New York Times for its “otherworldly ensemble and professional level of sophistication,” the Curtis Symphony Orchestra performs a three-concert season in Verizon Hall at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Recent appearances outside Philadelphia include Carnegie Hall and the Dresden Music Festival.
The Curtis Opera Theatre presents several staged performances and concert productions annually in various Philadelphia venues. All of the department’s twenty-five voice and opera students are cast repeatedly each season, providing them a rare level of performance experience.
Curtis on Tour brings the extraordinary artistry of the world-renowned Curtis Institute of Music to national and international audiences, with students performing alongside celebrated Curtis alumni and faculty.