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Curtis Institute

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NEWS
December 16, 1989 | By Lesley Valdes, Inquirer Music Critic
Most artists use Philadelphia to warm up before a New York recital. Such is the caliber of Curtis Institute alumni such as Benita Valente or Richard Goode, a New York stage can serve as preparation for an appearance at Curtis Hall. Goode returned "home" last night to reprise a piano recital of Schumann, Beethoven and Schubert, given two days ago in Manhattan. As Valente did recently, the pianist donated his services to benefit the school's Alumni Society. With only 230 seats to the intimate space and the $13 admission, the benefit may be seen as a minor fund-raiser.
NEWS
August 17, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
It's one of those stories that has lodged in the minds of many for its injustice and irony. Nina Simone - before she was Nina Simone, when she was still an aspiring classical pianist named Eunice Waymon - auditioned for the Curtis Institute of Music and was rejected on grounds of her race. The tale bubbles up every few years, refracted through the times, as it is doing again in our era of Ferguson and Sandra Bland. Simone herself recounted the story repeatedly during her lifetime.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 18, 2012 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
School's been in session just weeks, so a few eyebrows arched at the appearance of Ein Heldenleben on the Curtis Institute of Music's first orchestra concert of the season. The score, treacherous and sophisticated, should come with skull and crossbones and the words nicht fur Kinder on the cover. When Carlos Miguel Prieto led the ensemble in the Strauss workout Monday night in Verizon Hall, eyebrows were raised - not in doubt, but with awe. The work features intermittent but extended violin solos, played here by concertmaster Nigel Armstrong.
NEWS
July 3, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
A 20-year-old Curtis Institute of Music student is the top winner of the venerable International Tchaikovsky Competition in the violin category. Yu-Chien "Benny" Tseng won the silver medal, second prize, in the Moscow competition, whose results were announced Wednesday. No gold award was given this year, which is not unusual. The Taipei-born violinist came to Curtis in 2008, and the following summer, at age 14, played Vivaldi's The Four Seasons with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Center.
NEWS
March 2, 2015 | By John Timpane, Inquirer Staff Writer
It was magical. Classical guitarist Jason Vieaux (pronounced vee-OH ), 41, just won a Grammy for best classical instrumental solo album for Play . At Curtis, where he teaches, he's sitting on stage at Field Concert Hall (the one you see in the TV concerts), tuning up his Gernot Wagner guitar while a photographer gets ready. (You know someone's serious about music when he tunes up for a photo.) Then he breaks into a heartbreaking arrangement of "What a Wonderful World," and suddenly you remember why they call music beautiful: New emotions emerge in the old Louis Armstrong hit, something you already loved, but now you have new reasons for loving it. Vieaux has been at Curtis since 2011, when he and fellow guitar star David Starobin were recruited to start a guitar department.
LIVING
September 13, 1996 | By Annette John-Hall, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Say you're a college student and you're moving. It's a headache, but moving always is. So you grit your teeth and get through it. You sort, pack, clean and fret - about roommates, dorm space, and the $20 you have to stretch before your student loan comes through. But say you're a student at the Curtis Institute of Music, and you're moving. You don't just get a headache. You may get a temple-throbbing, mind-numbing migraine. In the four dignified mansions that make up the institute on Rittenhouse Square, there is no dormitory space.
NEWS
April 8, 2015
A story Friday wrongly stated the number of operas per year that the Curtis Institute of Music performs in the Perelman Theater. The current number is one a year, increasing to two in the 2015-16 season.
NEWS
September 14, 1989 | ANDREA MIHALIK/ DAILY NEWS
It's no fun playing to an empty room, especially when you can share your music with the world. So Lisamarie Vana, a student at the Curtis Institute of Music, decided yesterday to play to the pedestrians in Rittenhouse Square from an open window in the institute building, near 18th and Locust streets. Vana is a second-year student from Nebraska.
NEWS
April 17, 1992 | By Rose Simmons, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Florence Frantz Vennett Snyder, 85, an accomplished pianist and alumna of the Curtis Institute of Music, died Monday at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. A resident of Baltimore, Mrs. Snyder had lived and worked in Philadelphia. After graduating from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore in 1926, Mrs. Snyder won a scholarship to study piano and accompanying at the Curtis Institute. She was a student of the renowned piano instructor Madame Isabelle Venegerova from 1927 until graduation in 1934.
NEWS
October 11, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Culture Writer
Elizabeth Warshawer, the Curtis Institute of Music's highly regarded administrative chief, has given notice that she will step down on May 31, 2015. "The crux of it is that it's time for me to invent the next chapter of my professional career," said Warshawer, 64, who came to the school in 2008 as one-third of a new leadership team, a few months after board chairman H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, now chairman emeritus, and president/chief executive Roberto Díaz. (Lenfest is owner and publisher of The Inquirer.)
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
June 13, 2016
Time was, summer in Philadelphia meant a vacation for, and from, the arts. Classical groups in particular tended to throw up their hands and wait for audiences to return from Long Beach Island, Eagles Mere, or Maine. As last season suggested, the city has become a summer playground in its own right, and classical groups are catching on. Yes, the sylvan settings of Marlboro Music Festival and Tanglewood beckon, and there is still room for some really smart group to set down anchor in the city with an ambitious summer arts festival.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 11, 2016 | By Peter Dobrin, Music Critic
The effect of several centuries of collective ear-training in Western music has led us to expect a certain journey in sound: The basic idea is stated. It gets explored. It returns. But what happens when the composer's assignment is to write a piece only three or four minutes long? How much development is desired, or even possible? It was perhaps not a question explicitly put to composers contributing to the Brass Project this past weekend. But two one-hour-long afternoon concerts Saturday and Sunday at the Philadelphia Art Alliance answered nonetheless - in turns tersely, monotonously, sweetly.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 20, 2016 | By Peter Dobrin, Music Critic
What is the state of the orchestral training program at the Curtis Institute of Music at the moment? The question is worth asking mostly because so many Curtis orchestra concerts over the last 21/2 decades have so decisively tipped over into the professional-quality realm. The Curtis orchestra playing Sunday night in Verizon Hall veered more into the territory of a terrific student group - highly capable, but never quite getting to the sophisticated ensemble concepts that have often made this group a startling and unlikely phenomenon.
NEWS
April 13, 2016 | By John Timpane, For The Inquirer
Nine artists, including two from Philadelphia, plus a Curtis Institute of Music graduate, have been announced as recipients of grants from the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing and Visual Arts. The fund awards $50,000 a year for up to two years to help beginning-career artists across the arts. The two Philadelphians are violinist Robyn Bollinger and actor Miriam A. Hyman. The Curtis graduate is bass-baritone Brandon Cedel of Charleston, S.C. Bollinger, daughter of Philadelphia Orchestra trombonist Blair Bollinger, made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut at age 12. She is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 12, 2016 | By Peter Dobrin, Music Critic
Christian Tetzlaff is much loved in our town, and his presence Friday night was much missed. But another way of looking at it is that the German violinist, in canceling his recital to be home for the birth of his sixth child, left an opening for something more significant. Benjamin Beilman, who replaced him for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital at the Perelman, is hardly unknown here, having schooled at the Curtis Institute and benefited from the sturdy career guidance of Astral Artists.
NEWS
March 13, 2016 | By Peter Dobrin, Music Critic
'The only reason Barber gets away with elementary musical methods is that his heart is pure," Virgil Thomson wrote after the 1941 New York premiere of Samuel Barber's widely adored Violin Concerto . Of pure hearts there could be no doubt in the case of three composers bringing relatively new works to the Kimmel's Perelman Theater on Thursday night. The concert - a joint effort by Symphony in C, Astral Artists, and lead funder Presser Foundation - was billed as "Beyond Barber.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 5, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
Richard Strauss' final opera, Capriccio, dares to be about nothing but itself - no social critique, no religious apotheosis - but allegorical characters thrashing over why the lyric theater is important. And in doing so, it goes to the heart of why we're all in the theater, or at least some of us, at the annual Curtis Opera Theater/Opera Philadelphia collaboration that's copresented by the Kimmel Center. The 21/2-hour intermissionless opera had an undercurrent of audience chatter Wednesday at the Perelman Theater - suggesting some listeners didn't know what they were getting into.
NEWS
February 29, 2016 | By Peter Dobrin, MUSIC CRITIC
Otto-Werner Mueller, 89, an old-world maestro whose teaching technique and formidable mien inspired reverence - and no small measure of fear - in generations of conductors and orchestral players, died Thursday evening, Feb. 25, at home in Charlotte, N.C. The cause of death was Parkinson's, said his wife, Virginia Allen. Mr. Mueller was head of the conducting department at the Curtis Institute of Music from 1986 until his retirement in 2013, and was also a professor at the Juilliard and Yale schools of music.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 24, 2016 | By Peter Dobrin, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
It's a safe bet the only thing standing between children and their ability to absorb the most challenging art is the adult with a limited imagination. There was no danger of that happening Sunday at the Curtis Institute of Music, where a new production of The Jungle Book emerged from the pen of a group of grown-ups with an enormous sense of regard for their audience. What's more, the 45-minute ballet with a stunning small-ensemble score and crisply told story is an absolute charmer.
NEWS
February 22, 2016 | By Peter Dobrin, CULTURE WRITER
T he Jungle Book , with a score by composer John B Hedges and choreography by Colby Damon, receives its premiere Sunday by Curtis Institute of Music instrumentalists and dancers from Pennsylvania Ballet II. The work, based on the Rudyard Kipling stories, is meant to capture the attention of young listeners and their families. Hedges, 41, born in Wilmington and a Penn and Curtis graduate, talks about his new work. For a project like this that involves dancers, music, and a narrator, who made the first move?
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