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All-School Project

The Curtis Institute of Music’s all-school projects are interdepartmental, educational, and cultural extravaganzas characterized by an intensive and simultaneous examination of a specific composition, genre, or era by the academic curriculum, performance studies, and extracurriculum.

The projects provide a unique opportunity for all Curtis students:

  • to deepen and broaden their artistry by studying and performing together a defined repertoire
  • to practice critical listening and analysis of that repertoire, along with research, writing, and discussion in Musical Studies courses
  • to explore the surrounding social history, literature, philosophy, psychology, visual art, politics, and general cultural ethos in Liberal Arts courses.

Extracurricular programs such as outside concerts, lectures, museum visits, and social activities expand the students’ learning experience beyond the walls of Curtis.

2015-16 and 2016-17 ALL-SCHOOL PROJECT: Darmstadt

Since 2007 Curtis has leveraged a yearly all-school project—hailed by the New York Times as the "best teaching idea" of 2008--to serve as a focal point for artistic programs and the academic curriculum. This year's project focuses on the Darmstadt School of avant-garde composers who emerged in the early 1950's as the world was reeling from the effects of the Second World War. Curtis delves into the Darmstadt School as well as the counter-culture reactions to it: exploring the history, politics, and artistic concepts that shaped the music of this turbulent era, described so poignantly by W.H. Auden as "The Age of Anxiety." Discover Darmstadt on every series during the season, particularly through the fascinating concerts of the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble.

Past All-School Projects

The projects, uniquely envisioned by Curtis President Roberto Díaz, began in 2007–08 with the Opus 95 Project, which focused on Beethoven’s string quartet masterwork. That first project received praise from the New York Times for its innovation and has inspired other institutions to stage their own similar projects.

  • A two-year exploration of the Second Viennese School followed. Its centerpiece was a full production in 2010 of Berg’s seminal opera Wozzeck.
  • The Curtis all-school project for 2010–11 was the Paris Project: Between the Wars. It featured the Curtis Symphony Orchestra performance of Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphonie as part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts.
  • The 2011–12 project embraced Curtis's season-long celebration, Appassionato. Performances, courses, lectures, and other events considered the place of the Curtis Institute of Music in the broader cultural landscape: how it has impacted and been influenced by Philadelphia, the nation, and the world.
  • "Love and War" was the 2012–13 theme. The Curtis performance calendar, academic curriculum, and extracurriculum  explored the themes of Romeo and Juliet from perspectives literal and immediate to those symbolic and peripheral.
  • In 2013-14, Curtis explored the land of revolutions and orthodoxy, icons and samovars with Russia: A Land and its Influence. In addition to performances celebrating the musical riches and influences of this enigmatic country, liberal arts and musical studies courses explored Russian art, dance, drama, film, literature, music, and history--from the Tsar to Stalin to political controversies of the modern day.