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Curtis and Longwood Gardens Launch Summer Master Class Series

Mikael Eliasen will lead a week of public opera master classes at Longwood Gardens June 14 through 19

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(October 25, 2010) Mikael Eliasen, artistic director of the Curtis Opera Theatre and Hirsig Family Head-of-Department Chair in Vocal Studies, will lead a week of master classes at Longwood Gardens from June 14 through 19. The program is part of an ongoing, multifaceted collaboration between the Curtis Institute of Music and Longwood Gardens.

Four singers from Europe selected by Mr. Eliasen will participate in eight public master classes, Tuesday, June 14 through Friday, June 17, culminating with a recital on Sunday, June 19 at 1 p.m. The singers and Mr. Eliasen will live on the grounds of Longwood Gardens during the week.

"These classes will give singers from Europe an opportunity to experience a Curtis level of training," said Mr. Eliasen. "They'll also experience America, sing for an American audience, then bring an awareness of Curtis back with them. Longwood Gardens is a beautiful location and a great venue for these classes."

The ongoing partnership between Longwood Gardens and the Curtis Institute of Music aims to create new performance and educational opportunities for students while expanding Longwood's role as a dynamic and unique performing arts venue. Formally launched in 2009, this innovative collaboration built on successful Curtis performances at Longwood in past seasons.

"Through this collaboration, Curtis has offered new performance opportunities to our students while reaching new audiences," said Curtis President Roberto Díaz. "Now we're going a step further, and giving visitors to Longwood Gardens a glimpse into the learning process with one of our renowned faculty members."

"Longwood Gardens is delighted to host this exciting new initiative as part of our continuing partnership with the Curtis Institute of Music and our ongoing commitment to showcasing the performing arts," said Longwood Gardens Director Paul Redman. "While Longwood Gardens has always inspired people through the art of horticulture, now our guests will get to experience the rare opportunity to see firsthand teacher and student working together to create art."

Curtis students and faculty will perform several times at Longwood throughout the 2010-11 season, including an October 23 recital of singers from the Curtis Opera Theatre with Mikael Eliasen on piano. On December 9, the pleasures of brass music accompany Longwood's visual delights as a student brass ensemble performs chamber works.

On select Sundays in February through April, six students from the class of 2011 give preview performances of their Curtis graduation recitals at Longwood. And on April 2, Curtis On Tour returns to Longwood. Curtis On Tour is the school's national touring ensemble in which Curtis students perform alongside faculty and alumni. The 2010-11 tour features Curtis piano faculty member Ignat Solzhenitsyn (Piano and Conducting '95) joined by Curtis students in a commissioned piece by Daron Hagen ('84). Other offerings include works by Brahms and Kurtág and one of Mozart's beloved chamber compositions, the "Kegelstatt" Trio.

In addition to recitals by Curtis students, the partnership includes landscaping for Curtis's new Lenfest Hall, opening in August 2011. Longwood Gardens will consult on the design of the streetscape by the Locust and Latimer Street entrances and the outdoor terrace, a social and event space on the fifth floor.

Danish-born coach and accompanist Mikael Eliasen received his early training in Copenhagen, Montreal, and Vienna. He has collaborated with numerous singers in recital worldwide, including Robert Merrill, Tom Krause, John Shirley-Quirk, Elly Ameling, Edith Mathis, Florence Quivar, Mira Zakai, Sarah Walker, Joan Patenaude-Yarnell, and Curtis alumni Theodor Uppman, Michael Schade, and Rinat Shaham. He has recorded for Albany Records, CBC, Hilversum Radio, Polish State Radio, Kol Israel, Irish Radio and Television, London Records, MHS, and Supraphon.

Mr. Eliasen has given master classes at Aix-en-Provence, the Shanghai Conservatory, Tchaikovsky Conservatory (Moscow), Jerusalem Music Center, and National Opera of Prague. He has a long association with the young-artist programs at the Royal Danish Opera and the Opera Studio of Amsterdam. In the United States, he works regularly at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, LA Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera.

Mr. Eliasen was music director of the San Francisco Opera Center from 1994 to 1996 and artistic director of the European Center for Opera and Vocal Art in Belgium from 1984 to 1994. For twenty years he has taught at Chautauqua's Voice Program during the summers. Mr. Eliasen joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 1986 and became the head of the department in 1988.

Longwood Gardens, located just outside Philadelphia in Kennett Square, Pa., is one of the world's great horticultural displays, offering 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows; 20 outdoor gardens; and 20 indoor gardens within four acres of heated greenhouses. Longwood offers rigorous and extensive horticulture education programs, classes and lectures and presents varied performing arts events each year. Longwood is open daily. For information, visit

The Curtis Institute of Music educates and trains exceptionally gifted young musicians for careers as performing artists on the highest professional level. One of the world's leading conservatories, Curtis is highly selective and provides full-tuition scholarships to all of its 164 students. In this intimate environment, students receive personalized attention from a celebrated faculty. A busy schedule of performances is at the heart of Curtis's distinctive "learn by doing" approach. This philosophy has produced an impressive number of notable artists since the school's founding in 1924, from such legends as Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber to current stars Juan Diego Flórez, Alan Gilbert, Hilary Hahn, Jennifer Higdon, and Lang Lang.

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Jennifer Kallend, Curtis Institute of Music

Patricia Evans, Longwood Gardens
(610) 388-1000 ext. 442;

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