Back to Top
Events Calendar
Loading Events...
View full calendar

Curtis Announces 2011-12 "Appassionato" Season

2011-12 Season Celebrates Curtis's Rich Heritage, Forward Momentum, Global Influence, and Local Relationships

[PDF format]

(Updated June 6, 2011) 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.

Over 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), Simon Rattle, John Relyea ('96), Ned Rorem ('44), Robert Spano ('85), and Wolfgang Sawallisch.


Appassionato Season 2011-12
Performance Highlights

View a chronological listing of season performances.


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 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, David Ludwig ('01), and Jennifer Higdon ('88). The Ludwig work is a Curtis commission to receive its world premiere during the Appassionato season. Other Curtis-connected composers highlighted include Samuel Barber ('34) and Leonard Bernstein ('41).



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 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.



This four-concert subscription series at Curtis's Field Concert Hall brings eminent alumni from the last five decades home to Curtis. Performances benefit the Student Assistance Fund. Subscriptions ($75) are available at Guest artists include oboist Liang Wang ('03) and pianist Benjamin Hochman ('01) in a duo recital; violinist Jaime Laredo ('59), pianist Peter Serkin ('64), and contralto Meredith Arwady ('04).


CURTIS 20/21

Curtis's acclaimed contemporary music ensemble collaborates with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society in two concerts at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theatre. Curtis 20/21 premieres commissioned works by recent alumni including Daniel Shapiro ('11); and hosts alumni guest artists, including violist Roberto Díaz ('84).



Curtis's touring initiative, launched in 2007, expands its activity with:

  • its first-ever tour to Asia, performing at the Beijing Music Festival and the Seoul Arts Center (October 2011)
  • a domestic tour program featuring music for guitar and strings, celebrating Curtis's new program in classical guitar (February and March 2012)
  • the Curtis Symphony Orchestra's first European tour in a decade, followed by the annual chamber music tour in Europe (May and June 2012)



In this popular series at Curtis's Field Concert Hall, Curtis students introduce children aged five to twelve to the world of music. Admission is free to all children and $5 for adults accompanying them. Concerts in November (date to be confirmed) and on February 19.



Each season the Student Recital Series offers more than 100 free recitals to the Philadelphia community. In the Appassionato season, the series:

  • emphasizes performances of works by Curtis composers and those who have strong ties to the Philadelphia region
  • adds a significant number of weekend recitals in addition to the traditional schedule on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings
  • recreates historic Curtis performances



In the Appassionato season Curtis continues and extends its partnerships with many local cultural and community organizations, including:

  • Longwood Gardens
  • Mann Center for the Performing Arts
  • Opera Company of Philadelphia
  • Philadelphia Chamber Music Society
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Rock School of Dance
  • St. Mark's Church
  • Church of the Holy Trinity


Curricular Highlights


The Curtis Institute of Music's 2011-12 all-school project will focus on the school's rich heritage and forward momentum, as well as its indelible impact on music in Philadelphia, across the nation, and around the world. Throughout the year performances, activities, and courses in Liberal Arts and Musical Studies will illuminate Curtis's place in the broader cultural landscape as well as the artistic exchange between Curtis and its many collaborators throughout its history. From individuals to institutions, across decades and generations, the all-school project will celebrate the relationships and traditions that have shaped Curtis, and how the school has evolved from its 19th-century conservatory roots to its more recent posture as an innovator in the education of exceptionally gifted young musicians. A complete curriculum will be posted on in Summer 2011.



Curtis welcomes several artists in residence in the Appassionato season. They will coach students in their specialties and will be featured in free public performances with students:

  • George Crumb, longtime University of Pennsylvania composition faculty member and winner of the Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Awards
  • Schumann Trio--Anthony McGill, clarinet ('00), Michael Tree, viola (Violin '55), Anna Polonsky, piano ('99)
  • Johannes Quartet--Soovin Kim, violin ('99); Jessica Lee, violin ('01); Choong-Jin Chang, viola ('92); Peter Stumpf, cello ('85)
  • Gary Hoffman, cello


Special Events

Throughout the Appassionato season, special events will spotlight the school and welcome the Curtis family and guests. For tickets or more information, contact Lisa Shepperson in the Curtis Development Office, (215) 717-3185 or


The celebration begins with a gala dinner at the Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel Philadelphia on Saturday evening, followed by a Sunday afternoon orchestra concert and reception in Lenfest Hall.



A cabaret-style event in Lenfest Hall featuring Curtis singers in an array of Appassionato-related repertoire. Proceeds benefit the Student Assistance Fund.



The day before embarking on their first European tour in over ten years, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, led by Curtis alumnus Rossen Milanov, revels in a program of Bernstein and Brahms, in collaboration with the Rock School of Dance. An elegant gala dinner precedes the concert.

More events for the Curtis family and the general public will be added throughout the year. Visit to learn more.


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.

# # #


Press Contacts

Jennifer Kallend
Managing Director of External Affairs and Patron Engagement
(215) 717-3190

Diana Wensley
Communications Manager
(215) 717-3129

About Curtis

2017–18 Media Calendar of Events

News Archive

Fast Facts

Press Kit

Photo Gallery

Curtis Logos