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Robert Spano Conducts the Curtis Symphony Orchestra at the Kimmel Center April 23

Program features celebrated soloists and Curtis alumni Juliette Kang, violin, and Efe Baltacigil, cello, in Brahms's Double Concerto

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(April 4, 2012) The Curtis Symphony Orchestra brings its signature exuberance to the Kimmel Center on Monday, April 23 at 8 p.m. in Verizon Hall.

Robert Spano ('85), music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, leads the orchestra in Brahms's eloquent Double Concerto with soloists Juliette Kang ('91), violin, and Efe Baltacigil ('02), cello. The program also includes Curtis faculty member Jennifer Higdon's blue cathedral, commissioned by Curtis in 1999 to celebrate the school's 75th anniversary. Championed by Robert Spano, the work established Higdon ('88) as a favorite American composer. It's a fitting companion for Bartók's groundbreaking Concerto for Orchestra, highlighting virtuosity in each section of the ensemble.

The concert is part of Curtis's 2011-12 Appassionato season, which features bold programming, enriched curriculum offerings, and special events that herald Curtis's enduring influence on music in Philadelphia and the world. As part of the season, each orchestra program in Verizon Hall features a work by a member of the Curtis composition faculty led by a conducting student. For the April 23 concert, Kensho Watanabe will conduct Higdon's blue cathedral.

Tickets are $5 to $45 and are available at the Kimmel Center Box Office and from Ticket Philadelphia at (215) 893-1999 or Presented by PNC, the concert is part of the 2011-12 series of Jack Wolgin Orchestral Concerts.

Robert Spano is one of the brightest and most imaginative conductors of his generation. In ten seasons as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra he has enriched and expanded its repertoire and elevated the ensemble to new levels of international prominence and acclaim. In March 2011, Robert Spano was named music director-designate of the Aspen Music Festival and School, where he will assume the title of music director in 2012. At the same time, Mr. Spano was named a fellow of the prestigious Aspen Institute as part of the Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence Program.

In his distinguished career, Mr. Spano has conducted the greatest orchestras of North America, including those in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Abroad, he has led the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala (Milan), Czech Philharmonic, Berlin Radio Sinfonie Orchestra, BBC Scottish and BBC Symphony Orchestras, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, and Oslo Philharmonic, among others.

Juliette Kang, first associate concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, came to Philadelphia from the Boston Symphony, where she served as assistant concertmaster from 2003 to 2005. Prior to that she was a member of the first violin section of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra from 2001 to 2003.

Ms. Kang's solo engagements have included the San Francisco Symphony conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, l'Orchestre National de France conducted by Sir Yehudi Menuhin, the Baltimore Symphony, Boston Pops, Omaha Symphony, Syracuse Symphony, and every major orchestra in Canada. Overseas she has also performed with the Czech Philharmonic, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Singapore Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and KBS Symphony in Seoul. She has given recitals in Paris at the Théâtre du Châtelet, in Tokyo at Suntory Hall, in Boston at the Gardner Museum, and in New York at the 92nd Street Y and the Frick Museum.

She was a winner of the 1989 Young Concert Artists Auditions, and she subsequently received first prize at the Menuhin Violin Competition of Paris in 1992. She was also the gold medalist of the 1994 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis.

Turkish cellist Efe Baltacigil was acclaimed by audiences and critics alike in 2005 when he and pianist Emanuel Ax performed Beethoven's Cello Sonata No.1 at a Philadelphia Orchestra concert with only ten minutes of rehearsal. Mr. Baltacigil, the orchestra's associate principal cellist at the time, and Mr. Ax, the evening's soloist, were called upon when a winter snowstorm prevented most of the orchestra from reaching the concert hall. Mr. Baltacigil joined the Seattle Symphony in 2011 as principal cello.

He won the 2005 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and was also awarded the Peter Jay Sharp Prize, which presented his New York recital debut in 2005, and the Washington Performing Arts Society Prize, which presented his Washington, D.C., recital debut in 2006. His other awards include first prize in concerto competitions in Istanbul and New York and the Allentown Schadt String Competition.

Recent season highlights include his debut at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston; an appearance at Carnegie's Zankel Hall in Richard Goode's Perspectives series; and performances at the Philadelphia Academy of Music, North Dakota Museum of Art, Mayville State University (ND), and Buffalo Chamber Music Society.

The Curtis Symphony Orchestra has been praised for its "otherworldly ensemble and professional level of sophistication" (New York Times). The orchestra presents three concerts annually under the direction of eminent conductors in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center, and in 2012 travels to Germany to open the Dresden Festival. Recent visiting conductors include Charles Dutoit, Simon Rattle, Robert Spano, and Michael Tilson Thomas. This professional training, under the direction of Otto-Werner Mueller and David Hayes, has enabled Curtis alumni to assume prominent positions in America's leading orchestras, as well as ensembles around the world.

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 163 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 Jonathan Biss, Juan Diego Flórez, Alan Gilbert, Hilary Hahn, Jennifer Higdon, and Lang Lang.

Curtis Symphony Orchestra
Jack Wolgin Orchestral Concerts
Monday, April 23 at 8 p.m.

Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia

Robert Spano, conductor ('85)
Juliette Kang, violin ('91)
Efe Baltacigil, cello ('02)

HIGDON blue cathedral
BRAHMS Concerto in A minor, Op. 102
BARTÓK      Concerto for Orchestra

Tickets: $5, $16, $22, $33, $45; available at the Kimmel Center Box Office and from Ticket Philadelphia at (215) 893-1999 or

Presented by PNC

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