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The Curtis Institute of Music Presents Exclusive Classical Music Faculty to Over 2 Million Users Worldwide Through Free Online Classes with Coursera

Jonathan Biss to explore Beethoven; Jonathan Coopersmith and David Ludwig to survey Western music history in 2013-14 season

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(February 21, 2013) Curtis Institute of Music faculty, renowned for training the world's finest young musicians, will teach a series of free online courses designed to enhance music appreciation among audiences around the globe. Curtis becomes the first classical music conservatory to utilize a massive, open, online course (MOOC) platform in partnership with Coursera, a leader in MOOC education.

With over 2 million users, Coursera offers classes from top universities and professors online for free. Its comprehensive education platform combines mastery-based learning principles with video lectures, interactive content and a global community of peers, offering students from around the world a unique online learning experience.

Curtis will pilot two classes during the 2013-14 season. In Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas, Jonathan Biss ('01), who holds the Neubauer Family Foundation Chair in Piano Studies and is one of the classical music world's brightest talents to emerge in the last decade, will explore Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas as a companion to his decade-long Beethoven recording project and upcoming CD release on the Onyx label.

In From the Repertoire: Western Music History through Performance, Jonathan Coopersmith, chair of Musical Studies, and David Ludwig ('01), who holds the Gie and Lisa Liem Artistic Chair of Performance Studies and is also a member of the composition faculty, illuminate Western music history through explorations of seminal works over the past six centuries. Performances by Curtis students, alumni, and faculty will intertwine with in-depth discussions of each work. Enrollment for both courses opens February 21 at

Jonathan Biss said, "As a musician, whether I'm performing, rehearsing, teaching, or even just listening, my greatest joy--the whole point, really--is in sharing music. I am enormously grateful to Curtis for the incomparable education I received there, and for the constant creative stimulation I find in working with its students today. But now, through Coursera, I have the opportunity to connect with students and lovers of music on a scale I never imagined was possible. As much as I cherish the one-on-one interaction I have with the students within Curtis's walls, I find this opportunity to share that experience with people the world over incredibly exciting."

"We are on a mission to spread the word about classical music," said David Ludwig. "As a composer, I have a personal interest in the continuation of this art form that still lives, breathes, and evolves every day. With Coursera, we can use the power of technology to reach audiences we couldn't have conceived of just a few years ago. We can share both our newest music and most cherished performance traditions to help develop the next generation of music lovers."

Designed for students of all backgrounds, these classes do not require prior knowledge of an instrument or music theory. They are completely free and only require access to the internet. All content will be produced by Curtis.

"By partnering with Coursera, we will bring our distinctive approach to music-making and performance tradition to people around the world" said Roberto Díaz, president of the Curtis Institute of Music. "We are committed to create new advocates for classical music."

Although hundreds of musicians apply to Curtis each year, enrollment is limited to about 165 students. With an acceptance rate of only 3.2 percent, Curtis is ranked the most selective college-level institution in the United States by U.S. News and World Report (2012 edition, based on 2010-11 admissions statistics).

Since Coursera launched in 2012, the company has registered a total of almost 2.8 million users and is seeing approximately 1.45 million course enrollments per month. Today Coursera announced agreements with 29 new institutions, nearly doubling its roster and bringing the total number of Coursera partners to 62. The new partners include 16 international institutions from Switzerland to Mexico to Hong Kong, broadening Coursera's course offerings not only by subject, but by language. Coursera will now host over 200 free courses from universities at the top of their respective fields, representing some of the leading schools of Business, Medicine, Engineering and the Arts. The first school with an exclusive focus on classical music to offer classes through Coursera, Curtis joins two other arts-focused schools, the Berklee College of Music and California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).

Coursera is on a mission to change the world by educating millions of people by offering classes from top universities and professors online for free. Coursera's comprehensive education platform combines mastery-based learning principles with video lectures, interactive content, and a global community of peers, offering students from around the world a unique online learning experience. Coursera has partnered with top-tier universities to provide courses across a broad range of disciplines, including medicine, literature, history, and computer science, among others. Coursera is backed by leading venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates. For more 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 provides its 165 students with full-tuition scholarships and personalized attention from a celebrated faculty. The school's distinctive "learn by doing" approach has produced an impressive number of notable artists since its 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 alumni hold principal chairs in every major American orchestra, and each season they are featured as guest soloists with the world's leading orchestras, opera houses, and chamber music series.

Curtis's innovative programs encourage students to perform often and hone 21st-century musical skills, and the school's facilities offer superb spaces for music-making as well as state-of-the-art technologies to enhance learning. Students perform internationally with Curtis On Tour in addition to more than 150 performances in and around Philadelphia each year. When they graduate, they become musical leaders, making a profound impact on music around the globe. To learn more, visit

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