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The Curtis Symphony Orchestra Performs the U.S. Premiere of Penderecki’s Concerto Doppio on April 13 at the Kimmel Center

Featuring conductor Ignat Solzhenitsyn, violinist Benjamin Schmid, and violist and Curtis President Roberto Díaz, the concert wraps up Penderecki's 2013-14 collaboration with Curtis as composer in residence

The concert is preceded by a Grand Season Finale Gala in Commonwealth Plaza at the Kimmel Center honoring H.F. "Gerry" and Marguerite Lenfest for their transformational impact on the Curtis Institute of Music

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(April 8, 2014) Faculty member Ignat Solzhenitsyn (Piano, Conducting '95) leads the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in the U.S. premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki's Concerto doppio for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra on Sunday, April 13 at 8 p.m. in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center. Benjamin Schmid (Violin '91) and Curtis President Roberto Díaz (Viola '84) join Mr. Solzhenitsyn for the double concerto. The concert concludes Penderecki's 2013-14 collaboration with Curtis as composer in residence, which included a program of his works performed by the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall with the composer at the podium.

Conducting fellow Kensho Watanabe opens the concert with Stravinsky's brilliant showpiece, Fireworks. Written to celebrate the marriage of the daughter of Stravinsky's mentor, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, it foreshadows Stravinsky's subsequent works such as The Firebird. Following Stravinsky is Penderecki's Concerto doppio, which was composed on commission as part of the bicentennial of Vienna's Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. Penderecki's virtuosic double concerto is quickly becoming a modern classic with no fewer than seventeen subsequent performances in Europe, Armenia, Russia, and China. The concert concludes with Mr. Solzhenitsyn conducting Tchaikovsky's final complete symphony, the emotionally charged Symphony No. 6 in B minor ("Pathétique").

Tickets are $5 to $45 and are available at the Kimmel Center Box Office and from Ticket Philadelphia at (215) 893-1999 or The program is part of the Jack Wolgin Orchestral Concert Series.

Preceding the concert, Curtis presents a Grand Season Finale Gala in Commonwealth Plaza at the Kimmel Center. An elegant cocktail reception will be followed by a dinner created by world-renowned chef Jose Garces. Honoring H.F. "Gerry" and Marguerite Lenfest for their transformational support of Curtis, the gala is chaired by Fran and Leon Levy, John Medveckis, and Mark and Robin Rubenstein. Thanks to the extraordinary leadership and generosity of the Lenfests, Curtis is enjoying a period of tremendous success highlighted by a campus doubled in size, eleven new endowed faculty chairs, the launch of an international touring initiative, a healthy governance structure, and sound financial footing. For tickets and more information visit or contact Charles Finch in the Curtis Development Office, (215) 717-3141. All proceeds benefit the Curtis Student Assistance Fund.

Enjoying an active career as both conductor and pianist, Ignat Solzhenitsyn has won critical acclaim throughout the world for his lyrical and poignant interpretations. Mr. Solzhenitsyn is principal guest conductor of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra and conductor laureate of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. He is much in demand as a guest conductor, having recently led the Baltimore, Buffalo, Dallas, Indianapolis, Nashville, New Jersey, North Carolina, Seattle, Toledo, and Toronto symphony orchestras, the Czech National Symphony, and many of the major orchestras in Russia including the Mariinsky Orchestra, the Moscow and St. Petersburg philharmonics, and the Bolshoi and Moscow symphonies.

Mr. Solzhenitsyn gives piano recitals throughout the United States and in major musical centers of Europe and the Far East; he has appeared as a concerto soloist with the major orchestras of Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Montreal, London, Paris, and St. Petersburg. An avid chamber musician, he has collaborated with the Emerson, Borodin, Brentano, and St. Petersburg string quartets, and in four-hand recital with Mitsuko Uchida. He has frequently appeared at international festivals, including Salzburg, Evian, Ludwigsburg, Caramoor, Ojai, Marlboro, Nizhniy Novgorod, and Moscow's December Evenings. He was a 1994 winner of the Avery Fisher Career Grant. Mr. Solzhenitsyn is an alumnus of the Curtis Institute of Music and joined its piano faculty in 2004; he also serves on the faculty of the Tanglewood Music Center.

Kensho Watanabe, from Greenwich, Conn., received a diploma in 2013 from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with distinguished conducting pedagogue Otto-Werner Mueller. He returned to Curtis in Fall 2013 as the Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow. Recent conducting experiences with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra include Bartók's Concerto for Two Pianos and Percussion, Jennifer Higdon's blue cathedral, Wagner's Flying Dutchman Overture, and works by Glinka, Strauss, and Tchaikovsky at Verizon Hall; and Richard Danielpour's Consecration at Gould Rehearsal Hall. In Fall 2013 he conducted the Curtis Opera Theatre's double bill of Ullmann's Emperor of Atlantis and Bach's Ich habe genug.

Mr. Watanabe previously served as the assistant conductor of the Yale Symphony Orchestra under Toshiyuki Shimada, leading the YSO in concerts at Woolsey Hall and Battell Chapel. He has also served as the music director of Yale's Berkeley College Orchestra and as a cover conductor for the Atlanta Symphony and Symphony in C. He has participated in master classes with conductors including David Amado, Giancarlo Guerrero, Michael Jinbo, Colin Metters, and Robert Spano.

Mr. Watanabe received a bachelor's degree in biology from Yale College and a master's degree in violin performance from Yale School of Music. He performs regularly with the Philadelphia Orchestra as a substitute violinist and spends his summers at the Greenwood Music Camp, where he serves as orchestra conductor.

Benjamin Schmid was born in Vienna and grew up in Salzburg. In 1992 he won the Carl Flesch Competition in London, where he was also awarded the Mozart, Beethoven, and Audience prizes. Since then he has performed on the world's major stages with renowned orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra (London), St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and Concertgebouw (Amsterdam) under conductors such as Christoph von Dohnányi, Valery Gergiev, Ingo Metzmacher, Seiji Ozawa, and David Zinman.

In addition to the standard concerto literature, Mr. Schmid includes concertos by Hartmann, Gulda, Korngold, Lutoslawski, Muthspiel, Schoenberg, and Szymanowski in his repertoire, and is skilled in jazz improvisation. He has recorded about 40 CDs, receiving such awards as the German Record Prize, the Echo Klassik Prize, the Gramophone Editor's Choice, and the Strad Selection. His June 2011 performance with the Vienna Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev was broadcast internationally and released on DVD by Deutsche Grammophon. Mr. Schmid is professor of violin at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and gives masterclasses in Berne, Switzerland. In the summer of 2006 he was awarded the International Prize for Art and Culture of the City of Salzburg. He is a 1991 graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music.

A violist of international reputation, Roberto Díaz is president of the Curtis Institute of Music, following in the footsteps of renowned soloist/directors such as Josef Hofmann, Efrem Zimbalist, and Rudolf Serkin. As a soloist, Mr. Díaz collaborates with leading conductors of our time on stages throughout the world. He has also worked directly with important 20th- and 21st-century composers, including Krzysztof Penderecki--whose viola concerto he has performed numerous times with the composer on the podium--and Edison Denisov, Ricardo Lorenz, and Roberto Sierra. He will premiere a concerto by Jennifer Higdon in 2015.

A frequent recitalist, Mr. Díaz enjoys collaborating with young musicians, bringing a fresh approach to the repertoire and providing invaluable opportunities to artists at the beginning of their careers. He has performed with major string quartets and pianists in chamber music series and festivals worldwide, he is a member of the Díaz Trio, and has recorded for the Artek, Dorian Naxos, and New World labels. In addition to his decade-long tenure as principal viola of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Mr. Díaz was also principal viola of the National Symphony under Mstislav Rostropovich, and was a member of the Boston Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra. He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music, where he continues to serve on the faculty, holding the James and Betty Matarese Chair in Viola Studies

Praised for its "otherworldly ensemble and professional level of sophistication" (New York Times), the Curtis Symphony Orchestra presents three concerts annually under the direction of eminent conductors in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center. Recent visiting conductors include Charles Dutoit, Simon Rattle, Robert Spano, and Michael Tilson Thomas. This professional training 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 provides its 168 students with full-tuition scholarships and personalized attention from a celebrated faculty. Its distinctive "learn by doing" approach has produced an impressive number of notable artists, 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. The school's facilities offer superb spaces for music-making, as well as state-of-the-art technologies to enhance learning. In addition to more than 200 performances in and around Philadelphia each year, students perform internationally with Curtis On Tour. When they graduate, they become musical leaders, making a profound impact on music around the globe. To learn more, visit

Curtis Symphony Orchestra
The Jack Wolgin Orchestral Concerts
Sunday, April 13 at 8 p.m.
Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia

Ignat Solzhenitsyn, conductor (Piano, Conducting '95)
Kensho Watanabe, conductor ('13)
Benjamin Schmid, violin ('91)
Roberto Díaz, viola ('84)

STRAVINSKY - Fireworks
PENDERECKI - Concerto doppio for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra (U.S. premiere)
TCHAIKOVSKY - Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 ("Pathétique")

Tickets: $5, $10, $22, $33, $45; available at the Kimmel Center Box Office and from Ticket Philadelphia at (215) 893-1999 or

Grand Season Finale Gala
Pre-concert cocktails, dinner by renowned chef Jose Garces in Commonwealth Plaza at the Kimmel Center. Proceeds benefit the Curtis Student Assistance Fund. Tickets and more information: Charles Finch, (215) 717-3141 or

Gala Sponsors
Dinner: Glenmede
Cocktails: INTECH Construction
Corporate Table: Hirtle, Callaghan & Co.
Award: VSBA Architects and Planners




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