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Curtis Receives $500,000 Grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage to Support Strategic Shift to Artist-Citizen Training and Culture

Advancement Grant will help Curtis implement a comprehensive curricular arc that fosters the entrepreneurial and collaborative skills necessary to pursue careers as 21st-century musicians

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PHILADELPHIA, PA—June 19, 2015—The Curtis Institute of Music is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $500,000 Advancement Grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage in support of programs that prepare its students for project-based 21st century careers—in particular, through a curriculum designed to teach Curtis students to conceive of and realize projects that are rooted in artistic excellence and that deeply engage audiences of all kinds. The grant will support initiatives that provide arts access to underserved communities, nurture collaborations with a wide range of artists, seek and develop programming opportunities in alternative venues, expose students to models of successful musicians working today, and track and measure the results of these activities.

"Musicians today no longer just have a responsibility to be excellent performers; they must also be advocates for their art form," said Curtis President Roberto Díaz. "We deeply appreciate this gift from the Pew Center, which allows us to continue creating a culture of artist-citizenship at Curtis, building on 90 years of tradition and innovation. Our students will emerge from Curtis prepared to make an impact both on the world's esteemed stages and in their communities."

This dynamic curriculum builds upon the offerings already in place at Curtis, including a Social Entrepreneur class, in which students choose residencies in schools, hospitals, and after-school programs as well as collaborate with other cultural institutions; the Community Artist Program, in which students design and implement year-long performance projects combining artistry and advocacy; and the Curtis ArtistYear Fellowship Program, which supports recent graduates as they bring arts access and education to underserved communities.

Continuing to seek new audiences and encourage collaboration, Curtis will commission new works to be performed each year in alternative venues and expand live streaming on Curtis Performs ( To provide models of successful musicians working today, the school will continue to bring innovative artists to collaborate with its students, including the ensemble-in-residence program, which engaged eighth blackbird in a recently concluded three-year residency funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the composer-in-residence program, which has included John Corigliano, George Crumb, Steven Mackey, Krzystof Penderecki, Steven Stucky, Joan Tower, and in the 2015-16 season, Unsuk Chin; and the Careers in Music Speaker Series, showcasing a diverse and illustrious group of artists, industry experts, and ensembles who share their advice and perspective. 

The Center's grant also provides resources to collect data and measure the effectiveness of the curriculum—with the ultimate aim for Curtis to share its learning with other organizations in order to extend the impact of the results. To that end, Curtis will track its reach among new audiences, measure the effects on students, monitor current careers of alumni as well as external trends in the arts, and research the work of peer institutions. 

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage
is a multidisciplinary grantmaker and hub for knowledge sharing, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, and dedicated to fostering a vibrant cultural community in Greater Philadelphia. The Center fulfills this mission by investing in ambitious, imaginative arts and heritage projects that showcase the region's cultural vitality and enhance public life, and by engaging in an exchange of ideas concerning artistic and interpretive practice with a broad network of cultural leaders. For more information, visit 

One of the world's finest and most selective conservatories, the Curtis Institute of Music offers a tuition-free, performance-inspired learning culture to 175 students from all corners of the world. Nurtured by a celebrated faculty, its extraordinary young musicians graduate to join 4,000 alumni who have long made music history. Curtis alumni personify the school's commitment to excellence—onstage and in their communities—inventing careers with impact.

Recent civic-minded graduates include violinist Adrian Anantawan, an internationally respected performer and teacher dedicated to helping young people with disabilities make music; Joseph Conyers, assistant principal bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra and director and founder of Project 440, which trains young musicians to serve their communities through classical music via industry-specific mentoring and training programs; and Stanford Thompson, CEO of Play On, Philly!, the El Sistema-inspired program that provides opportunities for personal development to children through the study of music. 

A busy schedule of performances, including more than 200 a year in Philadelphia and around the world, is at the heart of Curtis's distinctive "learn by doing" approach. Dedicated to a tradition of excellence and innovation since its founding in 1924, Curtis is looking toward its centenary in a flexible and forward-thinking way, evolving strategically to engage global communities and prepare artist-citizens for the musical landscape of today—and to anticipate the landscape to come.

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