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Why Choose Curtis?


“[Curtis] prepared me for the real world, with real productions—with orchestra, costumes, and make-up, in a proper theater, and with great stage directors.”

—Juan Diego Flórez (Voice ’96), Curtis alumnus and internationally renowned tenor

 “So many reasons!  Because it’s small, it’s intimate. It’s free. Because it’s the best music school in the world. … The people you meet as a student here will be your people forever. The new building is incredible. When I was a student, we rehearsed in the old hall.  If we played a Shostakovich symphony in there, it was deafening. And I’d have been a much healthier person if we’d had a dorm and cafeteria—I was eating tuna out of a can! It’s great for foreign students too, because they have the camaraderie of living in a dorm together.”
—Karina Canellakis (Violin ’04), Curtis alumna, conductor, 2016 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award 


Daniel Hsu

“First, I think the faculty is unparalleled. Second, it’s a performance experience you can’t find anywhere else. You want to play, you sign up and play. Every single musician here is great. [You’re] swimming in music the entire week, all the time, with all the faculty, and classes, and rehearsals.” 

- Daniel Hsu (Piano), Curtis student, Richard A. Doran Fellow, 2015 Gilmore Young Artist Award, 2015 Concert Artists Guild Competition winner

Rinat Shahman

“A family friend suggested that I go to the States because I already spoke English. I had the possibility of going to a few schools in New York. I decided on Curtis, because it seemed friendlier than New York, for my first away from home. Also because of the full tuition. At that point, I didn’t even realize how exclusive it is, and how lucky I actually was to get accepted. 

“I think Mikael Eliasen was the biggest influence. Mikael is a very special guy. He is genuine, and what he asks of singers is genuineness and individuality. Just the aspect of being onstage, and allowing that transformation to happen, and not only be in the classroom theorizing about what it is to sing, but actually get up and sing. To be special, be unique, be who you are, and express that. For that, I’m really thankful to him. … It’s easy to develop only the technical side of things and produce opera stars. And I don’t think that is what Mikael does. He doesn’t produce opera stars, he produces artists. To be influenced in that direction at such a young age was very important to me.”

- Rinat Shaham (Voice ’95, Opera ’98), Curtis alumna, mezzo-soprano 


Hal Robinson

“Everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve always taught. Here at Curtis, there’s no dogma. I tell my students, ‘I’ll take any suggestions, you’re the boss.’ With me and Edgar [Meyer], you have two juggernauts in the double bass world; we try to craft the repertoire and the discussions around it, and we help the students develop the true sense of their personalities. Our students have success not because they play just like me or Edgar, but because we give them the information and the confidence to have their own voice. You won’t find two students here that are the same. I’m really proud of that.”

- Harold Hall Robinson, Curtis faculty, A. Margaret Bok Chair in Double Bass Studies


"Curtis is the most loving, caring, and supportive community I have been in so far. It is a place to explore your playing, learn from your talented peers, play together, and have fun. Most importantly, it is a place where you can feel perfectly safe to make mistakes—which is crucial to your growth as an artist."

- Gergana Haralampieva (Violin ’16)

Slavko Popovic
“My expectation was that the standard of playing at Curtis was very high, and that I would have to practice a lot to keep up with everyone around me.

"Once I started, I realized it was like that, only times ten. I felt very small, like I knew nothing about my instrument. But the best part of Curtis is playing with all of my colleagues and how supportive they are. They encourage everyone to play better, and they're very positive and open to feedback. It's a very open atmosphere—a lot of schools aren't like that.”
- Slavko Popovic (Clarinet), Curtis student, James and Betty Matarese Annual Fellow 

 Paul Jacobs 

“Primarily [my] major teacher John Weaver, in addition, of course, to Curtis’s own sterling reputation … the students could not help but respect him, for his reputation and what he gave to them in lessons.

“I took great pleasure in the art history courses offered by Carla Puppin—I really would say, there’s wasn’t a single course at Curtis that was not valuable. All the teachers cared about what they were doing, and I think that’s something to be treasured, and I’m confident that’s still the case at the school: because of the smallness of it, the intimate setting.

“I learned to make music at Curtis in a way that was full of love: love for the music, and a passion to communicate that love to any listener … It has that youthful spirit to it, and consequently, optimism. Hope is found in abundance within the walls of that institution, and amongst the students.”

- Paul Jacobs (Organ ’00), Curtis alumnus, Juilliard School organ department chair

Don Liuzzi 

“The school’s smallness allows you the mental space to grow and discover what you want to do. Find your love and home in on it. The percussion field is so full of possibilities, and here [students] can explore that. 

"In the past we just didn’t have the right facilities for percussion. But in Lenfest Hall, the physical space is phenomenal. The windows add light and the rooms are big enough for you to get the feeling of how the instruments really sound. The soundproofing is so great that we have two rooms together, and you don’t know who the heck is [playing] next door!”

- Don Liuzzi, Curtis timpani and percussion faculty, Philadelphia Orchestra principal timpanist 

"Curtis is a family, not just a school. It’s full of beautiful learning resources and opportunities, but in a familial safe haven. Art cannot exist in a box, and I admire that the administration supports and cherishes every student’s path and individual needs. I wish the rest of the world was this welcoming and attentive to each and every human being!"

- Marié Rossano (Violin '16), violinist in the New York Philharmonic 

“The music I’ve heard and the people I’ve met at Curtis have changed me, and those things really go hand in hand. Everyone here loves music so deeply that it changes them as people. I go to school with artists—people who love what they do and who are so good at it—and I’m impressed every day by the level of music-making here, both by students and faculty. They all have motivated me and inspired me on such a high level.”
—Steven Franklin (Trumpet), Curtis student, David H. Springman Memorial Fellow