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Alumni Now

Commencement 2017


Curtis Celebrates the Class of 2017

On May 13, Curtis awarded degrees, diplomas, and certificates to 42 graduates. Eight students, a cherished faculty member, and a distinguished commencement speaker received special honors.  Congratulations to the Class of 2017!


Commencement Speaker and Doctor of Music (Honoris Causa)

Deborah Borda, president and CEO, Los Angeles Philharmonic

“Now is your time to claim and shape the world you want to live in. And I know you will, because you are musicians, and musicians are courageous. Every musician is. You do something few people in the world can do—you stand on stage, and you deliver. And you are fearless in your music. Now is your time to be fearless in the world.”


Student Speakers 

Abigail Fayette (Violin)

“We, sitting here today, are Curtis’s greatest resource …  We are collectively both the living history of this school and the movement forward into the future of our art form. We are, as the sum of our lessons and experiences, our own best inspiration and motivation, inside and outside of this building.”


Joseph Russell (Organ)

"One thing that I have gotten from this school has been a sense of friendship and community. For me, it has been the greatest gift that I have been given … With the support of the school, our teachers, and the administration, we have all grown up in our own ways, and we’re grateful for everything that this place has taught us."


Welcome to the New Alumni 

Stanford Thompson (Trumpet ’09), chair of the Alumni Network Executive Committee and President and CEO, Play On Philly!

“If you had the Curtis experience that I had, it started before you walked in this building, and it continues after today …  You are now joining a body of thousands more who have walked through this building. We are not only playing and singing in the finest concert halls and opera houses throughout the world. We are also fathers and mothers.  We are teachers. We are civically engaged in the communities we live in … You are joining a diverse body of alumni who are here to support you in any way possible."



Lifetime Achievement Award

Marlena Kleinman Malas (Voice ’60), in recognition of her extraordinary influence on young singers as a dedicated and inspiring member of the Curtis faculty for more than three decades


Joan Hutton Landis Award for Excellence in Academics

Abigail Montara Kent (Harp)


Edward Aldwell Award for Excellence in Musical Studies

Kate Liu (Piano)


Charles Miller Prize: The Sergei Rachmaninoff Award

Chelsea Wang (Piano)


Milka Violin Artist Prize

Timothy Chooi (Violin)


Angelo Sylvestro Festorazzi Scholarship

Heather Stebbins (Opera)


Paul G. Mehlin Scholarship

Kate Liu (Piano)


Richard F. Gold Career Grant

Johnathan McCullough (Opera)


The Presser Foundation Undergraduate Scholar Award

Ashley Marie Robillard (Voice)




Diploma: 3

Bachelor of Music: 22

Post-Baccalaureate Diploma: 14

Master of Music in Opera: 2

Certificate of Professional Studies: 1