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Musical Instruments

Curtis welcomes gifts of musical instruments that will enhance or improve the school’s collections and support its students’ training and performances. The opportunity to practice and perform on fine instruments can significantly enhance a young musician’s training.

With guidance and supervision from Curtis’s faculty, instruments are loaned to students for special performances, for auditions, or for their entire enrollment. Instrument gifts to Curtis can be made during one’s lifetime or with a specific bequest in your will or or other estate planning arrangement.

Curtis has been an "All Steinway" school since its founding in 1924, and we welcome the opportunity to discuss gifts of Steinway grand pianos to the school.

You can also make an important impact at Curtis by funding the purchase of a high-quality musical instrument. For example, the school is constantly upgrading its collection of timpani and percussion, harps and pianos (Curtis purchased twenty-two new Steinway pianos in 2011 - some of them funded with designated contributions).  Please contact the development office for additional information about how you can help.

Examples of Instrument Gifts to Curtis

In 1997, Sylvia Mann, wife of the late music impresario Fredric Mann, gave Curtis the Steinway piano that Rachmaninoff preferred when he visited the United States. Today, the piano is one of the more than 90 Steinway pianos used bu Curtis students, faculty and guest performers for recitals, lessons and practice sessions.

Sister Anne Bickford, viola '48, gave her Viullaume viola and James Tubbs bow to Curtis in 1998 in memory of two former faculty members, violist William Primrose and oboist Marcel Tabuteau.

Former Los Angeles Philharmonic concertmaster Mark Kramer, violin '31, gave his Nicolas Lupot violin, along with other violins and bows, to Curtis in 1999.

Long-time Curtis faculty member Felix Galimir, who died in 1999, left his 1699 J.B. Ruggerius violin to Curtis under the terms of his will.

Along with endowing the President's Office at Curtis, Charles and Elizabeth Bowden provided funds to purchase the Steinway "D" concert grand piano once used on the Field Concert Hall stage and now in the Horszowski Room.

Benefits to donors

  • In most cases, donors will have the opportunity to enjoy seeing and hearing a Curtis student performing on the instrument donated to the school.
  • Gifts of musical instruments (or other personal property) may qualify for charitable-income, gift, and estate-tax deductions.
  • Gifts of "related-use property," such as musical instruments donated to Curtis, avoid capital gains taxes.

This information is not intended to be legal advice. Curtis encourages donors to consult their attorney and financial advisors about the application of charitable annuities, bequests, and trusts to their particular situations.


Charles Sterne III, director of principal gifts and planned giving, (215) 717-3126