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Careers in Music Speaker Series

career music speakers

Curtis is wholly committed to preparing its students and alumni to invent 21st-century careers with impact and equipping them with a variety of skills, on stage and off.

This speaker series, curated by Mary Javian, chair of career studies and director of professional development and community engagement, gives the Curtis community the opportunity to hear from a variety of illustrious performers and others from the music world, each with a uniquely successful career.

All events are open to Curtis students, faculty, and staff, as well as local alumni. 

Pictured above: eighth blackbird during their three-year residency at Curtis, giving a talk to students 



Chia-Jung Tsay

April 8, 2017
12 to 2 p.m.
Gould Rehearsal Hall
1616 Locust Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
Tsay graduated Phi Beta Kappa with an A.B. in Psychology and an A.M. in History of Science from Harvard University. As a classical pianist, Tsay has performed at venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the U.S. Embassy. She holds degrees from the Juilliard School and the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, where she later served on the faculty. Tsay received a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Psychology with a secondary Ph.D. field in Music from Harvard University, and previously taught at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


Past Speaker Series 

Pachaysana Institute

September 27, 2016
6 to 8 p.m.
Gould Rehearsal Hall
1616 Locust Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

“We are a collective of Ecuadorian and international educators, teaching artists, development specialists, and community organizers who seek to bridge the divide between community development and international development, as well as between local and global education. We bring together our diverse experiences and skills, using creative educational programming, to foment a balanced and sustainable dialogue between local and global change agents."

Jennifer Koh

October 28, 2016
4 to 6 p.m.
Gould Rehearsal Hall
1616 Locust Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

Violinist Jennifer Koh is recognized for her intense, commanding performances, delivered with dazzling virtuosity and technical assurance. An adventurous musician, she collaborates with artists of multiple disciplines and curates projects that find connections between music of all eras from traditional to contemporary. She believes that all the arts and music of the past and present form a continuum and has premiered over 50 works written especially for her. She made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 11. Ms. Koh is Musical America’s 2016 Instrumentalist of the Year, a winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, and the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Oberlin College and studied at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she worked extensively with Jaime Laredo and Felix Galimir.


November 30, 2016
7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Gould Rehearsal Hall
1616 Locust Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

“Their rock-star well deserved. Their classically honed technique mixed with grit and all out passionate attack transfixes the audience...” That is how the Sarasota Herald Tribune described Sybarite5, the first string quintet ever selected as a winner of the Concert Artists Guild International Competition. Comprising violinists Sami Merdinian and Sarah Whitney, violist Angela Pickett, cellist Laura Metcalf, and bassist Louis Levitt, Sybarite5 has taken audiences worldwide by storm, forever changing the perception of chamber music performance. From the moment their bows hit the strings, this quintet of talented, diverse musicians takes the audience on an exciting ride that engages the senses and redefines the rules.


David Lang

February 6, 2017
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Tyler School of Art
2001 N. 13th Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

David Lang is one of the most highly esteemed and often-performed American composers writing today. His works have been performed around the world in most of the great concert halls. Lang's simple song #3, written as part of his score for Paolo Sorrentino's acclaimed film YOUTH, received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations in 2016.


Tony Woodcock

March 1, 2017
5:45 p.m. - 7:45 p.m.
Locks Board Room
1616 Locust Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

Tony Woodcock worked in the not-for-profit world for major symphony orchestras in the U.S. and England and in higher education with the New England Conservatory. He planned and celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the 100th anniversary for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; commissioned Paul McCartney to write his first-ever classical work, Liverpool Oratorio; created the Sistema Fellows Program and Entrepreneurial Musicianship at the New England Conservatory; successfully negotiated 13 collective bargaining agreements with orchestras, avoiding both strikes and lockouts; and raised more than $250 million for music in the past ten years. 



Questions about the series? Contact Mary Javian, chair of career studies and director of professional development and community engagement, at (215) 717-3149.

Are you an alumnus with questions about attending? Contact Laura Sancken, associate director of annual giving for alumni and friends, at (215) 717-3128.