Press Room

Curtis On Tour comes to (Le) Poisson Rouge, NYC on April 5

On April 5, Curtis On Tour stops at the Greenwich Village club (Le) Poisson Rouge, a popular alternative classical venue.  Each season, Curtis On Tour takes the artistry of the Curtis Institute of Music to audiences nationwide, with tomorrow’s leading musicians performing alongside celebrated alumni and faculty.  For the 2011 tour, Curtis piano faculty member Ignat Solzhenitsyn is joined by Curtis students Kelly Coyle on clarinet and Ayane Kozasa on viola for the New York premiere of Book of Days (2010), a commissioned piece by Daron Hagen.  The program also features Mozart’s “Kegelstatt” Trio, the Op. 120 Sonatas of Brahms, and György Kurtág’s Hommage à R. Sch.
This season Curtis On Tour showcases the artistry of Ignat Solzhenitsyn who is highly esteemed as both pianist and conductor.  An avid chamber musician, he has collaborated with the Emerson, Borodin, Brentano, and St. Petersburg String Quartets and in four-hand recital with Mitsuko Uchida.  His international festival appearances include Salzburg, Caramoor, Ojai, Marlboro, and Moscow’s December Evenings.  He currently serves as principal guest conductor of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra and conductor laureate of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and is in demand internationally as a guest conductor.  A winner of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, Solzhenitsyn is a member of the piano faculty at Curtis, where he graduated in piano and conducting in 1995.
With current Curtis students Kelly Coyle (clarinet) and Ayane Kozasa (viola), Solzhenitsyn presents a chamber program that takes as its centerpiece the New York premiere of Book of Days (2010), a new commission from Daron Hagen.  One of America’s most respected and sought-after composers, Hagen graduated from Curtis in 1984.  He has since received awards from the Rockefeller Foundation (twice), the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet-the-Composer, the Bearns Prize from Columbia University, the Barlow Endowment Prize, Opera America, the ASCAP-Nissim Prize, and the Kennedy Center Friedheim Prize.  In 2010, his Suite for Piano was commissioned for the Van Cliburn piano competition, resulting in hundreds of performances around the world.  “To say that he is a remarkable musician is to underrate him,” writes fellow composer and Curtis alumnus Ned Rorem, “Daron is music.”
The (Le) Poisson Rouge event on April 5 will be the second of three Curtis concerts in New York this season.  On February 15, the Curtis Institute presented the New York premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Violin Concerto at Carnegie Hall.  Higdon is a current Curtis faculty member and ’88 alumna.  Curtis co-commissioned the concerto from Higdon in collaboration with several major American orchestras.  The co-commissioned piece is dedicated to Curtis ’99 alumna and two-time Grammy Award-winner Hilary Hahn.  Hahn was the soloist on February 15 with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, which also performed music by Hindemith and Shostakovich. The event was a resounding success.  According to the New York Times’s Allan Kozinn:
“Ms. Higdon’s concerto is a showpiece in the classic Romantic style. … [Her] chromatic neo-Romanticism and inventive orchestration keep the piece lively and surprising.  And it fits Ms. Hahn’s interpretive personality perfectly, drawing on both her pinpoint precision in fast, intricate passages and the singing tone she typically produces in slow, long-lined music.”
“The orchestra made a striking impression on its own.  In Hindemith’s Concert Music for Strings and Brass and Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony these young musicians produced a robust, muscular, thoroughly unified sound.  The brass playing in the Hindemith was exceptional, and the solo contributions of the principals in the Shostakovich were perfectly etched.”
On May 5, the school’s contemporary music ensemble Curtis 20/21 presents an evening devoted to Joan Tower (b. 1938) at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, as part of the Miller’s popular “Composer Portraits” series.  Flexible in size and scope, Curtis 20/21 performs a vast range of music.  Recent offerings include centenary programs for Samuel Barber, Olivier Messiaen, and Elliott Carter, as well as a collaborative performance with eighth blackbird, and a concert in tribute to resident Curtis composer John Corigliano.  Further information is available at
Curtis On Tour embodies the remarkable traditions of Philadelphia’s distinguished Curtis Institute of Music, where individually tailored study with a faculty of leading musicians has nurtured a long line of great performers from such legends as Samuel Barber and Leonard Bernstein to current stars Juan Diego Flórez, Alan Gilbert, Hilary Hahn, Jennifer Higdon, Leila Josefowicz, Lang Lang, and Time for Three.  One of the world’s leading music schools, Curtis provides full-tuition scholarships to all of its students, ensuring that admissions are based solely on artistic promise.  Students at this intimate conservatory “learn by doing,” performing frequently and often collaborating side by side with their teachers.  The Curtis Institute has been described by the New York Times as “arguably the country’s most elite conservatory.”  Founded in 1924, Curtis remains forward-thinking, evolving strategically to nurture the 21st-century skills that allow students to invent their careers in today’s changing musical world.  Further information is available at
Tuesday, April 5 at 7:30pm
(Le) Poisson Rouge, New York City
Curtis On Tour with Ignat Solzhenitsyn, piano
Kelly Coyle, clarinet
Ayane Kozasa, viola
Ignat Solzhenitsyn, piano (’95)
Kurtág: Hommage à R. Sch., Op. 15d
Brahms: Sonata in F minor for viola and piano, Op. 120, No. 1
Daron Hagen: Book of Days (New York premiere)
Mozart: Trio in E-flat major, K. 498 (“Kegelstatt”)
Tickets: $15.  Available from (Le) Poisson Rouge box office (open daily from 5pm until closing), from (212) 505-FISH (3474) or at  This is a first-come, first-served seated event.  Seating is limited and not guaranteed, so early arrival is recommended.  Doors open at 6:30pm.
Thursday, May 5 at 8pm
Miller Theatre, Columbia University, New York City
Curtis 20/21
   String Force
   Ivory and Ebony
   Angels (String Quartet No. 4)
   Trio Cavany
   Simply Purple
   Wild Purple
Tickets: $25.  Available through the Miller Theatre at (212) 854-7799 or!/CurtisInstitute

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