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Curtis On Tour comes to New York City on March 10

On March 10, New Yorkers can witness the extraordinary artistry of the world-renowned Curtis Institute of Music when Curtis On Tour makes a special appearance at the Allen Room in Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center.  In this elegant setting, distinguished Curtis faculty members Ida Kavafian and Peter Wiley (’74) will be joined by three of tomorrow’s leading musicians, all Curtis students, to perform a variety of chamber works. 

Marking the centenary of celebrated Curtis alumnus Samuel Barber (’34), the program presents his String Quartet No. 1, the source of his famous Adagio for Strings. Also featured are miniatures commissioned for Curtis On Tour from two current Curtis composition students: Christopher Rogerson and Daniel Shapiro. The program concludes with Dvorák’s Piano Quintet No. 2.

One of the most important American composers of the last century, Samuel Barber (1910-81) was born on March 9, 1910.  Barber was among the first students to enter the Curtis Institute when it opened in 1924, and his centenary is a principal theme of Curtis’s 2009-10 performance season.  His Adagio for Strings, widely considered a modern masterpiece, derives from the slow movement of his String Quartet No. 1 (1936).

Growing up in Barber’s hometown, West Chester PA, Daniel Shapiro drew inspiration from the earlier composer’s example.  The Sonata for Viola and Piano is one of five significant commissions the 24-year-old has received this season, and he has already had works performed by leading ensembles and soloists, including the American Brass Quintet, Yale Contemporary Ensemble, Grammy Award-winning soprano Susan Narucki, and Network for New Music, which premiered two of his chamber works in Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center.  Shapiro studies composition with Richard Danielpour and David Ludwig at Curtis, where he is the Jimmy Brent Fellow.

Lullaby: no bad dreams is by 21-year-old Christopher Rogerson, Curtis’s Roy Pressman Annual Fellow and a student of Grammy-winning composer Jennifer Higdon.  Recipient of the 2009 Presser Music Award, Rogerson has already had an orchestral work commissioned and premiered by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and his music has been also performed by VERGE ensemble, Third Angle New Music Ensemble, Norfolk Contemporary Ensemble, and members of the New World Symphony. He is currently working on commissions from the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Amherst Symphony.

The 2010 Curtis On Tour ensemble comprises faculty artists Ida Kavafian, violin, and Peter Wiley (’74), cello, and current students Benjamin Beilman, violin, Hyo Bi Sim, viola, and Yekwon Sunwoo, piano.  Renowned chamber musicians Ida Kavafian and Peter Wiley are members of the Grammy-nominated Beaux Arts Trio and the OPUS ONE piano quartet.  Wiley, a Curtis alumnus, was also a member of the legendary Guarneri Quartet and received an Avery Fisher Career Grant, while Kavafian, who founded two prestigious music festivals, the Bravo!-Vail Valley Music Festival and the Music from Angel Fire, has had a concerto written for her by Toru Takemitsu and was a founding member of the Tashi ensemble.

A violin student of Kavafian, 20-year-old Ben Beilman is the Curtis Institute’s William H. Roberts Annual Fellow.  He made his Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 2009, with a performance that the city’s Inquirer praised for its “emotional weight” and “distinctive, full-bodied sound.”  A recent Milka/Astral Violin Prize winner, Beilman has been a featured artist at Marlboro and has performed at the Verbier Festival.  Nineteen-year-old Hyo Bi Sim studies viola with Curtis’s president, Roberto Díaz.  She won first prize in the Eumag Chunchu Competition and Hanjeon Art Center Competition, and recently played Bartók’s Viola Concerto with the Korean National Police Symphony Orchestra.  Fellow Korean Yekwon Sunwoo, 21, recently made his New York City debut performing at Weill Recital Hall as winner of the inaugural Florida International Piano Competition, where he was the youngest competitor.  He studies with Seymour Lipkin at Curtis, where he is the Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest Fellow.

The Allen Room in Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, is one of New York’s most spectacular venues.  Located on the fifth floor of the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, the Allen Room overlooks Central Park South and enjoys superb acoustics thanks to its design, based on that of a Greek amphitheater.  A celebration dinner with cocktails in aid of the Curtis Institute will precede the concert in the venue’s Atrium.

Curtis On Tour embodies the remarkable traditions of the world-renowned Curtis Institute of Music, described by the New York Times as “arguably the country’s most elite conservatory” and recently highlighted in U.S. News and World Report’s 2010 college survey as the most selective institution in the United States for students seeking a bachelor’s degree. With an enrollment of 160, Curtis provides an intimate environment in which students receive personalized attention from a celebrated faculty.  Curtis provides full-tuition scholarships to all of its students, ensuring that admissions are based solely on artistic promise. Curtis students “learn by doing,” performing frequently and often collaborating side-by-side with their teachers. Curtis On Tour embodies this irresistible meeting of youthful exuberance and seasoned artistry.

Since its founding in 1924, Curtis has nurtured an impressive number of notable artists, from such legends as Barber and Leonard Bernstein to current stars Juan Diego Flórez, Alan Gilbert, Hilary Hahn, Lang Lang, and Time for Three. Leading composers who studied at Curtis, in addition to those already mentioned, include Mark Blitzstein, Lukas Foss, Jennifer Higdon, Gian Carlo Menotti, and Ned Rorem, among many others.



Wednesday, March 10 at 8 pm
Allen Room in Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center
Broadway at 60th Street, New York City
Barber: String Quartet No. 1, Op. 11
Rogerson: Lullaby: no bad dreams
Shapiro: Sonata for Viola and Piano
Dvorák: Piano Quintet No. 2 in A, Op. 81
Ida Kavafian and Benjamin Beilman, violins
Hyo Bi Sim, viola
Peter Wiley, cello (’74)
Yekwon Sunwoo, piano

A celebration benefit dinner precedes the concert in the Atrium at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Proceeds benefit the Curtis Institute of Music. Tickets and more information are available from the Curtis Development Office at 215-893-5279 or [email protected]

Additional Curtis On Tour dates, spring 2010:

Philadelphia – Friday, February 26 at 8pm
Detroit – Sunday, February 28 at 7pm
Seattle – Tuesday, March 2 at 7:30pm
Davis, CA – Saturday, March 6 at 8pm and Sunday, March 7 at 2pm
Kennett Square, PA – Saturday, March 13 at 8pm
Orono, ME – Friday, March 19 at 8pm
Rockport, ME – Saturday, March 20 at 7pm
Highland Park, IL – Friday, March 26 at 8pm

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