RRC Blog

Kristina Wilson

Recent Posts

Legacy of "The Hall"

Posted by Kristina Wilson on 10/29/20 9:00 AM

From greenhouse to world-class concert venue, “The Hall” has hosted countless students, Curtis faculty members, guest artists, and their audiences.

For over 40 years the Hall was open only to Curtis students and faculty. Audiences were first invited to attend recitals under the directorship of Rudolf Serkin (1968–1976).

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Topics: History

A Philanthropist with a Passion

Posted by Kristina Wilson on 10/15/20 9:00 AM

      An avid patron of the arts, Mary Louise Curtis Bok’s most enduring contribution was the establishment of the Curtis Institute of Music

A philanthropist with a passion

Mary Louise Curtis Bok (1876–1970) was the only child of Cyrus H.K. Curtis (1850–1933), founder of the Curtis Publishing Company, and Louisa Knapp Curtis (1852–1910), editor of the Ladies Home Journal (published by the Curtis Publishing Company).

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Topics: History

The First Years at Curtis

Posted by Kristina Wilson on 9/10/20 12:27 PM

When the Curtis Institute opened its doors on Monday, October 13, 1924, its original buildings looked very much as they do now.

Yet they were also very different. Orchestra rehearsals were held in the Common Room, and recitals took place in an “Assembly Room” for lack of a proper concert hall. The school did not yet have a library, and there was a preparatory department in the building at 1720 Locust Street, where the present library is housed. During its early years in the 1920s, the school remodeled its buildings, developed its program, and established its legacy.

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Topics: Curtis Archives and Library, History

Student life in the 1920s: Letters from Ella Geer (Violin '27)

Posted by Kristina Wilson on 8/24/20 11:09 AM

ph2_geer.ellaThe subject of student life is rarely well documented in archival collections. To find out how students experienced life outside their lessons and practice time, we depend on the personal memorabilia and recollections of alumni. Such contributions are the basis of Curtis’s recent exhibit on student life. Thanks to our most senior alumni and faculty, life at Curtis in the 1940s is well documented, while the late Eleanor Sokoloff (Piano ’38) kindly allowed us to record her personal recollections of student life in the 1930s.

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Topics: Curtis Archives and Library, History, Alumni

Original "Syn"

Posted by Kristina Wilson on 7/10/20 10:03 AM

Rockmore as a student at Curtis, 1928A former violinist and Curtis student, Rockmore became the first, and arguably best, theremin virtuosa...

In October 1920 a young Russian physicist named Lev Termen inadvertently invented a new musical instrument while conducting government research on proximity sensors.  Christened the Theremin, the instrument was completely novel in that it was not played through physical touch – rather performers controlled pitch and volume strictly through the movement of their hands near the instrument’s precisely placed antennas.  The result is a synthesized, eerie pitch reminiscent of 1950s science fiction which – under the right hands – can be mesmerizingly beautiful.

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Topics: Curtis Archives and Library