RRC Blog

Kristina Wilson

Recent Posts

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.

Read More

Topics: Curtis Archives and Library

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.

Read More

Topics: Curtis Archives and Library

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.

Read More

Topics: Curtis Archives and Library

Happy Birthday Efrem Zimbalist!

Posted by Kristina Wilson on 4/9/20 5:03 PM

Efrem Zimbalist, violinThe violinist, composer, conductor, and teacher was born April 9, 1889 in Rostov on Don, Russia. At the age of 12 he entered the prestigious Saint Petersburg Conservatory to study under famed pedagogue Leopold Auer. Following his graduation in 1907, the 18-year-old Zimbalist won the highly competitive Rubinstein Prize, cementing his reputation as one of the world’s great violinists.

Read More

Topics: Curtis Archives and Library

This Day in Curtis History… and Beyond!

Posted by Kristina Wilson on 4/3/20 10:08 AM

629T Curtis Library; Pollinger etching of Knapp Hall, circa 1925

On April 3, 1925, students of the Curtis Preparatory Department gave a concert in Knapp Hall (now the Rock Resource Center). The Preparatory Department, an original core element of Curtis’s educational structure, was intended for students who, though less advanced, showed an exceptional aptitude and interest in music. The goal for these preparatory students was admission to the Conservatory Department, which was analogous to the Curtis of today.

Read More

Topics: Curtis Archives and Library