RRC Blog

Conducting at Curtis

Posted by Kristina Wilson on 12/3/20 9:00 AM

The Curtis Symphony Orchestra serves to train a new generation of musicians. But what of the conductors who lead it?

The conductors who have led the Curtis Symphony Orchestra (CSO) - beginning with Leopold Stokowski in 1924 - have each left their unique stamp, culminating in the truly unique musical ensemble the CSO is today.

The early years (1924-1931)

The Curtis orchestra met for the first time on November 14, 1924 in the Comm

on Room. Just six years later it had performed in the Academy of Music and Carnegie Hall, broadcast concerts on radio, and played for Curtis’s first opera production, Eugene d’Albert’s Tiefland.

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The school’s early success was due in large part to the close friendship between its founder, Mary Louise Curtis Bok, and Leopold Stokowski, music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Stokowski saw Curtis as the perfect springboard for musicians to enter the Philadelphia Orchestra, taking charge of the orchestra himself to fully achieve his vision. Furthermore, all instrumental faculty were members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and thus known to Stokowski. According to the Curtis Catalogue in 1926, “... the students of The Curtis Institute of Music receive the training which has made the Philadelphia Orchestra the foremost in the World."

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Topics: History

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).

Today Field Concert Hall remains an inspiration, both for the artists who make music on its stage and for the more than 20,000 people who annually attend performances. Read on to learn more about the evolution of this remarkable performance space.

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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

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

Curtis Community Day 2020 Resources

Posted by Pete Williams on 10/5/20 12:26 PM

Curtis recently celebrated its first Community Day on September 29, a student activities day organized by staff and faculty to celebrate the diversity and history of the Curtis community.

The day centered around the themes of community, identity, and celebration and included talks about the founding of Curtis, a tribute to Curtis stalwart Eleanor Sokoloff, and alumni remembrances of Curtis past. Current students participated in small-group breakout sessions to process their connections to these themes and remembrances in light of their experiences of Curtis in the present. In between these two large-group video conference meetings, students had time to explore the themes on their own using resources provided on a library guide (https://libguides.curtis.edu/communityday). 

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Topics: Curtis Archives and Library, Community, Inclusivity, Students, Technology

The Internet Archive: a wealth of digital history

Posted by Barbara Benedett on 9/28/20 1:28 PM

Internet Archive at archive.orgSince it’s creation in 1996, The Internet Archive (IA) at archive.org has been, well...archiving the internet. It might sound like an impossible feat: collecting data from billions of websites, preserving their information, design, and sometimes functionality. However, this is exactly what has been accomplished. The Internet Archive stores roughly 330 billion webpages as well as digital collections of books, audio, video, images, games, and software programs.  One personal favorite is the Software Library’s collection of playable 80s-90s video games, such as the Oregon Trail*, PacMan, and Donkey Kong.

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Topics: Curtis Archives and Library, Technology