RRC Blog

Alumni Spotlight: Anna Moffo

Posted by Kristina Wilson on 2/1/22 11:27 AM

ph2_moffo.anna.05 Curtis alumna Anna Moffo (Voice ’54) was one of the finest lyric-coloratura sopranos of her generation, performing coveted roles in famed opera houses around the world.

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Topics: Curtis Archives and Library

The Piano Legacy at Curtis

Posted by Kristina Wilson on 10/16/21 11:38 AM

ph2_hofmann.josef.15The piano department at the Curtis Institute of Music is its oldest department, and one of its most distinguished. When Mary Louise Curtis Bok began planning a new music conservatory in Philadelphia, she turned to one of her oldest and dearest friends, renowned pianist Josef Hofmann, for assistance. Although Hofmann offered guidance on all facets of the new school, his immediate priority was to take advantage of that rarest of opportunities: unlimited freedom to curate a piano faculty worthy not only of Mrs. Bok’s vision, but his own specific beliefs about what a representative, world-class piano department should be.

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Topics: Curtis Archives and Library

You don't play jazz? -George Walker makes his own path

Posted by Claire Thai, student archives assistant on 9/27/21 1:45 PM

ph2_walker.george.02retouchedAs a young musician, Pulitzer Prize winning composer George Walker was dead-set on becoming a concert pianist. He had found his love for the piano at age 5 and by the time he was 15, was given a scholarship to the Oberlin Conservatory. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree at 18, he began his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music with legendary pianist Rudolf Serkin. But Walker often disagreed with Serkin’s approach:

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Topics: Curtis Archives and Library, History, Alumni

Edna Phillips cracks the glass ceiling at the Philadelphia Orchestra

Posted by Claire Thai, student archives assistant on 8/18/21 3:49 PM

ph2_phillips.ednaEdna Phillips had only been playing the harp for five years when her teacher, Carlos Salzedo, decided it was to be her who would take the audition for the second harp position in the Philadelphia Orchestra. Reluctant, as she was neither the most experienced nor advanced harpist in his studio, she eventually agreed and began preparation. The audition took place at Salzedo’s apartment in January of 1930 in secret— not only because the second harpist was not to know he was being replaced until the end of the season, but because she was a woman granted the rare opportunity of breaking into an all-male ensemble. She began her audition with Debussy’s Danses Sacree et Profane for an emotionless Leopold Stokowski, who only gave her a simple nod at the conclusion of each piece. After only hearing two of her four prepared works, he got up, thanked Edna for her performance, and left the apartment.

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Topics: Curtis Archives and Library

David Arben (Chaim Arbeitman)- Life is my specialty

Posted by Claire Thai, student archives assistant on 7/1/21 4:44 PM

ph1_00522.15.arbeitman.heimThrough the loss of his family at the hands of Nazi Germany and his own imprisonment in various concentration camps, violinist David Arben (born Chaim Arbeitman) remained incredibly resilient and grateful for his chance at life after the war. In an interview with his biographers, he summarized his outlook on life—“Life is my specialty. I am in love with life. It is fantastic. Freedom to breathe, freedom to talk, freedom to stand up, freedom to walk, freedom to move. I cherish this kind of freedom because I know the opposite.”

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Topics: Curtis Archives and Library, History