RRC Blog

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

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.

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Topics: Curtis Archives and Library, History

This Day in Curtis History… and Beyond!

Posted by Kristina Wilson on 3/27/20 10:41 AM

Mstislav "Slava" Rostropovich-Promotional Photo

Happy birthday to Mstislav "Slava" Rostropovich! The Russian cellist and conductor was born on March 27, 1927 in the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan. Considered one of the greatest cellists of the 20th century due to his interpretations and technique, he was also well known for both inspiring and commissioning new works, which enlarged the cello repertoire more than any cellist before or since. These collaborations led to long-standing friendships and artistic partnerships with composers including Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Berio, Penderecki, Bernstein, Khachaturian, and Britten. Rostropovich was also a staunch advocate of human rights and, in 1974, was given the Award of the International League of Human Rights.

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Topics: Curtis Archives and Library, History