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Curtis Grads Giving a Year of Service to the Philadelphia Community

The Bok Trio in a very open rehearsal at a Curtis open house. A very open rehearsal is a format that teaching artists use to let audiences into the rehearsal process. The artists use reactions from the audience to inform their interpretation of the piece.

The Franklin Project is a new, national initiative aiming to set up a year of service as a rite of passage for America’s young adults in a variety of fields. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the Curtis Institute of Music joined the initiative with the launching of the first ArtistYear Fellowship Program, a pilot program with three recent graduates who dedicate a year of service to the Greater Philadelphia community - with the goal of becoming professional artist citizens.

Curtis Director of Professional Development and Community Engagement Mary Javian says the musicians who now form the Bok Trio were hand picked for ArtistYear.

The Bok Trio, founded by ArtistYear Fellows pianist Michelle Cann, bassoonist Wade Coufal, and oboist Alexandra von der Embse, is committed to using music to serve the Philadelphia community.

Listen to Curtis' Mary Javian speak with WRTI's Susan Lewis about ArtistYear, and how it came to be.

Each of the three participants play in the Bok Trio and also have individual projects. They spoke with WRTI's Susan Lewis about why they were drawn to this program, the role of music in their lives, and how they are sharing it with others in this year of community service.  

Bassoonist Wade Coufal talks about his work with children in the hospital.

Pianist Michelle Cann talks about teaching 8th graders how to play and improvise, and mentor 1st graders on the keyboard.

Oboist Alex von Der Embse talks about teaching 4th graders to compose with non-traditional notation, and engage with art around the city.

Susan writes and produces stories about music and the arts. She’s host and producer of WRTI’s TIME IN online interview series, and contributes weekly intermission interviews for The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert series. She’s also been a regular host of WRTI’s Live from the Performance Studio sessions.