Philadelphia Music Makers

Charles Abramovic Keeps Surprising

Apr 22, 2015

His own piano teacher told him he wouldn’t get into Curtis, but that he ought to audition anyway, for the experience. So, two weeks after traveling from Pittsburgh with his mother to play for Rudolf Serkin and Eleanor Sokoloff, Charles Abramovic received a letter from the Curtis Institute of Music. He was accepted.

Three Moments of Magic for David Kim

Apr 13, 2015
Ryan Donnell

“You fool,” David Kim said to himself. He looked out the window at the moon. He and his wife had just seen the movie Jerry Maguire, with Tom Cruise as the sports agent trying to make the A-level. David Kim had spent his entire life trying to make the A-level. And it wasn’t happening.

All Work and All Play: Aizuri Quartet

Apr 12, 2015

The Guarneri Quartet looks down at them from a frame hanging on the wall. There’s that and an espresso machine in the practice room of the Aizuri Quartet, the String Quartet-in-Residence at the Curtis Institute of Music. The Guarneri once taught there, but the women of Aizuri laughingly confess that sometimes they’re not sure which item in the room—the picture or the coffee-maker—is more important.

Candace diCarlo

The door closed behind Jennifer Higdon. She was in the office of her college conducting professor, Robert Spano, seeking advice about what to do. She had just heard back from the Curtis Institute of Music - they had accepted her application for graduate studies, but so had other music schools. She needed guidance.  "I'm not letting you out of here," Spano said, until she agreed to accept the spot from Curtis.

Composer Jennifer Higdon Tells Her Story: Part 1

Mar 22, 2015
Candace diCarlo

“Kind of incredible, isn’t it?” says Jennifer Higdon. She has won a Pulitzer and a Grammy, her orchestral work blue cathedral has been performed more than 500 times, she is professor of composition at the Curtis Institute of Music, and is one of the world’s most-performed living classical composers. But when she arrived at college, she hadn’t heard of Igor Stravinsky. “I knew nothing,” she said.

When Alita Moses stepped onto the stage for the finals of the 2014 Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition in Switzerland last July, she had come a long way from West Hartford, Connecticut, and a long way from Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, where she is a senior jazz vocal major.

Warren Oree's Lifelong Arpeggio

Feb 10, 2015

Growing up, Warren "Butch" Oree never had dreamed of becoming a musician. Though jazz was a constant presence in both his home life and social activities, the thought of actually getting on stage didn't cross his mind until he wandered into a music shop in his mid-twenties.

Upon learning that Oree had a long-standing interest in the upright bass that he had never pursued, the shop keeper, James Mitchell, accused him of cowardice - one thing that Oree, who was then a respected gang member, deeply resented.

The Musical Heart of Michelle Cann

Feb 3, 2015

Pianist Michelle Cann's musical evolution started early.

Her father, the music teacher at the local parochial elementary school, made sure that she had ample access to experiment from a young age.

At seven years old, Cann began piano lessons in earnest, hoping to become as successful with the instrument as her older sister, who had been taking lessons for years.

The Musical Growth of Patrick Williams

Jan 12, 2015

Flutist Patrick Williams’ love of music started young. Classical music was omnipresent in his childhood home, with his parents encouraging him to pursue it as a career and way of life. Williams learned how to play the piano at age five, and picked up the flute and violin a couple years later. The other instrument fell to the side when Williams decided to focus all of his talent and efforts on the flute.  It worked out well. His first public performance was at the 1998 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Japan.

Daniel T. Peterson: Aspiring and Inspiring

Dec 18, 2014

Daniel T. Peterson’s passion for music began early, but it took a long and winding path before it manifested as his career.

As a young child, Peterson exhibited some talent - singing shyly from the backseat of the car, but mostly engaged with music as a fan. His father’s extensive record collection captivated him, and Peterson spent much of his young life digging through a veritable treasure trove of albums where he was exposed to everything from Miles Davis to Jimi Hendrix.

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