Renowned Philadelphia conservatoire The Curtis Institute of Music has announced the launch of Curtis Studio, its own recording label dedicated 'to the discovery of new and traditional works performed by inspiring artists of our time'. Releases will feature performances by alumni, faculty, and students, and will be available on all major streaming platforms. Several releases will also feature music videos.
Curtis Studio kicks off with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Finnish Maestro Osmo Vänskä, performing Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade (release date: December 6, 2022). The performance was recorded as part of Curtis’s new performance installation Immersive Scheherazade, which invited audiences to sit alongside live musicians performing the work while surrounded by 30-feet high projections of the orchestra.
'Scheherazade demands musical virtuosity and highlights the magnificent artistry of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra,' says Vince Ford, executive producer of Curtis Studio. 'These musicians represent a very bright future for classical music. We are thrilled to share their performances through Curtis Studio.'
President and CEO of the Curtis Institute of Music Roberto Díaz says, 'The three pillars of Curtis—teaching, touring, and technology—will each be propelled by this groundbreaking initiative. Curtis Studio presents an opportunity to share our rigorous standard of musicianship in an accessible way. This monumental initiative furthers our digital presence while teaching the recording process as a fundamental component of a musician’s career.'
The Curtis Institute regularly commissions established and emerging voices to create new music and explore new ideas. Recent commissions have included works from Bright Sheng, Jennifer Higdon, Richard Danielpour, Gabriella Smith and David Serkin Ludwig. Future releases on Curtis Studio will include a solo piano recording with pianist Michelle Cann, featuring works by Florence Price and Margaret Bonds. The Studio also has plans to present several commissions, a recording premiere by Trio Zimbalist, and recordings of the Dover Quartet and other Curtis ensembles.
More broadly, the Curtis Institute is known for its 'learn by doing' philosophy and a faculty that includes a high proportion of actively performing musicians. It also bases admissions solely on artistic promise, meaning that no student is turned away due to financial need. Each season, leading opera houses and chamber music series around the world feature Curtis alumni, and the latter also hold principal chairs in every major American orchestra.
Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.