Recognized as one of the world's leading conservatories, Curtis Institute of Music (Curtis) educates and trains exceptionally gifted young musicians to engage a local and global community through the highest level of artistry. Curtis provides full-tuition scholarships to all of its students, ensuring that admissions are based solely on talent and artistic promise. Curtis students hone their craft through more than 200 orchestra, opera, solo, and chamber music offerings each year and programs that bring arts access and education to the community. The Center awarded Curtis a 2015 Advancement grant to design and implement a comprehensive new curriculum that provides graduates with the entrepreneurial and business skills necessary to forge effective careers within the rapidly changing classical music field. Other Center grants have supported Curtis’ productions of Leoš Janácek's The Cunning Little Vixen and Samuel Barber's Antony and Cleopatra, as well as the world premiere presentation of a new organ concerto by composer Eric Sessler. A 2019 Project grant supports a new commission with composer and artist Ari Benjamin Meyers, a collaborative project with Drexel University Westphal College that brings together artists from various creative practices for a large-scale public event.
The Curtis Institute of Music is offering a new independent study course to its students, called the Community Engagement Program, designed to aid its gifted young musicians in creating innovative approaches to classical music performance. As the classical music field becomes increasingly competitive and audiences shrink in size, Curtis' program underscores the importance of creativity and entrepreneurial skills, and aids students in forging new pathways to professional success. Each semester, a number of students are given opportunities to carry out a unique project from conception to execution. They are working closely with mentors in the field, including two-time Grammy Award-winning ensemble eighth blackbird, which has long been a leader in testing new models to present classical music. After a four-year period, Curtis expects that over half of its students will have participated in this program, and that the ideas generated will prove influential to Curtis' performances and curriculum. The institute will also survey audiences about their experiences at these performances, taking constituent feedback into account for the first time. [fn]Management grants, through the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, were awarded from 2009 through 2013.[/fn]