Happy 90th Birthday, Curtis Institute!

As seen in the Winter 2015 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

On October 13, 1924, Mary Louise Bok opened the wrought-iron doors of the Curtis Institute and offered talented young musicians the fulfillment of a dream, to prepare for careers as performing artists at the highest professional level. She would dedicate this brand new conservatory on Philadelphia’s prestigious Rittenhouse Square to her father, Cyrus H.K. Curtis, whose vast publishing empire included The Saturday Evening Post and Ladies Home Journal. Her friends, Leopold Stokowski, conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra and legendary pianist Josef Hofmann helped Mrs. Bok attract a highly celebrated artist faculty. Inspired by expectations, Maestro Stokowski predicted that Curtis would become "the most important musical institution in the country, perhaps in the world," according to the Curtis Archives.

Curtis’s rare tuition-free policy was established in 1928 and to this day provides merit-based full-tuition scholarships for all Curtis students, undergraduate and graduate alike. Students continue to be accepted for study at Curtis solely on the basis of their artistic talent and potential.

The Curtis Promise, celebrating the partnership with Steinway & Sons, was born to accompany this vision of excellence. The Promise assures that Curtis students will have a Steinway grand piano for use throughout their studies to help them reach their fullest artistic potential. An All-Steinway School, Curtis owns 95 Steinway grand pianos.

The 90th anniversary between Curtis and Steinway & Sons is being recognized through the celebration of its shared history. When illustrious Steinway Hall at 109 West 57th Street in New York City held its grand opening gala on October 27, 1925, Josef Hofmann was among the notable artists who performed that evening. The distinguished high society audience members included Cyrus H.K.Curtis and his managing editor, Edward Bok who joined others such as Mrs. Andrew Carnegie, George Eastman, S.R. Guggenheim, Frederick Juilliard, Mr. & Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Mr. & Mrs. Archibald Roosevelt and Mr. & Mrs. Carl Stoeckel, along with hosts Mr. & Mrs. Frederick Steinway, Theodore E. and William R. Steinway.

Some 70 years later, Steinway Hall set the stage again for another momentous performance when future Curtis alum Lang Lang would make his American debut at age 14 with the encouragement of Gary Graffman, then-president of the Curtis Institute. As alumni or faculty, more than fifty pianists associated with the Curtis Institute hold the distinction of being called Steinway Artists.

Jacobs Music Company, owned by the Rinaldi family, is Steinway’s authorized dealer in Philadelphia and has supported the Curtis Institute for more than 25 years. Gabrielle Kazze Rinaldi, Jacobs’ Executive Vice-President, serves as Secretary to the Curtis Board of Overseers and is a member of the Student Life Committee. Steinway & Sons and Jacobs Music look forward to continuing this extraordinary partnership with our lifelong friends at the Curtis Institute.


Reiko Aizawa
Stanley Babin
Marcantonio Barone
Paul Berkowitz
Jonathan Biss
Yefim Bronfman
Vivian Cheng
Shura Cherkassky
Katherine H. Chi
Lucille Y. Chung
Heather Conner
Sara N. Daneshpour
Anthony diBonaventura
Leon Fleisher
Claude Frank
Richard Goode
Stewart Goodyear
Gary Graffman
Walter Hautzig
Anthony Hewitt
Josef Hofmann
Mieczyslaw Horszowski
Chu-Fang Huang
Diedre A. Irons
Eugene Istomin
Xiang-Dong Kong
Lang Lang
Kyung Sook Lee
Theodore Lettvin
Ang Li
Jian Li
Cecile B. Licad
Seymor Lipkin
Lee Luvisi
Patricia E. Michaelian
Christina T. Naughton
Michelle C. Naughton
Lambert Orkis
Cristina Ortiz
Guher Pekinel
Suher Pekinel
Anna Polonsky
Eugene A. Pridonoff
Roman Rabinovich
Cynthia A. Raim
Rita Reichman
Nadia Sherman Reisenberg
Andre-Michel Schub
Peter A. Serkin
Rudolf Serkin
Craig D. Sheppard
Ignat A. Solzhenitsyn
Susan Starr
Tamara Stefanovich
Ju Hee Suh
Isabelle Vengerova
George T. Walker
Yuja Wang
Sylvia Zaremba

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