INTERVIEW: Curtis Alumni Gabriel Cabezas

Gabriel Cabezas

Gabriel Cabezas

Chicago-born Gabriel Cabezas isn’t afraid to call Philly a second home.

“I graduated from Curtis in 2013, so I haven’t worn out my welcome just yet,” he said. In fact, the highly in-demand cellist, who has been praised for his versatile style and sound, has a plethora of Philly engagements this season, including his upcoming concert with Sandbox Percussion for LiveConnections at World Cafe Live. He later returns for performances with yMusic at the Kimmel Center, the Dolce Suono Ensemble, and with Ben Folds at The Fillmore. We chatted with the talented musician about how Philly helped shape his craft, and what listeners can expect from his upcoming projects.

I always like to ask Curtis grads how that institution shaped them as artists.
It’s really insular. It’s a closed experience in a very positive way, which was a good because I could focus and learn music. It was a great place for me because, like most people, in college you discover new things that you didn’t know you liked. I started listening to different kinds of music and playing music that I wouldn’t have normally have looked at. Read more »

Three Curtis Grads Sign Record Deals With Warner Classics

Left: The Naughton Sisters; Right: Benjamin Beilman

Left: The Naughton Sisters; Right: Benjamin Beilman

The Curtis Institute is adding to its roster of artists who have made it big: Three twentysomething graduates from the prestigious school signed deals to record albums with Warner Classics late last month. The label is a division of Warner Bros. Records dedicated to recording and promoting classical artists across the globe.   Read more »

Sister Act: Identical Twin Pianists Christina and Michelle Naughton Return to Curtis

Christina and Michelle Naughton

Christina and Michelle Naughton

“We’re often asked how we build our own individuality. What’s funny is that the most difficult thing for twins is when the music calls us to play with the same voice. That’s the most difficult thing.”

It was a response to a question that superstar pianists Christina and Michelle Naughton must get asked…a lot. The sisters are not only both Curtis Institute graduates, but identical twins. The Princeton-born duo not only look alike, but their voices sound so extremely alike on the phone that it was hard to keep track of who was speaking. However, that’s part of the charm of this sister act: It’s clear that, outside of their similarities, they’ve built a strong understanding of music and of style.

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5 Non-Fringe Arts Events to Check Out This Month

Conrad Tao is bringing his new work featuring iPad to The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.

Conrad Tao is bringing his new work featuring iPad to The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.

Don’t get us wrong: We love the Fringe Festival (we put together two whole guides for it here and here), but September is also the kick off of many other performing arts events in the Philly region. We rounded up some of our favorite picks for shows opening this month that will surely kick your fall into high gear.

The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses

A crowd favorite, the Zelda Symphony Orchestra is returning to the Mann Center with a new installment of their concert series, simply titled “Master Quest.” They’ll be performing a four-movement symphony that incorporates tunes inspired by the video games The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, A Link to the Past, and more. Friday, September 18th, 8 pm, $40-100, Mann Center, 5201 Parkside Avenue. Read more »

Huge International Piano Festival in Princeton Features 15-Year-Old Curtis Student

Wei Luo, a 15 year-old Curtis student, is part of the Golandsky Institute Festival.

Wei Luo, a 15-year-old Curtis student, is part of the Golandsky Institute Festival.

The Golandsky Institute’s International Piano Festival kicked off Sunday in Princeton, and several musicians who are taking part in the seven-day series of concerts have Philadelphia connections.

15 year-old Wei Luo, a young piano prodigy and student at Curtis Institute, will be making her Princeton debut at the festival. One of the musician’s professors has called her “the most gifted pianist they had ever heard,” and the festival’s organizers believe she may be “the next major pianist coming from Curtis.” She’ll be performing on Thursday, July 16th at 8 pm at Princeton University’s Taplin Auditorium. Read more »

A New On-Demand Classical Musical Service, Living the Classical Life, Has Philly Connections

Isabel Leonard and Zsolt Bognár.

Isabel Leonard and Zsolt Bognár.

It’s a new streaming, free, on-demand program called Living the Classical Life, and it features world-class artists talking about their craft. What makes it quite interesting to us here at Ticket is that there are so many connections to Philadelphia in the series, and serves as a testament that the City of Brotherly Love is a mecca for classical musical fans. Read more »

Trumpeter Mary Elizabeth Bowden Releasing Debut Album, Will Perform Two Shows in Philly

Mary Bowden Header

One listen to Mary Elizabeth Bowden‘s music and it’s pretty clear that this isn’t the type of trumpet you muddled with in middle school band. The Curtis Institute of Music graduate and world-renowned artist is releasing her first album, Radiance, this April, which features the works of two local Philadelphia composers: Joseph Hallman and David Ludwig. She also will be playing two Philly concerts in early March with an all-female brass ensemble, Seraph Brass.

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Curtis Institute Honors the Lenfests


On Sunday, April 13th, at the Kimmel Center, the Curtis Institute of Music honored Curtis board chairman H. F. “Gerry” Lenfest and Curtis overseer Marguerite Lenfest for their transformational contributions to Curtis.

After eight years as board chairman, Mr. Lenfest steps down at the end of the school year in May. He has been an important contributor of knowledge and funding to the Curtis Institute, playing a pivitol role in the opening of Lenfest Hall in 2011, in addition to the completion of the faculty chair challenge which added $34 million to the endowment, and the launch of Curtis on Tour, which brought performances by Curtis students and faculty overseas.

— Curtis Honors the Lenfests »