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(Philadelphia, USA)

The Curtis Institute of Music was originally established in 1924 by Mary Louise Curtis Bock, to some extent as a training ground for orchestral players to fill the ranks of the Philadelphia Orchestra, although pianists, singers, organists and composers were offered courses of study from its opening that year.

The Curtis Institute of Music opened on October 13, 1924, with Johann Grolle as its first director. The faculty, providing instruction for 203 students, includes Leopold Stokowski and Josef Hofmann heading conducting and piano departments, respectively; Polishborn coloratura Marcella Sembrich; Hungarian violinist Carl Flesch; French-born harpist/composer Carlos Salzedo; and Italian composer Rosario Scalero.

Past directors of Curtis have included pianist Josef Hofmann, composer Randall Thompson, violinist Efrem Zimbalist, pianist Rudolf Serkin, and the current President/Director, Gary Graffman. His successor is Roberto Diaz, principal violist of the Philadelphia Orchestra and member of the Diaz Trio, an alumnus and faculty member.

Many of its alumni have gone on to distinguished careers. Among the many graduates are Harold Bennett (d. 1985), principal flutist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; pianist Richard Goode, violinist Hilary Hahn, conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, soprano Benita Valente, soprano Anna Moffo, as well as pianist extraordinaire Lang Lang.