January 29, 2015, Philadelphia PA— On February 1, the Barnes Foundation and Curtis Institute launch a new collaboration that includes an innovative program of commissions, performances, and educational exchanges. Recognizing that these two world class institutions have complementary missions, the collaboration offers both organizations the opportunity to expand their audiences and enhance their educational offerings. The first phase of the collaboration features a three-concert series of performances by the Aizuri Quartet—named a 2015 quartet in residence at the Barnes Foundation—including premieres of commissions by Curtis student and faculty composers in response to artwork at the Barnes.
“We are proud to be working with the Curtis Institute, a world renowned institution, and their string quartet in residence, the Aizuri Quartet, whose musicianship is unparalleled,” said Peg Zminda, acting director of the Barnes. “We share an educational vision and mission with Curtis, and this collaboration allows us to advance each of our missions in extraordinary ways. In our new location on the Parkway, we have the opportunity to increase understanding of and access to our collection through innovative interpretation and programming. With this collaboration we have expanded our artists’ commissions to include not just visual art, but music, which was always part of the Foundation’s programming during Dr. Barnes’s lifetime.”
Albert Barnes had a lifelong interest in music, regularly welcoming guests into his home for informal concerts on Saturday evenings, and incorporating pairings of art and music into Sunday afternoon educational lectures in the gallery. Building upon this passion, the Barnes/Curtis collaboration features concerts by the Aizuri Quartet performing for private and public audiences and participating in presentations and educational programs at the Barnes Foundation.
The concert series begins on Sunday, February 1 at 3:30 p.m., as part of Free First Sundays at the Barnes. A performance and lecture complement the William Glackens exhibition, open through Monday, February 16. Dr. Martha Lucy discusses the friendship between Albert Barnes and William Glackens, which revolved around their shared passion for French modernism. The Aizuri Quartet follows with a concert featuring the world premiere of Parallels by Curtis composition student Alyssa Weinberg, a work inspired by the life and work of William Glackens. This is the first of three new compositions inspired by the Barnes collection and composed by students and faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music.
“The partnership reflects Curtis’s time-honored ‘learn by doing’ philosophy,” said Roberto Díaz, president and CEO of the Curtis Institute, “allowing student participants real-world experience in creating professional work and experiences to engage new audiences. One of the aims of our new string quartet in residence program, in particular, is to create opportunities like these for our ensembles to develop a unique artistic voice through strong collaborative relationships in the community. The partnership will also allow all Curtis students to take classes and pursue other educational offerings at the Barnes, augmenting the school’s holistic, contextual curricular approach to educating and training 21st-century musicians.”
The next commission in the series is related to the Barnes exhibition Mark Dion, Judy Pfaff, Fred Wilson: The Order of Things, which features three large scale installations commissioned by the Barnes Foundation, inviting three contemporary artists to respond to Barnes’s unique way of displaying his collection. The Curtis commission will also respond to Barnes’s ensembles and educational philosophy.
The third commission will relate to metalwork in the Barnes Foundation and premiere in September, 2015 during the exhibition Strength and Splendor: Wrought Iron from the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles, and Ellen Harvey: Metal Painting at the Barnes.
Tickets to the February 1 concert are free and available online in advance or at the Barnes Foundation on a first come first served basis. For tickets and more information: www.barnesfoundation.org or (215) 278-7200. Free First Sundays is generously presented by PECO.
About the Composer
Alyssa Weinberg (b. 1988) is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma at the Curtis Institute of Music where she is a student of Jennifer Higdon. Alyssa’s works have been performed by Contemporaneous, the Dover Quartet, Ensemble39, and Marcel, as well as on the New Lens Music Series, where her piece Four Stanzas was performed by the ensemble Panic Duo across the west coast. Alyssa’s music has been presented by the Live Connections series at World Café Live, performed by cellist Gabriel Cabezas and dancer Chloe Felesina. She has received commissions from FringeArts and the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, and One Book One Philadelphia. In 2012 she attended the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, France, where she studied with composers Allain Gaussin and Francois Paris, as well as master classes with Phillipe Leroux. Other festivals include the Atlantic Music Festival, New York Summer Music Festival, and a Young Composer Residency at the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival. Alyssa received her B.M. in Composition and Theory at Vanderbilt University and her M.M. in from the Manhattan School of Music. Her composition teachers include Richard Danielpour, Stan Link, David Ludwig and Michael Slayton.
About the Aizuri Quartet
The Aizuri Quartet is string quartet in residence at the Curtis Institute of Music and a quartet in residence at the Barnes Foundation. During the course of its residency at Curtis, the quartet is appearing in venues throughout Philadelphia, including Curtis’s Field Concert Hall, and World Café Live, among others. In addition to helping launch two new series in 2014–15, Curtis@Kimmel: Soundscape and this collaboration with the Barnes Foundation, the Aizuri Quartet is featured in the Curtis-Coursera online course, The World of the String Quartet; and joins with cellist Peter Wiley in Curtis On Tour performances in New York, Boston, Paris, and Dresden.
The Aizuri Quartet’s members have studied at Curtis and the Juilliard School, and have participated in the Marlboro and Caramoor festivals as well as the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute, where they were quartet in residence in 2014. They have won top prizes in the Primrose International Viola Competition and Astral Artists National Auditions; and have collaborated with renowned artists Pamela Frank, Miriam Fried, Richard Goode, Kim Kashkashian, and Mitsuko Uchida, among others. They have appeared throughout North America and Europe with a diverse range of ensembles, including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, IRIS Orchestra, A Far Cry, The Knights, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Symphony in C, Curtis On Tour, Musicians from Marlboro, Musicians from Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, and counter) induction.
About the Barnes Foundation
The Barnes Foundation (barnesfoundation.org) was established by Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.” The Barnes Foundation’s Art and Aesthetics programs engage diverse audiences. These programs, held at the Philadelphia campus, online, and in Philadelphia communities, advance the mission through progressive, experimental, and interdisciplinary teaching and learning. The Barnes holds one of the finest collections of post-impressionist and early modern paintings, with extensive works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, Amedeo Modigliani, Chaim Soutine, and Giorgio de Chirico; American masters Charles Demuth, William Glackens, Horace Pippin and Maurice Prendergast; old master paintings; important examples of African sculpture; Native American ceramics, jewelry and textiles; American paintings and decorative arts; and antiquities from the Mediterranean region and Asia.
About the Curtis Institute of Music
One of the world’s finest and most selective conservatories, the Curtis Institute of Music offers a tuition-free, performance-inspired learning culture to 175 students from all corners of the world. Nurtured by a celebrated faculty, its extraordinary young musicians graduate to join 4,000 alumni who have long made music history. From Leonard Bernstein to Alan Gilbert, Samuel Barber to Jennifer Higdon, Anna Moffo to Eric Owens, Richard Goode to Jonathan Biss, Curtis alumni personify the school’s commitment to excellence—onstage and in their communities—inventing careers with impact. Recent graduates forging 21st-century careers include violinist Adrian Anantawan, a performer and teacher dedicated to helping young people with disabilities make music; Joseph Conyers, director and founder of Project 440 and assistant principal bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra; and Jennifer Koh, a violin soloist recognized for both her dazzling virtuosity and impassioned musical curiosity, dedicated to performing repertoire of all eras, from traditional to contemporary.
A busy schedule of performances, including more than 200 a year in Philadelphia and around the world, is at the heart of Curtis’s distinctive “learn by doing” approach. Dedicated to a tradition of excellence and innovation since its founding in 1924, Curtis is looking toward its centenary in a flexible and forward-thinking way, evolving strategically to serve its time-honored mission.
For more information
The Barnes Foundation:
Jan Rothschild, Senior Vice President for Communications
Deirdre Maher, Director of Communications
Curtis Institute of Music:
Elizabeth Racheva, Vice President of External Affairs and Patron Engagement
Jennifer Kallend, Senior Director of Public Relations and Online Engagement