Curtis On Tour
The Nina von Maltzahn Global Touring Initiative of the
Curtis Institute of Music
The Curtis Institute of Music educates and trains exceptionally talented young musicians to enter the local and global community at the highest artistic level. For nearly a century, Curtis has provided each member of its small student body with absolutely exceptional quality instruction alongside their peers, distinguished by a philosophy of "learning by doing" and the personal attention of a faculty that includes a high proportion of active performers. To ensure that admission is based solely on artistic talent and ability, Curtis invests in each accepted student so that no tuition is charged for their studies.
Curtis students hone their skills in more than 200 artistic performances annually as soloists and participants in orchestras, opera and chamber music, and in programmes that provide community access to the arts and arts education. This real-world training enables our extraordinary young musicians to join the front line of performers, composers, conductors and musical leaders who make a profound impact on music, both on stage and in their communities. For more information, visit Curtis.edu.
ABOUT CURTIS ON TOUR
Curtis on Tour is the Nina von Maltzahn global touring initiative of the Curtis Institute of Music. Based on the school's guiding philosophy of "learning by doing", the tours feature extraordinary emerging musicians alongside celebrated alumni and faculty. In addition to performing concerts, during the tour the musicians conduct master classes, educational programmes and community outreach activities. Curtis on Tour also represents Curtis artists in solo engagements with professional presenters and orchestras. Since the programme was established in 2008, Curtis on Tour ensembles have performed over 375 concerts in more than 100 cities in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Bella Hristova, violin
Internationally acclaimed violinist Bella Hristova is known for her passionate and powerful performances, beautiful sound, and compelling command of her instrument. Her numerous prizes include a 2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant, first prize in the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and first prize in the Michael Hill International Violin Competition. She has performed extensively as a soloist with orchestras including the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the New York String Orchestra, and the Kansas City and Milwaukee symphonies. She has performed recitals at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; and regularly appears with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. In 2017 she and renowned pianist Michael Houstoun toured New Zealand performing and recording the complete Beethoven Sonatas for Piano and Violin.
Ms. Hristova’s recording on Tonegold Records, Bella Unaccompanied, features works by John Corigliano, Kevin Puts, Astor Piazzolla, Nathan Milstein, and J.S. Bach. A committed proponent of new music, she has commissioned and premiered works for unaccompanied violin from composers Joan Tower and Nokuthula Ngwenyama, both of which she continues to perform in recitals throughout the United States and abroad. She further collaborated with her husband, composer David Serkin Ludwig, on a violin concerto written for her through a consortium of eight major North American orchestras.
Ms. Hristova began violin studies at the age of six in her native Bulgaria. She studied with Ida Kavafian at the Curtis Institute of Music, and received her Artist Diploma with Jaime Laredo at Indiana University. Ms. Hristova lives in Philadelphia with her husband and their four cats. She performs on a 1655 Nicolò Amati violin.
Roberto Díaz, viola
A violist of international reputation, Roberto Díaz is president and CEO of the Curtis Institute of Music, following in the footsteps of renowned soloist/directors such as Josef Hofmann, Efrem Zimbalist, and Rudolf Serkin.
As a soloist, Mr. Díaz collaborates with leading conductors of our time on stages throughout the world. He has also worked directly with important 20th- and 21st-century composers, including Krzysztof Penderecki—whose viola concerto he has performed numerous times with the composer on the podium and whose double concerto he premiered in the United States—as well as Edison Denisov, Jennifer Higdon, Ricardo Lorenz, and Roberto Sierra. His recording of Jennifer Higdon's Viola Concerto won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition in 2018.
A frequent recitalist, Mr. Díaz enjoys collaborating with young musicians, bringing a fresh approach to the repertoire and providing invaluable opportunities to artists at the beginning of their careers. In addition to performing with major string quartets and pianists in chamber music series and festivals worldwide, he is a member of the Díaz Trio. His recordings include a Grammy-nominated disc of viola transcriptions by William Primrose for Naxos, as well as releases on the Artek, Bridge Records, Dorian, Nimbus, and New World labels.
In addition to his decade-long tenure as principal viola of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Mr. Díaz was also principal viola of the National Symphony under Mstislav Rostropovich, and was a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra. He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music, where he continues to serve on the faculty, holding the James and Betty Matarese Chair in Viola Studies and the Nina von Maltzahn President's Chair. Mr. Díaz plays the ex-Primrose Amati viola.
Gabriel Cabezas, cello
Cellist Gabriel Cabezas is a precise and passionate performer who is fast becoming one of his generation’s most sought-after soloists and collaborators. Mr. Cabezas imbues the existing cello repertoire with the vivacity of newly written works and performs world premieres with gravitas and command. His career spans solo appearances, chamber music, work with bands and songwriters, and curation.
Mr. Cabezas has appeared with America’s finest symphony orchestras, including those of Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, and Los Angeles; and has premiered dozens of new works by some of the most brilliant composers of his time. He is a member of the chamber sextet yMusic, "six contemporary classical polymaths who playfully overstep the boundaries of musical genres” (The New Yorker). Their virtuosic execution and unique configuration (string trio, flute, clarinet, and trumpet) has attracted the attention of high-profile collaborators—from Paul Simon to Bill T. Jones to Ben Folds—and inspired original works by some of today’s foremost composers, including Nico Muhly, Missy Mazzoli, and Andrew Norman. He is also a co-founder of Duende, a new music and contemporary dance collective that focuses on the interaction between musicians and dancers in the realization of new scores.
Mr. Cabezas’s first full-length album, a recording of Benjamin Britten’s Cello Suites, was released on PEOPLE, a collaborative streaming platform. He is currently working on an album of cello music by Gabriella Smith, to be released on the Icelandic record label Bedroom Community. In 2016 Mr. Cabezas received the Sphinx Medal of Excellence, a career grant awarded to emerging classical artists of color, who, early in their professional career, demonstrate artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination, and ongoing commitment to leadership. Mr. Cabezas studied at the Curtis Institute of Music under Carter Brey.
Mimi Stillman, flute
Flutist Mimi Stillman is internationally acclaimed as a soloist, chamber musician, and recording artist; and is renowned for her virtuosity, insightful interpretation, and innovative programming. “Stillman is not only a consummate and charismatic performer, but also a scholar whose programs tend to activate ear, heart, and brain” (New York Times). She has appeared with orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Yucatán, and Bach Collegium Stuttgart; at venues including Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center; and with such organizations as the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, National Sawdust, La Jolla Chamber Music Society, and the Verbier Festival.
Ms. Stillman is the founding artistic director of Dolce Suono Ensemble, which performs styles from Baroque to new music and Latin genres and has presented 55 world premieres in 16 seasons. A Spanish-speaker, she created the popular Música en tus Manos project to engage the Latino community in chamber music.
At age 12, Ms. Stillman was the youngest wind player ever admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Julius Baker and Jeffrey Khaner, and earned her bachelor’s degree. She holds a master’s degree in history from the University of Pennsylvania, and is a published author on music and history, including her award-winning arrangements Nuits d’Etoiles: 8 Early Songs. She is highly regarded for expanding the repertoire through her commissions and arrangements, and can be heard on several critically-acclaimed recordings.
A Yamaha Performing Artist and Clinician, Ms. Stillman has taught masterclasses and had residencies at the universities of Florida, Texas, California, Virginia, Indiana, and New York; the conservatories of Milan and Puerto Rico; the Eastman School of Music; École normale de Musique de Paris; and the National Flute Association. She connects with a worldwide audience through her “Tea with Mimi” livestreams and is passionate about reaching out to underserved populations globally through online sessions and instructional videos.
Ms. Stillman is on the faculty of Temple University and teaches as part of the Curtis Institute of Music’s summer and online learning programs.
Michelle Cann, piano
Pianist Michelle Cann made her orchestral debut at age fourteen and has since performed as a soloist with numerous ensembles including The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Florida Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony, and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
A champion of the music of Florence Price, Ms. Cann performed the New York City premiere of the composer’s Concerto in One Movement with The Dream Unfinished Orchestra in July 2016 and the Philadelphia premiere with The Philadelphia Orchestra in February 2021, which the Philadelphia Inquirer called “exquisite.” She has also performed Price’s works for solo piano and chamber ensemble for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Detroit, and the New World Symphony, among other presenters.
Ms. Cann regularly appears in solo and chamber recitals throughout the U.S., China, and South Korea. Notable venues include the National Centre for the Performing Arts (Beijing), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.), Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), and the Barbican (London).
Ms. Cann has appeared as cohost and collaborative pianist with NPR’s From The Top and has been featured on WRTI-FM and WHYY-TV in Philadelphia. Her summer festival appearances have included the Taos Chamber Music Festival, Yellow Barn, Perlman Music Program, Music Academy of the West, Geneva Music Festival, and Pianofest in the Hamptons, where she serves as artist in residence.
An award winner at top international competitions, in 2019 she served as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s MAC Music Innovator in recognition of her role as an African American classical musician who embodies artistry, innovation, and a commitment to education and community engagement.
Ms. Cann studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music, where she holds the inaugural Eleanor Sokoloff Chair in Piano Studies.