|Endowment||$253.2 million (2019)|
The Curtis Institute of Music is a private conservatory in Philadelphia. It offers a performance diploma, Bachelor of Music, Master of Music in opera, and a Professional Studies Certificate in opera. All students attend on full scholarship.
The Curtis Institute of Music was founded in 1924 by Mary Louise Curtis Bok. She named the new school for her father, publishing magnate Cyrus Curtis. Early faculty at the institute included conductor Leopold Stokowski and the pianist Josef Hofmann.
The institute has not charged tuition since 1928; it provides full scholarship to all admitted students.
In 2020, following credible allegations of abuse at the hands of past faculty, the school ended its practice of keeping students enrolled "at the discretion of their major instrument teacher". In accepting the findings of an independent investigation of abuse allegations that found the practice was a "real threat" a student "could be dismissed for any reason at any time", Curtis pledged several other steps to ensure students' well-being, including providing them with access to counseling.
The institute formerly served as a training ground for orchestral musicians to fill the ranks of the Philadelphia Orchestra, although composers, organists, pianists, guitarists, and singers are offered courses of study as well.
With the exception of composers, conductors, pianists, organists, and guitarists, admission is granted only to the number of students to fill a single orchestra and opera company. Accordingly, enrollment is in the range of 150 to 175 students. According to statistics compiled by U.S. News & World Report, the institute has the lowest acceptance rate of any college or university (4 percent), making it among the most selective institutions of higher education in the United States.
Nina Simone claimed her application for a scholarship was rejected because of her race, despite excellent credentials and audition performance. Simone was one of 75 pianists to audition in 1951; only three were accepted. A short while before her death, Simone was awarded an honorary diploma by Curtis.
Penelope P. Watkins Ensemble in Residence
The Dover Quartet is the Penelope P. Watkins Ensemble in Residence at Curtis. Their faculty residency integrates teaching and mentorship, and the resident ensemble will recruit promising young string quartets to nurture a new generation of professional chamber ensembles.
Gould Rehearsal Hall
Gould Rehearsal Hall A 2,850-square-foot, acoustically designed rehearsal hall accommodates a full orchestra, with state-of-the-art video and audio capabilities.
Field Concert Hall
Field Concert Hall, a 240-seat auditorium with splendid acoustics and facilities for video- and audio-recording, is used for weekly student recitals, faculty and alumni concerts, master classes, and recording sessions. It also houses a 5-manual, 116-rank Aeolian-Skinner organ.
Rock Resource Center
The Rock Resource Center of the Curtis Institute of Music contains more than 100,000 music scores, books, and recordings for study and performance. Comprising the John de Lancie Library and the Curtis Archives, the Rock Resource Center’s mission is to: provide Curtis students, faculty, and staff with the best possible collection of printed music, books, periodicals, recordings, and electronic resources needed to fulfill the school's mission; promote the Rock Resource Center's holdings through forward thinking and open patron service; and preserve and make Curtis’s past accessible to the greater Curtis community. The Curtis Archives comprises largely unpublished materials whose value derives from its collection by, ownership of, or relation to, a Curtis-affiliated individual. Non-Curtis collections of published and unpublished materials, as well as published materials by anyone (Curtis-related or not), can be found in Special Collections. Official Curtis recordings are a part of the library collection. 
Many alumni of the Curtis Institute have gone on to distinguished careers including:
- Teddy Abrams, Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra
- James Adler, composer
- Milton Adolphus, composer, arranger, pianist
- Joseph Alessi, principal trombonist of the New York Philharmonic
- Adrian Anantawan, violinist
- Reid Anderson, bassist of The Bad Plus
- Shmuel Ashkenasi, first violinist of the Vermeer Quartet
- Jenny Oaks Baker, first violinist of the National Symphony Orchestra
- Rose Bampton, principal singer at the Metropolitan Opera during the 1930s and 1940s
- Samuel Barber, composer
- Michael Alden Bayard, percussionist and founder/owner of Rhythm Magic
- Diane Meredith Belcher, organist
- Leonard Bernstein, composer and conductor
- Jonathan Biss, pianist
- Judith Blegen, soprano
- Natalie Bodanya, opera singer
- Jorge Bolet, pianist and erstwhile Head of Piano at the Curtis Institute
- Gwendolyn Bradley, opera singer
- David Brooks, Broadway actor, stage director and producer
- Yefim Bronfman, piano
- Anshel Brusilow, violinist, conductor
- Alyson Cambridge (born 1980), operatic soprano and classical music, jazz, and American popular song singer
- Karina Canellakis, conductor
- Jenny Q. Chai, piano
- Keith Chapman, concert organist
- Ray Chen, violinist
- Cheng Wai, pianist
- Shura Cherkassky, pianist
- Pearl Chertok, harpist and composer
- Young-Chang Cho, cellist
- Jasmine Choi, flutist
- Nicolas Chumachenco, violinist
- Katherine Ciesinski, mezzo-soprano
- Layla Claire, soprano
- Tim Cobb, current principal bassist with the Metropolitan Opera
- Vinson Cole, operatic tenor
- Ken Cowan, organist, assistant professor of organ at the Westminster Choir College (Rice University)
- John Dalley, violinist, Oberlin String Quartet 1957–59, one of four founding members of Guarneri Quartet 1964–2009; faculty
- Di Wu, pianist
- John de Lancie, principal oboe of the Philadelphia Orchestra, faculty at Curtis and Director of the school 1977–85 
- Joseph de Pasquale, violist, faculty at Curtis 1964-2015 
- Stanley Drucker, principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic
- Julius Eastman, pianist, conductor, singer, composer
- Mohammed Fairouz, composer
- Juan Diego Flórez, tenor
- Lukas Foss, composer, conductor and pianist
- Bianca Garcia, flute, politician
- Frank Guarrera, baritone
- Anthony Gigliotti, clarinetist, former principal of the Philadelphia Orchestra
- Alan Gilbert, conductor, music director of the New York Philharmonic
- Max Goberman, conductor
- Richard Goode, pianist
- Valerie Muzzolini Gordon, harpist, principal of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra
- Olga Gorelli, composer and pianist
- Daron Hagen, composer, conductor, pianist, and stage director
- Hilary Hahn, violinist
- Burt Hara, clarinetist, principal of the Minnesota Orchestra
- Lynn Harrell, cello soloist
- Margaret Rosezarian Harris, conductor
- Margaret Harshaw, opera singer
- David Hayes, Music Director of The Philadelphia Singers and Director of Orchestral and Conducting Studies at Mannes College The New School for Music
- Daniel Heifetz, violinist; founder of the Heifetz International Music Institute
- Michael Hennagin, composer
- Shuler Hensley, singer and actor
- Sarah Hicks, conductor
- Jennifer Higdon, composer
- Lee Hoiby, composer
- Stanley Hollingsworth, composer
- David Horne, composer and pianist
- Michael Houstoun (born 1952), concert pianist
- Claire Huangci, pianist
- Eugene Istomin, pianist
- David N. Johnson, composer, organist and professor
- Arnold Jacobs, former tubist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and teacher of brass pedagogy (deceased)
- Paul Jacobs, organist, organ professor at the Juilliard School
- Paavo Järvi (conductor), Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra previously, Deutchekammerphilharmonie Bremen
- Leila Josefowicz, violinist
- Judy Kang, violinist
- Leonard Kastle, composer, screenwriter, and film director
- Sean Kennard, pianist
- Nina Kennedy, pianist, conductor, and filmmaker
- Chin Kim, violinist, soloist, faculty at the Mannes College of Music and Queens College, City University of New York
- Jonah Kim, cellist, conductor, composer
- Jennifer Koh, violinist
- Paul Kowert, bassist for Punch Brothers
- Lang Lang, pianist
- Mark Lawrence, principal trombonist of the San Francisco Symphony
- Theodore Lettvin, pianist
- Brenda Lewis, soprano
- Ang Li, pianist
- Cecile Licad, pianist
- Marc Lifschey, oboist
- Joan Lippincott, concert organist, former head of the organ department at the Westminster Choir College
- David Ludwig, composer
- John Mack, oboist
- Amanda Majeski, soprano Chicago Lyric Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Semperoper
- Virginia MacWatters, soprano
- Robert "Bobby" Martin, pianist, saxophonist, vocalist, most notably with Frank Zappa
- Leon McCawley, pianist
- Jeremy McCoy, current assistant principal bassist with the Metropolitan Opera
- Anthony McGill, principal clarinetist with the Metropolitan Opera
- Gian Carlo Menotti, composer, librettist, and stage director, teacher at the institute
- Frank Miller, cellist
- Anna Moffo, soprano
- Alan Morrison, organist, faculty, Curtis Institute of Music, Westminster Choir College
- Lorne Munroe, cellist, former principal of the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra
- Christina Naughton, pianist
- Michelle Naughton, pianist
- Erik Nielsen, conductor Frankfurt Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Rome Opera, Semperoper
- Nokuthula Ngwenyama, solo violist, Indiana University faculty
- Lambert Orkis, pianist, Temple University faculty
- Sean Osborn, clarinet soloist, formerly with the Metropolitan Opera
- Eric Owens, bass-baritone
- Rob Patterson, Clarinet, University of Virginia, Lyrique-en-Mer, VERGE Ensemble
- Janet Perry, soprano
- Vincent Persichetti, composer
- Eytan Pessen, accompanist and opera director.
- Richard Purvis, composer and organist, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
- André Raphel, conductor of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra
- Gianna Rolandi, soprano, director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago's Ryan Opera Center
- Ned Rorem, composer, pianist, and writer
- Aaron Rosand, violinist
- Leonard Rose, cellist and teacher at the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School
- Matthew Rose, bass vocalist
- Nino Rota, composer and film composer
- Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, violinist
- Andre-Michel Schub, pianist
- Kathryn Selby, pianist
- Peter Serkin, pianist and Director of the Curtis Institute
- Rinat Shaham, mezzo-soprano
- David Shifrin, clarinet soloist, professor at the Yale School of Music
- Benjamin Shwartz, conductor
- Jacques Singer, conductor
- Muriel Smith, mezzo-soprano
- Ignat Solzhenitsyn, former music director of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia
- Josef Špaček, violinist, concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic and renowned soloist
- Robert Spano, conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
- Leslie Spotz, pianist
- Susan Starr, pianist
- Benjamin Steinberg, violinist and conductor
- Arnold Steinhardt, violinist
- Michael Stern, music director and lead conductor of the Kansas City Symphony
- Mimi Stillman, flutist
- Laila Storch oboist, Marcel Tabuteau's biographer
- Jennifer Stumm, violist
- Kay Swift, composer
- Michael Tree (née Applebaum), violist, violinist, founding member of the Guarneri Quartet
- Henri Temianka, violinist, conductor
- Benita Valente, soprano
- Yuja Wang, pianist
- Wendy Warner, cellist
- Peter Wiley, cellist with Beaux Arts Trio and Guarneri Quartet, Curtis faculty 
- Haochen Zhang, pianist, Gold Medalist/First Prize winner of the 2009 Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
Faculty and administrators
Past directors of the institute have included:
- Josef Hofmann (1926–38) – pianist
- Randall Thompson (1938–40) – composer
- Efrem Zimbalist (1941–68) – violinist
- Rudolf Serkin (1968–76) – pianist
- John de Lancie (1977–85) – principal oboist of the Philadelphia Orchestra for many years
- Gary Graffman (1986–2006) – pianist, continues on the piano faculty
Roberto Díaz is president and director of the institute. Díaz is also a Curtis alumnus and faculty member. He was principal violist of the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1996 to 2006 and is a member of the Diaz Trio.
- As of June 30, 2019. "U.S. and Canadian 2019 NTSE Participating Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2019 Endowment Market Value, and Percentage Change in Market Value from FY18 to FY19 (Revised)". National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
- "Financial Aid". Curtis Institute of Music. Retrieved 2023-01-18.
- Anastasia Tsioulcas  Top Music School Finds Sexual Abuse Allegations From Violinist 'Credible', September 23, 2020. NPR. Retrieved on 20 March 2022.
- Michael Tanenbaum (January 29, 2016). "Curtis Institute of Music ranked most selective college in U.S." Philly Voice. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
- "Curtis Institute of Music". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
- Eric Wendell. "Simone, Nina (Eunice Kathleen Waymon)". Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians. jazz.com. Archived from the original on March 22, 2016. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
- Dobrin, Peter (August 14, 2015). "Curtis Institute and the case of Nina Simone". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
- Fiorillo, Victor (12 May 2019). "Nina Simone's Complicated Relationship With Philadelphia". Philadelphia Magazine. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
- "Eleanor Sokoloff". Curtis Institute of Music. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
- "Campus and Facilities".
- "Artistic Leadership". Curtis Institute of Music. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
- "Noted violist Joseph de Pasquale dies at 95". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
- "Michael Houstoun". Timaru District Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 February 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "Amanda Majeski". Oper Frankfurt Season 2013/2014. Oper Frankfurt. Archived from the original on November 1, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
- Chadbourne, Eugene. Robert A. Martin at AllMusic. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
- "Eytan Pessen". Opera Narodowa. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
- Wakin, Daniel J. (October 21, 2009). "A Tearful (and Lucrative) Parting of Virtuoso and Violin". The New York Times.
- "Peter Wiley, Faculty Bios by Name". The Curtis Institute of Music. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
- "Roberto Díaz, President". Curtis Institute of Music. Archived from the original on 2010-04-18. Retrieved 2013-10-30.