The Curtis Institute of Music has built a roomy new stage, and it is accessible to nearly anyone who can type
Performances by Curtis students, faculty, and alumni are being loaded onto the site, making available - free - videos of ebullient Mendelssohn string quintets, contemplative Piazzolla guitar works, popular Rossini arias, and other pieces.
Eventually, the site will offer dozens of recorded performances taking place at the school and in Verizon Hall, as well as selected live streaming.
The effort is consistent with increasing the elite school's footprint beyond the 165 or so students enrolled each year. Recently, Curtis has added summer programs, online courses, Internet master classes, and increased touring. The strategy is partly geared toward image enhancement as Curtis broadens its fan and donor base nationally and internationally.
But the new Curtis Performs website also offers a significant resource to students: Composers can link promotional materials to archived performances of their works, and performers can promote nascent careers to listeners, agents, and presenters.
"It's an opportunity to share Curtis with people who will never apply or get into the school," said Elizabeth Warshawer, executive vice president and chief operating officer. "It opens our doors and shares our performances way more broadly. We have a 200-seat recital hall and a lot going on in it. It also enables our students an opportunity to see how they look and sound when they are performing, so I think it cuts across a lot of levels."
Although registration is not required, those who do sign in can weigh in. Users can curate personalized playlists and, although there's no chance to applaud as in other venues, listeners can do so virtually - by clicking on an "applaud" icon.