Curtis Institute

The main building is located in one of the best neighborhoods of Philadelphia, at Rittenhouse Square. The walls of the cozy facilities are decorated with pictures of prominent alumni and former teachers, and for nine decades, students and staff have met there every Wednesday at 3pm to have tea together. It is a small, hand-selected crowd: Only about 165 students attend Curtis Institute, which is a flagship amongst American conservatories. Celebrities like Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Hilary Hahn, and Lang Lang were molded here, and the most talented young musicians in the world compete over the few slots. Those who make it can consider themselves lucky: In a country where tuition fees may run ten thousands of dollars per year, the Curtis Institute charges none, while providing its mentees with plenty of public appearances and with contacts in the music business. Even physical fitness is part of the curriculum: Students can walk over to a nearby health club which offers exercises matching the demands of their respective instruments.

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