Thursday, May 10, 2018

Sergio Mims: Curtis Names Eric Owens and Danielle Orlando to Lead the Vocal Studies Department Beginning in 2019–20

Mikael Eliasen (left), Danielle Orlando (second from left), and Eric Owens (center) with students and alumni of the Curtis Vocal Department.
Curtis Institute of Music

May 10, 2018

New Artistic Team to lead the Curtis Institute of Music Vocal Studies Department beginning in the 2019–20 Season

PHILADELPHIA—May 10, 2018—The Curtis Institute of Music announces a new artistic leadership team to guide the Curtis Vocal Studies Department and Curtis Opera Theatre. Eric Owens and Danielle Orlando will lead the department beginning in the 2019–20 season. They will build upon Mikael Eliasen’s remarkable legacy as head of the Curtis voice and opera program for over 30 years, in that time producing many celebrated performers including Mr. Owens.

“We’re fortunate to have two artists with such deep expertise and tremendous professional experience to continue Mikael’s legacy and guide the Curtis Opera Theatre into the future,” said Curtis President Roberto Díaz. “Eric comes to Curtis at the height of his career, and brings not only vast onstage experience, but also a commitment to community engagement and musical advocacy that perfectly aligns with the school’s mission to engage audiences locally and globally. Danielle has collaborated with some of the most prominent opera singers of this generation, including Luciano Pavarotti and Plácido Domingo, among others. And as our Principal Opera Coach and Mikael’s colleague since 1986, she has tremendous depth of experience and institutional knowledge.”

The 2018–19 season will be a year of transition and celebration, as Mikael Eliasen brings his distinguished tenure as Artistic Director of the Curtis Opera Theatre and the Hirsig Family Chair of Vocal Studies to a close. As planning begins for the following year, Mr. Owens and Ms. Orlando will jointly hear auditions and be responsible for artistic and educational oversight of the 2019–20 season.

A 1995 Curtis graduate, bass-baritone Eric Owens appears frequently with the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, and Houston Grand Opera, among many opera houses and orchestras. His broad performance experience spans music of all eras, from the Baroque to new works being written today, and he maintains an active concert career alongside his opera performances. He will continue to perform actively after joining the Curtis faculty and hopes to add appearances with Curtis on Tour along with opportunities to involve students in his concert work.

“Working with young people is something that is incredibly close to my heart,” said Mr. Owens, who has also mentored young singers in programs at the Glimmerglass Festival and the Washington National Opera. “I find myself so fulfilled by giving back and being able to share my knowledge and experience as a performer. Coming back to Curtis—with its amazing, nurturing environment and its illustrious and storied history—is just a dream come true.”

Mr. Owens will return to Philadelphia, where he has family roots, joining fellow Curtis faculty members Midori and Jonathan Biss in making the city his home. “I’m looking forward to being a part of the musical life of Philadelphia, and working with the voice and opera students as they share music with the community through outreach activities as well as performances,” Mr. Owens said. “It’s important to train not just great performers but advocates who have the tools to share music with others.”

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