The exterior of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

In Tuesday’s (5/4) New York Times, photographer James Estrin and journalist Joshua Barone  report on five Curtis Institute of Music students they followed during 2023-24. “At Curtis, an extremely selective, tuition-free school … roughly 150 students come from around the world to study with almost monastic focus. Even among conservatories, it is exceptional, with a wide age range—from preadolescence to post-baccalaureate adulthood—and a personalized approach, of schedules and repertoire, for musicians who live almost entirely for their art. ‘We know what it feels like to have to go to bed early on a Saturday night because you have to wake up Sunday morning for a lesson,’ said Dillon Scott, a viola student … Some of the students are already professionals who perform outside school, as well as on the campus of Curtis, which maintains a full orchestra, an opera program and chamber music groups. Many of the musicians form friendships that lead to collaborations that endure throughout their careers. The list of alumni reads like a musical hall of fame, with titans like Leonard Bernstein and current stars like Lang Lang and Hilary Hahn.” The other students in the article are flutist Julin Cheung, pianist Delfin Demiray, soprano Juliette Tacchino, and conductor and singer Micah Gleason.