Curtis Institute of Music Acceptance Rate and How to Get In (2024)

March 18, 2024

curtis institute of music acceptance rate

The Curtis Institute of Music, situated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is one of the world’s leading conservatories for training young musicians. Established in 1924 by Mary Louise Curtis Bok, the institute has earned a distinguished reputation for its rigorous and highly selective programs. While the Curtis Institute of Music acceptance rate is low, acceptance is not impossible by any means. So if you’re an aspiring musician with a dream, stay tuned (pun intended), because in this blog we’ll be discussing notable alumni, the Curtis acceptance rate, how to get into Curtis, as well as the Curtis Institute of Music undergraduate tuition and fees.

Curtis Institute of Music’s notable alumni

The Curtis Institute of Music has a rich history of nurturing exceptional talent, with many alumni achieving international acclaim. Notable alumni include:

  • Leonard Bernstein was a renowned composer, conductor, and pianist. He’s known for his compositions such as “West Side Story” and his influential conducting career with major orchestras worldwide. Also, you might recognize his name from the recent Academy Award-nominated Maestro (2023) starring Bradley Cooper as Bernstein himself.
  • Lang Lang is an internationally acclaimed pianist known for his virtuosic performances and interpretations of classical repertoire.
  • Samuel Barber was a celebrated composer best known for his “Adagio for Strings” and his opera “Vanessa,” which earned him a Pulitzer Prize.
  • Hilary Hahn is a Grammy Award-winning violinist recognized for her technical precision and expressive performances.

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  • Jennifer Higdon is a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer known for her symphonic and chamber music compositions.
  • Juan Diego Flórez is an acclaimed operatic tenor celebrated for his performances of bel canto repertoire.
  • Yuja Wang is a pianist known for her dynamic and fearless interpretations of classical repertoire.
  • Alan Gilbert is a conductor and music director of the New York Philharmonic, known for his innovative programming and dynamic conducting style.
  • Richard Goode is an esteemed pianist celebrated for his interpretations of Beethoven, Mozart, and Schubert, among others.

These are just a few examples of the illustrious alumni who have emerged from the Curtis Institute of Music. There are many, many more alumni who have also left their marks on the music world.

Curtis Institute of Music acceptance rate

The Curtis Institute of Music acceptance rate is only 4%. This is very low. But because the Curtis acceptance rate is so low, the student-to-faculty ratio is 4:3. Meaning, every student receives consistent, personalized attention by the renowned faculty.

Additionally, the low acceptance rate ensures that every student who’s admitted is extremely talented. So the unique student-to-faculty ratio and exceptionally talented student body creates a thriving, nourishing educational environment.

Curtis Institute of Music undergraduate tuition and fees

Now that you know the Curtis Institute of Music acceptance rate, let’s talk about the cost of attending.

Every student at Curtis receives a merit-based full-tuition scholarship. For the 2023-24 academic year, undergraduate students will receive a scholarship worth $52,781 annually, while graduate students will receive a scholarship worth $65,536 annually.

However, while students aren’t required to pay tuition,  attending isn’t free. There are still fees to pay.

Comprehensive fee

New students must pay the comprehensive fee of $3,500 upon admission, while returning students are required to pay it at registration. A late surcharge of $100 will be applied if the comprehensive fee is not paid by the registration deadline. This fee encompasses various services and resources, including Curtis textbooks, facility usage, security, internet access, IT support, wellness programs, and recording fees.

Curtis Institute of Music Tuition (Continued)

Also, please be aware that this fee does not cover textbook expenses for students studying at the University of Pennsylvania, nor does it include transportation costs incurred for attending courses at the University of Pennsylvania.


All students must maintain comprehensive health insurance coverage for twelve months. Curtis offers a tailored student health insurance plan for their benefit. For the 2024-25 academic year, the cost of this plan is $3,344 for all students.

However, students have the option to request exemption from Curtis’s insurance plan if they possess adequate coverage through a parental or private health insurance policy.

Lenfest Residence Hall and dining fees

For the academic year 2024-25, all incoming students born on or after September 1, 2002, who will have obtained a high school diploma by September 1, 2024, are mandated to reside in Lenfest Hall during their initial two years at Curtis.

But Curtis encourages all students to live in Lenfest Hall particularly because of its cost-effectiveness, safety, and convenience.

Lenfest Hall’s room and board rates for 2024-25 are as follows:

  • Single Room: $24,012 for the academic year, inclusive of a full meal plan.
  • Double Room: $21,035 for the academic year, inclusive of a full meal plan.

The meal plan cost for off-campus residents is $3,400 for the academic year and is optional.

One-Time fees and deposits

Additionally, here are the one-time fees and deposits associated with enrollment:

  1. Library Deposit: $100
  2. Instrument Deposit (excluding pianos): $100
  3. Graduation Fee: $125, payable at the start of the spring term by students anticipating graduation at its conclusion. This fee includes expenses for cap and gown rental and related costs.

Piano tuning and moving fees

Students majoring in piano, organ, harpsichord, composition, or conducting, who are provided with a Curtis piano, are required to submit a $300 security deposit. Additionally, they are responsible for covering the expenses associated with transporting the piano from Curtis to their apartment and returning it to Curtis when necessary. The moving costs are determined by factors such as the distance between the apartment and Curtis as well as the complexity of moving the piano into the apartment. Typically, these expenses range from $150 to $500 for each trip.

Curtis covers the cost of the initial piano tuning, but students are responsible for any additional tuning and repair expenses incurred thereafter.


Partial refunds for early withdrawal are subject to different policies based on the specific fees incurred:

  1. Comprehensive Fee: Upon the commencement of each term, 50% of the fee is charged, with no refunds granted once the term officially begins.
  2. Health Services Fee: Refunds are not available after the 60% mark of the academic year.
  3. Health Care Insurance: Refund eligibility is determined by the third-party insurance provider.
  4. Lenfest Hall Residential and Dining Fees: If withdrawal occurs after the 80% mark of the term, no refunds will be issued for residential and dining fees.

Please note that all refund calculations are based on weeks of enrollment, with one day of enrollment counted as a week earned.

While the Curtis Institute of Music undergraduate tuition and fees don’t actually include tuition, students should still consider the affordability of Curtis’s fees.

How to get in despite the Curtis Institute of Music acceptance rate

As you now know, the Curtis Institute of Music acceptance rate is only 4%. So to increase your chances of gaining admission to the Curtis Institute of Music, consider the following strategies:

Excel musically

Develop your musical skills to the highest level possible. Practice consistently. Work with experienced instructors. And participate in competitions, performances, as well as masterclasses to showcase your talent and dedication. Also, consider pre-college programs or specialized high school programs.

Prepare thoroughly for auditions

Familiarize yourself with Curtis’s audition requirements and prepare your repertoire meticulously. Choose pieces that demonstrate your technical proficiency, musicality, and versatility. Then practice performing in front of others to build confidence for the audition.

Diversify your repertoire

Showcase your versatility by selecting repertoire from various musical styles and periods. Additionally, demonstrate proficiency in different genres, techniques, and musical languages to highlight your adaptability as a musician.

Prioritize musical expression

Focus on conveying emotion and musical expression in your performances. Pay attention to phrasing, dynamics, articulation, and interpretation to bring your pieces to life and captivate the audition panel.

Curtis Institute of Music Acceptance Rate (Continued)

Maintain academic excellence

While Curtis primarily evaluates applicants based on musical ability, academic achievement is also considered. Maintain strong grades in relevant subjects and strive for excellence in all areas of your education.

Seek performance opportunities

Gain performance experience by participating in recitals, concerts, and competitions. Seek out opportunities to collaborate with other musicians and perform in diverse settings to broaden your experience and repertoire.

Cultivate strong letters of recommendation

Build positive relationships with your music teachers, mentors, and other professionals who can provide strong letters of recommendation highlighting your musical talent, work ethic, and potential for success at Curtis.

Demonstrate passion and commitment

Articulate your passion for music and your dedication to pursuing a career as a musician in your application materials, essays, and interviews. Show how you have overcome challenges and persevered in your musical journey.

Attend Curtis events

Attend concerts, masterclasses, and other events at Curtis to familiarize yourself with the institution, its faculty, and its culture. Engage with current students and faculty members to gain insights and demonstrate your interest in Curtis.

Prepare for interviews

If required, prepare for interviews. Research Curtis. Reflect on your musical goals and aspirations. Then practice articulating your thoughts and experiences concisely and persuasively.

Because the Curtis acceptance rate is so low, competition for admission is fierce. But by following these steps, you can enhance your chances of being accepted. So if this is your goal, try not to think too much about the Curtis Institute of Music acceptance rate. And instead, focus on your love of music and hone your craft.

And remember, Curtis is only one option. You have plenty of other fantastic music programs to pursue as well.

Final thoughts – Curtis Institute of Music Acceptance Rate

Although the Curtis Institute of Music acceptance rate remains low–-prioritizing excellence and selectivity—prospective musicians can improve their prospects by refining their skills, highlighting their distinct musical identity, and achieving academic excellence. And now that you understand the reality of the Curtis acceptance rate, as well as the nuances of the Curtis Institute of Music undergraduate tuition and fees, you’re more equipped than ever to reach your goals. So raise your bow (the musical kind, get it?) and get ready to fight the odds.

Click here for the Juilliard Acceptance Rate and other relevant articles.