The 5th Annual Philadelphia Young Pianists’ Academy is coming to the Curtis Institute of Music next week!


We enjoyed a wonderful pre-festival concert last night at the Jacobs Music Steinway Selection Center in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Young Pianists’ Academy artistic director and pianist Ching-Yun Hu performed alongside PYPA young artists Chunyi Wang, Huiping Cai, Sirapat Jittapirom and Chris Jisuk in a wonderful program of two, four and eight hands for an appreciative and delighted audience.


The talent and musicianship was outstanding! This is just a taste of what is to come during the PYPA 5th Annual Piano Festival taking place at the Curtis Institute of Music from August 8-15. We hope to see many of you there!

An interesting article exploring the origins of music that we thought we would share…

The story of music is the story of humans



How did music begin? Did our early ancestors first start by beating things together to create rhythm, or use their voices to sing? What types of instruments did they use? Has music always been important in human society, and if so, why? These are some of the questions explored in a recent Hypothesis and Theory article published in Frontiers in Sociology. The answers reveal that the story of music is, in many ways, the story of humans.

So, what is music? This is difficult to answer, as everyone has their own idea. “Sound that conveys emotion”, is what Jeremy Montagu, of the University of Oxford and author of the article, describes as his. A mother humming or crooning to calm her baby would probably count as music, using this definition, and this simple music probably predated speech.

But where do we draw the line between music and speech? You might think that rhythm, pattern and controlling pitch are important in music, but these things can also apply when someone recites a sonnet or speaks with heightened emotion. Montagu concludes that “each of us in our own way can say ‘Yes, this is music’, and ‘No, that is speech’.”

So, when did our ancestors begin making music? If we take singing, then controlling pitch is important. Scientists have studied the fossilized skulls and jaws of early apes, to see if they were able to vocalize and control pitch. About a million years ago, the common ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans had the vocal anatomy to “sing” like us, but it’s impossible to know if they did.

Another important component of music is rhythm. Our early ancestors may have created rhythmic music by clapping their hands. This may be linked to the earliest musical instruments, when somebody realized that smacking stones or sticks together doesn’t hurt your hands as much. Many of these instruments are likely to have been made from soft materials like wood or reeds, and so haven’t survived. What have survived are bone pipes. Some of the earliest ever found are made from swan and vulture wing bones and are between 39,000 and 43,000 years old. Other ancient instruments have been found in surprising places. For example, there is evidence that people struck stalactites or “rock gongs” in caves dating from 12,000 years ago, with the caves themselves acting as resonators for the sound.

So, we know that music is old, and may have been with us from when humans first evolved. But why did it arise and why has it persisted? There are many possible functions for music. One is dancing. It is unknown if the first dancers created a musical accompaniment, or if music led to people moving rhythmically. Another obvious reason for music is entertainment, which can be personal or communal. Music can also be used for communication, often over large distances, using instruments such as drums or horns. Yet another reason for music is ritual, and virtually every religion uses music.

However, the major reason that music arose and persists may be that it brings people together. “Music leads to bonding, such as bonding between mother and child or bonding between groups,” explains Montagu. “Music keeps workers happy when doing repetitive and otherwise boring work, and helps everyone to move together, increasing the force of their work. Dancing or singing together before a hunt or warfare binds participants into a cohesive group”. He concludes: “It has even been suggested that music, in causing such bonding, created not only the family but society itself, bringing individuals together who might otherwise have led solitary lives.”

The 2017 Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association Conference at Lebanon Valley College

Steinway Artists Lydia Artymiw, who was Guest Artist at the 2017 PMTA Conference, and Dr. Eric Fung, Associate Professor of Music at Lebanon Valley College

Jacobs Music is proud to support the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association and all of the wonderful work they do on behalf of music and young musicians. The images shown here are from the 2017 PMTA Conference, which took place in June at Lebanon Valley College. Included are Steinway Artists Lydia Artymiw, who was Guest Artist at the Conference, and Dr. Eric Fung, Associate Professor of Music at Lebanon Valley College. Congratulations to the membership and the leadership of the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association for another great conference and thank you Lebanon Valley College for hosting this outstanding organization!

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On July 1st, KIDS ON KEYS made its debut on WWFM – The Classical Network! The new monthly program is hosted by Steinway Artist Jed Distler and sponsored by Jacobs Music.

WWFM Kids on Keys host Jed Distler
WWFM Kids on Keys host Jed Distler


If you missed the inaugural broadcast of KIDS ON KEYS, which debuted on WWFM – The Classical Network on July 1, we invite you to click below and enjoy the webcast of this wonderful new program, proudly sponsored by Jacobs Music Company.

This monthly broadcast series spotlighting some of the best young piano talent in The Classical Network’s immediate broadcast region of Central and Southern New Jersey is hosted by pianist, composer, critic and author Jed Distler, The Classical Network’s Artist-in-Residence. The program will air on the first Saturday of each month at 1 pm. Each Kids on Keys program will feature performances given by young artists in recital at the Lawrenceville location of Jacobs Music Company and other regional venues.




Congratulations to Grand Prize Winner LiYuan Byrne and to all the award winners and participants in the competition!

Congratulations to Music Teacher Dimitri Kauriga on receiving the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra’s 2017 Ovation Award and to all of the outstanding music teacher finalists.

Pictured: H.E.L.P. Foundation's Mary Beth Christian, Dimitri Kauriga and WRTI 90.1's Jack Moore, with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra in the background. Photo by Bachrach Photography.
Pictured: H.E.L.P. Foundation’s Mary Beth Christian, Dimitri Kauriga and WRTI 90.1’s Jack Moore, with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra in the background. Photo by Bachrach Photography.

It means a great deal to all of us at Jacobs Music to join with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, H.E.L.P Foundation and J.W. Pepper in support of excellence in music education. We are very pleased to share the following article from Broadway World. 

Music Teacher Dimitri Kauriga Receives Philadelphia Youth Orchestra’s 2017 Ovation Award

by BWW News Desk Jun. 13, 2017  

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Music teacher Dimitri Kauriga, of Southampton, PA who taught more than 30 years at Philadelphia High School for Girls, had many supporters in the audience when he was named as the grand prize winner in the Fourth Annual Philadelphia Youth Orchestra (PYO) Ovation Award in a surprise presentation.

It took place in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center on Sunday, June 4, 2017 at 3 p.m. during the 77th Annual Philadelphia Youth Orchestra Festival Concert. The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra’s Ovation Award for Inspiration and Outstanding Leadership in Music Education has been honoring excellence in music instruction since its inaugural year in 2014.

Kauriga was joined by many other finalists (see below) who all received gifts and honorariums. As the grand prize winner, Kauriga received a crystal trophy from Jacobs Music Company commemorating his award, a gift card from J.W. Pepper as well as a $1,000 honorarium from the H.E.L.P. Foundation. Directly after receiving the honor, Kauriga said, “It’s fantastic to be recognized, but being a part of music is the most beautiful part. When you’re in the process of educating and you later realize the difference you make in someone’s life, it is so meaningful”. He added, “Father’s Day is always special to me. Each year, I get unexpected calls from students on Father’s Day who say something like, ‘You don’t know the difference you made in my life. You were like a father to me.'” As a father whose daughter also attended Girl’s High, he knew the difference music made in his daughter’s life. He also said, “I saw firsthand how music affected her life. I try to treat every student like I would want my daughter to be treated.”

Kauriga-and nine other music teachers-served as the 10 finalists nominated by current and former students. The nominators were asked to respond to the question, “How has my music teacher changed my life?” The nominees were then reviewed by a panel of judges: representatives composed of individuals from music departments at local universities and major music institutions. The panel chose the 10 finalists, as well as Kauriga as the grand prize winner.

Kauriga’s nominator, Elisabeth D’Alessandro (of Philadelphia, PA) met Kauriga while he taught her music in high school. D’Alessandro writes in her winning essay that Kauriga instilled a love of music in her so strong that she decided to pursue her current profession as a music teacher at The Philadelphia High School for Girls. D’Alessandro writes, “Mr. Kauriga was a model of commitment and dedication. He got to school early, stayed late, and rarely took a break. He embodied the work ethic which he demanded of his students. He inspired generations of students to achieve above and beyond what we thought we could. His faith in our ability gave use the confidence we needed to excel.” D’Alessandro received $250 for being the nominator of the grand prize winner.

The PYO Ovation Award honors music teachers in the Delaware Valley who not only successfully teach music to their students, but also instill confidence in them. The award is endowed by H.E.L.P. Foundation and sponsored by J.W. Pepper, Jacobs Music Company with WRTI-90.1 as a partner. After WRTI’s Jack Moore announced Kauriga as the winner on stage, the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra performed its concert. The concert was conducted by Maestro Louis Scaglione and featured special guests: violinist Michael Ludwig, The Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale, and guest vocal soloists Alexandra Nowakowski, Eric Reiger and John Viscardi. The concert also featured a world premiere by the Inaugural Young Composers Competition winner, Alan Mackwell. The over 100 PYO student musicians, ages 14 to 21, performEd Mackwell’s winning composition “III. Secretly Ramses the Second,” along with Alexander Glazunov’s “Violin Concerto in A minor” and Carl Orff’s “Carmino Burana.” The concert exemplified the organization’s immense young talent.

Kauriga and the other nine finalists were invited to watch the PYO 77th Annual Festival Concert after the completion of the Ovation Award ceremony.

The list of the admirable 2017 finalists includes:

Joe Akinskas – Director of the Cumberland County College Jazz Band and Wind Symphony and Adjunct Professor of Music Education at Rutgers University-Camden and Rowan University -Cherry Hill, NJ

Barbara Benglian – Choral Director/Department Chair of Music at Upper Darby High School and District Music Coordinator for the Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation – Wynnewood, PA

Kimberly Fisher – Violin teacher and Principal Second Violinist in The Philadelphia Orchestra – Philadelphia, PA

Leslie Hollander – Director of Instrumental Music, Department Chairperson of Fine Arts and Music, Orchestra Director and Band Director at Wall High School – Wall, NJ

Dimitri Kauriga – Retired Director of Music at Philadelphia High School for Girls and retired Professor of Music and adjunct flute instructor at the Community College of Philadelphia – Southampton, PA

Brian Kuszyk – Private trumpet teacher and principal trumpet of Opera Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Ballet and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra – Merion Station, PA

Dorinna Morrow – Director of the Philadelphia All City Choir and Choir Director, Advanced Placement Theory Instructor and Arts Coordinator at the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts – Philadelphia, PA

Robin Muse – Music teacher at Penn Alexander Elementary School and Cooperating Teacher for the music education program at Temple University – Philadelphia, PA

Roy Nelson – Previous vocal and instrumental music teacher in the Neshaminy School District and Villa Joseph Marie High School – Richboro, PA

Jay Trackman (posthumously) – Music teacher in the Bordentown and Burlington, NJ city school districts – Bordentown, NJ


Dimitri Kauriga is a teacher and multi-talented musician. A native Philadelphian, he plays piano, flute, organ, saxophone, he sings and conducts. For over 30 years, Dimitri was Director of Music at Philadelphia High School for Girls. While there, he developed well-regarded marching bands, orchestras, concert bands and jazz ensembles. He was also conductor of the Philadelphia All-City Jazz Band, Orchestra and Concert Band and performed numerous works at the Academy of Music and Kimmel Center. From 1984 through 2003, Dimitri was Professor of Music and adjunct flute instructor at the Community College of Philadelphia. He is co-director of the Kauriga Balalaika Orchestra with his brothers, Greg and Paul. Dimitri is a co-music director of Bensalem Presbyterian Church with his wife Lenore. Dimitri completed graduate studies at Temple University, Eastern College, West Chester University and the University of New Hampshire. He studied flute with Murray Panitz and John Krell of the Philadelphia Orchestra as well as John Wummer, principal flutist with the New York Philharmonic and the Pablo Casals Orchestra. In addition, he studied flute and piccolo with Frank Vercacci, who was Lilly Ponn’s personal flutist. Today, Dimitri has a small namesake orchestra, Kauriga Orchestra, conducts the Bensalem Presbyterian Choir, is a member of the Pen Ryn School District Board of Education, and gives private piano and flute lessons. He is heavily interested in ethnic music, particularly all forms of Slavonic music.

About the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra:

Concluding its 77th year, training tomorrow’s leaders, the renowned Philadelphia Youth Orchestra organization, led by President and Music Director, Maestro Louis Scaglione, is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected community music education and youth orchestra performance programs, providing talented young musicians from across the tri-state area with exceptional musical training. Students go on to excel in many diverse fields, and it is with pride that Philadelphia Youth Orchestra notes that many members of the prestigious Philadelphia Orchestra are alumni. The organization is comprised of six program ensembles designed to meet specific needs and experience levels of students selected through a competitive audition process. The anchor group is the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra (PYO), conducted by President and Music Director Louis Scaglione, featuring 120 gifted instrumentalists who range in age from 14-21. Young musicians 12-18 years old are featured in PYO’s companion ensemble, the Philadelphia Young Artists Orchestra, which is led by Director and Conductor Maestra Rosalind Erwin, who is Music Director and Conductor of Drexel University Orchestra. Philadelphia Young Musicians Orchestra (PYMO), directed by Maestro Kenneth Bean, is a beginning to intermediate-level full symphonic orchestra that provides most students with their first introduction to large orchestral playing featuring students age 10-17 years old. Bravo Brass, directed by Curtis Institute Dean of Faculty and Students, Paul Bryan, is an all brass ensemble for promising middle and high-school instrumentalists. PRYSM (Philadelphia Region Youth String Music) and PRYSM Young Artists ensembles provide string large ensemble and sectional master class instruction for beginning and intermediate musicians ages 6-14. The director and conductor of PRYSM is Gloria DePasquale, cellist with The Philadelphia Orchestra, and conductor of PRYSM Young Artists is Andrea Weber. Tune Up Philly (TUP) is PYO’s engagement program, directed by Paul Smith, that focuses on creating and inspiring true community by providing children in under-resourced communities with invaluable opportunities to learn and perform a differentiated orchestral music curriculum.

About H.E.L.P. Foundation and LCG, Ltd.: H.E.L.P. Foundation, the philanthropic division of LCG, Ltd., dedicates time and resources in furtherance of community service and in support of charitable causes and non-profit organizations, both regional and nationwide. LCG fosters an organizational commitment to compassionate service as the nation’s largest privately held employee legal plan provider. LCG maintains its national headquarters in Bala Cynwyd, PA, and has been implementing its exclusive H.E.L.P. legal plan for worksites of all sizes and industries since 1995. For more information, please visit

About Jacobs Music Company: Jacobs Music Company is the area’s exclusive representative for new and authentically restored Steinway & Sons, and Steinway designed Boston and Essex pianos. Jacobs also represents many other highly respected new, used and digital piano manufacturers from around the world, all at great values. Jacobs Music Company has seven showrooms, including its flagship Steinway Selection Center at 1718 Chestnut Street in center city Philadelphia, as well as Ephrata, West Chester, Whitehall and Willow Grove, PA and Cherry Hill and Lawrenceville, NJ. For more information, please contact Jacobs Music Company at 1718 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. The phone number is (215) 901-2216 or visit

About J.W. Pepper: .J.W. Pepper, based in Exton, PA, is the leading retailer of sheet music in the world. In business for over 140 years, they have 11 store locations and two distribution centers across the country. They review over 21,000 new titles every year and hand-select the very best. Customer care is at the heart of their service. For more information, visit

About WRTI: WRTI is a member-supported, public radio station that broadcasts the very best classical music and jazz recordings, and produces innovative, entertaining, and informative content. The station has 14 frequencies, extends west to Harrisburg and north to Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, and reaches as far south as Dover, DE and to the South Jersey shore area and can be heard on-line at



Curtis pianists win big at Van Cliburn competition

June 10, 2017. Daniel Hsu of the United States performs with conductor Leonard Slatkin and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra on Saturday in the Final Round of the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition held at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Curtis Institute of Music cleaned up Saturday night at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas. Curtis graduate Yekwon Sunwoo won the top prize, the gold medal, in the competition — whose awards are among the most coveted in the United States.

Daniel Hsu, a current Curtis student, won the bronze medal – third prize – and was recognized with two other awards: best performance of a new work and best chamber music performance.

Both the gold and bronze awards come with cash, plus three years of career management, concert tours, and recordings.

The Van Cliburn, held every four years for pianists between the ages of 18 and 30, ended Saturday night after more than two weeks of performances and, in the last few days, concerts by the six finalists.

Sunwoo, 28, from South Korea, earned his bachelor’s degree at Curtis and a master’s at the Juilliard School, and currently studies under Bernd Goetzke in Hannover, Germany. The gold medal brings its winner $50,000.

June 9, 2017. Yekwon Sunwoo from South Korea performs with conductor Leonard Slatkin and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra on Friday evening in the Final Round of The Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition held at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas.

“The music, how wonderful it is, kept me going,” he told an interviewer from the Van Cliburn webcast.

Hsu, 19, was the last finalist to play late Saturday afternoon — in the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1, which the Star-Telegram’s Olin Chism called “a powerful performance.”

Kenneth Broberg, a 23-year-old pianist from Minneapolis, won the silver medal.

Hsu, from the San Francisco area, came to Curtis at the age of 11, and has studied with Eleanor Sokoloff and Gary Graffman. The bronze medal comes with a $15,000 cash prize; the best new piece award with $5,000; and best chamber music award, $6,000.

The last few weeks have been remarkable for the number of Curtis graduates landing major posts. Violinist Kevin Lin, who has just graduated, was named coleader of the London Philharmonic. Violinist Benjamin Bowman, a 2002 graduate, was appointed to one of two concertmaster spots in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. And Conner Covington, a 2017 graduate, received a 2017 Solti Foundation Career Assistance Award after being named assistant conductor of the Utah Symphony Orchestra earlier this year.

Hsu, who could not be reached Saturday night, said in last Sunday’s Inquirer that in approaching the Van Cliburn competition he did not “have much of a strategy. Everyone here has something different to say, and my strategy – and I’m not sure it’s a winning strategy, but it’s a strategy – is to go on stage and make music, be sincere, and play my heart out.”





For more details, please see the following press release from, which we are pleased to share with you…


Jacobs Music Company and Immaculata University Present Performathon to Support Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

The Performathon will take place from Thursday, June 8 through Sunday, June 11 in Memorial Hall on the Immaculata campus

“Music therapy has enhanced every facet of my daughter’s recovery,” is one of the many testimonial comments made by parents of patients at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to Amy Troyano, manager for the creative arts therapy program and music therapist at CHOP. And, with this in mind, Robert Rinaldi, Senior Vice President of Jacobs Music Company and the father of a daughter whose life was saved at CHOP, has spearheaded an ongoing effort to provide music for the patients, families and staff at CHOP.

For many years, Jacobs Music has presented Performathons, where area piano students and their teachers raise money by getting pledges for performing. CHOP has been the beneficiary of a beautiful Steinway grand piano that was donated to the hospital through this type of children-helping-children effort and now, there is another Performathon for CHOP taking place in June with the goal of expanding its music therapy department. Rinaldi is passionate about these efforts and says, “What could lift spirits more than the sounds of beautiful music!”

In collaboration with Immaculata University, which is an All-Steinway School, on Thursday, June 8 through Sunday, June 11, the Performathon will take place in Memorial Hall on the Immaculata campus. Piano students will be performing as part of their pledge drive. In addition, there will be two free concerts there. On Friday, June 9 at 8 p.m., by Steinway Artist Dr. William Carr, Chair of the Music Department at Immaculata University, Steve Campitelli and Gregory DiBona, both members of the applied music faculty at the university. On Saturday, June 10 at 7 p.m., there will be another free concert with performances by the “Friends of CHOP.” It will include former patients and patients’ siblings, music therapists, doctors, nurses, volunteers, and administrators, all donating their time to help raise money for the music therapy department. At both concerts, guests are welcome to make donations.

Rinaldi talked about this all-out effort for the hospital and said, “Music Therapy is a critical part of the healing process for the patients at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. We are fortunate that Children’s Hospital has six wonderful music therapists. But, it’s not nearly enough and our goal is to help expand the music therapy department so that they can provide more services to the patients at CHOP.”

Amy Troyano said, “I am so grateful to Jacobs Music Company and the Rinaldi family for all they have done for CHOP. Music is transformative and the Steinway in our lobby has made such a tremendous difference for the patients, their families and our staff. Walking through the lobby and the halls and hearing the beautiful sounds from the piano is a gift to everyone. We never expected their focus to extend to expanding the music therapy department and we are so grateful to Jacobs Music, Immaculata University and all the children for their tremendous generosity.”