Curtis Institute of Music: Sphinx Performance Academy


PICS Organization Name
Curtis Institute of Music

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Organization Description

The Curtis Institute of Music educates and trains exceptionally gifted young musicians to engage a local and global community through the highest level of artistry. One of the most selective schools in the United States, Curtis accepts four percent of applicants each year on average, and a tuition-free policy ensures that talent and artistic promise are the only considerations for admission. 

With a small student body of about 175, Curtis ensures that each young musician receives an education of unparalleled quality, distinguished by a “learn by doing” philosophy and personalized attention from a faculty that includes a high proportion of actively performing musicians. During the summer, Curtis provides musicians and music lovers opportunities to explore classical music and experience the Curtis Institute of Music's "learn by doing" philosophy. 

Sphinx Performance Academy is a full-scholarship intensive summer chamber music and solo performance program with a focus on cultural diversity, for approximately 30 string musicians ages 11-17. Curriculum includes lessons, masterclasses, recitals, career enrichment sessions, and mentorship tailored to each student. As a program with a primary focus on cultural diversity, SPA seeks to actively recruit and engage students from cultural backgrounds that are underrepresented in the field of classical music. 
Princeton interns are instrumental Summerfest Sphinx Performance Academy team members, promoting community well-being and safety, and completing administrative and marketing projects central to the programs' strategy. 

Internship Description

*Resident Coordinator and Administrative Intern*
This position will live with other residence life staff members in a private room in a shared suite. 
▪    Share in the responsibility of making each student, faculty, and program participant feel welcome on Curtis’ campus.
▪    Monitor and manage student lounge and terrace area for recreation throughout the day.
▪    Assist in the planning of social programming activities for participants. Chaperone, lead and participate in scheduled daytime, evening, and weekend activities.
▪    Play a vital role in presenting Curtis as a hospitable, service-oriented institution. Serve as a resource for program participants’ questions and needs.
▪    Attend programs and events and maintain high level of visibility in the hall/community while enforcing Curtis policies and reporting an issues or incidents.
▪    Have a great awareness of and sensitivity to cultural norms in diverse populations, and multiculturalism.
▪    Assist with coordinating program check-in and help students move out after program.
▪    Educate participants on all Curtis and Summerfest program rules and reinforce their compliance.
▪    Assist with the planning, promotion, and chaperoning of virtual, recreational, and community building activities.
▪    Communicate with Associate Dean of Residence Life and Residence Life office about participant well-being, safety, and mental health.
▪    Maintain accurate reporting when needed and other critical paperwork.
▪    Fulfill all on-call/on-duty responsibilities and perform nightly rounds and suite checks.
▪    Assist with conducting student suite and floor meetings. 
▪    Assist with conducting health and safety inspections.
▪    Attend scheduled daily staff meetings with residence life team.
▪    Assist rehearsal production and proctoring classes.

In addition to these student life priorities, the intern will complete summer-long projects related to marketing, social media, competitor research, residence life, music library management, and/or other tasks based on the intern's interests and skills and as needed.

Weekly Stipend # of Weeks Required Dates Start Time End Time Housing Provided? Public Transportation? Certificate Requirement? Can be Remote?
$450 10 6/03/20 - 8/05/20 9:00 am 5:00 pm Yes Yes No No

Internship Qualifications

  • Attention to detail, initiative, and the ability to work well within a team and with a diverse constituency ranging in age, socio-economic background, sexual orientation, racial and/or religious background.
  • Strong ability to empathize with others in a professional setting.
  • Propensity to work independently and interdependently within a team
  • Consistently meets deadlines and juggle competing priorities without sacrificing quality/accuracy
  • Demonstrates commitment and can be trusted to follow through on commitments
  • Basic knowledge of Microsoft Office products and ability to learn new systems

Preferred Qualifications

  • Prior experience as a RA or camp counselor. 
  • Knowledge of classical music
  • Reporting, journalism experience
  • Tutoring, classroom management experience.

Writing sample is not required, but a short example of journalism or social media reporting is a bonus. 

Additional Info
All participants in the summer program will be tested for COVID upon arrival, and quarantined on campus while awaiting a negative result. Masks will be required, except in private residence space.

Three weeks during the summer are expected to be roughly 9 - 5, Monday through Friday. Other weeks during the summer, when programs are in session, schedule will also include some evening and weekend activities, especially from mid-July to early-August period. Intern must be willing to remain flexible about work schedules.

Those working with students under the age of 18 in Pennsylvania are required to complete the PA ACT153 background check. This includes: report of criminal history from PA state police, child abuse history clearance from Department of Human Services, and Fingerprint-based federal criminal history submitted to the FBI.

Curtis will provide detailed directions and reimburse any expenses for these background checks. 

Former Interns
Alia Wood '20, Ned Furlong '21, Megan Ormsbee '20, Rachel Inman '20

Evaluation Excerpt

Thanks especially to my supervisor, my experience with Curtis was educationally enriching and ESPECIALLY considerate of systemic social change. Curtis's partnership with the Sphinx Organization gave me firsthand experience with the personal and emotional aspects of systemic social change. I found the experience particularly educationally enriching because my responsibilities required a thorough understanding of the whole program's logistics combined with purposeful and efficient action
-- Ned Furlong '21

Throughout this program, I witnessed people of disparate nationalities, ethnicities, ages, genders, and experiences meet and work together in close and friendly collaboration in a mere few days’ time. Some could not even speak the same languages fluently, but they were all able to appreciate music together. By working with these participants closely as an intern and ensuring the smooth running of the program as an administrative intern, I believe that I contributed to this intimate and friendly culture of music.
—Rachel Inman '20

My work environment was very cheerful and casual. My supervisors were comfortable being in charge and handing out tasks that they needed me to do, but they were also willing to joke and laugh and walk with me to Starbucks in the afternoon when we were getting tired. The other CAs were an amazing team of people, and they were incredibly welcoming and accepting. I always had a net of people that I could turn to if I needed help with something, or if I just wanted to eat dinner with someone. —Megan Ormsbee '20