Curt Cacioppo

Ruth Marshall Magill Professor of Music

Curt Cacioppo came to Haverford in 1983 after 4 years of teaching on the faculty of the Music Department at Harvard University. In his 25 years at the College, he has taught across the full range of the music curriculum, from rudiments to advanced composition and analysis, and in all three areas of focus – theory, musicology and performance. He has contributed a number of new courses to the roster of offerings, among them “Tones, Words and Images” (an interdisciplinary course), “Topics in Piano” (an applied course that combines performance with scholarly research), and “Native American Music and Belief” (a course designed for the wider community, often highly enrolled, and providing a significant social justice component).

In addition to his activities as a professor, Curt is very active as a composer and also as a pianist.  He has produced 9 CD’s that feature his music and is working on a 10th, and he has performed throughout the US, England, Finland, Germany, Italy, and Japan, with additional speaking appearances in Costa Rica, Canada, France and Russia.  His commissions include works for the Chicago Symphony and the Emerson String Quartet, and his performance experience includes collaborations with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Guarneri Quartet.

Curt began his first piano lessons at age 9 under the guidance of his mother. His first recital was at age 11 at Kent State University's School of Music, where he received his baccalaureate degree a decade later, studying composition and majoring in piano. He participated in master classes led by Arthur Loesser, John Browning, Ruth Laredo, Robert de Gaetano, and others. At the Blossom Festival School he coached chamber music under principal members of The Cleveland Orchestra, including oboist John Mack and violinist Josef Gingold, and pianist Tung Kwong Kwong (a disciple of Schnabel). From Ohio he went to New York University and earned a Master of Arts degree (1976) in musicology under Gustave Reese. Curt’s thesis dealt with music of the liégeois composer Johannes Ciconia, who flourished in Padua in the late trecento/early quattrocento. From New York he left for Harvard where, under Leon Kirchner, Earl Kim (both protégés of Arnold Schoenberg) and Ivan Tcherepnin, he took his MA (1979) and Ph.D. (1980) in composition.

As a teacher, Curt has been recognized by the international Vosgerchain Teaching Prize conferred through Harvard, and by an Innovation in Teaching award from Haverford.  As a composer he received a lifetime achievement award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  And as a pianist, he has been called a “virtuoso” (The Washington Post), “a whirlwind” (The Philadelphia Inquirer), an interpreter who plays with ‘genuine love and awareness’ (The New York Times).

For a full list of professional activities, to hear audio examples, see video clips, read feature articles and reviews, visit the blog, and peruse other items, please go to

Curt Cacioppo's CV (PDF)

Course Offererings:

Music 203a: Principles of Tonal Harmony

Music 207a: Topics in Piano "Italian Keyboard Tradition"

Music 207b: Topics in Piano "American Roots"


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