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** Interviews avaialble with Curtis Institute of Music president Roberto Díaz. **
January 17, 2013

Founder's Day Weekend Feb. 1-3 at Bok Tower Gardens
Celebrates 84th Anniversary, Features 'Curtis Institute of Music' Performance


LAKE WALES, Fla. — Bok Tower Gardens celebrates its 84th anniversary weekend Feb. 1-3 by opening the Singing Tower’s gates, guiding tours around the Tower’s exterior, performing special carillon concerts, and presenting a unique performance by Curtis Institute of Music president Roberto Díaz. 

On Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m. the festivities kick off with a special Moonlight Carillon Concert performed by Geert D'hollander. Admission is $5 per person and free for members.

Throughout the weekend, visitors have the unique opportunity to walk through the wrought iron Yellin gates surrounding the Tower and cross the moat to see the Tower up close. This is a popular time to take pictures next to the Tower and in front of the Great Brass Door. Each day at noon, volunteer guides tour visitors around the Tower's exterior, sharing historical and architectural information about the iconic Lake Wales masterpiece. Tours are included with general admission.

To wrap up the celebration, the Curtis Institute of Music returns to the Gardens Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m. for a unique evening of string trio music by Curtis president and renowned violist, Roberto Díaz, accompanied by Steven Copes on violin and Tessa Seymour on cello. Tickets are $35 per person and advance reservations are required.

“Having Curtis Institute musicians perform at the Gardens carries on the musical legacy created by Mr. and Mrs. Bok 84 years ago,” said David Price, president of Bok Tower Gardens. “While her husband was working to build the tower and gardens, Mary Louise Curtis Bok was busy starting one of the world’s leading music schools. We’re very excited that Roberto Díaz will be here performing and that we’re continuing to work together in celebration of the Bok’s vision for both organizations,” Price said. “It’s going to be a wonderful evening.”

The Curtis Institute of Music educates and trains exceptionally gifted young musicians for careers as performing artists on the highest professional level. One of the world’s leading conservatories, Curtis is highly selective and provides full-tuition scholarships to all of its 160 students. In this intimate environment, students receive personalized attention from a celebrated faculty. A busy schedule of performances is at the heart of the Institute’s distinctive “learn by doing” approach. This philosophy has produced an impressive number of notable artists since the school’s founding in 1924, from such legends as Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber to current stars Juan Diego Flórez, Alan Gilbert, Hilary Hahn, Jennifer Higdon, and Lang Lang.

The Great Brass Door and wrought iron gates on the north side of the Tower were the masterpiece of Samuel Yellin, America’s premier metalworker. The door depicts the Book of Genesis, starting with the creation of light and ending with Adam and Eve being ousted from the Garden of Eden. The iron gates leading to the Tower were hand-wrought and showcase zoomorphic figures with various expressions and wings for flight.

Edward Bok was so awed by the tranquility of the Iron Mountain area of Lake Wales that he wanted to create a place that would “touch the soul with its beauty and quiet,” and chose it as the perfect setting for a bird sanctuary. He purchased land to transform into a sweeping landscape of lush gardens featuring a majestic Singing Tower housing a 60-bell carillon.

The Gardens were dedicated to the American people on Feb. 1, 1929 by President Calvin Coolidge and it has been a sanctuary of peace and restoration to people and wildlife since then. Bok’s grandmother told him to “make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it,” and that still guides the mission of the Gardens today.

For tickets or more information, visit or call 863-734-1222.

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Curtis On Tour Biographies:

A violist of international reputation, Roberto Díaz holds the position of President and CEO of the Curtis Institute of Music. As a professor of viola at Curtis and former principal violist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Mr. Díaz has already had a significant impact on American musical life and will continue to do so in his dual roles as performer and educator. Mr. Díaz has appeared as an orchestral soloist and recitalist in major cities around the globe and has worked with many of the leading conductors of our time. He has collaborated with important composers including Krzysztof Penderecki and Edison Denisov. Roberto Díaz was principal violist of the National Symphony under Mstislav Rostropovich, a member of the Boston Symphony under Seiji Ozawa, and a member of the Minnesota Orchestra under Sir Neville Marriner. Mr. Díaz is a member of the Díaz Trio with violinist Andrés Cárdenes and cellist Andrés Díaz. His recording of transcriptions by William Primrose with pianist Robert Koenig was nominated for a 2006 Grammy.

Violinist Steven Copes leads a diverse and enthusiastic musical life as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral leader. He joined the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra as Concertmaster in 1998, and since then has led the orchestra from the chair in several highly acclaimed, eclectic programs. He has performed as soloist with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, the Colorado Symphony, the Saõ Paolo State Symphony, and The Knights.  An avid chamber musician, Copes has performed at festivals and concert series such as Aspen, Boston Chamber Music Society, Bridgehampton, Caramoor, La Jolla Summerfest, Mainly Mozart, Marlboro, Norfolk, Piccolo Spoleto, Santa Fe, Seattle Chamber Music Society, and many other festivals across the globe.  He co-founded the Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival in Colorado as well as Accordo, a new chamber group based in the Twin Cities, now in its fourth season. A dedicated teacher as well, he has taught and coached at the New World Symphony, Colorado College Summer Festival, National Orchestral Institute in Maryland, Indiana University, University of Minnesota, University of Texas at Austin, as well as at numerous other institutions across the country. A native of Los Angeles, he holds degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and Juilliard, and his teachers include Robert Lipsett, Aaron Rosand, Robert Mann and Felix Galimir for chamber music.  Copes performs on a violin made in 1997 by Samuel Zygmuntowicz.

Tessa Seymour, from Berkeley, Calif., entered the Curtis Institute of Music in 2010 and studies with Carter Brey, principal cello of the New York Philharmonic, and Peter Wiley, cello of the Guarneri String Quartet. All students at Curtis receive merit-based full-tuition scholarships, and Ms. Seymour is the Jack Kent Cooke Fellow. Ms. Seymour made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2007, has performed for the Dalai Lama at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, and at Beijing's Central Conservatory of Music.  She has appeared as a soloist with the St. John's Chamber Orchestra, Modesto Symphony Orchestra, and Prometheus Symphony Orchestra, among others.  Ms. Seymour has received first prizes in the American String Teachers Association competition, Felix Khuner Concerto Competition, Pacific Musical Society Annual Competition, and Stewart Brady Competition. She won the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra's 2007 Concerto Competition, which included a performance at Davies Symphony Hall. She was also selected to compete in the Concours de violoncelle Rostropovitch in Paris. Ms. Seymour has studied at many distinguished summer programs including the Yellow Barn Music School and Festival, Walnut Hill's Summer Chamber Music program in France, and Académie Musicale de Morges in Switzerland. In the summer of 2009, she attended the Verbier Festival Academy and won the Festival's Jean-Nicolas Firmenich Prize for cello. In the spring of 2013, Ms. Seymour will participate in Curtis On Tour in Florida with Curtis president, Roberto Díaz.  Before entering Curtis, she studied with Jean-Michel Fonteneau in the Preparatory Division at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

About Bok Tower Gardens:
Voted Florida’s best garden, Bok Tower Gardens is a National Historic Landmark located 10 miles from LEGOLAND Florida, 55 miles southwest of Orlando and 60 miles east of Tampa near Lake Wales in Central Florida’s rolling hills of citrus. Open every day of the year from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Visitor Center, Café and Gift Shop are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults and $3 for ages 5-12. Members and children under 5 are admitted free. LEGOLAND ticket holders will receive free admission for children under 12. For more information, contact Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Boulevard, Lake Wales FL 33853; 863-676-1408 or visit


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