One of the world's finest music schools occupies a rambling limestone mansion in Rittenhouse, founded in 1924 by the heiress to the Curtis Publishing fortune. It is highly selective—with a student body of just 165—but admits anyone of any age who demonstrates serious talent, and offers full scholarships to all of its students. 

Free, two-hour student recitals are given October through May every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8pm—and before you pooh-pooh the idea of a student performance, realize this is the school that has nurtured and trained such talents as piano phenom Lang Lang, and composers Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Gian Carlo Menotti, and Nino Rota (who scored many films for Fellini, Visconti, and Zeffirelli, and won an Oscar for his music in the first two "Godfather" movies).

Curtis students also put on inexpensive ($5–$47) scheduled performances at Lenfest Hall (Curtis's new-as-of-2011 facility at 1616 Locust St.) and in other Philly concert venues, including full-scale operas at the Prince Music Theater and symphony orchestra and opera at the Kimmel Center.