Elite has become a dirty word, but it's a valuable distinction in the case of the Curtis Institute of Music. We always knew the music conservatory on Rittenhouse Square was choosy, and in its annual ranking, U.S. News & World Report has determined that Curtis is the choosiest school in the land. It accepts just 4 percent of those who apply. Harvard and Yale, by comparison, hovered around 8 percent.
Curtis' closest music competitor is the much-larger Juilliard School, accepting nearly 8 percent of applicants. The Cleveland Institute of Music came in at 35 percent. New England Conservatory of Music, 31 percent.
I'm not sure the list means all that much, given the fact that colleges and universities with music schools were left off the list - places like the esteemed music school of Indiana University, Eastman (part of the University of Rochester) and Peabody Institute (a little subsidiary of Johns Hopkins). But it's fun to see elitism cast as a desirable quality once in a while.
(The rendering shows the facade of Curtis' new dorm and rehearsal facility, a Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates building under construction on the 1600 block of Locust St.)