Press Room

Instrumentalists from Music Academy of the West To Inaugurate New York Philharmonic Global Academy Fellowship Program, January 3-13

“This is a window into the real life of the orchestral musician” –Alan Gilbert

Video: Meet the 2015 Zarin Mehta Fellows


Ten young instrumentalists from the Music Academy of the West are about to inaugurate the New York Philharmonic Global Academy Fellowship Program January 3–13, 2015, when they travel to New York City to train and play alongside New York Philharmonic musicians. All ten instrumentalists are from the prestigious Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, selected by audition to be the inaugural Zarin Mehta Fellows. At a time when there is more competition than ever before to succeed in the music profession, these Fellows will be immersed in all aspects of an orchestral player’s life, from audition to performance, learning invaluable career skills.

With a full schedule of events, described by New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert as providing “a window into the real life of the orchestral musician,” the Fellows will learn directly from and collaborate with Philharmonic musicians. Fellows will rehearse and perform alongside Philharmonic musicians, conducted by Alan Gilbert, in selections from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake for the Philharmonic’s subscription concerts on January 8–10 and 13; perform mock auditions onstage at Avery Fisher Hall; receive hands-on instruction through individual lessons and chamber music sessions, the latter coached by Philharmonic musicians and culminating in a chamber music performance alongside Philharmonic musicians on January 11 for Philharmonic Patrons; and participate in the Philharmonic’s educational programs, including a visit to a New York City school and a Very Young Composers session.

Upon arriving in New York on January 3, Fellows will attend that evening’s New York Philharmonic concert with pianist Daniil Trifonov performing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1, led by Juanjo Mena. The next day they will gather for a welcome brunch with Philharmonic President and Executive Director Matthew VanBesien and Philharmonic musicians, including twelve who are alumni of the Music Academy of the West. On January 5 Fellows will attend a seminar by Jennifer Johnson entitled “What Every Orchestral Musician Needs to Know About the Body.” Ms. Johnson is principal second violin of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, second violin of the Atlantic String Quartet, and author of the book What Every Violinist Needs to Know About the Body. Further sessions will offer insights into the management of an orchestra. Fellows will meet Philharmonic administrators, meet with Orchestra Committees, explore the Philharmonic Archives, and meet with actor Alec Baldwin, the Philharmonic Radio Host and Board Member whose foundation generously supports the Fellowships.

Another aspect of the professional experience is the Fellows’ interaction with each other. This is an important part of the Music Academy of the West experience, and during the New York Program, the Fellows will undoubtedly form a network and musical relationships that will last a lifetime. The ten players cross all sections of the orchestra: strings, wind, brass, and percussion.

The inaugural class of Zarin Mehta Fellows of the New York Philharmonic Global Academy Fellowship Program is introduced here in this short video. They were selected by audition from 68 Music Academy of the West instrumentalists, all full-scholarship participants during the summer of 2014. They are Douglas Aliano, 20 (double bass); Anthony Bellino, 22 (trumpet); Matthew Cohen, 26 (viola); Sean Krissman, 24 (clarinet); Simon Michal, 21 (violin); Charlie Rosmarin, 22 (percussion); Michael Severance, 24 (bassoon); William Shaub, 22 (violin); Genevieve Tabby, 23 (cello); and Jennifer Zhou, 22 (flute). They have studied in America’s top music institutions, from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Colburn Conservatory to the Eastman School of Music and The Juilliard School, and they come from across the U.S., as well as the Czech Republic and China.

A new group of Music Academy Fellows will be selected to come to New York as Zarin Mehta Fellows each year during the four-year partnership between the Music Academy and the Philharmonic (announced last April). The partnership also calls for Philharmonic conductors and musicians to be in residence in Santa Barbara for portions of Music Academy Summer Festivals through 2017, performing and taking part in masterclasses, chamber music coaching sessions, private lessons, and lectures. In August 2015 the New York Philharmonic will make its debut at the Santa Barbara Bowl. In 2016 Alan Gilbert will return to rehearse and conduct the Academy Festival Orchestra. The orchestras will perform together in 2017 under the baton of Mr. Gilbert in Santa Barbara to commemorate the Music Academy of the West’s 70th anniversary. The Music Academy’s partnership with the New York Philharmonic has been made possible through the generosity of lead sponsors Linda and Michael Keston.

The Philharmonic and Music Academy of the West’s partnership is the formalization of a long relationship between the Orchestra and the school; Philharmonic players such as former Principal Flute Jeanne Baxtresser, former Associate Principal Cello Alan Stepansky, and current Philharmonic trombonist David Finlayson are current or former Music Academy faculty members. The Philharmonic’s former concertmaster of 34 years Glenn Dicterow joined the faculty in the summer of 2014, having been a visiting artist in previous seasons. Philharmonic Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps, a Music Academy alumna (‘79 and ’83) and Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, recently joined the faculty, having also been a visiting artist in previous seasons. Eleven other current New York Philharmonic musicians are alumni of the Music Academy: violinists Kuan Cheng Lu, Sharon Yamada, Duoming Ba, and Joo Young Oh; violist Dawn Hannay; cellist Qiang Tu; bassist Orin O’Brien; Principal Oboe Liang Wang; clarinetist Mark Nuccio; bassoonist Arlen Fast; and Associate Principal Trombone Colin Williams.

The Music Academy of the West is the first American partnership of the New York Philharmonic Global Academy, a series of long-term, immersive partnerships with select cultural and music education institutions in New York, the United States, and worldwide to offer intensive training of pre-professional musicians by Philharmonic members, often alongside regular performance residencies by the full Orchestra. The Global Academy Fellowship Program is a key component of the Global Academy, offering opportunities for Academy participants to travel to New York City to train and play with Philharmonic musicians in Avery Fisher Hall. The Fellowship Program has been made possible by gifts made in the name of Zarin Mehta, who served as Philharmonic President and Executive Director, 2000–2012. The Philharmonic has also created a four-year Global Academy partnership with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, which includes the establishment of the Shanghai Orchestra Academy (SOA), in partnership with the Shanghai Conservatory, and annual performance residencies by Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic in Shanghai. The program launched in September 2014. Students from the SOA will participate in the Global Academy Fellowship Program in New York in the 2015–16 season.

The Music Academy of the West is now accepting instrumental applications for summer 2015; the deadline is January 15. For more information, visit For more information about the New York Philharmonic Global Academy, visit


About the Music Academy of the West
Founded in 1947 by a group of Southern California arts patrons and musicians that included Lotte Lehmann and Otto Klemperer, the Music Academy of the West is among the nation’s preeminent summer schools and festivals for gifted young classical musicians. The Academy provides these promising musicians with the opportunity for advanced study and frequent performance under the guidance of internationally renowned faculty artists, guest conductors and soloists. Admission to the Academy is strictly merit-based, and Fellows receive full scholarships (tuition, room, and board). Academy alumni are members of major symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras, ensembles, opera companies, and university and conservatory faculties throughout the world. Many enjoy careers as prominent solo artists. Based in Santa Barbara, the Music Academy of the West presents more than 200 public events annually, including performances by faculty, visiting artists, and Fellows; masterclasses; orchestra and chamber music concerts; and a fully staged opera. The Music Academy of the West’s 2015 Summer School and Festival will take place from June 15 to August 8, 2015, with events by distinguished guest performers, faculty and Fellows at the Academy’s scenic Miraflores campus and in venues throughout Santa Barbara. For more information, visit

About the New York Philharmonic
The New York Philharmonic plays a leading cultural role in New York City, the United States, and the world. This season’s projects will connect the Philharmonic with up to 50 million music lovers through live concerts in New York City and on its worldwide tours; digital downloads; international broadcasts on television, radio, and online; and as a resource through its wide range of education programs. The Orchestra has commissioned and/or premiered works by leading composers from every era since its founding in 1842 — including Dvorák’s New World Symphony, Copland’s Connotations, and John Adams’s Pulitzer Prize–winning On the Transmigration of Souls, dedicated to the victims of 9/11. Renowned around the globe, the Philharmonic has appeared in 432 cities in 63 countries — including the groundbreaking 1930 tour of Europe; the unprecedented 1959 tour to the USSR; the historic 2008 visit to Pyongyang, D.P.R.K., the first there by an American orchestra; and the Orchestra’s debut in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2009. The New York Philharmonic serves as a resource for its community and the world. It complements its annual free concerts across the city with a wide range of education programs — among them the famed, long-running Young People’s Concerts and Philharmonic Schools, an immersive classroom program that reaches thousands of New York City students. Committed to developing tomorrow’s leading orchestral musicians, the Philharmonic has established the New York Philharmonic Global Academy, partnerships with cultural institutions at home and abroad to create projects that combine performance with intensive training by Philharmonic musicians. These include collaborations with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and Shanghai Conservatory of Music as well as Santa Barbara’s Music Academy of the West. The oldest American symphony orchestra and one of the oldest in the world, the New York Philharmonic has made almost 2,000 recordings since 1917, including several Grammy Award winners, and its self-produced download series continues in the 2014–15 season. Music Director Alan Gilbert began his tenure in September 2009, succeeding a distinguished line of 20th-century musical giants that includes Leonard Bernstein, Arturo Toscanini, and Gustav Mahler.


The Global Academy Fellowship Program, in association with the New York Philharmonic Global Academy, is supported in part by The Alec Baldwin Foundation, Inc. and an anonymous donor, and other gifts made towards the Zarin Mehta Fund.


The Music Academy of the West partnership with the New York Philharmonic has been made possible through the generosity of lead sponsors Linda and Michael Keston.


 For further information, contact: 

Glenn Petry, 21C Media Group: [email protected]; 212-625-2038

Tim Dougherty, Music Academy of the West Communications Manager: [email protected]; 805-695-7908

Katherine E. Johnson, New York Philharmonic Director, Public and Media Relations: [email protected]; 212-875-5700


© 21C Media Group, December 2014

Return to Press Room