Press Room

Music Academy of the West Announces First Classical Evolution/Revolution Conference (June 19-20)

SANTA BARBARA, CA– As it celebrates the milestone of its 70th anniversary season this year, Music Academy of the West, in its role as a pioneer of thought leadership in music and the arts, hosts a first-of-its-kind Classical Evolution/Revolution Conference on June 19-20. Prominent CEOs and leaders from the theater, museum, legal, research and tech communities will join artists, agents, entrepreneurs and presenters from the field to engage in debate and discussion around the evolution of classical music in our current culture. Topics will include the role of tastemakers and experts, redefining the live experience, the effect of technology on new generations of audiences, new financial models, audience development and diversity, and art as a response to social and cultural issues, among others.

Classical Evolution/Revolution Conference – June 19 and 20

Although the conference has a distinctly West coast flavor, speakers are also coming from London, New York and Washington, DC. The six events, spaced over the two days of the conference, are all free and open to the public.

As Scott Reed, President and CEO of Music Academy of the West, says of the new initiative:

“Cultural life in America is undergoing enormous changes, with advances in technology, demands for new experiences, and many new opportunities for musicians and artists of all kinds. Our mission includes preparing our fellows to lead and to thrive in this environment, take advantage of new tools, and approach their careers as cultural citizens. Music Academy of the West seeks to expand our knowledge and thinking about what it means to be a part of the artistic community for our fellows, faculty, and our vibrant audiences through conversation and ideas generated through the Evolution/Revolution Conference.”

Music Academy of the West: Classical Evolution/Revolution Conference: June 19–20
Santa Barbara, CA
June 19, 2017
10 am / Lehmann Hall
The Evolving Role of Tastemakers and Storytellers
The range of media covering the arts has broadened tremendously during the past couple of decades. The audience is hungry and culturally literate, yet fickle and increasingly fragmented. Consumers listen to podcasts, watch videos, and follow opinion leaders and friends on social media. (Some of them even listen to the radio and read newspapers.) Journalists and critics are scratching their heads as they consider the most effective tools and methods to engage these audiences. What is the role for cultural experts in the new media world?
Charles Donelan, writer, Santa Barbara Independent (moderator)
Jennifer Ferro, President, KCRW
Anne Midgette, Chief Classical Music Critic, Washington Post

1:30 pm / Lehmann Hall
Money (That’s What I Want): How does our music earn income?
The path to predictable incomes for musicians has become anything but. Today’s musicians have to be open to revenue opportunities from major and indie labels, self-distribution, sync licensing, videos, fan experiences, and teaching, in addition to live performance at home and on the road. Praise and recognition are important but don’t pay the bills. How do successful musicians find the right mix of revenue streams that reward their abilities and successes?
Phillippa Cole, Associate Director, Askonas Holt, London (moderator)
Kevin Erickson, National Organizing Director, Future of Music Coalition
Corey Field, Corey Field Law Group, P.C.

3:30 pm / Hahn Hall
Algorithms vs. Humans: How Does Tech Contribute to Cultural Discovery?
“Discovery” is the Holy Grail of every new type of digital media service: helping artists and fans connect and keeping them engaged, even while offering an exponentially increasing array of programming options. Live streaming, gaming, virtual reality and augmented reality have the potential to change the way we learn, how we create new work, and how we interact with art and artists. Will it deepen or cheapen the experience?
Luke Ritchie, Digital Director, Philharmonia Orchestra, London (moderator)
Toby Coffey, Head of Digital Development, National Theatre, London
Nik Honeysett, Director and CEO, Balboa Park Online Collaborative

June 20, 2017
10 am / Lehmann Hall
Live Performance: New Spaces/New Experiences
Live musical performances have left the building – or at least the auditorium of the traditional concert hall. Musical performances of all kinds routinely take place in warehouses, shipyards, cars, bars, living rooms, beaches, big box stores, and more. Technological enhancements in the concert hall, once thought of as “extras,” are now integral to many new offerings. Is this sustainable (and desirable) for the future of our art?
Chris Lorway, Executive Director, Stanford Live! (moderator)
Sam Bodkin, Founder and CEO, Groupmuse
Yuval Sharon, Artistic Director, The Industry

1:30 pm / Hahn Hall
Programming the Zeitgeist: Art as Response to Social and Cultural Issues
In a time fraught with tremendous tension and violent disagreement among the American populace, art has the opportunity to play a more central role in society, both in expressing dissent in cultural and political commentary, and also in bringing people with differing opinions together through establishing common or neutral ground. How can artists make their opinions heard and also increase their relevance among a population who may not readily embrace political and social messages delivered through artistic means?
Elena Park, Consultant, Metropolitan Opera, Mozart in the Jungle, National Sawdust (moderator)
Kristy Edmunds, Executive and Artistic Director, Center for the Art of Performance, UCLA
Gabriela Lena Frank, Composer

3:30 pm / Lehmann Hall
Who Loves You, Baby?: Finding and KEEPING the “new” audience for music
Audiences have changed and so have their expectations for cultural experiences. Who are these new audiences and where do we find them – or how do they find us? What do they seek from their interactions with the arts? How do the wishes and expectations of new audiences impact presenters, creators and performers who also have to meet (exceed) expectations of the existing base? What kinds of experiences build loyalty and make new audiences want to come back for more?
Graham Parker, President, Universal Music Classics, USA (moderator)
Yael Greenberg, Music Consultant, Kickstarter
Christopher Koelsch, President and CEO, Los Angeles Opera

About the Music Academy of the West
The Music Academy of the West is among the nation’s preeminent summer schools and festivals for gifted young classically trained musicians. At its ocean-side campus in Santa Barbara, the Academy provides these musicians with the opportunity for advanced study and 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). The Academy’s distinguished roster of teaching artists has included famed soprano Lotte Lehmann, composers Darius Milhaud and Arnold Schoenberg, cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, pianist Jeremy Denk, and current Voice Program Director Marilyn Horne. 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. In 2014 the Music Academy entered into a four-year partnership with the New York Philharmonic, resulting in unprecedented training and performance opportunities for Academy fellows, and Summer Festival residencies for Philharmonic musicians. The Music Academy of the West cultivates discerning, appreciative, and adventurous audiences, presenting more than 200 public events annually, many of them free of charge. These include performances by faculty, visiting artists, and fellows; masterclasses; orchestra and chamber music concerts; and a fully staged opera. For more information, visit

For further information, contact:

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

Kate Oberjat, Music Academy of the West, Director of Marketing and Communications: [email protected]; 805‐695-7908

#          #          #


© 21C Media Group, May 2017

Return to Press Room