Press Room

Music Academy of the West Announces Winners of Second Alumni Enterprise Awards; Laureates to Receive Cash Prize and Attend New Residential Program

A pioneer of thought leadership in music and the arts, Music Academy of the West is thrilled to announce the winners of its second annual Alumni Enterprise Awards. Open to all alumni of the Academy’s Summer Festival, the awards program was launched last season to fund original classical music projects with significant community impact nationwide. This year, more than $60,000 in cash prizes will be shared among seven winning alumni, funding four Alumni Enterprise Award-winning projects and three smaller Innovation Awards. All seven winners will also have the chance to sharpen their business skills at the Academy’s inaugural Entrepreneurship and Innovation Residential on March 24-28, when industry leaders will provide intensive classes.

The four 2019 Alumni Enterprise Award winners are Bernardo Bermudez (2011), for his children’s opera program in San Diego; Victory Hall Opera Music Director Brenda Patterson (2000), for her modular set design competition in Charlottesville; Music Mission San Francisco founder Steve Perdicaris (1986), for his free children’s music program in San Francisco; and cellist John Popham (2005, 2006), for his multi-disciplinary videography series in Brooklyn and Louisville.

Launched this season, three 2019 Innovation Awards, which support thinking with the potential to push the industry forward in bold new ways, were granted to cellist, composer, and curator Joshua Roman (2002); pianist and performance artist Konstantin Soukhovetski (1999); and pianist Danielle DeSwert Hahn (1999), who heads the music programs at Washington’s National Gallery of Art.

Also new this season, Fast Pitch Awards will be offered to fellows attending the 2019 Summer Festival, giving them the opportunity to pitch their ideas for cash prizes totaling $3,000 at the Academy’s Classical Evolution/Revolution Conference on July 24.

Music Academy President and CEO Scott Reed explains:

“The Alumni Enterprise Awards provides an incredible incentive for our alumni to be entrepreneurial. We aim to inspire them to create projects that break the mold for what 21st-century musicians can accomplish while seeding the industry with new ideas. When alumni challenge our mission, it inspires us. These awards have the potential to transform careers and create relevant art that reflects our current society.”

About the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Residential (March 24-28)

Taught by leading industry professionals, the Academy’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Residential breaks new ground as the only intensive program of its kind offered by a top-tier performing arts organization. Designed to empower Alumni Enterprise Award winners through hands-on learning that shifts analysis and evaluation towards strategic application and execution, topics at the first residential will include design thinking and organizational behavior, developing a successful business model, fundraising and cultivation, strategy for growth and performance, industry and competitor analysis, innovation and entrepreneurship, mastering the business pitch, negotiations and legal issues, and case study analysis.

Classes will be led by industry leaders including Jonathan Bishop, Chief Advancement Officer of Music Academy of the West; Rich Cox, Lecturer at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business; Brian Goodman, Chief Operating Officer of manufacturing company R.A. Industries; Wu Han, Co-Artistic Director of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; Kevin Kwan Loucks, Director of Innovation and Program Development of Music Academy of the West; and Tom Turk, Dean of Chapman University’s Argyros School of Business and Economics.

About the 2019 Alumni Enterprise Award winners and their projects:

Bernardo Bermudez, tenor (2011): The Enchanted Tail

The Enchanted Tail is an original children’s fairytale opera in English, set to music from traditional opera and song repertoire by composers including Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, Bizet, Puccini, Lehár, and Manuel Ponce. This May, 5,000 elementary school students will travel to San Diego’s Balboa Theater to watch the opera’s orchestral debut. Students from all 42 San Diego school districts will attend, with 64% of participants coming from Title 1, low-income schools. The goal of the experience is to educate thousands of children through fun and engaging music, fostering creative thinking, cultural awareness, and problem solving.

Brenda Patterson, mezzo-soprano (2000): Ready.Set / Armida

Brenda Patterson, the co-founder and Director of Music of Victory Hall Opera (VHO) in Charlottesville, VA, seeks to invent a modern, modular stage set that is affordable, transportable, and reconfigurable. With the Ready.Set Competition, VHO offers its designers and architects the challenge of creating a modular set design. The winning set will be used in VHO’s upcoming production of Haydn’s Armida in November, which will mark the opera’s Virginia premiere.

Steve Perdicaris, trombone (1986): Crescendo 2020

Steve Perdicaris co-founded Music Mission San Francisco (MMSF) with the goal of inspiring children and creating positive social change through music. MMSF provides free after-school music instruction that culminates in public performances at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. With the support of the Music Academy of the West, MMSF will add viola and woodwind teaching artists, expanding the instrumentation of the program’s current offerings with the aim of launching a chamber orchestra program by 2020.

John Popham, cello (2005, 2006): The Resonant Lens: A Musical Videography

The Resonant Lens aims to bring musical works to life in a vibrant videography series, designed to resonate with viewers emotionally, socially, and culturally. A modular project structure will be used to reach a variety of audiences: virtually, through interactive content on a dedicated website; person-to-person, with live performance by the Longleash Trio supplemented by videography; and remotely, via screenings and gallery exhibits. Cinematic performance footage, documentary shorts, and other edifying content will be used to illuminate both 20th-century pieces and older works with significant contemporary resonance; featured works include Hildegard von Bingen’s O virtus sapientiae, Pauline Oliveros’s Tree Peace, Charles Ives’s Trio, and Anthony Cheung’s Flyway Detour.

About the 2019 Innovation Award winners

Danielle DeSwert Hahn, collaborative piano (1999)

Danielle DeSwert Hahn is currently the head of music programs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Formerly principal pianist of the Baltimore Opera Company and the Washington Concert Opera, she has also worked at the Ash Lawn Highland Opera Festival, New York Opera Society, and the Chautauqua, Indianapolis, Kentucky, North Carolina, Portland, Sarasota, and Washington National Opera Companies. Hahn’s latest project is the Living Art Collective Ensemble (LACE), a fluid group of musicians committed to bridging the gap between the visual and performing arts, and to bringing issues of cultural relevance to light through their engaging performances. Hahn recently completed the Association of Performing Arts Professionals Leadership Fellows Program.

Joshua Roman, cello (2002)

Joshua Roman has earned an international reputation for his wide-ranging repertoire, versatility, artistic leadership, and commitment to finding visionary ways of communicating the essence of music. An accomplished composer and curator, he was named a TED Senior Fellow in 2015. He is the Artistic Director of Seattle’s TownMusic, and was appointed the inaugural Artistic Advisor of contemporary streaming channel Second Inversion. Roman spent two seasons as principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony from 2006-08, and has since appeared as soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New World Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Mariinsky Orchestra, and Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional del Ecuadora.

Konstantin Soukhovetski, solo piano (1999)

Konstantin Soukhovetski has appeared with the Miami Symphony Orchestra, Johannesburg Philharmonic, Eastern Cape Philharmonic, and the symphonies of Richmond, Austin, Auburn, Westmoreland, Asheville, and Virginia. His solo performances have taken him to London’s Wigmore Hall; the Weill Recital and Zankel Halls at New York’s Carnegie Hall; the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC; and Zentrum Paul Klee in Switzerland. A native of Moscow, he is an alumnus of the Juilliard School, where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal. After premiering his own transcription of Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs at France’s L’Esprit du Piano Festival, Soukhovetski toured the work in both South Africa and the United States.

About the Alumni Enterprise Awards

Open to all alumni of the Academy’s Summer Festival, the Alumni Enterprise Awards was founded last year to fund innovative ideas in areas including artistic expression, audience development, education, community engagement, social justice, and technology. The Academy has invested a total of $150,000 in alumni-innovated projects since 2018. The winners were selected by the Academy’s senior management in collaboration with its distinguished National Advisory Council.

The Alumni Enterprise Awards are generously supported by Regina and Rick Roney and the Ladera Foundation.

About Music Academy of the West

The Music Academy of the West advances the development of 21st-century, classically trained musicians and cultivates discerning, appreciative, and adventurous audiences. Founded in 1947, the Academy operates on a ten-acre, oceanside campus in Santa Barbara, California, where its world-renowned eight-week Summer Festival comprises more than 200 events. Programs comprise voice, vocal piano, collaborative piano, instrumental, and solo piano. In 2018, the Academy launched a four-year partnership with the London Symphony Orchestra, focusing on education and performance on both sides of the Atlantic. For more information, visit


For further information, contact:
Glenn Petry, 21C Media Group: [email protected]; 212-625-2038
Kate Oberjat, Director of Marketing and Communications, Music Academy of the West: [email protected]

#          #          #

© 21C Media Group, February 2019

Return to Press Room