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Music Academy of the West is subject of WFMT special hosted by Carol Burnett Jan 15

The Music Academy of the West, whose annual Summer School and Festival in Santa Barbara, CA has become one of the country’s most prestigious showcases for exceptional young classical musicians, is the focus of a new syndicated special that will be distributed by the WFMT Radio Network in Chicago. Hosted by iconic television star Carol Burnett, and subtitled “The Future of Classical Music on America’s Riviera,” the two-hour program will air on classical and public radio stations nationwide, and internationally through the European Broadcast Union, beginning January 15.
Featuring performances and interviews from the Music Academy’s 2013 Festival, the program was assembled and scripted by veteran producer Marty Ronish, whose numerous credits include Performance Today (NPR) and Chicago Symphony Orchestra broadcasts. Musical selections include the Queen of the Night aria from the Music Academy’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, an excerpt from the West Coast premiere of composer Matthias Pintscher’s new work bereshit, and a rollicking performance of the finale of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, conducted by the incomparable Leonard Slatkin. Among those contributing commentary are conductors James Gaffigan and Nicholas McGegan, former New York Philharmonic principal flutist Jeanne Baxtresser, and former Chicago Symphony Orchestra principal percussionist Ted Atkatz, who is a Music Academy faculty member. Interviewees also include Academy Fellows and administrative staff.
“We are delighted to be the subject of such a wonderfully entertaining program,” said Music Academy of the West President Scott Reed. “This special expertly captures the richness, vitality, and passion that characterize each summer season at the Music Academy. We are excited to be sharing our unique Summer Festival experience with listeners nationwide and beyond.”
The executive producer of the special is WFMT Executive Vice President and General Manager Steve Robinson. “The opportunity to document this remarkable educational institution for the WFMT Radio Network has proven to be a thrilling experience, and we’re eager to offer this special documentary to the many fine arts radio stations in the U.S. and around the world that carry our programs. The joy of learning, studying, and performing evident each summer at the Music Academy is infectious, and we know listeners will feel the excitement as they listen to this program,” said Robinson.
Burnett, whose eponymous TV variety show has been hailed as a broadcasting landmark, joined the Music Academy’s artistic roster last summer to help prepare the Vocal Fellows for the Academy’s annual Cabaret Gala.  She is a resident of nearby Montecito, and this marked the American icon’s first foray into the classroom. “Working with the Academy’s exceptionally talented Fellows last year was a wonderful experience,” she stated. “All I can say is I wish I’d had something like this when I was starting out.”
Burnett’s numerous honors include 12 People’s Choice Awards – more than any other actress – eight Golden Globes, six Emmy Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She also has been inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. She is the author of the New York Times bestsellers This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection and her autobiography, One More Time, as well as a new memoir, Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story, which was released last spring. Hollywood Arms, the play based on her autobiography and co-written with her late daughter, Carrie Hamilton, premiered at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre in April 2002. Burnett received her first Grammy nomination in 2011 for the audiobook version of This Time Together, and is a current Grammy nominee for the audiobook version of Carrie and Me. She was awarded the Kennedy Center’s prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in October.
The Music Academy of the West radio special is generously supported by Linda and Michael Keston. Related photos and audio material can be accessed at:
About Music Academy of the West
The Music Academy of the West’s 2014 Summer School and Festival will take place June 16 to August 9. Highlights will include a fully staged production of Carmen, presented as a tribute to legendary mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, who has directed the Music Academy’s renowned Voice Program since 1997.  Featuring the Academy’s exceptionally talented Fellows, together with illustrious guest performers and faculty, the events will be presented at the Academy’s scenic Miraflores campus and in venues throughout Santa Barbara. Recent faculty appointments include New York Philharmonic Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow, former Metropolitan Opera principal horn Julie Landsman, and trumpeters Barbara Butler and Charlie Geyer. Visiting artists for 2014 will include Jeremy Denk, Richard O’Neill, and Cynthia Phelps.
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 began broadcasting live, high-definition simulcasts by the world-renowned Metropolitan Opera at Hahn Hall in October 2008. For more information, visit
About the WFMT Radio Network
The WFMT Radio Network is a premier creator and distributor of radio programs that are syndicated to hundreds of radio stations throughout the United States and internationally, with a focus on classical music, jazz, folk, science, and world culture programs. Based in Chicago, The WFMT Radio Network has been providing radio stations with syndicated programming since 1972. For a full list of WFMT Radio Network programs, visit
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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
© 21C Media Group, January 2014

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