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Music Academy of the West Names Composer-Conductor Matthew Aucoin as 2016 Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation Opera Conductor

The Music Academy of the West – scenic Santa Barbara’s annual summer festival and school – is thrilled to announce that Matthew Aucoin – “the young composer taking classical music by storm” (NPR) will serve as the 2016 Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation Opera Conductor. Highlights of an intensive seven-week residency find the young American composer, conductor, pianist, and writer leading the Academy Festival Orchestra and fellows from the Voice Program in a new production of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride (July 29 & 31); teaching a seminar on music and poetry; and helping to mount his own eco-themed youth opera, Second Nature. Hailed as “a smarter, better way to hook the next generation on opera” (Chicago Tribune), Second Nature will be presented to audiences of festival guests and young people in the Academy’s “Up Close and Musical” outreach program.

Looking ahead to the residency, Aucoin explains:

“I can’t think of many places on the planet that offer Music Academy’s blend of breathtaking music-making, progressive programming, and deep engagement with tradition, all in a setting of rare natural beauty. During my residency, I’ll bring together various aspects of Music Academy’s identity: I’ll conduct music both old and new (Smetana’s The Bartered Bride and some of my own music), and I’ll be teaching a seminar on music and poetry. I’m looking forward to it enormously.”

At just 25, Aucoin already has a wealth of experience to share with Academy fellows. He has been the youngest assistant conductor in the history of the Metropolitan Opera, has made his conducting debut with the Chicago Symphony, has composed works for artists including Yo-Yo Ma, has lectured on music and poetry at New York’s Shakespeare Society, and has led the premieres of his operas Crossing, at Boston’s American Repertory Theater, and Second Nature, at Lyric Opera of Chicago. A graduate of Harvard College and the Juilliard School, he is currently at work on a new opera for the Metropolitan Opera / Lincoln Center Theater’s New Works program. As the Boston Globe put it, “Aucoin is a star in ascendancy.

Music Academy of the West President and CEO Scott Reed said:

“Matthew Aucoin is a multi-faceted musician on an important trajectory.  He represents great hope for music today and the promise of how music will evolve as it enters the mid-21st century. He is the ideal artist to have working with our fellows and inspiring our audiences.”

Mr. Aucoin will participate in the Music Academy’s Summer Festival from June 13-July 31.

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 classical 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 based on merit, and fellows receive full scholarships (tuition, room, and board). The Academy’s distinguished faculty roster 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. 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. Click here to see faculty member and clarinetist Richie Hawley explain what makes the Music Academy of the West unique.

To download high-resolution photos, click here.

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© 21C Media Group, November 2015

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