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Music Academy of the West: new “Carmen,” NY Phil, Adès, Voigt, Denk, & more

The Music Academy of the West, whose annual summer festival in scenic Santa Barbara, CA, is often described as “classical music on America’s Riviera,” returns with a compelling lineup of events at its 2014 Summer School and Festival, which opens on June 16 and runs through August 9. Highlights of this 67th season include the inauguration of an unprecedented four-year partnership with the New York Philharmonic, featuring its music director Alan Gilbert; a new, fully staged production of Bizet’s perennially popular Carmen, presented as an 80th birthday tribute to Marilyn Horne, a Music Academy alumna (’53) and Director of the Voice Program since 1997; and guest residencies from world-class artists: soprano Deborah Voigt, violinist Daniel Hope, pianist Jonathan Biss, and contemporary sextet eighth blackbird. Cellist Joshua Roman reprises his role as alumnus-in-residence, the Takács Quartet returns for a second week-long string quartet seminar, and the Academy Festival Orchestra offers a wealth of concerts in collaboration with such guest artists as pianist Jeremy Denk, conductors James Gaffigan, Edward Gardner, and Joshua Weilerstein, and composer Thomas Adès, who leads his own Polaris on a program of modern masterpieces with which the eight-week festival draws to a close. Showcasing the Academy’s talented Fellows together with illustrious guest performers and faculty, the events will be presented at the Academy’s beautiful Miraflores campus and in venues throughout Santa Barbara.

“We are tremendously proud of the program we have assembled for the 2014 Festival, which brims with marquee performers and promises musical excitement,” said Music Academy President Scott Reed. “This season’s dynamic roster of musical experiences will once again enable Festival attendees to engage, absorb, and celebrate classical music at its finest.” Hailed as “a magnet for some of the country’s most gifted young musicians” (Santa Barbara News-Press), the Music Academy of the West ranks among the nation’s pre-eminent summer music schools and festivals, and is the only one of its kind on the West Coast.

New York Philharmonic: inaugural season of new four-year partnership

The present season sees the launch of the Music Academy’s unprecedented four-year partnership with the world-renowned New York Philharmonic, creating unique educational opportunities for Academy Fellows during the summer months and beyond. Members of the Philharmonic will offer training and performances at the Music Academy Summer Festival each summer for four years, culminating in a joint concert with the New York Philharmonic and the Academy Festival Orchestra (AFO) to celebrate the Music Academy’s 70th anniversary in 2017. Music Director Alan Gilbert, “a galvanizing force at the Philharmonic” (New York Times), will be on hand for part of each of the next four Festivals, and up to five New York Philharmonic musicians will serve as guest faculty for a week each summer to train Fellows in collaboration with Academy faculty. Up to ten Music Academy Fellows, selected by audition during the summer, will travel to New York City for ten-day apprenticeships and musical immersion with the Philharmonic each year through 2018. Under Gilbert’s leadership, the New York Philharmonic will perform as part of the Music Academy Summer Festival in Santa Barbara during the 2015 and 2017 seasons. The 2015 residency will include a community concert marking the Philharmonic’s debut at the historic Santa Barbara County Bowl, as well as a side-by-side orchestral reading with the AFO at the Granada Theatre. Gilbert also will conduct the AFO each summer, and Philharmonic Assistant Conductor and Music Academy alumnus Joshua Weilerstein (’07 and ’08), winner of the 2009 Malko Competition for Young Conductors, will lead the Academy’s annual Concerto Night concert in 2014.

Mosher Guest Artists-in-Residence: eighth blackbird, Daniel Hope, Deborah Voigt, and Jonathan Biss

Generous support from the Samuel B. and Margaret C. Mosher Foundation once again enables the Music Academy to host four stellar guest artists, whose summer residencies will include public masterclasses, performances, and private interaction with Academy Fellows. The 2014 Mosher Guest Artists are multi-Grammy Award-winning contemporary chamber sextet eighth blackbird (June 23–26); Classical BRIT Award-winner Daniel Hope, hailed by the New York Times as “a violinist of probing intellect and commanding style” (July 2–5); leading dramatic soprano Deborah Voigt, the winner of an Opera News Award, two Grammys, and Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year (July 17–19); and Leonard Bernstein Award-winner Jonathan Biss, whom BBC Music magazine calls “one of the most thoughtful and technically accomplished pianists of the younger generation” (August 3–5).

New fully staged production of Carmen to honor Marilyn Horne

The Music Academy Voice Program presents a fully staged production set in Gold Rush-era California of Bizet’s Carmen in honor of Marilyn Horne’s 80th birthday at the Granada Theatre on August 1 and 3. James Gaffigan, who led the Academy Festival Orchestra in memorable performances the last two seasons, will conduct the Academy Opera Orchestra. Juilliard faculty member David Paul, who oversaw the Music Academy’s well-received productions of The Rake’s Progress (2012) and The Magic Flute (2013), returns to direct. Paul’s extensive credits also include a critically lauded production of Le nozze di Figaro for Washington National Opera. “Many regard Carmen as the perfect opera, and it has maintained a constant place in the repertoire since its premiere in 1875,” said Horne, whose celebrated history with Bizet’s masterpiece includes singing the title role to open the Met’s 1972-73 season. That production, which also featured Leonard Bernstein as conductor, went on to garner a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording in 1974. “Whoever sings Carmen has to bring a lot of herself to the character. That’s one of the reasons she’s so interesting,” added Horne, who attended the Music Academy in 1953 and has directed the Academy’s renowned Voice Program since 1997. The 23 Academy Fellows who will perform in the production – chosen from among more than 600 applicants as part of the Academy’s Voice Program audition process – represent some of today’s finest young singing talent. The 45-member opera orchestra will consist of Music Academy instrumental Fellows.

The Music Academy of the West’s production of The Magic Flute last summer impressed Opera News with its “energetic young cast,” which included John Brancy, winner of the Academy’s 2013 Marilyn Horne Song Competition; his “impeccable timing, dynamic physicality, and robust voice made him an ideal Papageno.” David Paul’s production proved “nuanced and engaging,” while the orchestra was applauded for its “spirited and engaging rendition of Mozart’s score.” 

Orchestral concerts: guest appearances by Thomas Adès, Jeremy Denk, Edward Gardner, and more

The Academy Festival Orchestra will present eight concerts this season, including four at the historic Granada Theatre. Larry Rachleff, who serves as music director of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and Rice University’s Shepherd School orchestras, will join Chicago Symphony Principal Trombonist Jay Friedman for the season’s opening orchestra concert at Santa Barbara’s newly renovated Lobero Theatre on June 21. Celebrating the 150th anniversary of Strauss’s birth, Friedman will conduct his own arrangement for brass of An Alpine Symphony, Op. 64; Rachleff will conduct Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1 in D, “Classical,” Op. 25, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 36. The following week, Rachleff will conduct Strauss’s Vienna Philharmonic Fanfare, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67, and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 in B-flat, Op. 100, on June 28. Edward Gardner, who serves as music director of the English National Opera and principal guest conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, will conduct Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé and Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3, featuring 2013 MacArthur Fellow and 2014 Avery Fisher Prize-winner Jeremy Denk, on July 12. New York Philharmonic Assistant Conductor Joshua Weilerstein will take up the baton for Concerto Night, featuring winners of the Academy’s 2014 Concerto Competition, on July 19. A former Concerto Night soloist himself, Weilerstein will conclude the evening with an account of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64.

Last season, the Music Academy of the West presented Matthias Pintscher leading the West Coast premiere of his own bereshit, an event the Los Angeles Times pronounced “the biggest new music news of the summer.” This year, to close out the summer festival on August 9, Grawemeyer Award-winning composer Thomas Adès, “one of the most imposing figures in contemporary music” (New Yorker), will conduct his own work Polaris, on a program with Ives’ Variations on “America,” Britten’s “Four Sea Interludes” from Peter Grimes, and Stravinsky’s Petrushka

In Hahn Hall, which the Los Angeles Times describes as “perfect for chamber music and recitals [because] the acoustics are unobtrusive; nothing gets between music and the ear,” Mosher Guest Artist Daniel Hope will lead a chamber orchestra consisting of Academy faculty and Fellows in a performance of Max Richter’s Recomposed: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons on July 5, and cellist Joshua Roman, returning for a second season as Alumnus-in-Residence, will perform with Music Academy Fellows on August 2. New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert will conduct members of the Academy Festival Orchestra in a performance of chamber symphonies by Thomas Adès and Schoenberg, juxtaposed with Schubert’s Symphony No. 2 in B-flat, D. 125, at the Lobero Theatre on July 26.

Chamber music and solo recitals from Elmar Oliveira, Jeremy Denk, Deborah Voigt, and more

Tuesdays @ 8 concerts feature Academy faculty artists performing both favorites and undiscovered treasures of the chamber repertoire. Guest artists this season include violinists Elmar Oliveira and Sylvia Rosenberg, New York Philharmonic Principal Violist Cynthia Phelps, violist Karen Dreyfus, cellist Joshua Roman, oboist Eugene Izotov, pianists Jeremy Denk and Stephen Hough, and conductors James Gaffigan and Larry Rachleff.

The acclaimed Takács Quartet and the new music sextet eighth blackbird will appear as featured recitalists (June 18 and 26, respectively), as will soprano Deborah Voigt (July 17) and pianist Jonathan Biss (August 4).

String Quartet Seminar by Takács Quartet

Recently inducted into Gramophone’s Hall of Fame – the only string quartet to be so honored to date – the Takács Quartet also will once again oversee the Academy’s innovative new String Quartet Seminar, which provides 16 string Fellows with intensive ensemble coaching over the course of seven days. The seminar will culminate in a public recital by four quartets of participating Fellows at Hahn Hall on June 20. “Some of our very happiest times are spent at the Music Academy. The full-time faculty here achieves an unusual mixture of informality and music-making of the highest quality,” explains Edward Dusinberre, first violinist of the Takács.

Academy Alumnus-in-Residence: Joshua Roman

Having inaugurated the program last summer, celebrated cellist Joshua Roman will again serve as Alumnus-in-Residence at the Music Academy in 2014. During weeks six and seven, he will curate his own curriculum to inspire Fellows, teach a masterclass, perform, and participate in special projects. Since attending the Music Academy in 2002, Roman has enjoyed remarkable success as a performing artist, curator, and programmer committed to engaging and expanding the classical music audience; the San Francisco Chronicle dubs him “a cellist of extraordinary technical and musical gifts.”

Masterclasses: Warren Jones, Glenn Dicterow, and more

The masterclass is one of the hallmarks of the Music Academy experience. All Fellows participate in the Music Academy’s extensive masterclass program, which is designed to complement individual private instruction. Throughout the eight weeks, more than 100 public masterclasses are presented by faculty and guest artists, including vocal masterclasses with Marilyn Horne and vocal piano and interpretation faculty member Warren Jones, “a musician par excellence” (Cleveland Plain Dealer). In addition, weekly masterclasses are presented by members of the string, woodwind, brass, percussion, voice, and piano faculty, including the newly appointed violinist Glenn Dicterow, who is the departing concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, and flutist Timothy Day, horn player Julie Landsman, pianists Jonathan Feldman and Jerome Lowenthal, violinists Kathleen Winkler and Peter Salaff, violists Donald McInnes and Richard O’Neill, and cellists David Geber and Alan Stepansky. The public is invited to attend these classes, which provide unique insight into the music teaching process at its most dynamic and intimate.

Cabaret, the Academy’s signature gala, led by Marilyn Horne and Carol Burnett

Carol Burnett, America’s beloved comedienne, will team up again this summer with Marilyn Horne for coaching sessions with the young vocalists who will headline this year’s Cabaret gala on August 7, which benefits the Music Academy’s full-scholarship program. Ms. Burnett, as the Academy’s Cabaret Creative Contributor, and Ms. Horne, Voice Program Director, will instruct Music Academy Voice Fellows in the art of musical comedy, both in private classes and individually.

Full scholarships for the Academy’s Fellows

Admission to the Music Academy of the West is strictly merit-based, and the Fellows receive full scholarships (tuition, room, and board). For the 2014 Summer School and Festival, 140 Fellows from thirteen countries were accepted from a pool of 1,619 applicants. The Fellows range in age from 18 to 33, with an average age of 23. The top five schools represented are Juilliard (28 Fellows), Manhattan School of Music (11), the Colburn School (11), Northwestern University (9), and New England Conservatory (9).  Cellist Joshua Roman remembers his experience as a Fellow in 2002 as both “invaluable and inspiring. The rigorous schedule gave me my first glimpse of the life to come, the life I now lead. No other festival provided me with so many performance opportunities.  Not even close. Best of all,” he added, “the Music Academy presented me with a model for living a well-balanced life,” citing its innovative “Live Well, Perform Well” wellness curriculum.

Two exciting new hires at the Academy of the West

As “an elite summer program perhaps comparable to New England’s Tanglewood (Bloomberg), it should come as little surprise that the Music Academy of the West has succeeded recently in luring starry staffers from two big-name institutions, recruiting Patrick Posey as Vice President for Artistic Planning from New York’s Juilliard School, where he served as Director of Orchestral Activities and Planning, and Ana Papakhian, newly appointed Vice President of Marketing and Communications, from the Cleveland Orchestra, where she was Director of Communications. 

About the 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. 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.

Music Academy of the West alumni number more than 6,000, representing a veritable “who’s who” of the classical music world. They include Metropolitan Opera stars Marilyn Horne (’53), Grace Bumbry (’56), Thomas Hampson (’78), Juan Diego Flórez (’95), Isabel Leonard (’05), and Alek Shrader (’08); pianist Orion Weiss (’00); the late Lotfi Mansouri (’57), General Director Emeritus of the San Francisco Opera; Cynthia Phelps (’79 & ’83), Principal Viola of the New York Philharmonic; clarinetist David Shifrin (’68), former Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; Laurence Lesser (’53), former President of the New England Conservatory; and singer-songwriter Burt Bacharach (’55).

An audio introduction to the Music Academy of the West

This past season the WFMT Radio Network in Chicago produced and distributed to stations nationally and internationally a two-hour special about the Music Academy, hosted by Carol Burnett.  A 23-minute excerpt from the program can be heard here

For more information, visit High-resolution photos may be downloaded here


Music Academy of the West 2014

Summer Festival: June 16–August 9

Santa Barbara, CA


Festival highlights “at a glance”

June 18: Takács Quartet

June 21: Larry Rachleff and Jay Friedman with members of the Academy Festival Orchestra

June 26: eighth blackbird in recital

June 27: PianoFest

June 28: Marilyn Horne Masterclass

June 28: Larry Rachleff with Academy Festival Orchestra

July 5: Daniel Hope in concert 

July 5, 7: Opera Scenes

July 9: Warren Jones Masterclass

July 12: Edward Gardner and Jeremy Denk with Academy Festival Orchestra

July 17: Deborah Voigt in recital

July 19: Joshua Weilerstein with Academy Festival Orchestra – “Concerto Night”

July 19: Marilyn Horne Song Competition

July 21: Academy Percussion Ensemble

July 26: Alan Gilbert with members of the Academy Festival Orchestra

August 1, 3: Carmen (David Paul, stage director; James Gaffigan, conductor) 

August 2: Joshua Roman with Academy Fellows

August 4: Jonathan Biss in recital

August 7: Cabaret, the Academy’s Signature Gala 

August 9: Thomas Adès with Academy Festival Orchestra


Chronological listing of events

June 16

Solo Piano Masterclass 1 with Jerome Lowenthal


June 18

Vocal Masterclass: Introduction of the 2014 Singers and Vocal Pianists with Marilyn Horne and Warren Jones

Takács Quartet Recital

     Beethoven: Quartet No. 8, Op. 59, No. 2, “Rasumovsky”

     Barber: Adagio from String Quartet, Op. 11

     Dvorák: Quintet in G, Op. 77


June 20

Vocal Masterclass with Marilyn Horne

String Quartet Seminar Recital by the four quartets coached by the Takács Quartet


June 21

Members of the Academy Festival Orchestra with Jay Friedman and Larry Rachleff, conductors

     R. Strauss, arr. by Jay Friedman: An Alpine Symphony, Op. 64

     Prokofiev: Symphony No.1 in D Major, “Classical,” Op. 25 

     Beethoven: Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 36


June 23

Solo Piano Masterclass 2 with Jerome Lowenthal


June 24

Tuesdays @ 8, Concert 1 with faculty artists

Tower: Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman No. 5

Brahms: Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor

     Stravinsky: Octet

     Beethoven: Piano Trio in E-flat, Op. 70, No. 2

Mosher Guest Artist Masterclass with eighth blackbird


June 25

Vocal Masterclass with Warren Jones

Masterclass Sampler No. 1 with Jorja Fleezanis, Barbara Butler, and Jerome Lowenthal


June 26

Mosher Guest Artist Recital with eighth blackbird


June 27

PianoFest with Jerome Lowenthal, featuring eight Piano Studio Fellows


June 28

Academy Festival Orchestra with Larry Rachleff, conductor

     R. Strauss: Vienna Philharmonic Fanfare

     Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67

     Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 in B-flat, Op. 100

Marilyn Horne Masterclass at UCSB


June 30

Solo Piano Masterclass 3 with Choong Mo Kang


July 1

Tuesdays @ 8, Concert 2 with faculty artists

     Mozart: Quintet for Piano and Winds, K. 452

     Ravel: Tzigane

     Tchaikovsky: Piano Trio, Op. 50


July 2

Vocal Masterclass with John Fisher

Concerto Competition Finals, Part One (strings)


July 3

Concerto Competition Finals, Part Two (winds, brass, percussion, solo piano)


July 4

Mosher Guest Artist Masterclass with Daniel Hope, violin

Picnic Concert 1 – featuring Academy Fellows


July 5

Opera Scenes with director Gregory Fortner and conductors Warren Jones, John Churchwell, and John Fisher

Mosher Guest Artist Concert with violinist Daniel Hope, leading a chamber orchestra of Academy faculty and Fellows

Max Richter: Recomposed: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons


July 7

Solo Piano Masterclass 4 with Jerome Lowenthal

Opera Scenes with director Gregory Fortner and conductors Warren Jones, John Churchwell, and John Fisher


July 8

Tuesdays @ 8, Concert 3 with faculty artists

     Mark O’Connor: Chief Sitting in the Rain, College Hornpipe

Busoni: Carmen Fantasy

     Dvorák: Serenade for Winds, Op. 44

     Bartók: Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion


July 9

Vocal Masterclass with Warren Jones


July 10

Academy Open House

All events free and open to the public


July 11

Vocal Masterclass with Fred Carama

Picnic Concert 2


July 12

Academy Festival Orchestra with Edward Gardner, conductor

     Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 3 (with Jeremy Denk, piano)

     Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé


July 14

Solo Piano Masterclass with Jeremy Denk

Academy Brass Ensemble in Concert


July 15

Tuesdays @ 8 Concert 4 with Jeremy Denk and faculty artists

     Milhaud: Scaramouche

     Rebecca Clarke: Viola Sonata

     Ives: Piano Sonata No. 2, Concord, Mass., 1840-60


July 16

Vocal Masterclass with John Churchwell


July 17

Mosher Guest Artist Recital with Deborah Voigt


July 18

Mosher Guest Artist Masterclass with Deborah Voigt

Picnic Concert 3


July 19

Marilyn Horne Song Competition (10 am)

Marilyn Horne Song Competition (1 pm)

Concerto Night with Joshua Weilerstein, conductor

     Concertos to be announced on July 14

     Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64


July 21

Solo Piano Masterclass with Stephen Hough

Academy Percussion Ensemble in Concert


July 22

Tuesdays @ 8, Concert 5 with Stephen Hough, faculty artists, James Gaffigan, conductor

     Debussy/Sachs: Prélude à l’après midi d’un faune

     Stephen Hough: Piano Sonata No. 2

Mahler, arr. Klaus Simon: Symphony No. 4


July 24

Vocal Chamber Music Concert

   Vivaldi: Motet “O qui coeli terracque”

   Vaughan-Williams: “Four Hymns”

   Respighi: “Il Tramonto”


July 25

Picnic Concert 4


July 26

Alan Gilbert & Members of the Academy Festival Orchestra

     Thomas Adès: Chamber Symphony

     Schoenberg: Chamber Symphony No. 1

     Schubert: Symphony No. 2 in B-flat, D. 125


July 28

Solo Piano Masterclass TBA


July 29

Tuesdays @ 8, Concert 6 with faculty artists

     Ravel: Sonatine

Matthias Pintscher: Uriel

     Mendelssohn: Octet

Masterclass Sampler No. 2 with New York Philharmonic musicians Eric Bartlett, cello; Robert Langevin, flute; Joseph Alessi, trombone


July 30

OperaNow! Live Podcast with Marilyn Horne, Michael Rice, Oliver Camacho, Doug Dodson and Jennifer Rivera (new)


July 31

Picnic Concert 5


August 1

Bizet: Carmen with James Gaffigan, conductor, and David Paul, director (new production)


August 2

Joshua Roman and Academy Fellows in Concert

   Includes world premiere of a new work by Joshua Roman on poems by Tracy K. Smith


August 3

Bizet: Carmen with James Gaffigan, conductor and David Paul, director (new production)


August 4

Mosher Guest Artist Recital with Jonathan Biss

     Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 2

     Janácek: Selections from On an Overgrown Path

     Chopin: Nocturne No. 1 in B Major, Op. 62

     Janácek: Sonata 1.X.1905, “From the Street”

     Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57, “Appassionata”


August 5

Solo Piano Masterclass with Jonathan Biss

Tuesdays @ 8, Concert 7 with faculty artists

     Hermann: Clarinet Quintet

     Brahms: Piano Quintet, Op. 34


August 6

Vocal Masterclass with Marilyn Horne


August 7             

Cabaret, the Academy’s Signature Gala

Santa Barbara, CA

Double Tree Resort

Marilyn Horne, Voice Program Director

Carol Burnett, Cabaret Creative Contributor

Gerald Sternbach, Cabaret Director

Featuring 2014 Voice Program Fellows in classical, Broadway and pop favorites

All proceeds from Cabaret directly benefit the Academy’s full-scholarship training program.


August 8

Solo Piano Studio Presentation

Picnic Concert 6


August 9

Academy Festival Orchestra with Thomas Adès, conductor

     Ives: Variations on “America”

     Britten: “Four Sea Interludes” from Peter Grimes

     Thomas Adès: Polaris

     Stravinsky: Petrushka


For further information, contact:

Glenn Petry

21C Media Group

[email protected]



Tim Dougherty

Communications Manager

Music Academy of the West

[email protected]



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© 21C Media Group, April 2014

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