Press Room

Music Academy of the West Presents Third Annual Classical Evolution/Revolution Conference on July 22–24

Representatives of some of the world’s most influential arts and business organizations come together for the Music Academy of the West’s third Classical Evolution/Revolution Conference on July 22-24. Engaging today’s preeminent artists, creators, thinkers, CEOs, and media leaders to consider the arts as the cultural fabric of society, the conference’s four panel discussions address such pertinent concerns as how best to serve the needs of today’s evolving audiences, navigating the world of commercial music, and taking control of one’s own creative life and emerging career. Now expanded from one day to three, the 2019 conference also features the first Fast Pitch Awards. Introduced this year to offer the Academy’s young fellows the chance to pitch entrepreneurial ideas for cash prizes, the awards are designed to inspire new innovations in classical performance, presentation, and audience development.

Fellows attending the Music Academy of the West will have the opportunity to participate, ask questions, and be inspired by four panel discussions that draw on the expertise of an exceptionally distinguished roster of guest panelists and speakers. The conference, which is open to the public as well as faculty, fellows, and members of the industry, builds on the success of the 2017 and 2018 editions, which established Music Academy of the West as a pioneer of thought leadership in music and the arts. As the Los Angeles Times concluded, “The news from picture-perfect Montecito is that however great the challenges may be for classical music, the possibilities are greater. And there are a lot of people who care.” See full details of this year’s speakers, panels, and Fast Pitch Awards below.

Guest panelists and speakers:

  • Nico Abondolo, Music Academy faculty artist; double bassist
  • Jeff Beal, composer
  • Larry Blank, conductor; orchestrator
  • Clemency Burton-Hill, Creative Director of Music & Arts at WQXR
  • Clive Chang, Director of Strategy & Business Development at Disney Theatrical Group
  • Claire Chase, Mosher guest artist; flute soloist and collaborative artist; curator; Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the International Contemporary Ensemble
  • David Devan, President and CEO of Opera Philadelphia
  • Andy Doe, Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at Trinity Laban School; Independent Consultant
  • Joshua Rubin, clarinetist; former Co-Artistic Director of International Contemporary Ensemble
  • Deborah Rutter, President of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
  • Jane M. Saks, President and Artistic Director of Project&

Monday, July 22: “The Artistic Agenda: Serving the Needs of Artists and Audiences”

The Changing Live Experience (10am)
With Clemency Burton-Hill (moderator), David Devan, and Deborah Rutter
How is the cultural experience evolving to meet demands and expectations of changing audiences? Is the art changing based on where and to whom it is presented? What are the effects on presenters and funders when artists create work outside the concert hall or the traditional venue? How does the space where art is created affect artists and audiences? What will the role of “proscenium presenting” be for artists and audiences in the future?

Break Through the Noise: Tools to Create the Career You Want and Deserve (1:45pm)
With Clemency Burton-Hill, Clive Chang, and Andy Doe
The role of the performer requires many skills in addition to making music at the highest level. It’s fundamentally about communication – communication with audiences, donors, and other musicians, both in live performance and increasingly through media tools of all kinds, from making effective videos to writing and delivering ideas live and in person. The experts advise on best practices for organizing and presenting ideas and delivering them effectively to their intended audience.

Tuesday, July 23: “Owning Your Creative Life and Future”

Evolving Musical Communities and New Ensemble Modalities (3pm)
With Claire Chase, Joshua Rubin, and Jane M. Saks
Claire Chase, flutist and founder of the International Contemporary Ensemble, leads a conversation about the changing roles and responsibilities of artists and organizations in the early part of the 21st century. Questions that will be addressed in this interactive two-hour talk include: How do we evolve as a musical community to build more equitable, inclusive, adaptive and inter-connected ensembles and organizations in the 21st century? What do these new ensemble evolutions contribute to the larger cultural ecology? How do we support one another in creating and sustaining the ensembles and organizations of the next generation in new ways?

Wednesday, July 24: “Fame, Fortune and Money!”

Ready for Your Close-Up? An Introduction to Commercial Music (1:45pm)
With Nico Abondolo, Jeff Beal, and Larry Blank
Musicians who chose a life working in the commercial music world require additional skills and knowledge not commonly taught or even discussed in many conservatories, from following a click-track to sight-reading flawlessly in a single take and fluently switching musical styles on command. Three experts – an experienced conductor/orchestrator, a composer, and a working musician – discuss what it takes to have a successful career in the studio community.

Fast Pitch Awards: Win Money, Support Good Ideas and Eat Tacos! (7:30pm)
Fellows are invited to vote for the best ideas presented during Music Academy of the West’s first annual Fast Pitch Awards. Their peers’ ideas may inspire them to start formulating their own ideas and plans for the classical music community. Their ideas can win them money, expertise, and encouragement to make those ideas a reality.

About the Music Academy’s Summer School and Festival
The Music Academy of the West charts new territory at the 72nd annual Summer School and Festival (June 17–Aug 10). As part of its first transatlantic educational partnership, the Academy presents the historic festival debut of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), which travels to Santa Barbara for three programs under the leadership of LSO conductors Elim Chan and Daniel Harding. No less momentous is the Academy’s West Coast premiere of Cold Mountain, the award-winning first opera of Composer-in-Residence Jennifer Higdon, in an exclusive new production conducted by TED Fellow Daniela Candillari and directed by Music Academy Vocal Institute Creative Director James Darrah. Known for their high energy, this summer’s Academy Festival Orchestra concerts will be led by returning favorite Larry Rachleff; Marin Alsop, making her festival debut; Matthias Pintscher, showcasing his own composition; and Harding, leading the orchestra alongside the LSO in the annual Community Concert, which underscores the Academy’s ongoing commitment to community access. Other festival highlights include an Opening Night Gala to mark the Academy’s five-decade-long association with distinguished pianist Jerome Lowenthal, an Academy Chamber Orchestra concert with Thomas Adès, and recitals by pianist Jeremy Denk, the Takács Quartet, and a stellar quartet of 2019 Mosher Guest Artists: mezzo-soprano and 2005 alumna Isabel Leonard, flutist Claire Chase, double bassist Edgar Meyer, and pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard. All told, 140 talented fellows and 77 outstanding faculty members will take part in 170 concerts, recitals, and masterclasses on the Academy’s picturesque Miraflores campus and throughout scenic Santa Barbara, California.

About the 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
Ana Papakhian, Music Academy of the West, Vice President of Marketing and Communications: [email protected]; 805‐695-7907

#          #          #

© 21C Media Group, July 2019

Return to Press Room