Press Room

New York Philharmonic and Music Academy of the West

The New York Philharmonic and the Music Academy of the West have entered into a four-year partnership that will create unique and intensive opportunities for selected Music Academy Fellows to train with New York Philharmonic musicians and Music Director Alan Gilbert in Santa Barbara and New York. Alan Gilbert, the New York Philharmonic, its Assistant Conductors, and musicians will have a presence at the Music Academy Summer Festival for training and performances each summer for four years beginning in 2014, culminating in a joint concert with the New York Philharmonic and Academy Festival Orchestra celebrating the Music Academy’s 70th anniversary in 2017.
Under the partnership, Music Director Alan Gilbert will participate in Music Academy activities in each of the four summers, and up to five New York Philharmonic musicians will serve as guest faculty for one week each summer in Santa Barbara to train Music Academy Fellows in collaboration with Academy faculty, with masterclasses, chamber music coaching sessions, private lessons, and lectures. Additionally, 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.
“This collaboration with the Music Academy of the West taps into multiple facets of the New York Philharmonic,” said Music Director Alan Gilbert. “Our musicians have an astounding amount to share, in terms of both performance and education. Their ability to give uplifting and excellent concerts is integrally linked with their potential to inspire and educate future orchestral musicians. This partnership with the Music Academy will give us the opportunity to showcase both of these sides through performances in beautiful Santa Barbara and ongoing work with their very promising Fellows.”
“This historic collaboration with the New York Philharmonic is transformative for the Music Academy, our Fellows, and the Santa Barbara community,” said Music Academy President Scott Reed. “The training opportunities this partnership provides our musicians are unparalleled, both in the summer and throughout the year. We are enormously proud to be working so closely with this iconic musical institution.”
“The New York Philharmonic has set the highest standard for performance that has been an inspiration for musicians around the world, and we are grateful that Alan Gilbert and our musicians are able to give back in the form of helping to train the next generation,” said New York Philharmonic Executive Director Matthew VanBesien. “Similar to what we are undertaking in Shanghai through the Shanghai Orchestra Academy and Residency, this new collaboration with the Music Academy of the West — one of the leading training institutions in the United States — will allow Alan and our talented musicians to create a long-term, immersive connection with Santa Barbara audiences, through their magnificent performances, and to impact the next generation of orchestral players, through the rich array of Music Academy activities.”
The New York Philharmonic, conducted by Alan Gilbert, will perform at the Music Academy Summer Festival in Santa Barbara during the 2015 and 2017 summer 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 orchestra reading with the Music Academy’s Academy Festival Orchestra (AFO) at the Granada Theatre. The 2017 residency will include a joint appearance with the New York Philharmonic and the AFO to commemorate the Music Academy’s 70th Anniversary. Alan Gilbert will also conduct the AFO at the Summer Festival in 2014 and 2016, and Philharmonic Assistant Conductor Joshua Weilerstein, a Music Academy alumnus, will conduct the Music Academy’s annual Concerto Night concert in July 2014.
While this new collaboration creates the first official partnership between these two organizations, the Music Academy has long enjoyed an informal connection to the New York Philharmonic through its faculty and visiting artists. In the summer of 2014, Glenn Dicterow, who is retiring at the end of this season after 34 years as the Philharmonic’s Concertmaster, is joining the faculty of the Music Academy, where he has been a visiting artist the previous two summers. In addition to 12 members of the New York Philharmonic who are Music Academy alumni, past Academy faculty members have included former New York Philharmonic Principal Flute Jeanne Baxtresser, former Associate Principal Cello Alan Stepansky, and current Philharmonic trombonist David Finlayson. Philharmonic Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps, a Music Academy alumna (‘79 and ’83) and Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, will again be a visiting artist this summer, having participated in the past two Academy Festivals. 
About Music 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. 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 of the West’s 2014 Summer School and Festival will take place from June 16 to August 9, 2014. Highlights will include a fully staged production of Carmen, presented as an 80th birthday tribute to Marilyn Horne — a Music Academy alumna (’53) and Director of the Voice Program since 1997 — as well as performances and masterclasses by the new music sextet eighth blackbird, Jonathan Biss, Jeremy Denk, Daniel Hope, Joshua Roman, Deborah Voigt, the Takács Quartet, and composer-conductor Thomas Adès. 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.
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). 
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About the New York Philharmonic
Founded in 1842, the New York Philharmonic is the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States and one of the oldest in the world; on May 5, 2010, it performed its 15,000th concert — a milestone unmatched by any other symphony orchestra in the world. The Orchestra has always played a leading role in American musical life, championing the music of its time, and is renowned around the globe, having appeared in 432 cities in 63 countries — including its October 2009 debut in Vietnam and its February 2008 historic visit to Pyongyang, DPRK, earning the 2008 Common Ground Award for Cultural Diplomacy. The Philharmonic’s concerts are broadcast on the weekly syndicated radio program The New York Philharmonic This Week, streamed on, and have been telecast annually on Live From Lincoln Center on U.S. public television since the series’ premiere in 1976. The Philharmonic has made almost 2,000 recordings since 1917, with more than 500 currently available. The first major American orchestra to offer downloadable concerts, recorded live, the Philharmonic released the first ever classical iTunes Pass in 2009–10; the self-produced recordings continue with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic: 2013–14 Season. The Orchestra has built on its long-running Young People’s Concerts to develop a wide range of education programs, including Very Young People’s Concerts, for pre-schoolers; School Day Concerts, with supporting curriculum for grades 3–12; the School Partnership Program, enriching music education in New York City; Very Young Composers, enabling students to express themselves through original works; Learning Overtures, fostering international exchange among educators; and online resources used in homes and classrooms around the world. The Philharmonic has combined its international prominence with its commitment to education through the creation of a groundbreaking partnership with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music for a multiyear collaboration in which the Orchestra will perform in annual residencies in Shanghai and contribute expertise through the participation of the Orchestra’s musicians in the newly established Shanghai Orchestral Academy. In addition to its new partnership with Music Academy of the West, the Philharmonic continues its residency at Bravo! Vail and the Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer, each summer. Alan Gilbert became Music Director of the New York Philharmonic in September 2009, succeeding a series of 20th-century musical giants that goes back to Gustav Mahler and Arturo Toscanini. Credit Suisse is the New York Philharmonic’s exclusive Global Sponsor.
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Music Director Alan Gilbert began his New York Philharmonic tenure in September 2009, the first native New Yorker in the post. He and the Philharmonic have introduced the positions of The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence and The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence; CONTACT!, the new-music series; and, beginning in the spring of 2014, the NY PHIL BIENNIAL. “He is building a legacy that matters and is helping to change the template for what an American orchestra can be,” the New York Times exclaimed.
In addition to inaugurating the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, in the 2013–14 season Alan Gilbert conducts Mozart’s three final symphonies; the U.S. Premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Frieze coupled with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; four world premieres; an all-Britten program celebrating the composer’s centennial; the score from 2001: A Space Odyssey as the film was screened; and a staged production of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson. He continues The Nielsen Project — the multi-year initiative to perform and record the Danish composer’s symphonies and concertos, the first release of which was named by the New York Times as among the Best Classical Music Recordings of 2012 — and presides over the ASIA / WINTER 2014 tour. Last season’s highlights included Bach’s B-minor Mass; Ives’s Fourth Symphony; the EUROPE / SPRING 2013 tour; and the season-concluding A Dancer’s Dream, a multidisciplinary reimagining of Stravinsky’s The Fairy’s Kiss and Petrushka, created by Giants Are Small and starring New York City Ballet principal dancer Sara Mearns.
Mr. Gilbert is Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies and holds the William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies at The Juilliard School. Conductor laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of Hamburg’s NDR Symphony Orchestra, he regularly conducts leading orchestras around the world. He made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut conducting John Adams’s Doctor Atomic in 2008, the DVD of which received a Grammy Award. Renée Fleming’s recent Decca recording Poèmes, on which he conducted, received a 2013 Grammy Award. His recordings have received top honors from the Chicago Tribune and Gramophone magazine. In May 2010 Mr. Gilbert received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from The Curtis Institute of Music and in December 2011, Columbia University’s Ditson Conductor’s Award for his “exceptional commitment to the performance of works by American composers and to contemporary music.”
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This partnership has been made possible through the generosity of lead sponsors Linda and Michael Keston.
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Credit Suisse is the Global Sponsor of the New York Philharmonic.
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
Katherine E. Johnson, New York Philharmonic Director, Public and Media Relations: [email protected]; 212-875-5700

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