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Music Academy Awarded $15,000 NEA Grant

Funding will go toward guest conductor residencies for the 2011 summer school and festival

The Music Academy of the West will receive a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to help fund guest conductor residencies during the academy’s 2011 summer school and festival.

The grant, the first the academy has received from the NEA since 1995, reaffirms the institution’s stature as a premier classical music training facility, according to academy President Scott Reed.

“In addition to providing much-needed funding, this grant further validates our programmatic mission and vision,” Reed said. “Working closely with accomplished guest conductors is a vital component of our fellows’ training experience, and we are honored to have the NEA’s partnership through this new grant.”

One of only three Santa Barbara-area groups to receive NEA support during the current grant-making cycle, the Music Academy is among 1,057 nonprofit organizations recommended for funding as part of the endowment’s first round of fiscal year 2011 grants. All told, the NEA will distribute $26.68 million nationwide.

“I continue to be impressed with the creative, innovative and excellent projects brought forward by arts organizations across the country,” NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said. “Our grantees are not only furthering their art forms but also enhancing their neighborhoods by making them more vibrant, livable and fun.”

In 2011, the academy will host conductors Leonard Slatkin, music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Nicholas McGegan, music director of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra; Larry Rachleff, music director of the Rhode Island Philharmonic; Daniel Hege, music director of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra); and Peter Oundjian, music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Festival highlights will include a performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 in C-Sharp Minor featuring Oundjian, and Slatkin conducting Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, to close out the season. In addition, academy faculty member Warren Jones will conduct a production of Gioachino Rossini’s comic masterpiece The Barber of Seville. The academy’s 2011 summer school and festival will take place June 20 through Aug. 13.

“Even more moving than the orchestra performances themselves, is the unique — often lifelong — artistic bond that forms between academy instrumental fellows and the visiting conductors who collaborate with them,” said Richard Feit, vice president for artistic programs and operations at the academy. “These orchestra programs ignite the academy’s musical summer for fellows, conductors and audiences alike.”

— Tim Dougherty is communications manager for the Music Academy of the West.

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