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Music Academy of the West Forges Four-Year Partnership with New York Philharmonic

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.

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, 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, including masterclasses, chamber music coaching sessions, private lessons, and lectures.

Additionally, up to 10 Music Academy Fellows, selected by audition during the summer, will travel to New York City for 10-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,” Gilbert said. “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,” Music Academy President Scott Reed said. “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,” New York Philharmonic Executive Director Matthew VanBesien said. “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 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 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 summer 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 (1979 and ’83) and Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, will again be a visiting artist this summer, having participated in the past two Academy Festivals.

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

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