Violist Patcharaphan Khumprakob took part in the Music Academy of the West’s 2014 Summer Festival. This coming season, which begins June 15, the academy will present about 200 events, including more than 80 that are free. (Music Academy of the West photo)

The Music Academy of the West will present the world-renowned New York Philharmonic in its first-ever performance at the historic Santa Barbara Bowl as well as a new production of Gioachino Rossini’s comic opera Cinderella as part of the academy’s 68th annual Summer Festival.

The Music Academy will present some 200 events, including more than 80 that are free, over the course of its coming season, which begins June 15 and concludes Aug. 8.

Additional highlights will include performances by pianists Jeremy Denk and Leon Fleisher, the Takács and JACK quartets, cellist Alban Gerhardt and tenor Anthony Dean Griffey, as well as orchestra concerts led by Christoph von Dohnányi, Courtney Lewis, Nicholas McGegan, Larry Rachleff and Osmo Vänskä.

Throughout its 2015 Summer Festival, the academy will highlight the music of living composers, including Carter Pann, Mason Bates, Kalevi Aho, Pierre Jalbert, Steve Reich, Thomas Adès, Caroline Shaw and Pierre Boulez. Featuring the academy’s exceptionally talented fellows, together with distinguished guest performers and faculty, the events will be presented at the academy’s scenic Miraflores campus and in venues throughout Santa Barbara. Subscription sales have begun; individual tickets will go on sale Saturday, April 25.

“We are tremendously proud of the program we have assembled for the 2015 Festival, which brings together outstanding classical musicians from near and far, providing unparalleled training opportunities for our fellows,” Music Academy President Scott Reed said. “This season’s unique programs will once again enable Festival attendees to engage, absorb and celebrate classical music at its finest.”

The Music Academy’s 2015 subscription brochure can be viewed online by clicking here.

Community Access Initiatives

The Music Academy has announced four initiatives to foster greater community involvement during its 2015 Summer Festival. Anchoring the effort are $10 Community Access tickets, a portion of which will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for all Festival events. Community Access seats will be located in premium sections of each Summer Festival venue: Hahn Hall, Lehmann Hall, and Weinman Hall, on the Music Academy campus; the Lobero and Granada theatres; and the Santa Barbara Bowl.

Additionally, young people ages 7 to 17 accompanying ticketed adults will be admitted free to all events; more than 25 performances and masterclasses will be streamed live on the internet; and the Music Academy will host a free, all-day community event on June 24. The latter will include an Academy Festival Orchestra rehearsal at Hahn Hall led by guest conductor Larry Rachleff and featuring Ravel’s ever-popular Boléro, as well as a masterclass with Voice Program Director Marilyn Horne and a string quartet performance, among other events. Free tickets for the Marilyn Horne masterclass and the string quartet performance will be available on Saturday, April 25, at the Academy Ticket Office until all seats are reserved.

“Transforming our audience by increasing it is critical to our mission. We are fiercely dedicated to introducing more people to classical music, and earning more fans. Thanks to the incredible philanthropy of our supporters, we’ll be able to present performances and learning opportunities for more people in Santa Barbara’s finest venues, in their own homes, or wherever they are,” Music Academy board chair Margaret Cafarelli said.

New York Philharmonic Debut at the Santa Barbara Bowl

As part of its unprecedented four-year partnership with the New York Philharmonic announced last year, the Music Academy will present the Philharmonic in its debut performance at the Santa Barbara Bowl on Monday, August 3. Led by Music Director Alan Gilbert, the world-famous orchestra will perform an all-American program, including music from Leonard Bernstein’s beloved West Side Story and Aaron Copland’s epic masterpiece Appalachian Spring, with its inspiring Shaker melody, “’Tis the Gift to be Simple.” Soprano Julia Bullock and tenor Ben Bliss, a 2012 Music Academy alumnus, will join the Philharmonic as soloists for West Side Story Concert Suite No. 1.

“Thanks to our generous supporters, we have secured substantial funding to enable us to offer astonishingly affordable tickets for this special event. More than 4,000 tickets will be available for $10 each,” Reed said. “Our ongoing partnership with the New York Philharmonic allows us to bring one of the world’s greatest orchestras to inspire our fellows and engage with our community. This exceptional performance under the stars, overlooking the ocean, will be a highlight of the summer for Santa Barbara.”

Tickets for the Philharmonic concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl will go on sale on Saturday, April 25, at the Bowl Ticket Office, the Music Academy Ticket Office, and online at

Under terms of the New York Philharmonic’s partnership with the Music Academy, up to five Philharmonic musicians will serve as guest faculty for one week each summer to train fellows in collaboration with Academy faculty, including masterclasses, chamber music coachings, private lessons, and lectures. Filling the residencies this summer will be Acting Concertmaster Sheryl Staples, Principal Cellist Carter Brey, Principal Clarinetist Anthony McGill, Principal Tubist Alan Baer, and Associate Principal Percussionist Daniel Druckman.

Linda and Michael Keston are lead sponsors of the Music Academy’s partnership with the New York Philharmonic.

Mosher Guest Artist Residency Program

Generous support from the Samuel B. and Margaret C. Mosher Foundation will once again enable the Music Academy to host four stellar guest artists over the course of this year’s Summer Festival. Ranging in duration, their residencies will include public masterclasses, performances, and private interaction with Academy fellows. The Academy’s 2015 Mosher Guest Artists are tenor Anthony Dean Griffey (in residence June 22-27), cellist Alban Gerhardt (July 6-10), pianist Leon Fleisher (July 13-19), and the JACK Quartet (July 19-22). Mr. Griffey, who has garnered critical and popular acclaim on opera, concert, and recital stages around the world, will perform with by Music Academy faculty artist John Churchwell (piano) in Hahn Hall on June 25. Praised by The Guardian as “one of finest cellists around – expressive, unshowy, and infinitely classy” – Mr. Gerhardt will perform with Music Academy faculty artist Natasha Kislenko (piano) in Hahn Hall on July 9. Mr. Fleisher, who at 86 years young continues to sustain a thriving career as a conductor, soloist, recitalist, chamber music artist, and masterclass mentor, will appear with piano duo partner Katherine Jacobson Fleisher in Hahn Hall on July 15. And the award-winning JACK Quartet, whose members include Music Academy alumnus Ari Streisfeld (violin, ’01-’03), will perform in Hahn Hall on July 20. All four concerts will begin at 8 pm.

The Opera Event of the Summer: Rossini’s Cinderella

The Music Academy Voice Program will present a fully staged production of Cinderella at the Granada Theatre on July 30 and Aug. 1. Jayce Ogren, former music director of the New York City Opera, will conduct the Academy Festival Orchestra. David Paul, a faculty member at Juilliard and the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program who oversaw the academy’s well-received productions of The Rake’s Progress, The Magic Flute, and Carmen in 2012, 2013, and 2014, respectively, will return to direct. Mr. Paul’s extensive credits also include a critically lauded production of Le nozze di Figaro for Washington National Opera. “Rossini’s bel canto style of opera is difficult to perform, but beautiful to hear,” said Ms. Horne, who has directed the Music Academy’s renowned Voice Program since 1997. “Everyone will enjoy the vocal fireworks and the charming libretto.” The Academy fellows who will perform in the production – chosen from among more than 550 applicants as part of the program’s competitive audition process – represent some of today’s finest young singing talent. The production also will include 45 instrumental fellows from the Academy Festival Orchestra.

Academy Festival Orchestra Concerts

The Academy Festival Orchestra will present seven concerts this season, including five 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 conduct the season’s first two orchestra concerts at the Granada Theatre on June 20 and 27. In its opening appearance of the 2015 Festival on June 20, the orchestra will perform Mason Bates’ Ode before teaming up with Academy Voice Program fellows and the Santa Barbara Choral Society for Beethoven’s exuberant Symphony No. 9. The following week, Mr. Rachleff will conduct Ravel’s timeless Boléro and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, Op. 45, on June 27. Osmo Vänskä, who serves as music director of the Minnesota Orchestra and has been hailed for his work with many other leading orchestras, will conduct Kalevi Aho’s Geija (Chinese Images for Orchestra) and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 at the Granada Theatre on July 11. New York Philharmonic Assistant Conductor Courtney Lewis, who was also recently appointed music director of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, will take up the baton for this year’s Concerto Celebration, featuring winners of the Music Academy’s 2015 Concerto Competition, at the Granada Theatre on July 18. Mr. Lewis will conduct Bartók’s immensely entertaining Concerto for Orchestra to conclude the evening. And the legendary Christoph von Dohnányi, universally recognized as one of the world’s most distinguished conductors, will lead the orchestra in a performance of Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 to close out the 2015 Festival at the Granada Theatre on August 8.

Jeremy Denk, one of America’s most thought-provoking, multi-faceted, and compelling artists, will appear as a pianist and leader in a performance by members of the Academy Festival Orchestra along with Voice Program fellows at the Lobero Theatre on July 3. The concert will feature all-Mozart program curated by Mr. Denk exclusively for the Music Academy. Nicholas McGegan, the effervescent music director of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in San Francisco, will conduct members of the Academy Festival Orchestra in selections from Handel’s Italian opera Orlando, also featuring Academy’s Voice Program fellows, and Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony at the Lobero Theatre on July 25.

Mr. Denk, New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert, and performance psychology specialist Bill Williams will serve as inaugural Luria Foundation Artists in Residence for the 2015 Summer Festival. The Luria Foundation Artist in Residence Program is designed to bring noted industry innovators to the Music Academy each summer to teach and perform in multiple areas and disciplines, inspiring creativity and fresh thinking among fellows.

Chamber Music & Solo Recitals

Formerly known as Tuesdays @ 8, the Music Academy Festival Artists Series will move to the Lobero Theatre for seven outstanding chamber ensemble concerts featuring Academy faculty, fellows, and guest artists in 2015. Guest artists this coming season will include violinists Stephen Bryant and Alexander Treger; New York Philharmonic Acting Concertmaster Sheryl Staples, Philharmonic Principal Clarinetist Anthony McGill, and Philharmonic Associate Principal Percussionist Daniel Druckman; conductor/composer/pianist Thomas Adès, who will perform his Piano Quintet with the JACK Quartet (July 21); pianists Jeremy Denk and Martin Katz; and Baroque and Classical specialist Nicholas McGegan, who will perform on harpsichord in a program of Brandenburg Concertos (July 28).

The Picnic Concert Series, named for the tradition of pre-concert picnicking on the Academy’s Miraflores grounds, features Academy fellows in seven eclectic chamber music concerts, programmed by the musicians themselves. Performances take place at 7:30 pm in Hahn Hall. This year’s Picnic Concert dates are June 19, 26, July 10, 17, 24, and August 6. Seating for these popular events is limited.


This year’s Concerto Competition Finals, in which Academy solo pianists and other instrumentalists vie for the honor of performing with the Academy Festival Orchestra as part of the annual Concerto Celebration (July 18), will take place over consecutive evenings in Hahn Hall. String fellows will compete on July 1; winds, brass, percussion, and solo piano fellows will compete on July 2. Performances will begin at 7 pm both days. This year’s eminent jury will be announced soon.

One of the most popular events of the summer season at the Music Academy, the Marilyn Horne Song Competition is a showcase for Academy singers and vocal pianists. Top awards, presented in memory of longtime Music Academy vocal accompaniment faculty member Gwendolyn Koldofsky, are given to the Academy singer and vocal pianist who demonstrate both excellence in the performance of song repertoire and an exceptional gift for audience communication. Winners receive full underwriting from the Music Academy for recital appearances, $2,500 Regina Roney Prizes, and individual consultations with New York-based communications firm 21C Media Group. This year’s competition will take place from 10 am to 5 pm on July 18 in Hahn Hall.

String Quartet Seminar

Recently inducted into Gramophone’s Hall of Fame — the only string quartet to be so honored to date – the Takács 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 participating fellows (forming four quartets) at Hahn Hall on June 19 — the season’s first Picnic Concert.

String Leadership & Performance Psychology

Under the direction of faculty artist Glenn Dicterow, the Music Academy’s String Leadership Program for violin fellows offers specialized training for concertmaster and principal second positions in orchestras, including intensive study through masterclasses, private lessons, and coachings. All violin fellows are invited to audition for and participate in the classes, through which select Fellows will be offered leadership positions for Academy Festival Orchestra concerts and other performances.

Once again the Music Academy will offer “The Path to Optimal Performance,” series of workshops, lectures, and interactive coaching sessions designed to provide Academy fellows with the opportunity to develop their performance skills in an experiential environment. Series leader Bill Williams is recognized internationally for his work as a musician, performance coach, and educator, having served as principal trumpet for the San Francisco Symphony the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, among others, and having taught performance techniques at the New World Symphony, Juilliard, the Curtis Institute of Music, and DePaul University.


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 will be presented by faculty and guest artists. Among those leading vocal masterclasses will be Marilyn Horne, Anthony Dean Griffey, Jeremy Denk, and Martin Katz. Weekly masterclasses also will be presented by members of the string, woodwind, brass, percussion, voice, and piano faculty, including flutists Timothy Day and Jim Walker, horn player Julie Landsman, pianists Jonathan Feldman and Jerome Lowenthal, violinists Kathleen Winkler, Peter Salaff, and Glenn Dicterow, violists Karen Dreyfus, Donald McInnes, Cynthia Phelps, 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 Music Academy’s signature gala benefit, will take place this year at 6 pm on Friday, Aug. 7 at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort. One of the most anticipated benefits of the year, the event will feature cocktails, a gourmet dinner, a live auction, and an unforgettable performance by Academy Voice and Instrumental fellows. The academy’s own Marilyn Horne will instruct Voice fellows on the art of musical comedy in preparation for this year’s CABARET presentation.

Festival Dedication

This year’s festival is dedicated to longtime academy supporters Pat and Joe Yzurdiaga.

“The Yzurdiagas personify everything a nonprofit arts presenting organization could hope for in its benefactors – enthusiasm, generosity, collaborative spirit, and grace. We are proud to honor them in this way,” Reed said.

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