Cultural Travel Destination: The Music Academy of the West’s 2016 Summer Music Festival in Scenic Santa Barbara, CA Offers Feast of Chamber Music, Opera, Song and Symphonies in Idyllic Oceanside Setting
Eight-Week Festival of Classical Music on “America’s Riviera” Runs June 13–Aug 6
Santa Barbara, California is a popular year-round tourist destination renowned for its downtown beaches, Spanish architecture, plentiful restaurants, nearby wineries, and mild Mediterranean climate. Frequently called “The American Riviera,” and nestled on California’s Pacific coast 90 miles north of Los Angeles, the city also boasts a world-class summer music festival and school, The Music Academy of the West. “For eight weeks each summer,” says the Santa Barbara News-Press, “the Music Academy blithely and blissfully takes over our town, presenting a thicket of classical music for our listening pleasure, spoiling us with a high caliber of music and celebrated visitors.” This summer’s 69th festival will take place from June 13 through August 6.
Illustrious guest performers, the Music Academy of the West’s faculty and 140 talented fellows perform together at its scenic oceanside campus and in venues throughout Santa Barbara, including the historic 1,500-seat Granada Theatre and the recently renovated 600-seat Lobero Theatre. The Academy’s nine-acre campus of lush gardens, known as Miraflores, was originally the estate of John Percival Jefferson. Its spectacular grounds and gardens create a serene place for visitors to stroll and relax before performances taking place in the intimacy of Hahn Hall. The Los Angeles Times calls Hahn Hall the “centerpiece of the West Coast’s elite summer music academy, hidden away in a plush neighborhood of Montecito, a block from a glorious coastline. … With 350 seats, it is perfect for chamber music and recitals. The acoustics are unobtrusive; nothing gets between music and the ear.” The Music Academy of the West is also steps away from one of California’s most breathtaking stretches of coastline, Butterfly Beach. This perfectly west-facing beach makes catching a sparkling sunset part of the Academy experience.
Highlights of this summer’s feast of offerings at the Music Academy of the West include a fully staged production of Smetana’s comic opera The Bartered Bride (July 29 & 31), overseen by legendary mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne and conducted by Matthew Aucoin, who also conducts the West Coast premiere of his own opera, Second Nature. The world-class Academy Festival Orchestra performs throughout the summer, with an international roster of conductors including James Gaffigan, Larry Rachleff, and Case Scaglione. New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert returns to lead the orchestra in the third season of the New York Philharmonic Global Academy initiative, a partnership with the Music Academy that also involves five Philharmonic musicians acting as guest faculty during week-long residencies. A new ChamberFest chamber music series has been added to the programming this year, and guest artists Jeremy Denk, Thomas Hampson, Lynn Harrell, Emmanuel Pahud, and the Takács Quartet give full recitals. And on Independence Day weekend, legendary pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet reprises his signature take on Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the Academy Festival Orchestra, in a pair of American-themed concerts in downtown Santa Barbara on July 2 and 3.
Additionally, over 100 masterclasses will be presented during the summer season by Music Academy faculty and guests as they work with the Academy’s 140 exceptional fellows. The public is invited to attend these masterclasses, which provide a unique insight into the music teaching process at its most dynamic and intimate.
Add the Music Academy of the West and its eight-week seaside festival to the list of “must-attend” cultural destinations. Santa Barbara is an easy day trip from Los Angeles, and a memorable destination for travelers seeking cultural offerings in scenic settings. And through the Santa Barbara Car Free program, a cooperative venture founded in 1998 by the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District with support from the City of Santa Barbara, Amtrak, and more than 100 businesses, agencies, organizations and individuals, discounts are available for those preferring to leave the car at home on everything from train travel to hotels to wine tours. More information on the Santa Barbara Car Free program is available here.
Santa Barbara area attractions include the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara Mission, County Courthouse, Museum of Art, Botanic Garden, the beaches, and, of course, the musical offerings at the Music Academy of the West. The area’s local wineries, particularly celebrated for exceptional pinot noirs, have also made it an attractive travel destination, as documented in the 2004 film Sideways. As Minnesota’s Star Tribune recently discovered, “the valleys a few miles north of the town … are spectacularly suited for grapes. … Santa Barbara now produces fabulous grenache, chardonnay, syrah and both iterations of sauvignon (cabernet and sauv blanc), plus blends and other varieties.”
Lodging, Dining & Ticket Information
The Music Academy recommends a number of area hotels and restaurants on its website, www.musicacademy.org. Visit the site for the full schedule of concerts, opera, masterclasses, special events, and guest artists appearing during the 2016 summer festival, which runs from June 13 through August 6.
For tickets and further information for all Music Academy of the West events: call the Box Office at 805-969-8787, email [email protected]; or visit online at www.musicacademy.org. To request a brochure, email [email protected] or write to the Music Academy of the West, 1070 Fairway Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93108.
About the Music Academy of the West
The Music Academy of the West brings together the world’s finest young musicians, faculty, and guest artists, collaborating and performing for enthusiastic and engaged audiences in idyllic
Santa Barbara, California. One of the nation’s preeminent summer schools and festivals for gifted young classical musicians, the Academy provides advanced study and performance under the guidance of internationally renowned faculty artists, guest conductors, and soloists, at its ocean-side campus in Santa Barbara. Admission to the Academy is strictly based on merit, and fellows receive full scholarships (tuition, room, and board). The Academy’s distinguished faculty roster has included famed soprano Lotte Lehmann, composers Darius Milhaud and Arnold Schoenberg, cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, pianist Jeremy Denk, and current Voice Program Director Marilyn Horne. Academy alumni are members of major symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras, ensembles, opera companies, and university and conservatory faculties throughout the world, many enjoying careers as prominent solo artists. In 2014, the Music Academy entered into a four-year partnership with the New York Philharmonic, resulting in unprecedented training and performance opportunities for Academy fellows, and Summer Festival residencies for Philharmonic musicians. The Music Academy of the West cultivates discerning, appreciative, and adventurous audiences, presenting more than 200 public events annually, nearly half of them free of charge. These include performances by faculty, visiting artists, and fellows; masterclasses; orchestra and chamber music concerts; and a fully staged opera. For more information, visit http://www.musicacademy.org.