Crowning String of Successes, Music Academy of the West’s Closing Highlights Include New Bartered Bride; NY Phil Principals in Residence; Marilyn Horne Song Competition; Last Academy Festival Orchestra Concert; and More

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Crowning String of Successes, Music Academy of the West’s Closing Highlights Include New Bartered Bride; NY Phil Principals in Residence; Marilyn Horne Song Competition; Last Academy Festival Orchestra Concert; and More

Over the coming weeks, Music Academy of the West’s 69th annual Summer School and Festival draws to a triumphant close, with a rich array of performances and masterclasses – many of them free to the public – on its picturesque Miraflores campus and throughout scenic Santa Barbara. Highlights include Matthew Aucoin “opera’s 25-year old hope” (New York Times) – leading a new production of Smetana’s opera The Bartered Bride; five New York Philharmonic principals undertaking residencies through the orchestra’s Global Academy initiative; Voice Program Director Marilyn Horne’s annual Song Competition; and James Gaffigan conducting the Academy Festival Orchestra’s fifth and final program. To view the season brochure, click here.

These events crown a string of recent successes. When Jeremy Denk joined Academy fellows for the first Festival Artists chamber concert, the Santa Barbara Independent found their Brahms “a revelation” and their Mozart “a sheer delight, nearly half an hour of musical perfection.” Similarly, Larry Rachleff’s leadership of the Academy Festival Orchestra’s season-opening concert was “ravishing.” Indeed, taken together, “Both events were characterized by thoughtful programming, a high level of musicianship, and the thrill of an auspicious beginning to what promises to be a memorable summer.” Likewise, the West Coast premiere of Aucoin’s chamber opera, Second Nature, was “a splendid success.” As the Independent observed:

Those who were lucky enough to attend this edition of the Festival Artists Series are likely to look back on it with particular admiration and wonder. … The [now] 26-year-old composer/
conductor/poet is in the midst of a remarkable ascendancy in the classical music world, and this short opera … is likely to remain one of the most discussed works in his oeuvre.”

Highlights still to come:

On July 29 and 31, Aucoin, who serves as the Academy’s 2016 Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation Opera Conductor, leads fellows from the Voice Program and the Academy Festival Orchestra in a fully staged new production of Smetana’s masterwork, The Bartered Bride. Mounted at the Granada Theatre, this features dancing by the State Street Ballet, and costume and set design by Hewes Design Award nominee Charlie Corcoran, whose work previously graced the Academy’s staging of The Magic Flute. Returning to direct the production – his fifth at the Summer Festival – is David Paul, a faculty member of the Juilliard School and the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. At last year’s festival, as Opera News reported, Paul’s treatment of Rossini’s Cenerentolaachieved a new level of polish and sophistication.” The review continued:

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the production was how fully and comfortably the young singers seemed to inhabit their roles, bringing a naturalness to their stage movements that is not always seen on the operatic stage. This is no doubt a tribute to both the talent of the cast and the skillful direction of David Paul.” 

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. They compete in Hahn Hall on August 4 for Regina Roney cash prizes of $3,000 each, recital engagements on both coasts, and career consultations with New York-based communications firm 21C Media Group. Past winners include such familiar faces at the Metropolitan Opera as Evan Hughes, Isabel Leonard, and Nadine Sierra.

For the Academy Festival Orchestra’s fifth and final program (Aug 6), James Gaffigan takes the podium at the historic Granada Theatre in downtown Santa Barbara for Rimsky-Korsakov’s beloved Scheherazade, a movement from Brahms’s first Piano Concerto performed by Concerto Competition winner Anna Han, and a recent work by Lutosławski Award-winner Sean Shepherd, hailed as “an exciting composer of the new American generation” (New York Times). The American-born chief conductor of Switzerland’s Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Gaffigan also makes regular guest appearances at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera.

Music Academy of the West is the first American partner in the New York Philharmonic’s Global Academy, and 2016 marks the third summer of their innovative four-year partnership. This summer’s distinguished guest faculty are Academy alumnus and New York Philharmonic Concertmaster Frank Huang (’98, ’99), Principal Bassist Timothy Cobb, Associate Principal Oboist Sherry Sylar, Principal Trombonist Joseph Alessi, and Principal Timpanist Markus Rhoten. Four of these resident principals join faculty artists at the Lobero Theatre for the final chamber program in the Festival Artists Series (Aug 2), and, together with Marilyn Horne and New York Philharmonic Principal Violist Cynthia Phelps (’79,’83), are among the many world-class artists to give August masterclasses, which are one of the hallmarks of the Music Academy experience. Other remaining festival highlights include the annual PercussionFest, led by faculty artists Ted Atkatz and Michael Werner (July 30), and a special Solo Piano Presentation showcasing this year’s solo piano fellows (Aug 5).

For tickets and further information for all Music Academy of the West events: call the Ticket Office at 805-969-8787, email [email protected], or visit online at 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 is among the nation’s preeminent summer schools and festivals for gifted young classically-trained musicians. At its ocean-side campus in Santa Barbara, the Academy provides these musicians with the opportunity for advanced study and 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). The Academy’s distinguished teaching 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 enjoy 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

High-resolution photos may be downloaded here, and a PDF of the Music Academy’s 2016 season brochure may be downloaded here.

Music Academy of the West

2016 Summer Festival: June 13–August 6

Santa Barbara, CA

Closing highlights “at a glance”

July 29 & 31 The Bartered Bride

July 30 PercussionFest

Aug 2 New York Philharmonic Visiting Artists & Faculty in Recital

Aug 4 Marilyn Horne Song Competition

Aug 5 Solo Piano Presentation

Aug 6 Academy Festival Orchestra with James Gaffigan


Chronological listing of events

July 29

MERIT Recital: MERIT fellows

Clarinet masterclass: Richie Hawley

Trumpet masterclass: Paul Merkelo

Horn masterclass: Julie Landsman


July 29 & 31

Smetana’s The Bartered Bride/Matthew Aucoin


July 30

Community Chamber Concert

PercussionFest: Ted Atkatz, Michael Werner, Percussion fellows


Aug 1

Solo piano masterclass: Julian Martin


Aug 2

Trombone/tuba masterclass: Ralph Sauer/Joseph Alessi

Percussion masterclass: Michael Werner/Markus Rhoten

Violin masterclass: Frank Huang

Festival Artists Series: Faculty, New York Philharmonic Visiting Artists


Aug 3

Oboe masterclass: Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida/Sherry Sylar

Cello masterclass: David Geber

Double bass masterclass: Nico Abondolo/Timothy Cobb

Bassoon masterclass: Benjamin Kamins

Vocal masterclass: Marilyn Horne


Aug 4

Collaborative piano masterclass: Jonathan Feldman

Viola masterclass: Cynthia Phelps

Flute masterclass: Timothy Day

Marilyn Horne Song Competition 1, 2 & 3: Marilyn Horne and Jury


Aug 5

Clarinet masterclass: Richie Hawley

Trumpet masterclass: Paul Merkelo

Horn masterclass: Julie Landsman

Solo piano presentation: Academy fellows

Picnic concert: Academy fellows


Aug 6

Academy Festival Orchestra/James Gaffigan: Scheherazade



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© 21C Media Group, July 2016

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