In August, Music Academy of the West Presents Carmen, Thomas Adès with the Academy Festival Orchestra, Jonathan Biss, Live Webcast of Joshua Roman Premiere, and More

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In August, Music Academy of the West Presents Carmen, Thomas Adès with the Academy Festival Orchestra, Jonathan Biss, Live Webcast of Joshua Roman Premiere, and More


“A magnet for some of the country’s most gifted young musicians.” – Santa Barbara News-Press


The Music Academy of the West shows no sign of letting up in its pace or its educational mission in the closing weeks of its 67th classical music school and festival in Santa Barbara, California. August highlights include a new production of Bizet’s Carmen directed by David Paul and conducted by James Gaffigan (Aug 1 & 3), honoring the legendary singer Marilyn Horne, the Academy’s Voice Program Director who turned 80 this year. Under her tutelage and that of comedienne Carol Burnett, Vocal Fellows also sing more light-hearted repertoire in the Academy’s annual gala, Cabaret (Aug 7). Innovative cellist Joshua Roman completes his second stint as Alumnus-in-Residence leading the Academy Fellows in the world premiere of his own work we do it to one another, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry of Tracy K. Smith(Aug 2), and Mosher Guest Artist Jonathan Biss offers a recital of solo piano music (Aug 4). For the festival’s closing concert, British composer and conductor Thomas Adès will lead the Fellows of the Academy Festival Orchestra in his own work, Polaris, as well as 20th-century masterpieces (Aug 9). The Academy’s live webcasts this month feature a clarinet masterclass with Richie Hawley (Aug 1) and Joshua Roman’s concert (Aug 2), available for viewing at


As Charles Donelan said in a recent cover story for the Santa Barbara Independent,“Under Scott Reed, the dynamic young president who took over in 2010, the school/festival has rapidly positioned itself at the head of a new generation of classical musicians, serving as both a top training program and a uniquely stimulating environment for prestigious visiting artists. This season alone, more than 30 guest artists will participate in programming that has grown progressively more adventurous, but without losing the thread of its educational mission.”


The passing of wisdom between generations is central to the Academy experience. The Fellows, all of whom receive full scholarships (tuition, room and board), have the opportunity to train and perform with some of the best musicians in the business, themselves often alumni. Marilyn Horne first attended the Academy in 1953 and she joined the faculty in 1997. A defining moment in her career was when she sang the title role in Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera in 1972 with Leonard Bernstein conducting; the recording later won a Grammy Award. Thus when the Vocal Fellows perform in a new production of Carmenconducted by James Gaffigan (Aug 1 & 3), they will be not only honoring their mentor but also benefiting from her unique experience and perspective. The production will be set in Gold Rush-era Southern California by director David Paul, who returns to the Academy for the third consecutive year, having directed acclaimed productions of The Magic Flute in 2013 and The Rake’s Progress in 2012.


An important new venture is the festival’s four-year partnership with the New York Philharmonic, through which Academy Fellows benefit from training and performing with music director Alan Gilbert and members of the orchestra during the summer. On August 1, the names of up to ten Fellows will be selected as participants in a 10-day apprenticeship with the Philharmonic in New York City in January.


Cellist Joshua Roman is a more recent alumnus – he attended the Music Academy in 2002. Roman, former Seattle Symphony principal cellist and a 2011 TED Fellow, has a track record of wide-ranging collaborations and innovative repertoire, and he has made brilliant use of social media and technology in his career. He is devising his own curriculum with the Music Academy Fellows, culminating in a concert with Roman as both conductor and composer for the world premiere of his we do it to one another (Aug 2 live webcast). The work, which was commissioned by the Academy, is based on Life on Mars, a book of Pulitzer Prize-winning poems by Tracy K. Smith. Academy President Scott Reed explains, “This project supports our new commitment to commissions and new artistic ventures. We want to combine creative forces and mediums, and give our Fellows direct exposure to today’s music and the artists who create it.”


Pianist and Curtis Institute faculty member Jonathan Biss is in residence as one of the four 2014 Mosher Guest Artists at the Academy this summer. His residency culminates with a recital of Beethoven, Chopin and Janácek (Aug 4), and a public masterclass (Aug 5). Biss has a particular affinity for Beethoven’s music and is currently in the process of recording all of the composer’s sonatas as part of a nine-CD project. The first release received excellent reviews in 2012, including from David Cairns in The Sunday Times: “The performances – brilliant, precisely thought, yet spontaneous-sounding – are a joy.” Biss himself has written about Beethoven on his website: “Playing Beethoven does not feel like a matter of choice: his concerns are so all-encompassing, his mastery so astonishing, his personality so combative (yet, somehow, also so sympathetic), one cannot look (listen?) away.”


The masterclass is one of the hallmarks of the Music Academy experience, and the closing weeks of the festival abound with opportunities for the public to witness the music teaching process at its most dynamic and intimate. The final masterclasses this season will be given by such top performers as clarinetist Richie Hawley (Aug 1 live webcast & Aug 8); horn player Julie Landsman (Aug 1 & 8), flutist Jim Walker (Aug 4), violist Donald McInnes (Aug 5), trombonist Ralph Sauer (Aug 5), cellist David Geber (Aug 6), oboist Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida (Aug 6) and pianist Jonathan Feldman (Aug 7). Glenn Dicterow, who has recently joined the Music Academy faculty following his retirement from the New York Philharmonic after 34 years as concertmaster, passes on some of his insights through his String Leadership Masterclasses (Aug 1 & 8), and offers more general performance advice in his Violin Masterclass (Aug 4).


For the 140 Fellows who are accepted to the program – on the basis of talent alone – the experience is invaluable. As Joshua Roman describes his time as a student at the Music Academy in 2002: “The rigorous schedule gave me my first glimpse of the life to come, the life I now lead. No other festival provided me with so many performance opportunities. Not even close.” Likewise, as Joseph Miller of the Santa Barbara Independent wrote recently, “Like the anticipation of a sunrise, the central focus of the Music Academy of the West is always just ahead of the horizon – that is, the professional musician of tomorrow.”


To support the full scholarships that all of the Fellows receive, one of the final events on the schedule – and one of the most exuberant – is the Academy’s signature gala, Cabaret (Aug 7). Again this year Voice Program Director Marilyn Horne and comedienne Carol Burnett are teaming up to coach the young vocalists on an array of music ranging from classical and jazz to Broadway and pop.


The Academy Festival Orchestra closes the season in a concert led by Thomas Adès, who has been described by the New York Times as “one of the most accomplished and complete musicians of his generation.” He conducts his own work Polaris, as well as music by three giants of the 20th century – Ives, Britten and Stravinsky. As Josef Woodard of the Santa Barbara News-Press wrote after the 2013 finale, “For eight weeks each summer, the Music Academy blithely and blissfully takes over our town, presenting a thicket of classical music for our listening pleasure.”


The Music Academy of the West’s summer festival continues through August 9 with the wide array of offerings outlined below. For more information, visit High-resolution photos may be downloaded here.



Music Academy of the West 2014

Summer Festival: June 16–August 9

Santa Barbara, CA


August highlights “at a glance”

August 1, 3: Carmen (David Paul, stage director; James Gaffigan, conductor)

August 2: Alumnus-in-Residence Joshua Roman with Academy Fellows

August 4: Mosher Guest Artist Jonathan Biss in recital

August 7: Cabaret, the Academy’s Signature Gala

August 9: Thomas Adès with Academy Festival Orchestra


Chronological listing of August events

August 1

String Leadership Masterclass with Glenn Dicterow

Clarinet Masterclass with Richie Hawley (live webcast, 1 PM PST:

Trumpet Masterclass with Paul Merkelo

Horn Masterclass with Julie Landsman

Bizet: Carmen with James Gaffigan, conductor, and David Paul, director (new production)


August 2

Chamber Music Matinee

Joshua Roman and Academy Fellows in Concert (live webcast, 8 PM PST:

Christopher Cerrone: The Night Mare

Schnittke: Sonata for Cello and Piano (1978)

Roman: we do it to one another, on poems by Tracy K. Smith (world premiere)

Sean Friar: Scale 9


August 3

Bizet: Carmen with James Gaffigan, conductor and David Paul, director (new production)


August 4

Violin Masterclass with Glenn Dicterow

Flute Masterclass with Jim Walker

Mosher Guest Artist Recital with Jonathan Biss

Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 2

Janácek: Selections from On an Overgrown Path

Chopin: Nocturne No. 1 in B Major, Op. 62

Chopin: Polonaise Fantaisie in A-flat Major, Op. 61

Janácek: Sonata 1.X.1905, “From the Street”

Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57, “Appassionata”


August 5

Solo Piano Masterclass with Jonathan Biss

Trombone and Tuba Masterclass with Ralph Sauer

Viola Masterclass with Donald McInnes

Tuesdays @ 8 Concert with faculty artists

Hermann: Clarinet Quintet

  Brahms: Piano Quintet, Op. 34


August 6

Vocal Masterclass with Marilyn Horne

Cello Masterclass with David Geber

Oboe Masterclass with Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida

Bassoon Masterclass with Dennis Michel

Double Bass Masterclass with Nico Abondolo


August 7          

Percussion Masterclass with Michael Werner

Collaborative Piano Masterclass with Jonathan Feldman

Harp Masterclass with JoAnn Turovsky

Downtown Community Concert

Cabaret, the Academy’s Signature Gala

Santa Barbara, CA

Double Tree Resort

Marilyn Horne, Voice Program Director

Carol Burnett, Creative Contributor; Gerald Sternbach, Director

Featuring 2014 Voice Program Fellows in classical, Broadway and pop favorites

All proceeds from Cabaret directly benefit the Academy’s full-scholarship training program


August 8

String Leadership Masterclass with Glenn Dicterow and Martin Chalifour

Clarinet Masterclass with Richie Hawley

Trumpet Masterclass with Josef Burgstaller

Horn Masterclass with Julie Landsman

Solo Piano Studio Presentation

Picnic Concert


August 9

Academy Festival Orchestra with Thomas Adès, conductor

Ives: Variations on “America”

  Britten: “Four Sea Interludes” from Peter Grimes

  Thomas Adès: Polaris

  Stravinsky: Petrushka


For further information, contact:


Glenn Petry

21C Media Group

[email protected]



Tim Dougherty

Communications Manager

Music Academy of the West

[email protected]



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© 21C Media Group, July 2014


Louise Barder
21C Media Group
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