Left to right: Anthony Parnther, Alex Ross, Ana María Martínez, Anthony McGill, Jeremy Denk, Michelle Bradley, JoAnn Falletta, Isabel Leonard
|Music Academy’s 2023 Summer Season: Eight Weeks of Live Events in Scenic Santa Barbara (June 12–Aug 5)
Michelle Bradley headlines annual gala with Sing! children’s chorus June 3, preceding season opening
Featured performers include Anthony McGill, Jeremy Denk, Ana María Martínez, Isabel Leonard, Augustin Hadelich, Elena Urioste, Sasha Cooke, Takács Quartet
Stéphane Denève, Osmo Vänskä, Anthony Parnther, JoAnn Falletta and Hannu Lintu lead Academy Festival Orchestra
New Yorker music critic Alex Ross hosts critics’ roundtable and mentors Academy fellows in critics’ workshop
London Symphony Orchestra “MAX” program continues with opportunities for instrumentalists to audition for November residency and performances in London with conductor Susanna Mälkki
“Fast Pitch” competition promotes and rewards fellows’ innovative ideas to create opportunities and solve problems in the classical music community and beyond with funding and mentorship
Mo Zhou directs fully staged production of La bohème led by Principal Opera Conductor Daniela Candillari
James Darrah directs Cabaret: 1979
Commissions and premieres from Jessie Montgomery, Samuel Carl Adams, Stewart Goodyear, Christopher Cerrone, Tom Cipullo and Nia Imani Franklin
(April 2023)— The Music Academy, formerly known as the Music Academy of the West, and now in its 76th season, celebrates the “Summer of the Artist” with eight weeks of live events at its picturesque Miraflores campus and throughout scenic Santa Barbara, California (June 12–Aug 5). Featured artists include Jeremy Denk, Anthony McGill, Ana María Martínez, Music Academy alumnae Isabel Leonard and Sasha Cooke, Augustin Hadelich, Elena Urioste, the Takács Quartet, and Music Academy alumna Michelle Bradley headlining the annual festival gala along with the Sing! children’s chorus. The season will feature world or West Coast premieres from teaching artist-composers Jessie Montgomery, Samuel Carl Adams, Stewart Goodyear, Tom Cipullo, Christopher Cerrone and Nia Imani Franklin. This season’s Academy Festival Orchestra concerts are led by three-time Diapason d’Or-winner and New World Symphony Artistic Director Stéphane Denève, Minnesota Orchestra Conductor Laureate Osmo Vänskä, Music Director of the San Bernardino Symphony and famed film score conductor Anthony Parnther, Buffalo Philharmonic Music Director JoAnn Falletta and Finnish National Opera and Ballet Chief Conductor Hannu Lintu, who draws the entire summer season to a close. The Academy’s Principal Opera Conductor Daniela Candillari takes the podium for a fully staged production of Puccini’s La bohème, directed by Mo Zhou, and visionary director James Darrah directs the world premiere presentation of Cabaret: 1979, an original, curated cabaret event. Special events include a Critics’ Roundtable hosted by New Yorker music critic Alex Ross and a presentation in partnership with the Santa Barbara Museum of Art of a free concert co-curated by LA-based conceptual artist Awol Erizku. In addition, the Academy’s talented young musicians and outstanding teaching artists are presented in a wealth of chamber concerts, public masterclasses and competitions under the galvanizing leadership of President & CEO Scott Reed, who is embarking on his last summer as Executive Director. As he says of the upcoming festival:
“This summer’s line-up is our most ambitious ever, representing a convergence of legacies and emerging talents. Famed conductors, vocalists and instrumentalists will fill our campus, creating magic with some of the most promising young classical artists in the world – our fellows.
“This is where energy meets history, passion meets experience and dreams of the heart meet dreams realized. The results are combustible.”
Festival Gala benefiting Sing!
Serving as an upbeat to the season and benefiting the Academy’s Sing! children’s choir and full scholarship programs, the annual gala fundraiser, Music Academy Presents The Magic of Miraflores, celebrates the career of President & CEO Scott Reed. Featured artists are alumna and Metropolitan Opera soprano Michelle Bradley, along with alumna and teaching artist Natasha Kislenko on piano and the children of Sing! (June 3). The Sing! program is a free, after-school choral initiative open to all students in Santa Barbara County in first through sixth grades. Performance opportunities include concerts and collaborations with the Music Academy family of artists, including a recent appearance with the London Symphony Orchestra. This season, in addition to their gala performance, the Sing! chorus will participate in the production of La bohème and will join forces with the Young People’s Chorus of New York City for a week of workshops and mentoring, culminating in a collaborative performance in the Lobero Theatre that includes a commissioned work from former Miss America and composer Nia Imani Franklin (July 23).
The Music Academy has long been a summer destination for a host of the classical world’s greatest superstars, each of whom offers their singular expertise and perspective in a variety of settings for the benefit of the industry’s future luminaries. Among the classical celebrities this season is New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinetist and Mosher Guest Artist Anthony McGill, who will be joined by pianist Kyle P. Walker and clarinetist and comedian Kimberly Clark – featured on season 2 of Tiffany Haddish Presents: They Ready – for a unique program focusing on their common history as “band kids.” Marking only the second outing for the comedic performance, McGill and Clark’s program promises a combination of laughs, stellar music-making and social commentary (June 20).
The intimate x2 series, introduced in 2021, pairs fellows and teaching artists in side-by-side chamber performances of new music and favorite masterworks. Among the x2 highlights this season is a performance of Brahms’s Piano Quartet No. 1 with festival favorite Jeremy Denk – “a pianist you want to hear no matter what he performs” (New York Times) – whose string of honors includes the Avery Fisher Prize and a MacArthur Fellowship (June 29). Denk also performs in this season’s tribute to longtime teaching artist Jorja Fleezanis (June 17) and presents a solo recital of the complete Bach Partitas (June 27).
Mosher Guest Artist and multi-Grammy winner Ana María Martínez and teaching artist César Cañón will collaborate as coaches and curators of a showcase titled “Una Noche en Miraflores,” an immersion into Spanish language song, culture and dance that features Flamenco star Manuel Gutierrez and Flamenco guitarist Andres Vadin (June 23). Martínez – lauded by Figaro as “incredibly explosive” – also performs in the x2 series along with Lehrer Vocal Institute co-director John Churchwell and fellows (June 22).
Academy alumna and two-time Grammy winner Isabel Leonard, a mezzo-soprano the New York Times credits with a “strikingly beautiful instrument,” returns to the Academy this summer for a recital with pianist and Music Academy alum John Arida (June 16).
Grammy-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich, Musical America’s 2018 “Instrumentalist of the Year,” also returns this summer with Chairman of Juilliard’s collaborative piano department and Music Academy teaching artist Jonathan Feldman, for a program of Schubert, Ravel, Prokofiev, Ysaÿe and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (July 11).
Violinist Elena Urioste and pianist Tom Poster, who have been featured on NPR and BBC Radio and who performed as a duo in Carnegie Hall, give a recital comprising Strauss’s Violin Sonata in E-flat, Luise Adolpha Le Beau’s Violin Sonata in C minor, and selections from #UriPosteJukebox, a music and video project Urioste and Poster conceived together during the pandemic lockdown as a way to “keep their minds sharp, fingers busy, and community smiling” (Aug 1).
Academy Festival Orchestra: Denève, Vänskä, Parnther, Falletta and Lintu
Introducing some of the world’s foremost conductors to the next generation of artists, the Academy Festival Orchestra (AFO) concerts represent a highlight of the festival each year. Stéphane Denève, who serves as Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, and from 2023 will also be Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, takes the podium for an all-Berlioz program featuring mezzo-soprano and Music Academy alumna Sasha Cooke, a two-time Grammy-winner whose performances offer “equal parts poise, radiance and elegant directness” (Opera News) (June 24). Cooke also takes up the post of co-director of the Lehrer Vocal Institute beginning this season. Osmo Vänskä conducts the West Coast premiere of Jessie Montgomery’s Hymn for Everyone, co-commissioned by the Music Academy, the Chicago Symphony and the National Symphony, on a program with Holst’s The Planets and Bernstein’s Overture to Candide (July 1). Anthony Parnther, Music Director of the San Bernardino Symphony, is equally well-known as an international guest conductor and for leading blockbuster film scores, most recently including Avatar: The Way of Water and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. He leads the Academy Chamber Orchestra in Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9, on a program with music of Carl Maria von Weber, Carlos Simon and Bernard Herrmann (July 8). Multi-Grammy winner JoAnn Falletta, Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, leads the AFO in a program of Ravel, Rachmaninoff and Roberto Sierra (July 29), and Finnish National Opera and Ballet Chief Conductor Hannu Lintu, who made his Academy debut last summer, brings the season to a close this time conducting Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben on a program with Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet (Aug 5).
Opera & more: La bohème and original cabaret
Marking a high point of the Lehrer Vocal Institute’s summer, Principal Opera Conductor Daniela Candillari – also Principal Conductor of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis – takes the podium for a fully staged production of Puccini’s La bohème in the Granada Theatre. Anchored by the Academy Festival Orchestra, this features the Lehrer Vocal Institute fellows in an original staging by Mo Zhou that sets the story in Occupy Wall Street-era Brooklyn. Zhou’s international career spans the disciplines of opera, theater, musical theater, dance, and film and her productions have been seen at the Elbphilharmonie and Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, Santa Fe Opera, Wolf Trap Opera and many others (July 14 & 16).
The Lehrer Vocal Institute also presents the premiere of Cabaret: 1979, collaboratively created by Grammy-winning music director and Music Academy alum Craig Terry and award-winning director James Darrah. This evening of music theater takes its cue from the singer-songwriters who gravitated to Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles (July 27 & 29). Darrah, also the Artistic Director and Chief Creative Officer of Long Beach Opera, has been called “a magician of the modern opera world” (LA Times) and credited with “expanding the boundaries of the operatic form” (Wall Street Journal).
Competitions, chamber concerts, masterclasses and more
One of the most popular events of the summer season, the Marilyn Horne Song Competition is a showcase for Academy singers and vocal pianists, who compete for a cash prize and the opportunity to premiere a new commission (Aug 4). Chosen by jury, past winners include John Osborn (1997), Susanna Phillips (2002, 2003), Isabel Leonard (2005) and Nadine Sierra (2007). Likewise, the Academy’s Solo Piano Competition (June 30) and Duo Competition (July 31) both see instrumental fellows compete for cash prizes and the chance to premiere new commissions. On June 13, the opening programs of the season will be three recitals on the same day by last year’s winners of these three competitions, performing commissioned works from Tom Cipullo, “one of New York’s favorite song composers” (New Yorker); Juno nominee Stewart Goodyear; and Pulitzer Prize finalist Christopher Cerrone, respectively.
As in previous years, the summer season offers not only a wealth of chamber concerts but multiple models of chamber music training for fellows, including the x2 series of side-by-side chamber performances. Another x2 highlight this season is a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence featuring the longtime festival favorite Takács Quartet, the first string quartet to be inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame (June 22). The quartet also performs a program of Schubert and Fanny Mendelssohn (June 14); leads the String Quartet Seminar, an intensive three-week training course for twelve fellows in three quartets, with daily coaching, masterclasses and a concluding recital (June 19); and offers a lecture recital and book signing as violinist and author Edward Dusinberre discusses his recent publication, Distant Melodies: Music in Search of Home (June 15).
The Academy’s unparalleled training opportunities in chamber music also include the Fellow Chamber Music Program, designed for instrumental, solo piano, and Lehrer Vocal Institute fellows interested in an in-depth chamber experience. With the longest-term rehearsal commitments of any of the Academy’s chamber programs, it also offers five opportunities for performances throughout the summer in the “Chamber Nights” concerts. Finally, the “Picnic Concerts” are a staple of every Music Academy season, affectionately named for the community’s tradition of enjoying picnic dinners in the Academy campus gardens prior to the concert. These are fellow-initiated projects that range from solo repertoire and duos to large ensemble and inter-studio collaborations. The solo piano fellows, for whom composer Samuel Carl Adams is in residence this season, will perform the world premiere of a new work by him – a cycle of six short pieces, one for each fellow – in Picnic Concert #3 (July 21). Adams’s Sundial for percussion and string quartet will also be heard the previous evening in the x2 series (July 20).
The public 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. Over the course of the eight-week festival, more than 70 public masterclasses will be presented by teaching artists in voice, solo piano, and the instrumental series. All masterclasses are open to the public, offering a unique behind-the-scenes look at the musical teaching process at its most dynamic and intimate.
Special events & unique, career-advancing programs
The Academy offers its fellows a well-rounded, dynamic summer training program, focused not just on music-making, but also related aspects of building a life in music. Throughout the summer, fellows participate in programs around career development, entrepreneurship, innovation, Alexander Technique, and other wellness workshops. These offerings, including the “Fast Pitch” competition, provide opportunities for fellows to explore and develop innovative ideas related to the field of classical music. Academy innovation programs enable fellows to reach their highest potential during their time in Santa Barbara, as well as contribute to their professional trajectory beyond the Summer School and Festival. They are part of Music Academy’s commitment to fuel pipelines for leadership in new ideas, projects, and programs in the arts and beyond.
This season explores another facet of the classical music business when Mosher Guest Artist and famed New Yorker music critic Alex Ross hosts a Critics’ Roundtable featuring Joshua Kosman from the San Francisco Chronicle and Carolina Miranda from the Los Angeles Times. The three will discuss the future of classical music criticism in the face of the elimination by many major newspapers of their music critic departments, and the kind of evolution they see as necessary for the art to survive (July 6). In addition to the Critics’ Roundtable, Ross will also mentor ten selected Academy fellows in a music criticism writing workshop.
Jorja Fleezanis, concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra for two decades and one of the first women to serve in that post for a major orchestra in the United States, passed away last September. She was also a loved and admired teaching artist of long standing at the Music Academy, and a tribute concert comprising works of Mozart, Copland, Bartók and others will feature fellow teaching artists violinists Glenn Dicterow and Martin Beaver, violist Richard O’Neill, clarinetist Richie Hawley and pianists Jeremy Denk, Conor Hanick and John Churchwell (June 17).
A four-season partnership with the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) culminated last March when the entire orchestra traveled to Santa Barbara to perform three sold-out programs under the leadership of its Music Director, Sir Simon Rattle. The orchestra’s presence at the Academy continues this season, when five principals present an “LSO Chamber Showcase”: Clare Duckworth, Sub-Principal 1st Violin; David Cohen, Principal Cello; Gareth Davies, Principal Flute; Peter Moore, Principal Trombone; and Nigel Thomas, Principal Timpani (July 25). They will also adjudicate the Academy’s annual Keston Music Academy Exchange (MAX) auditions, which awards 12 fellows an all-expense-paid 10-day residency in London to perform alongside the LSO under Susanna Mälkki.
Summer gatherings of string players provide, among other things, opportunities to perform unusual repertoire, for example pieces requiring a large chamber group made up entirely of cellists. The Academy’s “Cello Fest” features what is no doubt the most famous such piece, Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 for eight cellos and soprano, but the program also features a three-cello work by Haydn; a four-cello work by Mark Lomax, II; Bartók’s Hungarian Peasant Songs, as arranged for eight cellos; and twelve-cello pieces by Julius Klengel and Pablo Casals (July 22).
The Music Academy launches a new partnership this summer with the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, presenting a free concert on July 23 co-curated by Academy fellows and LA-based conceptual artist Awol Erizku, who will be visiting this season and working with the fellows as a teaching artist.
The Music Academy’s fellows, teaching artists and guest artists perform at its scenic ocean-side campus and in venues throughout Santa Barbara, including the historic 1,500-seat Granada Theatre and the recently renovated 600-seat Lobero Theatre. Known as Miraflores, the Academy’s nine-acre campus 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 in the intimate Hahn Hall, which the Santa Barbara Independent calls an “ultra-luxurious jewel-box venue,” and the Los Angeles Times describes as 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.” Additional campus venues include Lehmann Hall, named for founder Lotte Lehmann, and Weinman Hall, a performance space decorated in Andalusian style, for masterclasses.
Lodging, dining and ticket information
Santa Barbara is an easy day trip from Los Angeles, and a memorable destination for travelers seeking cultural offerings in scenic settings. For tickets and further information for all Music Academy events, call the Ticket Office at 805-969-8787, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit online at www.musicacademy.org. To request a brochure, email email@example.com or write to the Music Academy, 1070 Fairway Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93108.
About the Music Academy
Located in Santa Barbara, the Music Academy creates a space where exceptional talent can thrive by encouraging artists to stretch, experiment, improvise, and play. The Academy gives artists the tools they need to become not just great musicians but great leaders. With the sun shining brightly on possibility and potential, the Academy unleashes the creators who will reimagine the future of classical music and catalyzes the change that will propel classically trained musicians boldly forward. The Music Academy’s year round programs are: Sing!, a children’s choir free of charge for all participants that performs with local, national, and international partners; the annual Summer Festival for 137 fellows with more than 120 performances and events, Solo Piano, Duo, Fast Pitch, and Marilyn Horne Song Competitions; the Keston MAX partnership with the London Symphony Orchestra; the Innovation Institute’s Alumni Enterprise Awards; and the new Mariposa Series of concerts by Academy-affiliated artists. For more information, visit musicacademy.org.
The Mosher Guest Artist concerts are generously supported by the Samuel B. and Margaret C. Mosher Foundation. A new multimillion dollar endowment from Shirley and Seymour Lehrer and the entire Lehrer family supports the Academy’s training program for voice and vocal piano. Sing! is sponsored by Montecito Bank and Trust and the Music Academy’s Auxiliary.