Sir Simon Rattle (photo: Mark Allan, courtesy of LSO)
The London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) will be in residence this March at Santa Barbara’s Music Academy of the West to perform three programs under the leadership of its Music Director, Sir Simon Rattle (March 24–27). Marking the eminent conductor’s Music Academy debut, the residency will culminate with a once-in-a-lifetime community concert, featuring selected Academy alumni playing in tandem with the legendary British orchestra. Representing some of tomorrow’s finest orchestral musicians, these 39 alumni were chosen by audition to train with Sir Simon and the orchestra in London, but many were prevented from doing so by the pandemic. The conductor’s newly scheduled Santa Barbara visit is expressly designed to redress this balance, while also crowning the Academy’s unprecedented four-year LSO partnership and kicking off its 75th anniversary celebrations.
 
Conceived as a four-year program starting in 2018, the LSO-Academy partnership saw the principal members of the orchestra and its family of conductors in residence at the Academy during its summer program, teaching and mentoring its young fellows at the Academy’s annual Summer Festival and School in 2018 and 2019, before the pandemic hit. Additionally, as part of the Academy’s ongoing Keston MAX program, LSO musicians auditioned and selected Academy fellows each year from 2018 through 2021. The successful 2018 fellows were invited to travel to London for intensive training with Sir Simon and the LSO, taking part in orchestral and chamber rehearsals and performances, attending mock auditions, receiving lessons, and gaining invaluable insight into the life of a world-class orchestral musician. In 2019, the Academy welcomed the full LSO to Santa Barbara as part of the partnership. Classical Music magazine noted that year: “A good partnership requires solid foundations, and mutual investment from all sides. … This one has both: from the involvement and enthusiasm of the local community, to the LSO’s genuine passion for education, to the diligence of the Academy fellows.” Sadly, because of COVID restrictions, those fellows selected in 2019, 2020 and 2021 were unable to travel to London as planned and the LSO could not return to Santa Barbara in summer 2021; as a result, the upcoming March visit by Sir Simon and the LSO is especially welcomed and anticipated by everyone concerned, on both sides of the Atlantic.
 
Co-presented with Santa Barbara’s Community Arts Music Association, the LSO’s first public performance of the upcoming March residency will showcase the orchestra in music by BerliozRavelSibeliusBartók and Women of the Future Award-winner Hannah Kendall (March 24). Next follows “How to Build an Orchestra,” one of the LSO’s signature family concerts; as in the orchestra’s book and recording of the same name, this will feature music and arrangements by LSO Animateur Rachel Leach, who will be in attendance to present it (March 26). The residency concludes with a major event to mark the Academy’s milestone anniversary next year. This time the performers will include 39 Keston MAX “All-Stars, drawn from those Academy alumni selected over the past three seasons for the partnership’s special program. Placing the “All-Stars” on stage alongside the full LSO, this festive 75th Anniversary Community Concert will feature more than 150 musicians in a pairing of works by Grainger with Bruckner’s magisterial Fourth Symphony, “Romantic” (March 27). As part of the Academy’s commitment to community access, all tickets for “How to Build an Orchestra” and the 75th Anniversary Community Concert are generously subsidized, and will be available for $10 each, or free of charge to children accompanying ticketed adults.
 
Scott Reed, President and CEO of Music Academy of the West, comments:
“We are proud to offer our community a first-time residency in Santa Barbara by Sir Simon Rattle and the LSO to launch our milestone 75th anniversary. Through this international exchange, we have offered our fellows impactful training and performance opportunities and unparalleled concerts on two continents.”
Kathryn McDowell, Managing Director of the London Symphony Orchestra, says:
“Ever since the LSO was in Santa Barbara in 2019, we have been eagerly anticipating our return. We always look forward to our collaboration with Music Academy of the West’s talented fellows.”
About the Music Academy of the West
Music Academy of the West is a performance-based training center and incubator that empowers musicians to impact society positively. The Academy welcomes everyone from across all generations, cultures and backgrounds to experience the transformative power of music. Based in Santa Barbara, California, the Academy presents the preeminent full-scholarship Summer School and Festival for classically trained fellows ages 18 to 34. The fellows study and perform with more than 50 exceptional faculty and teaching artists, while forging close connections with the local community. The Academy’s commitment to long-term collaborations and exchanges with leading orchestras and opera companies results in unparalleled mentorship and career-advancing prospects. The Innovation Institute spearheads entrepreneurial training and ventures through seminars, residencies and the Alumni Enterprise Awards, substantial grants given annually for a wide range of creative projects. Launched in 2018, Sing! – a free, after-school choral program for local elementary students – inspires personal growth and expression. For more information, visit musicacademy.org.

Music Academy of the West presents LSO & Sir Simon Rattle in residence
March 24 at 7:30pm
Santa Barbara, CA (Granada Theatre)
London Symphony Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle
Co-presenter: Community Arts Music Association
BERLIOZ: Le corsaire Overture
Hannah KENDALL: The Spark Catchers
SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 7
BARTÓK: Suite from The Miraculous Mandarin
RAVEL: La valse
 
March 26 at 4pm
Santa Barbara, CA (Granada Theatre)
London Symphony Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle
Family Concert: “How to Build an Orchestra”
Presenter: Rachel Leach
PROKOFIEV: No 1: “Montagues and Capulets” from Romeo & Juliet Suite
Rachel LEACH: Let’s Make a Band!
BARTÓK: Excerpt from Divertimento
MOZART: “Rondo” from Gran Partita Final
COPLAND: Fanfare for the Common Man
BRITTEN: Excerpt from The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
BEETHOVEN: Excerpts from Symphony No. 6, “Pastoral”
Rachel LEACH: Let’s Make a Band! (large orchestra)
RAVEL, arr. Rachel LEACH: Bolero
 
March 27 at 7pm
Santa Barbara, CA (Granada Theatre)
London Symphony Orchestra & Keston MAX “All-Stars” / Sir Simon Rattle
75th Anniversary Community Concert
GRAINGER: Lads of Wamphray
GRAINGER: Lincolnshire Posy
BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 4, “Romantic”