CARMEN, Jonathan Biss, eighth blackbird, Deborah Voigt, Alan Gilbert and More Set for Music Academy of the West's 2014 Season
Santa Barbara, Calif. -- The Music Academy of the West will inaugurate an unprecedented partnership with the world-renowned New York Philharmonic and present a new production of Georges Bizet's popular opera Carmen in honor of Marilyn Horne's 80th birthday as part of the Academy's 67th annual Summer Festival. The Music Academy will present some 200 events over the course of its coming season, which begins June 16 and concludes August 9.
Additional highlights will include performances by pianists Jonathan Biss, Jeremy Denk, and Stephen Hough, contemporary chamber music ensemble eighth blackbird, violinist Daniel Hope, cellist Joshua Roman, soprano Deborah Voigt, and the Takács Quartet, as well as conducting turns by Thomas Adès, Jay Friedman, James Gaffigan, Edward Gardner, Alan Gilbert, Larry Rachleff, and Joshua Weilerstein. Featuring the Academy's exceptionally talented Fellows, together with illustrious guest performers and faculty, the events will be presented at the Academy's scenic Miraflores campus and in venues throughout Santa Barbara. Subscription sales have begun.
"We are tremendously proud of the program we have assembled for the 2014 Festival, which brims with marquee performers and outstanding training opportunities for our Fellows," said Music Academy President Scott Reed. "This season's dynamic roster of musical experiences will once again enable Festival attendees to engage, absorb, and celebrate classical music at its finest."
New York Philharmonic Partnership
The Music Academy has entered into an unprecedented four-year partnership with the world-renowned New York Philharmonic that will create unique educational opportunities for Academy Fellows during the summer months and beyond. The agreement calls for Philharmonic personnel to take part in the next four Music Academy Summer Festivals, culminating in a joint concert with the New York Philharmonic and Academy Festival Orchestra celebrating the Music Academy's 70th anniversary in 2017. Under terms of the partnership, Music Director Alan Gilbert will be on hand for part of the next four Festivals, and up to five New York Philharmonic musicians will serve as guest faculty for one week each summer to train Fellows in collaboration with Academy faculty, including masterclasses, chamber music coachings, private lessons, and lectures. Filling the inaugural residencies this summer will be cellist Eric Bartlett, Principal flutist Robert Langevin, and Principal Trombonist Joseph Alessi. Additionally, up to 10 Music Academy Fellows, selected by audition during the summer, will travel to New York City for 10-day apprenticeships and musical immersion with the Philharmonic each year through 2018. The New York Philharmonic, conducted by Mr. Gilbert, will perform as part of the Music Academy Summer Festival in Santa Barbara during the 2015 and 2017 seasons. The 2015 residency will include a community concert marking the Philharmonic's debut at the historic Santa Barbara County Bowl, as well as a side-by-side orchestra reading with the Academy Festival Orchestra (AFO) at the Granada Theatre. Mr. Gilbert also will conduct the AFO in 2014 and 2016, and Philharmonic Assistant Conductor Joshua Weilerstein, a Music Academy alumnus, will conduct the Academy's annual Concerto Night concert this July.
"This collaboration with the Music Academy of the West taps into multiple facets of the New York Philharmonic," said Mr. Gilbert. "Our musicians have an astounding amount to share, in terms of both performance and education. Their ability to give uplifting and excellent concerts is integrally linked with their potential to inspire and educate future orchestral musicians. This partnership with the Music Academy will give us the opportunity to showcase both of these sides through performances in beautiful Santa Barbara and ongoing work with their very promising Fellows."
Mosher Guest Artist Residency Program
Generous support from the Samuel B. and Margaret C. Mosher Foundation will once again enable the Music Academy to host four stellar guest artists over the course of this year's Summer Festival. Ranging in duration, their residencies will include public masterclasses, performances, and private interaction with Academy Fellows. The Academy's 2014 Mosher Guest Artists are the contemporary chamber music ensemble eighth blackbird (June 23-26), violinist Daniel Hope (July 2-5), soprano Deborah Voigt (July 17-19), and pianist Jonathan Biss (August 3-5).
The Music Academy Voice Program will present a fully staged production of Carmen at the Granada Theatre on August 1 and 3. James Gaffigan, who led the Academy Festival Orchestra in memorable performances the last two seasons, will conduct the Academy Opera Orchestra. David Paul, a faculty member at Juilliard and the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program who oversaw the Academy's well-received productions of The Rake's Progress and The Magic Flute in 2012 and 2013, respectively, will return to direct. Mr. Paul's extensive credits also include a critically lauded production of Le nozze di Figaro for Washington National Opera. "Many regard Carmen as the perfect opera, and it has maintained a constant place in the repertoire since its premiere in 1875," said Ms. Horne, long recognized as one of the most famous Carmens of all time. Her celebrated history with Bizet's masterpiece includes singing the title role to open the Met's 1972-73 season. That production, which also featured Leonard Bernstein as conductor, went on to garner a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording in 1974. "Whoever sings Carmen has to bring a lot of herself to the character. That's one of the reasons she's so interesting." Ms. Horne, attended the Music Academy in 1953 and has directed the Academy's renowned Voice Program since 1997. The 23 Academy Fellows who will perform in the production - chosen from among more than 600 applicants as part of the Academy's Voice Program audition process - represent some of today's finest young singing talent. The 45-member opera orchestra will consist of Music Academy instrumental Fellows.
The Academy Festival Orchestra will present eight concerts this season, including four at the historic Granada Theatre. Larry Rachleff, who serves as music director of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and Rice University's Shepherd School orchestras, will join Chicago Symphony Principal Trombonist Jay Friedman for the season's opening orchestra concert at Santa Barbara's newly renovated Lobero Theatre on June 21. Celebrating the 150th anniversary of Strauss' birth, Mr. Friedman will conduct his arrangement for brass of An Alpine Symphony, Op. 64; Mr. Rachleff will conduct Prokofiev's Symphony No. 1 in D Major, "Classical," Op. 25, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 36. The following week, Mr. Rachleff will conduct Strauss' Vienna Philharmonic Fanfare, Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67, and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major, Op. 100, on June 28. Edward Gardner, who serves as music director of the English National Opera and principal guest conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, will conduct Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 3, featuring 2014 Avery Fisher Prize recipient Jeremy Denk, as well as Ravel's Daphnis & Chloe on July 12. New York Philharmonic Assistant Conductor and Music Academy alumnus Joshua Weilerstein ('07 and '08) will take up the baton for Concerto Night, featuring winners of the Academy's 2014 Concerto Competition, on July 19. A former Concerto Night soloist himself, Mr. Weilerstein will conduct Tchaikovsky's intense Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64, to conclude the evening's concert. And composer Thomas Adès will conduct his work Polaris, in addition to Ives' Variations on "America," Britten's "Four Sea Interludes" from Peter Grimes, and Stravinsky's Petrushka to close out the 2014 Summer Festival on August 9.
Mosher Guest Artist and violinist extraordinaire Daniel Hope will lead a chamber orchestra consisting of Academy faculty and Fellows in a performance of Max Richter's enthralling Recomposed: Vivaldi's Four Seasons on July 5 in Hahn Hall. New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert will conduct members of the Academy Festival Orchestra in a performance of Thomas Ades' Chamber Symphony, Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony No. 1, and Schubert's Symphony No. 2 in B-flat Major, D. 125, at the Lobero Theatre on July 26. And cellist Joshua Roman, returning for a second season as Alumnus in Residence, will perform with Music Academy Fellows in Hahn Hall on August 2.
Chamber Music & Solo Recitals
Tuesdays @ 8 concerts feature Academy faculty artists performing beloved favorites and undiscovered treasures of the chamber music repertoire. Guest artists this season will include violinists Elmar Oliveira and Sylvia Rosenberg, New York Philharmonic Principal Violist Cynthia Phelps, violist Karen Dreyfus, cellist Joshua Roman, oboist Eugene Izotov, pianist Jeremy Denk, and conductors James Gaffigan and Larry Rachleff. In a special Tuesdays @ 8 concert at the Lobero Theatre on July 22, Mr. Gaffigan will conduct orchestral reductions of Debussy's Prelude a l'apres midi d'un faun and Mahler's Symphony No. 4, the latter featuring newly appointed faculty artist Glenn Dicterow as solo violinist. In between, the brilliant pianist and composer Stephen Hough will present his own Piano Sonata No. 2.