About the Music Academy of the West Partnership

The Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara is the first American partner in the New York Philharmonic Global Academy. The four-year partnership, which began in the summer of 2014, combines training of Music Academy fellows by Philharmonic musicians; biennial performances by the Philharmonic at the Music Academy Summer Festival; and Academy Festival Orchestra performances at Music Academy Summer Festivals. 

The partnership began with then Music Director Alan Gilbert and Philharmonic musicians teaching in Santa Barbara in July 2014; the partnership inaugurated the Global Academy Fellowship Program, through which ten instrumentalists from the Music Academy of the West, selected as Zarin Mehta Fellows through auditions, traveled to New York to train and play with the Philharmonic, in January 2015. The second group of Zarin Mehta Fellows did the same in January 2016. The third will come in January 2018.

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The 2017–18 Season

Ten outstanding Music Academy of the West musicians have been selected to travel to New York as Zarin Mehta Fellows in January 2018 to participate in the fourth year of the New York Philharmonic Global Academy Fellowship Program, which offers opportunities to train and play with Philharmonic musicians, representing an innovative approach to training the next generation of world-class musicians for successful careers.

The 2018 Zarin Mehta Fellows were selected by audition from Music Academy of the West instrumentalists, all full-scholarship participants during the summer of 2017. They are: Choi Tung Yeung, violin; Gi Yeon Yoon, violin; Yuan Qi, viola; Jenny Kwak, cello; Michael Marks, double bass; Hannah Hammel, flute; William Welter, oboe; Ryan Toher, clarinet; Nathaniel Silberschlag, horn; and Michael Cox, trombone.

These ten Music Academy of the West fellows will travel to New York in a ten-day intensive program, including training and playing alongside Philharmonic musicians, conducted by Stéphane Denève, in selections from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet for the Philharmonic’s subscription concerts January 25–27. The Fellows will learn directly from Philharmonic musicians, a unique experience that will immerse them in all aspects of an orchestral player’s life, from audition to performance, learning important career skills.

The Second Performance Residency (2017)

The New York Philharmonic returned to the Music Academy of the West on July 31–August 5, 2017, for its second biennial residencyDuring the Music Academy of the West’s 2017 Summer Festival, then Music Director Alan Gilbert led the Academy Festival Orchestra in the final concert of the season with soprano Renée Fleming on August 5 at the Granada Theatre, in addition to conducting the New York Philharmonic at Santa Barbara’s City College La Playa Stadium in the Music Academy’s 70th Anniversary Community Concert on July 31.

Also as part of this residency, five Philharmonic musicians — Concertmaster Frank Huang, Principal Cello Carter Brey, Principal Bassoon Judith LeClair, Principal Trombone Joseph Alessi, and Associate Principal Percussion Daniel Druckman —served as guest faculty July 30–August 4 to train fellows in collaboration with Academy faculty, including masterclasses, chamber music coachings, private lessons, and lectures. The New York Philharmonic String Quartet also joined faculty members in a chamber music concert on August 1 at the Lobero Theatre.

The 2015–16 Season

The 2015–16 season activities included the second visit of Music Academy students traveling to New York as Zarin Mehta Fellows; Philharmonic musicians again serving as visiting artists in collaboration with Academy faculty in Santa Barbara through master classes, chamber music coaching sessions, private lessons, and lectures; and then Music Director Alan Gilbert returning to conduct the Academy Festival Orchestra.

The Inaugural Performance Residency (2015)

The New York Philharmonic’s first performance residency at the Music Academy of the West took place August 1–8, 2015. Then Music Director Alan Gilbert led the New York Philharmonic’s debut at the Santa Barbara Bowl; the Philharmonic participated in side-by-side orchestra readings with the Music Academy’s Academy Festival Orchestra; and Philharmonic musicians served as visiting artists and engaged in educational activities with Music Academy students.

Highlights of the Inaugural Performance Residency

The Global Academy Fellowship Program, in association with the New York Philharmonic Global Academy, is supported in part by The Hilaria and Alec Baldwin Foundation, Inc., an anonymous donor, and other gifts made toward the Zarin Mehta Fund. Additional support provided by Shirley Young / US–China Cultural Foundation.

The Music Academy’s partnership with the New York Philharmonic has been made possible through the generosity of lead sponsors Linda and Michael Keston.