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 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 fourth year of the partnership includes the third New York visit by Zarin Mehta Fellows from Music Academy of the West, a rigorous ten-day training program in January 2018 that included training and playing alongside Philharmonic musicians in selections from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet for the Orchestra’s January 25–27 subscription concerts conducted by Stéphane Denève. Other highlights of the immersion included mock auditions; performing a chamber concert; tours of David Geffen Hall and the Philharmonic Archives; “Programming and Production” and “Orchestra Committee” panels; and a “Playing Fit” seminar led by trainer Jennifer Johnson. The ten young musicians also visited local schools, attended concerts, took private lessons from musicians in the Orchestra, and attended a post-concert reception hosted by Alec Baldwin.

View slideshows and more from the Music Academy of the West partnership

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 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.