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PHOTOS: Music Academy of the West Inaugural Performance Residency

This week the New York Philharmonic completed its first performance residency at Santa Barbara’s Music Academy of the West, the first American partner in the New York Philharmonic Global Academy, which couples concerts with instruction to train the next generation of orchestral musicians. The residency began with Music Academy students and Philharmonic musicians working together in a side-by-side reading of Mahler's Fifth, continued with lessons and master classes, and closed with the Philharmonic’s Santa Barbara Bowl debut with an all-American program led by Music Director Alan Gilbert. 

PHOTOS: The Philharmonic Arrives in Santa Barbara

A full summer of performance and education residencies continues for the New York Philharmonic! First Shanghai, then Vail, and now Santa Barbara, where the Orchestra arrived on Saturday for several days of activities with Music Academy of the West.

On Sunday evening, at the Santa Barbara Bowl, Music Director Alan Gilbert and the Orchestra rehearsed Mahler's Fifth side-by-side with Music Academy students — just the kind of intensive training in the life of an orchestral musician the New York Philharmonic Global Academy program is all about.

Here are some photos from Sunday evening:

New York Philharmonic Global Academy: Music Academy of the West

New York Philharmonic President Matthew VanBesien and Music Academy of the West President and CEO Scott Reed.

New York Philharmonic Global Academy: Music Academy of the West

Gilbert leads the combined musicians during the side-by-side rehearsal, the lovely Southern-California sunset in the background.

New York Philharmonic Global Academy: Music Academy of the West

Acting Concertmaster Sheryl Staples (right) uses a moment in rehearsal to impart some wisdom to Music Academy violinists.

New York Philharmonic Global Academy: Music Academy of the West

The winds, with clarinets and oboes horizontal, rise to the occasion of Mahler's Fifth, a mighty challenge even in rehearsal.

New York Philharmonic Global Academy: Music Academy of the West

Gilbert chats with a Music Academy violinist during the rehearsal.

New York Philharmonic Global Academy: Music Academy of the West

Principal Harp Nancy Allen shares a teaching moment with a Music Academy harpist.

(Photos: Chris Lee)

New York Philharmonic Global Academy Summer Highlights: Shanghai & Music Academy of the West

Sheryl Staples New York Philharmonic Global Academy Shangai Orchestra Academy

The mercury just cracked 60 here in New York, and our summer travel plans are already in motion! Today, the Philharmonic announced details of the Orchestra’s two performance residencies this summer: in Shanghai and Santa Barbara.

Global Academy Summer Highlights

Shanghai Orchestra Academy and Residency Partnership (July 4–10)
Alan Gilbert will bring Philharmonic flair to Shanghai this summer in the first of four annual performance residencies in Shanghai. The Orchestra will perform two all-American music concerts (one on the Fourth of July, no less!), a Young People’s Concert featuring New York City–centric music (July 9), and a concert of Mozart and Mahler (July 10). Charles Dutoit will also conduct the Orchestra in a concert of Philharmonic greatest hits: Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Emanuel Ax, Stravinsky’s Petrushka, and Ravel’s La Valse (July 5). In between performances and rehearsals the New York Philharmonic musicians will fan the musical fires of students in the Shanghai Orchestra Academy, leading masterclasses, coaching chamber groups, and teaching lessons.

Music Academy of the West Partnership (August 1–8)
Coming directly from the mountains of Vail, Colorado, the Orchestra will take root in sunny Santa Barbara at the renowned Music Academy of the West. The New York Philharmonic will start off its residency with a side-by-side reading with the Academy Festival Orchestra. Alan Gilbert will then lead the Philharmonic in its debut at the Santa Barbara Bowl performing works by Barber, Copland, Bernstein, Gershwin, and Sousa. Philharmonic Acting Concertmaster Sheryl Staples, Principal Cello Carter Brey, Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill, Principal Tuba Alan Baer, and Associate Principal Percussion Daniel Druckman will perform in a chamber music concert on August 4. They will also be Music Academy of the West guest faculty for a week, giving private lessons, lectures, master classes, and chamber music coachings.

(Above, Acting Concertmaster Sheryl Staples in a master class at Shanghai Orchestra Academy in September 2014. Photo: Eunice Hoo)

PHOTOS: Zarin Mehta Fellows: 10 Days of Life as an Orchestral Musician

On Tuesday the inaugural class of Zarin Mehta Fellows completed their 11-day participation in the New York Philharmonic Global Academy Fellowship program. The Fellows, selected by audition, are ten instrumentalists from Music Academy of the West, our first American partner in the program.

The Fellows enjoyed a uniquely intimate and rigorous immersion in the life of an orchestral musician that will enrich their musical and professional development. Here's a look back.

Zarin Mehta Fellows: In Concert, In the News, in the Archive

Mehta Fellows Zarin Mehta NY Philharmonic

On Sunday the inaugural Zarin Mehta Fellows from Music Academy of the West met their "namesake," former New York Philharmonic President and Executive Director Zarin Mehta. It was at a private chamber concert for donors in Lincoln Center's Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, where the Fellows performed with Philharmonic musicians. 

Mehta Fellows Chamber Concert NY Philharmonic

The purest example of immersion in the real life of an orchestral musician, the goal of the Fellowship itself, began on Thursday night, when the Fellows performed in the subscription concert alongside Orchestra members. (They are performing in the entire run, which ends tonight.) Here are cellist Genevieve Tabby and percussionist Charlie Rosmarin during that concert's performance of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake Suite:

Genevieve Tabby NY Philharmonic

 Charlie Rosmarin NY Philharmonic

The Fellows were also featured in a New York Times article titled "Cultivating a More Youthful Orchestra":

Michael Cooper Snip NY Philharmonic

This just in! Today the Fellows are visiting the New York Philharmonic Archives. Here they are, looking at an archival score with New York Philharmonic Historian/Archivist Barbara Haws:

Zarin Mehta Fellows NY Philharmonic Archives

Photos: Chris Lee

Welcome, Zarin Mehta Fellows!

Mehta Fellows NY Philharmonic

Hail, Fellows, well met!

Over the weekend, the inaugural class of Zarin Mehta Fellows began their 11-day participation in the New York Philharmonic Global Academy program. The Fellows, selected by audition, are 10 instrumentalists from Music Academy of the West, one of our partners in the Program. Meet them in the video below!

The Fellows are already busy training and playing with Philharmonic musicians. They rehearsed Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake this morning and will perform it in concerts starting Thursday night. This typifies the uniquely intimate and rigorous immersion in the life of an orchestral musician that the Fellowship offers, and that will enrich the Fellows' musical and professional development. Other activities include coaching, chamber music, and other professional-development activities with Alan Gilbert and Philharmonic musicians at Avery Fisher Hall.

And breathing:

Photo (top) and video: Chris Lee

Alan Gilbert a 'Revelation' Leading Music Academy of the West Orchestra

Alan Gilbert NY Philharmonic 

"Alan Gilbert, the charismatic leader of the New York Philharmonic, took the stage at the Lobero on Saturday with a question that was tinged with irony. 'Do you like Arnold Schoenberg?' he asked the audience in the hearty tone of a rock star."

So begins the Santa Barbara Independent's review of Alan's performance leading Music Academy of the West's Academy Festival Orchestra. The concert capped a week-long residency by Alan and several Philharmonic musicians that kicked off a four-year collaboration between the two institutions.

The response, although sprinkled with laughter, was a roar of approval. He then reminded the enthusiastic listeners of Schoenberg’s history with the Music Academy, and of the “difficult, but with heart” musical Romanticism of this early, adventurous, but not yet atonal work. Then he and the young musicians plunged in to the Chamber Symphony No. 1 in E-flat Major, Op. 9, which remains one of the 20th century’s wildest musical rides. Gilbert’s decision to augment the original arrangement, which was scored for 15 individual instruments, with additional strings — he referred to it as a “bulked up” version — might be the subject of some well-informed second guesses, but there was no confusion when it came to the sound he got from these players, which was outstanding.

Next up was another exciting 20th century chamber symphony, this one by Thomas Ades. This 1990 composition is an altogether idiosyncratic work, playful to the point of perversity, and filled with both jazzy, unpredictable rhythms and odd, unconventional instruments, including an accordion, the inimitable “boing” of a Flexitone, and the improvised wind instrument created when one blows across the top of a wine bottle. Gilbert joked that the note hit by this not-empty bottle could be heard to fluctuate during rehearsal, a nod to our city’s special relationship with wine that was clearly part of his excellent rapport with the Academy fellows.

After intermission came Schubert's Symphony No. 2 in B-flat Major, D. 125.

Although this choice came with an audible diminution in the complexity of the composition, Gilbert and company more than made up for the shift with a beautiful, singing tone and propulsive rhythmic inflections. Seeing Gilbert conduct from up close and in this relatively unbuttoned atmosphere was truly a revelation. Every gesture was solid with the precision and confidence of a master at the height of his powers. His highly physical lunging and pirouetting style also brought out the best in the Academy fellows, who played this music as though their young lives depended on it. As a preview of what is to come not only in this season, but over the next four years as the Music Academy and the New York Philharmonic grow into their new collaboration, the concert was a remarkable harbinger of much more greatness to come.

Philharmonic Announces Partnership with Music Academy of the West

NY Philharmonic-Music Academy of the West 

The New York Philharmonic and Music Academy of the West have entered into a four-year partnership that will create unique and intensive opportunities for selected Music Academy Fellows to train with New York Philharmonic musicians and Music Director Alan Gilbert in Santa Barbara and New York. Above: Scott Reed, President of the Academy, with Alan Gilbert and New York Philharmonic Executive Director Matthew VanBesien.

Alan Gilbert, the New York Philharmonic, its Assistant Conductors, and musicians will have a presence at the Music Academy Summer Festival for training and performances each summer for four years beginning in 2014, culminating in a joint concert with the New York Philharmonic and Academy Festival Orchestra celebrating the Music Academy’s 70th anniversary in 2017.

Read the press release.

(Photo: Chris Lee)