Pianist Jacopo Giacopuzzi, Pianist Milena Gligić, and Tenor Josh Wheeker.

Gail Arnold

Pianist Jacopo Giacopuzzi, Pianist Milena Gligić, and Tenor Josh Wheeker.

Music Academy of the West Holds Summer Preview

Donors Learn About Upcoming Season and Enjoy Performances

On the afternoon of March 25, the Music Academy of the West (MAW) held a Summer Preview for major donors to learn about the upcoming season and about developments at MAW. The donors, all Council of Contributors members, also enjoyed brilliant performances in Hahn Hall by tenor Josh Wheeker and pianists Jacopo Giacopuzzi, Milena Gliglić, and Conor Hanick. Afterwards, donors got to mingle with performers and staff during a reception on the Fé Bland Patio.

President and CEO Scott Reed welcomed the donors and shared how in this 70th anniversary year, the academy will continue with its excellent teaching, master classes, performances and outreach. It will also be launching an ongoing Commissions and Premieres Program to support the creation and performance of new music. Another new initiative, the Alumni Enterprise Awards Program, will fund original ideas of alumni, up to $20,000 per award.

Of all the announcements, what drew the loudest applause from the donors was that opera star Renée Fleming will be at MAW during the final week of the Summer Festival. She will teach an evening master class and perform in the final concert on August 5 with MAW’s orchestra. Scott announced that the Mosher Guest Artists for this season, in addition to Fleming, will be composer Matthew Aucoin, countertenor David Daniels, and pianist Stephen Hough.

Reed also proudly announced that the academy has achieved an all-Steinway distinction from Steinway & Sons. MAW now has 55 instruments including a Hamburg model D concert grand piano for Hahn Hall, which will have its premier at MAW’s 70th Anniversary Gala on May 21. The event will feature a first-ever duo performance by world-renowned Steinway Artists Yuja Wang and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, followed by an elegant al fresco dinner.

Reed shared his excitement for the 70th Anniversary Concert, which will feature the entire New York Philharmonic performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Santa Barbara City College’s La Playa Stadium on July 31. As the largest classical music event in Santa Barbara’s history, this will be an amazing experience for all 7,000 ticket holders. Tickets for adults are only $10 and free for children. Two MAW superstar alumni soloists will perform: soprano Susanna Phillips and mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, joined by tenor Joe Kaiser, bass Morris Robinson, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.

This summer, MAW will present a two-day event open to the public — the Classical Evolution/Revolution Conference — with a wide range of experts discussing the evolution of classical music in our current culture.

This year, MAW will complete its $50 million long-range facility upgrade plan that has transformed a residential estate into a world-class conservatory. A ribbon cutting will take place in July at the academy’s new teaching facility, Hind Hall, to officially mark this completion.

The Music Academy of the West provides classically trained musicians the opportunity for advanced study and performance under the guidance of internationally renowned faculty artists, guest conductors and soloists. Fellows receive full scholarships (tuition, room and board). MAW presents more than 200 public events annually, including performances by faculty, visiting artists, and fellows; master classes; orchestra and chamber music concerts; and a fully staged opera. All events take place during its Summer School and Festival, June 12 to August 5, at MAW and in venues throughout Santa Barbara. For more information, go to

Send event invites to Gail at

By Gail Arnold

President and CEO Scott Reed addresses the donors.

By Gail Arnold

Pianist Conor Hanick, Women’s Auxiliary Chair Cevin Cathell, and Vice President of Artistic Planning and Educational Programs Patrick Posey.

By Gail Arnold

Past Boardmember Regina Roney, Roger Wilde, and Board Secretary Eileen Sheridan.

By Gail Arnold

Dick and Pat Johnson.

By Gail Arnold

Guests enjoy the reception.

Pianist Milena Gligić with Terry Valeski and Nan Holt.

By Gail Arnold

Elaine Toledo, Ray Freeman, and Mary Freeman.

By Gail Arnold

Pianist Jacopo Giacopuzzi, Pianist Milena Gligić, and Tenor Josh Wheeker.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Iron Chef Caused State Street Pedestrian Death

Famous Chef Larry Forgione charged with misdemeanor for driving into Gilbert Ramirez on February 24.

Lavagnino’s Sudden Victory

5th District supervisor a shoo-in as filing window closes; Gregg Hart also unopposed for 2nd District.

One Half of Old Town Streets to Get Sidewalks

Walkways planned for one side of Goleta neighborhood streets; parking, lighting talks at community meeting March 22.

After Disaster in Montecito, Where Is All the Money Going?

Santa Barbara nonprofits account for millions spent on relief efforts.

Santa Barbara Experiences a Rainy March, but a Dry Year

Water year only 34 percent of normal for precipitation.