Nearly 300 guests celebrated the launch of the Music Academy of the West’s (MAW) 70th Summer School and Festival at an elegant and magical black-tie affair on its picturesque Miraflores Campus. Guests were greeted at the main entrance by MAW staff and a red carpet that extended along the entire magnificent, tree-lined promenade to Hahn Hall (a cleverly-disguised driveway). Various Steinways were on display for the “Steinway Style” gala, which was also celebrating MAW’s attainment, with its 55 Steinways, of an All Steinway School distinction from Steinway & Sons.
A Steinway Spirio player piano provided background music while glamorously attired guests mingled outside during the cocktail hour. Guests then adjourned to Hahn Hall for a spectacular concert featuring two world-renowned Steinway Artists, Yuja Wang and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. In her customarily stylish but scanty attire, Ms. Wang, along with Mr. Thibaudet, performed brilliantly, especially in the duets. The concert marked the debut of MAW’s new Hamburg Model D concert grand piano.
Dinner was served in the lovely Miraflores courtyard at dusk. Strategic lighting illuminated the gorgeous Marilyn Horne Main House and adjacent trees and tower heaters kept everyone toasty warm. Over a decadent three-course meal (I opted for the filet mignon with bernaise), Board Chair Marge Cafarelli welcomed the guests and thanked them for their support, which will go toward funding the full-scholarship program for all fellows at the Summer School; the $10 Community Access Tickets available for all MAW performances, and the 7-17 Program providing free tickets to all performances for children ages 7 to 17. Proceeds from this $1,000 per ticket gala will also go toward the largest classical music event in Santa Barbara history: The performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony by the New York Philharmonic on July 31 in Santa Barbara City College’s La Playa Stadium.The concert will open with the MAW Festival Orchestra and conclude with fireworks over the ocean. More than 6,500 $10 and free tickets will be available for this incredible evening.
President and CEO Scott Reed shared his excitement for MAW attaining its All Steinway School distinction. Steinway & Sons Director of Sales Gavin English remarked that in partnering with MAW over the past seven years, he “always felt that we at Steinway had to raise our game to a whole new level. In my over 20 years in the music industry, I have never met a more dedicated and passionate staff than Scott Reed and his team.” Very few institutions in the world have attained an All Steinway School distinction. Reed and English then jointly presented Shirley and Seymour Lehrer with the first ever Key to Success Award for their vision, leadership, and investments.
This season, which runs from June 12 to August 5, welcomes 137 fellows from around the world and nearly 70 guest artists and faculty members. Guest artists include superstars Renée Fleming, Matthew Aucoin, David Daniels, and Stephen Hough. Among the many esteemed faculty members are Jeremy Denk, Jerome Lowenthal, and Conor Hanick. There will be more than 200 masterclasses, recitals, performances and other events, all open to the public.
For more information, go to musicacademy.org.
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By Gail Arnold