The Music Academy of the West is currently accepting applications for its popular summer MERIT Program, which will take place this year from July 4 to 15. Application materials can be downloaded from the Academy website ( or requested via phone at 695-7911. Applications must be postmarked by March 15. Auditions, which are required, will take place in April.

Inaugurated in 1998, MERIT (Music Education Reinforces Intellect and Talent) provides musicians ages 11 to 18 with an intensive two-week immersion in the Academy’s Summer School and Festival and mentoring from Academy Fellows. Directed by Linda Holland and supported by the Henry E. and Lola Monroe Foundation, the Cheeryble Foundation, and Connie Frank and Evan Thompson, the program operates from September through May as MERIT Extended. Participants in the latter join one of five chamber ensembles, receive coaching twice a month, and take part in masterclasses and performances at the Music Academy throughout the school year. The aim is to provide promising students with an opportunity to expand their chamber music education.

For more information, contact Ms. Holland at 687-6875.

Founded in 1947, the Music Academy of the West is among the nation’s preeminent summer schools and festivals for gifted young classical musicians. The Academy provides these promising musicians with the opportunity for advanced study and frequent performance under the guidance of internationally renowned faculty artists, guest conductors, and soloists. Admission to the Academy is strictly merit based, and Fellows receive full scholarships (tuition, room, and board). Academy alumni are members of major symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras, ensembles, opera companies, and university and conservatory faculties throughout the world. Many enjoy careers as prominent solo artists. Based in Santa Barbara, the Music Academy of the West presents more than 200 public events annually, including performances by faculty, visiting artists, and Fellows; masterclasses; orchestra and chamber music concerts; and fully staged opera. The Music Academy began screening live performances by the world-renowned Metropolitan Opera at Hahn Hall in October 2008. For more information, visit


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