Alumni Enterprise Awards

Revolutionary. Daring. Inspiring.

About the Alumni Enterprise Awards

This award funds innovative ideas in areas including artistic expression, audience development, education, community engagement, social justice, and technology.

This award opportunity is available to all Music Academy alumni. Proposals must align with or challenge the Academy’s mission to further classical music education while cultivating discerning, appreciative, and adventurous audiences. Awards granted for alumni projects range from $2,500 to $20,000 based on scope and scale.

Winners will sharpen their business skills and workshop their business plans while attending the Innovation Residential. The Residential will be hosted in Santa Barbara on the Music Academy campus in March 2020. Costs for travel, accommodations and training sessions will be provided as part of the the Alumni Enterprise Award winners package.

21 alumni have received Alumni Enterprise Awards over the past three years, for a total of $220,000 to support their proposed programs. In addition to four Winning Projects in 2020, two Innovation Awards were given in support of thinking that will push the industry forward in bold new ways. Fast Pitch Awards will again be offered to 2020 fellows who will have the opportunity to pitch their innovative ideas during the Summer School and Festival.

The Alumni Enterprise Awards are generously supported by Regina and Rick Roney and the Ladera Foundation.

About the 2020 Winning Projects

About the 2019 Winning Projects

2018 Enterprise Award Winners


Ben Bliss ('12): MESS Core Ensemble

Ben Bliss ('12): MESS Core Ensemble

Under the leadership of stage director Paul Curran, the group spent five days preparing operatic scenes for a Manhattan performance on the final day of their Initial Ensemble Session, geared toward a millennial demographic.


Evan Shinners ('09): The Bach Store

Evan Shinners ('09): The Bach Store

A pop-up storefront in NYC where those walking by can see and hear musicians play Bach every day, for five hours a day, over 30 days. Learn more in the New York Times feature article by Michael Cooper: A Pop-Up Shop That Offers Bach Preludes, Fugues and Condoms


Brenda Patterson ('00): The Forgotten

Brenda Patterson ('00): The Forgotten

A Halloween double-bill that interweaves Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel with Menotti’s The Medium, The Forgotten explores American poverty, economic anxiety, and teenage gender identity.


Molly Carr ('07) & Anna Petrova ('17): Novel Voices

Molly Carr ('07) & Anna Petrova ('17): Novel Voices

This debut album for the Carr-Petrova Duo premiered this fall as part of their “Refugee Awareness” concert in Carnegie Hall, mounted to raise awareness about the lives and struggles of refugees across the globe.


Theresa Kim ('06): International Music Sessions

Theresa Kim ('06): International Music Sessions

The founding director of International Music Sessions launches Social Integration Workshops, offering 5-weekend musical workshops to young people from diverse communities.

How to Apply

Application & Selection Timeline

2020 Applications went live October 1, 2019, and the deadline to apply was November 30, 2019. Following a selection process, winners were announced on January 23, 2020.


  • Support innovation in areas including but not limited to artistic expression, audience development, education, community engagement, and technology.
  • Advance social entrepreneurial endeavors/projects in classical music – bold and diverse initiatives developed and implemented by Music Academy alumni.
  • Provide funding and mentorship that generates positive learning outcomes for Music Academy alumni.


  1. Open to all alumni of the Music Academy of the West. Applications submitted on behalf of multiple individuals or ensembles must have at least one Academy alumni in a leadership role.
  2. Supportable activity includes proposals that align with or challenge the Academy’s vision to make a unique and enduring contribution to the world of music by advancing the development of the next generation of great classically trained musicians and cultivating discerning, appreciative, and adventurous audiences.
  3. Non-supportable activity includes proposals that request funding for private instruction, audition expenses, tuition costs, or any charges related to purchasing equipment or instruments.
  4. Selected winners are invited to participate in the Music Academy Innovation Residential held in March 2020.
  5. Completed applications must include a formal project title and general categorization, a project narrative, a timeline for implementation, a proposed budget, value and impact metrics, and any other details to describe the vision and breadth of the initiative.

Receive Award Updates

Send us your up-to-date contact information to receive 2021 award application details as they are announced.