The Music Academy launches Project Resonance, a new initiative that includes this blog, Resonance. The purpose of Project Resonance is for Music Academy fellows and emerging scholars within our community – graduate students in music studies from UC Santa Barbara – to produce engaging written and spoken materials for our audiences. During the Music Academy Remote Learning Institute (MARLI), fellows will have the opportunity to participate in Program Note Writing and Public Speaking Seminars with faculty and administration mentors. In future Summer Festivals, these notes and other written materials may be provided in printed concert programs and/or spoken introductions, while this year they will be distributed on this blog.

Over the next few months, in this space you’ll see posts highlighting works performed via the Music Academy Concert Hall Online, faculty and fellow spotlights, updates on the progress of MARLI, and a series on the history of the Academy.

Why Resonance? you might ask. Tucked away beneath a series of mostly physics-based definitions of the word ‘resonance’ is a more metaphorical one: “a quality of evoking response.” That is the definition at the heart of this post and this program. Not the literal, physical resonance that is part and parcel of the music-making process, but the ability to evoke a response that is just as vital.

The purpose of Project Resonance is to put real focus on an important question: How does a musical work resonate with you?

At its core the goals of Project Resonance are learning and engagement. For our audiences these posts are designed to help them stay connected to the Academy during this time of necessary distance and to invite them to care about programmed works in ways they might not have considered. For our fellows this is an opportunity to hone their writing and further connect with our audiences. For participating UCSB students this provides the chance to develop their writing to engage a broad public.

This moment might seem an odd time to announce a new initiative. But it is the opposite. Now is precisely the time to innovate with an initiative such as this one.

In his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950, William Faulkner said:

I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

For many the arts have served as precisely that – a pillar to help mentally withstand what has become a steady drumbeat of demoralizing information. We need this pillar now more than ever. The arts are helping us to survive.

This period of social distancing has also served as a reminder of the importance of community. Anyone who knows the Music Academy knows that is a community. It’s clear to see in the friendly greetings from familiar faces, in the picnics, in the compeer program, and in a million other ways both big and small. It can be utterly disheartening for that community to be suddenly unavailable.

To get through this unprecedented time we will need community, even if it means engaging in new ways, and when this is all over, we will need that community even more. That’s what Project Resonance is: a nexus, a community coming together with a singular purpose – the love of music and the Music Academy. We hope that through this initiative and this blog you find a way to stay connected with old friends and learn a little something about new ones.

This blog will be updated daily through July 25. Welcome to Resonance.

–  Editor Henry Michaels
Audience Services and Community Access Manager, Music Academy of the West



Meet the Music Academy Remote Learning Institute Fellows

134 full scholarship fellows will be participating in MARLI this summer. 2020 marked all-time high for the number of musicians applying to audition to participate in the Summer School and Festival. Coincidentally, 2,020 candidates applied for the available fellowships; a highly competitive process. These talented, young musicians hail from 23 countries and 22 of the United States, representing 42 Universities and Conservatories. They range in age from 18-34. All of the fellows who earned entrance to MARLI will be invited to return in person for the 2021 Summer School and Festival in Santa Barbara.

Learn more about the 2020 MARLI fellows here.

Pictured at left is returning fellow Connor Alexander Rowe (’19). Photo credit: Phil Channing



Alumnus Releases New Video

Cellist Philip Sheegog (’17) formed duo ARKAI after meeting violinist Jonathan Miron through the Artist as Citizen Conference, a gathering of young artists from around the country intent on using the arts for social change. Drawing their name from the Greek ἀρχαί meaning “source of action,” ARKAI channels the diversity of the world through genre-bending music and sonic exploration.

Their debut composition Aurora was written in reflection on the gun violence tragedies of 2018. It charts a human journey from lament to reckoning to hopeful triumph. Watch here.