Fanfare December 2017-EMAIL HEADER.jpg
 Marilyn Horne at the 2016 Opening Night Gala surrounded by her students Ben Bliss (’12), Simone Osborne (’08, ’09, ’11), Isabel Leonard (’05), and Quinn Kelsey.

Marilyn Horne at the 2016 Opening Night Gala surrounded by her students Ben Bliss (’12), Simone Osborne (’08, ’09, ’11), Isabel Leonard (’05), and Quinn Kelsey.

2018 Voice Program Looks to the Future

As the 70th Anniversary year has come to a close, the Academy's Voice Program is now in an exciting state of transition.

Marilyn Horne; a 1953 alumna, 1995 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner, and Voice Program Director since 1997, will take the new role of Honorary Voice Program Director effective January 1. Following 23 seasons of commitment and service to the Academy’s aspiring singers and vocal pianists, “the most influential singer in American history” (Opera News) will continue to teach at the Academy for two weeks during the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Summer Festivals and to lead the annual Marilyn Horne Song Competition Jury. She will also maintain a teaching studio at the Music Academy campus throughout the year.

Ms. Horne said, “I am so lucky to have made my life and career in great music. I felt like I slid right from my performing career to teaching. It is just as fantastic to be a teacher as an artist. I truly love it when I sit down to teach (and I do mean sit!). I come alive.”

As part of the department’s transition, exciting vocal teaching artists will be joining the roster over the next two seasons. In 2018, soprano Deborah Voigt will be in residence for two weeks to teach private lessons and masterclasses. The famed singer is currently on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory.

Gerald Martin Moore, a highly sought-after singing teacher and vocal coach will join the Music Academy in 2018. Familiar to radio audiences, Mr. Moore is a host for the Metropolitan Opera Quiz and the BBC. He is affiliated with the world’s great opera companies, Covent Garden, La Scala, Glyndebourne, and many more. He performs regularly with Renée Fleming and is a vocal consultant to recording labels Opera Rara and Decca Records.

Bill Schuman, internationally celebrated as one the world’s leading teachers of singing, will also be in residence next summer. Mr. Schuman has been on faculty at the Academy of Vocal Arts since 1989. His students represent some of the most important 2018’s opera production at the Granada Theatre will be Mozart’s masterpiece The Marriage of Figaro, conducted by LA Opera Music Director James Conlon and directed by returning guest artist James Darrah. And for a new immersive experience and a change from the traditional opera scenes concert,
fellows will present a large-scale performance installation on the Miraflores campus. In homage to Leonard Bernstein’s centennial celebration, fellows will present arias alongside visual art and projections in unexpected locations, culminating in a new production of Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti in Hahn Hall, conducted by Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony’s Music Director Edwin Outwater. You won’t want to miss the opera performances this summer!

New Alumni Enterprise Awards Program to fund groundbreaking entrepreneurial projects

The Music Academy, ever committed to supporting its alumni’s entrepreneurial endeavors in classical music, has launched its first-ever Enterprise Awards Program. This award will fund original ideas in areas including artistic expression, audience development, education, and technology; leading risk-taking and educational initiatives to success. All Academy alumni are eligible, and will be able to submit projects that
align with and/or challenge the Academy’s mission to further classical music education and/or cultivate discerning, appreciative, and adventurous audiences.

The Music Academy is excited to help our alumni launch innovative programs boldly into the future. Our commitment to exceptional training, audience development, and nurturing the ongoing vitality of classical music has inspired this new award to support our exceptional alumni.

Awards granted for alumni projects will range from $2,500 to $20,000 based on scope and scale. Applications have been made available at and will be due on February 15. Project proposals will be vetted by the executives of the administration, and reviewed by the Academy’s National Advisory Council members; Jeremy Geffen, Gregg Gleasner, Ara Guzelimian, Mark Newbanks, and Chad Smith. To further support the winners, an advisor or advisors will be selected as mentors to help steward alumni through the implementation of their projects. Stay tuned as we announce the winners and their exciting projects in 2018!

To apply, please visit
Submit your project by February 15.

2018 Global Academy Fellows Announced

Ten outstanding Music Academy of the West musicians have been selected to travel to New York as Zarin Mehta Fellows in January 2018 to participate in the fourth year of the New York Philharmonic Global Academy Fellowship Program. These fellows will participate in a ten-day intensive program, including rehearsing and playing alongside Philharmonic musicians in selections from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, conducted by Stéphane Denève, January 25-27 at David Geffen Hall.

 2018 Zarin Mehta Fellows pictured with lead sponsors Linda and Michael Keston: back row: Ryan Toher clarinet, Gi Yeon Yoon violin, Michael Marks double bass, Yuan Qi viola, Michael Cox trombone, front row: William Welter oboe, Choi Tung Yeung violin, Nathaniel Silberschlag horn, Jenny Kwak cello, Hannah Hammel flute.

2018 Zarin Mehta Fellows pictured with lead sponsors Linda and Michael Keston: back row: Ryan Toher clarinet, Gi Yeon Yoon violin, Michael Marks double bass, Yuan Qi viola, Michael Cox trombone, front row: William Welter oboe, Choi Tung Yeung violin, Nathaniel Silberschlag horn, Jenny Kwak cello, Hannah Hammel flute.


Warren Staley Elected Board Chair

Warren Staley, a member of the Music Academy Board of Directors since 2015, has been elected Board Chair effective January 1, 2018. He succeeds Margaret Cafarelli, who joined the Board in 2009 and served the Music Academy as Chair over the past three years.

Born in Illinois, Mr. Staley earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at Kansas State University and an MBA at Cornell University. He joined Cargill Inc. as a trainee in 1969 and advanced to become Cargill's president and chief operating officer in 1998, CEO in 1999, and Board chairman in 2000. Mr. Staley is credited with presiding over a period of renewed growth and prosperity at the Minnesota-based company, which is the nation's largest privately held corporation by revenue. Warren Staley retired from Cargill in 2007. Mr. Staley has served as board director for U.S. Bancorp, Target, Excel Trust, and PACCAR, and is a former member of the President's Export Council. Mr. Staley’s extensive involvement with nonprofits includes Opportunity International, Habitat for Humanity, and United Way, and he recently oversaw the construction of a high school in Ghana.

The Music Academy is already an amazing organization, and I look forward to working with Scott, his talented administration, and our great Board members to take it to the next level of excellence.
— Warren Staley

Board Crossed the Pond

The Music Academy’s Board of Directors embarked to London in September for the 2017 Board Travel Program. Board members travel biennially as a group to attend concerts, performances, and discussions to learn more about top-tier organizations. Eleven members of the Board participated in this most recent trip. Highlights of the 5-day excursion included an education-based, multi-generational performance by the London Symphony Orchestra with Simon Rattle, a private backstage tour and performance at the Royal Opera House and a masterclass and student panel at the Guildhall School. At the same time, members of the Academy administration met with executive administrators, business vendors, and alumni. Board Chair Margaret Cafarelli said, “As a whole, the outing was educational, fun, and impactful for future endeavors. A big thank you to all who participated!”

Musical Relationships


Bay Area natives Sam and Alene Hedgpeth gravitated to
Santa Barbara a few years ago after visiting for years, and
landed in Academy Board Chair Margaret Cafarelli’s downtown condominiums as a part-time home. Margaret convinced them to attend an Academy donor luncheon featuring the audition of potential future fellows and they were intrigued.

Alene recalls attending an Academy Festival Orchestra
performance featuring Ravel’s Bolero. “The fellows put so
much heart into their performance. We could feel the energy
coming from the orchestra – you immediately become younger by experiencing it!” And they were hooked.

Mr. Hedgpeth’s passion is to support the future of classical music by “bringing in new blood,”
the cornerstone of the Music Academy’s mission. He included that the Academy also
won their hearts from a relationship standpoint by being “fun, positive, and interactive.”
The Hedgpeths both worked in the tech start-up industry in Silicon Valley and love being
involved in every aspect of a growing business, and have drawn a connection to the process
of developing musical careers. Learning that they did not have to live in Santa Barbara
full-time to participate as Compeers, they decided to serve over the last summer. They
have enjoyed hosting their fellows and their friends for dinners Alene described as,
“filled with laughter and energy.”

Sam particularly enjoys developing a musical relationship with the fellows. A musician in
his own right, he used to perform in musical theatre and choral concerts, including UCLA’s
chorus led by Roger Wagner during his time there as a student. At a recent Compeer dinner
he hosted, he recalled exposing the fellows to Louis Moreau Gotschalk – a composer they
had never heard of – and played his recording of “A Night in the Tropics” for them.

Alene added that the fellows are all so appreciative of the Music Academy – and how
“they were just thrilled” to be participating in the full-scholarship program. Her mother was
a piano major at Drake University and taught piano lessons, which exposed her to classical
music early on. Alene’s passion is in assisting young adults as a career coach, and she likes
hearing their thoughts and challenges. She adds, “The fellows are really open to learn and
experience while attending the Academy, which is incredibly energizing.”

They both appreciate the impact that their philanthropic support makes in helping Academy
fellows, and look forward to getting even more involved with the Music Academy in the
years to come.



A new member of the New York Philharmonic is alumnus violinist Zeyu Victor Li (‘14).

Rebecca Reale (’15, ‘16) has been appointed to the first violin section of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, effective September, after a brief stint with the Houston Symphony.

Violinist Clare Semes (‘13) has just joined the Toronto Symphony, and violinist Jennifer Cho (‘04, ‘05, ‘07) is the new Concertmaster of the California Symphony.

Congrats to alumnus violinist Joseph Maile (‘07). His ensemble, Telegraph Quartet, became the San Francisco Conservatory Quartet-In-Residence effective this past August.

This past June, alumnus cellist Si-Yan Darren Li (‘03, ‘04, ‘07) joined the Cavani Quartet, now in residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Daniel Smith (‘13) was appointed Associate Principal Bass of the San Francisco Symphony this past June.

Violin alumnus William Shaub (‘14) was announced Concertmaster of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra this past May.

The Dover Quartet received a $25,000 Avery Fisher Career Grant in March. Congrats to quartet violinist Bryan Lee (‘07).

2009 alumnus violinist Francisco Fullana joined the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society roster this past March.

1999 Music Academy violin alumnus Neel Hammond performed at Hahn Hall with his wife Lucia Micarelli in a PBS special presentation, which was broadcast nationally this past October.


The Eugene Symphony named our alumnus Francesco Lecce Chong (Solo Piano, ‘05) as their
new Music Director this past May.

1988 Solo Piano program alumna Rei Hotoda was named Music Director at the Fresno Philharmonic this past June.

Alumna and 2017 guest conductor Speranza Scappucci (‘96) was announced as Principal Conductor of the Royal Opera in Liège, Belgium.

Solo Piano alumni Leonardo Pierdomenico (‘16) and Han Chen (‘15) were semi-finalists
 in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Alumni pianist Micah McLaurin (‘14, ‘16) performed at the Granada Legends Gala honoring the Music Academy, Marilyn Horne, and Anne & Michael Towbes.

Alumnus pianist Ilya Filshtinskiy (‘05), founding member of contemporary group aTonalHits, released a video of John Cage’s “One.”


Kudos to recent clarinet alumna Arianna Beyer (‘17)! She landed a coveted slot with U.S. Navy Band this past August.

Clarinet alumnus Joseph Morris (‘12, ‘13) took home a cash prize of $25,000 and a gold medal at the Ima Hogg Competition in Houston earlier this month, in addition to earning a solo appearance with Houston Symphony.

Alumnus Samuel Sparrow (‘15, ‘16) will take the position of Second E-flat Clarinet in the Charlotte Symphony and Natalie Hoe (‘14, ‘15) won Principal Clarinet in the Florida Orchestra.



Luke Baker (‘16) took won First Place in the University Division of the International Horn Competition of America.


2007 alumna soprano Nadine Sierra won the $50,000 Richard Tucker Prize.

Alumnus baritone John Brancy (‘13) was a winner in the 2017 Wigmore International Competition this past September, and took the Media prize in the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Moscow.

Florida Grand Opera Young Artist Benjamin Dickerson (‘15, and Marilyn Horne Song Competition Winner) will appear in Salome next season in Miami.

Alumna opera singer Jennifer Rivera Rice (‘95, ‘97) accepted a position as Major Gifts Officer for Long Beach Opera.

Congrats to 2017 tenor Joshua Blue and 2015 mezzo soprano Marjorie Maltais for winning cash prizes in the Lyndon-Woodside Oratorio Competition at Carnegie Hall last April.

Alumni soprano Stacey Alleaume (‘15) and tenor Matthew Reardon (‘16) were joined by trumpet alumni Rainer Saville (‘15) in a Carmen production in Sydney, Australia this past April.


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