A glamorous concert, featuring world-renowned Steinway Artists Yuja Wang and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, will celebrate the Music Academy’s new All-Steinway distinction

Program will include a first-ever duo performance by Ms. Wang and Mr. Thibaudet, followed by an elegant al fresco dinner

Pianists Yuja Wang and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Photos: Wang/Kirk Edwards; Thibaudet/Decca Kasskara

 Hyon Chough and Maurice Singer will Co-Chair the event     


 Pianists Yuja Wang and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Photos: Wang/Kirk Edwards; Thibaudet/Decca Kasskara

Pianists Yuja Wang and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Photos: Wang/Kirk Edwards; Thibaudet/Decca Kasskara

Santa Barbara, CA — The Music Academy of the West will host a glamorous 70th Anniversary Gala aptly themed Steinway Style on Sunday, May 21, celebratingthe Music Academy’s new All-Steinway status, and launching the 2017 Summer School and Festival. All proceeds will benefit the Academy’s full-scholarship program that brings 140 fellows from across the country and around the world to study with world-class faculty and guest artists in Santa Barbara during the eight-week Summer School and Festival.

Guests will enjoy a spectacular evening from start to finish, including a cocktail reception, a performance at Hahn Hall, and an al fresco dinner in the Miraflores courtyard. The once-in-a lifetime concert program will feature a rare collaboration of two heralded stars – 2017 Musical America Artist of the Year Yuja Wang and Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame member  Jean-Yves Thibaudet – in a first-ever duo performance, including works for four hands. Of Ms. Wang’s artistry, the Los Angeles Times declared: “hers is a nonchalant, brilliant keyboard virtuosity that would have made both Prokofiev and even the fabled Horowitz jealous.” And the New York Times described Mr. Thibaudet’s technique as one of “sophistication and suavity, clarity and freedom.” The pair will debut the Academy’s newly acquired Steinway Hamburg model D concert grand piano. And, in keeping with the theme of the event, both Ms. Wang and Mr. Thibaudet are Steinway Artists.

The stylish Gala will be Co-Chaired by Hyon Chough and Board Member Maurice Singer.

In the same spirit of last year’s Opening Night Gala, the event will be limited to 350 seats, allowing for an up-close-and-personal experience with the world-renowned artists. The Gala will be the most sophisticated event of the year in Santa Barbara. Scott Reed, Music Academy President and CEO said, “We are thrilled to have two musicians of this caliber take the stage to launch the Academy’s historic 70th anniversary season. Yuja or Jean-Yves alone would have made this event one to remember, but both artists performing together will make for an exhilarating musical experience. And with the philanthropic leadership of our great friends Hyon and Maurice, we know that the evening will be as glamorous as it is musically rewarding.”

All-Steinway Distinction and Inaugural Solo Piano Competition

The 70th Anniversary Gala, directly supporting the 2017 full-scholarship program, celebrates several milestones reached through the Academy’s various campaigns, which includes the achievement of an All-Steinway distinction from Steinway & Sons. This remarkable status denotes a permanent collection of 55 Steinway pianos on the Music Academy campus, which includes a new Hamburg model D concert grand piano for use in the Academy’s exquisite concert venue, Hahn Hall. The Academy selected faculty artist Jeremy Denk to make the Hamburg model selection at the factory in Germany this past December, and it will make its debut at the Gala concert performed by Yuja Wang and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. To add to this Steinway partnership, a new Solo Piano Competition will be launched during the 2017 Summer Festival. The winner, selected by a panel of professionals, will be presented with a cash prize and will tour, performing recitals in Steinway & Sons venues nationally.

For Tickets

Gala tables and tickets are now available for purchase, and an early sell-out is expected. Tables are set at $10,000, $25,000, and $50,000 and individual tickets are $1,000 each. Table sponsors along with their Gala guests at the $25,000 level and above will also receive an exclusive invitation to the home of Co-Chair Hyon Chough to experience an intimate recital performed by faculty artist Jeremy Denk. For table sponsorships and more information, please contact Lauren Beattie by email at lbeattie@musicacademy.org, by phone at 805-695-7917, or visit musicacademy.org/steinway.

About the Artists

Critical superlatives and audience ovations have followed Yuja Wang’s dazzling career. The Beijing-born pianist, celebrated for her charismatic artistry and captivating stage presence, is ready to register fresh achievements during 2016-17 when she returns to China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts as Artist-in-Residence. In addition to performing six concerts, Ms. Wang will also lead masterclass sessions and participate in outreach projects. Her NCPA residency promises to connect one of today’s finest artists with new audiences in Beijing and beyond. Ms. Wang’s forthcoming schedule embraces a strikingly broad range of repertoire, encompassing everything from Chopin and Shostakovich to Ravel and Schubert. Bartók’s three piano concertos stand as focal points throughout her 2016-17 season, programmed individually for performances in Cleveland, Dallas, Guangzhou, Stockholm, Taiwan and Toronto, and as a group for concerts in May and June with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Gustavo Dudamel.

Other highlights of Yuja Wang’s calendar include appearances at the 2016 Salzburg, Tanglewood and Verbier Festivals, a return to the Hollywood Bowl, season-opening performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick-Nézet-Séguin, and major tours of Asia and Europe with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, respectively. She is also set to tour with percussionist Martin Grubinger and violinist Leonidas Kavakos, and will undertake a 13-concert European recital tour next March and April.

Yuja Wang has been named as Musical America’s Artist of the Year for 2017.