Winners Fàtima Boix Cantó, Dominic Cheli, and Isaac Allen to perform their concerto selections with the Academy Festival Orchestra on July 15, conducted by Matthew Aucoin

 2017 Winners Isaac Allen, Dominic Cheli, and Fàtima Boix Cantó. Photos Phil Channing

2017 Winners Isaac Allen, Dominic Cheli, and Fàtima Boix Cantó. Photos Phil Channing

Santa Barbara, CA — The Music Academy of the West announces the winners of its highly competitive, annual Concerto Competition: Solo Piano fellow Dominic Cheli, Violin fellow Isaac Allen, and Clarinet fellow Fàtima Boix Cantó. The winners have been selected to perform their competition selections with the Academy Festival Orchestra as part of the Concerto Celebration & Aucoin Premiere concert on Saturday, July 15, at 7:30 pm at the Granada Theatre. The concert will be conducted by LA Opera Artist-in-Residence and Mosher guest artist Matthew Aucoin, and live-streamed on both Facebook Live and Mr. Cheli will perform two movements from Prokoviev’s Second Piano Concerto, Mr. Allen will play Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D Minor, and Ms. Cantó will perform the William Neil Concerto for Piccolo Clarinet, a piece Mr. Neil rearranged for full orchestra at her request, and will be in attendance for its premiere. The evening will conclude with the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s Crossing Suite for Orchestra, which will feature Voice Program fellows Ian Perry Walker, baritone, and James Hayden, bass.

A total of 21 Music Academy fellows took part in the 2017 Concerto Competition finals in the Piano, Strings, Woodwinds, Brass, and Percussion divisions on June 28 at 9:30 am, 5:30 pm, and 8 pm at Hahn Hall.

The winners were determined by a distinguished jury, including Artistic Director and Principal Violin of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Kyu-Young Kim; world-renowned pianist and Warner Classics artist Andrew von Oeyen; and Executive and Artistic Director of Cal Performances at the University of California, Berkeley, Matías Tarnopolsky.


About the Winners

Clarinet fellow Fàtima Boix Cantó 29, born in Alicante, Spain, has lived in Finland since 2009, where she studied at the Sibelius Academy (University of the Arts Helsinki). In Finland, she has worked as a freelance musician with major orchestras including the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Oulu Symphony Orchestra, Finnish Radio Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, and Tapiola Sinfonietta, among others. Ms. Cantó has performed in venues internationally including New York’s Lincoln Center, the Berliner Philharmonie, and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, and with festivals such as Luosto Classic, Crusell Week, Helsinki Festival, Ny Musik Teater, artArctica in Finland, Aurora Chamber Music in Sweden, and Pacific Music Festival in Japan. Ms. Cantó has premiered pieces by composers Lauri Supponen, Sebastian Hilli, Sergio Castrillón, and José Luis Gómez Aleixandre, and has recorded for the Finnish National Radio YLE.  A versatile musician, Ms. Cantó plays a variety of styles; from classical and contemporary music, to free improvisation, electroacoustic music, and interdisciplinary arts.

Solo Piano fellow Dominic Cheli, 23, born in St. Louis, Missouri; praised for “insight and tenderness far beyond his years” (Heartland Journal) is currently an Artist Diploma candidate at Colburn School of Music, studying with Fabio Bidini. Mr. Cheli is a founding member of Icarus Quartet and has performed in notable venues including Carnegie Hall in New York City and Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis. Recent highlights include a performance of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto with the St. Louis Metropolitan Orchestra and a CD recording of Muzio Clementi’s Piano Music on the Naxos label. Mr. Cheli began his musical training in St. Louis with Zena Ilyashov, attended Manhattan School of Music as an undergraduate student, where he studied with Andre-Michel Schub, and received his master’s degree at Yale University under the tutelage of Peter Frankl.

Violin fellow Isaac Allen, 20, born in Boulder, Colorado, is a recipient of the Barbara and David Jacobs Scholarship to attend Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, studying with Alexander Kerr. As an undergraduate student, Mr. Allen has served as concertmaster of several of the school’s orchestras, and is heavily invested in the performance of student composers and new music at the Jacobs School. Mr. Allen was a finalist in the Stradivarius International Violin Competition and a semi-finalist in the Cooper International Violin Competition in 2013. This is his first summer at the Music Academy.


Concerto Celebration & Aucoin Premiere

July 15, 2017, 7:30 pm / Granada Theatre


SIBELIUS Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47

        Isaac Allen violin

WILLIAM NEIL Concerto for Piccolo Clarinet
        Fàtima Boix Cantó clarinet

PROKOVIEV Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 16
        Dominic Cheli piano


MATTHEW AUCOIN Crossing Suite for Orchestra (World Premiere)

The Academy Festival Orchestra Series is generously supported by Robert W. Weinman.

View the event page at


Music Academy Competitions

This summer’s Concerto Competition finals have a slightly new structure. All three divisions competed on Wednesday, June 28; those winners will perform selections with the Academy Festival Orchestra on July 15. Solo Piano fellows will have a second opportunity to compete this summer in the Music Academy’s new Solo Piano Competition held in partnership with Steinway & Sons. The competition will take place at Hahn Hall on Saturday, July 29 at 5 pm. Fellows will compete for the first Luria Prize, a cash award of $4,000, and a multi-city recital tour in Steinway & Sons venues. Guest composer Timo Andres will be on the jury and compose a piece for the winner to premiere on tour.


One of the most popular events of the summer season at the Music Academy is the Marilyn Horne Song Competition. In this fierce competition, singers and pianists alike compete to win the Regina Roney cash prize of $4,000 each, recital engagements on both coasts, career consultations with music career experts, 21C Media Group, and an innovation fund to use towards recital programming and commissioning. In 2018, winners will perform a world premiere song cycle by American opera’s leading composer Jake Heggie. Past winners include Metropolitan Opera stars Evan Hughes (‘05,’06), Isabel Leonard (‘05), and Nadine Sierra (’07), and pianist Spencer Myer (‘98,’00). The competition takes place on Friday, August 4 at Hahn Hall.


About the Music Academy of the West
The Music Academy of the West is among the nation’s preeminent summer schools and festivals for gifted, young, classically-trained musicians. At its ocean-side campus in Santa Barbara, the Academy provides these musicians with the opportunity for advanced study and 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). The Academy’s distinguished teaching artists roster has included famed soprano Lotte Lehmann, composers Darius Milhaud and Arnold Schoenberg, cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, pianist Jeremy Denk, and current Voice Program Director Marilyn Horne. 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. In 2014 the Music Academy entered into a four-year partnership with the New York Philharmonic, resulting in unprecedented training and performance opportunities for Academy fellows, and Summer Festival residencies for Philharmonic musicians. The Music Academy of the West cultivates discerning, appreciative, and adventurous audiences, presenting more than 200 public events annually, many free of charge. These include performances by faculty, guest artists, and fellows; masterclasses; orchestra and chamber music concerts; and a fully staged opera. The Music Academy celebrates its 70th Anniversary during the 2017 Summer School and Festival from June 12 to August 5 at the Academy’s scenic Miraflores campus and in venues throughout Santa Barbara. For more information, visit


Released: July 10, 2017


For high res photos of the winners, please click HERE
Photo credit: Phil Channing


Kate Oberjat

Director of Marketing and Communications

Music Academy of the West




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