2018 Zarin Mehta Fellows. Photos Phil Channing

2018 Zarin Mehta Fellows. Photos Phil Channing

Santa Barbara, CA — 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, which offers opportunities to train and play with Philharmonic musicians, representing an innovative approach to training the next generation of world-class musicians for successful careers.

The 2018 Zarin Mehta Fellows were selected by audition from Music Academy of the West instrumentalists, all full-scholarship participants during the summer of 2017. They are: Choi Tung Yeung, violin; Gi Yeon Yoon, violin; Yuan Qi, viola; Jenny Kwak, cello; Michael Marks, double bass; Hannah Hammel, flute; William Welter, oboe; Ryan Toher, clarinet; Nathaniel Silberschlag, horn; and Michael Cox, trombone.

These ten Music Academy of the West fellows will travel to New York in a ten-day intensive program, including training and playing alongside Philharmonic musicians, conducted by Stéphane Denève, in selections from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet for the Philharmonic’s subscription concerts January 25-27.  The Fellows will learn directly from Philharmonic musicians, a unique experience that will immerse them in all aspects of an orchestral player’s life, from audition to performance, learning important career skills.

President and CEO of the Music Academy of the West Scott Reed said, “The Music Academy’s partnership with the New York Philharmonic is providing innovative leadership to our fellows that is tangibly assisting them to take a next step in their careers. Exposure and mentorship by the players of the New York Philharmonic is an invaluable experience for these young musicians, providing the highest caliber orchestral experience to take with them throughout their very promising professional careers.”

Since the New York Philharmonic’s Global Academy Fellowship Program began in 2015, several alumni of the program have already been appointed to professional orchestras. 2015 Zarin Mehta Fellow successes include:

Anthony Bellino, trumpet, recently won a position in The President's Own Marine Band. Matthew Cohen, viola, took first prize at the 2015 Vivo International Music Competition ($3,000 and performance at Weill Hall). Sean Krissman, clarinet, is now the Principal Clarinet of Houston Grand Opera. Simon Michal, violin, is now a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. William Shaub, violin, was appointed concertmaster of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra in May 2017. And Michael Severance, bassoon, is a member of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra.

2016 Zarin Mehta Fellows are also earning positions with major orchestras. Nikolette LaBonte, horn, who served in 2015 as Assistant Principal Horn of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, is now a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Rebecca Reale, violin, has been appointed to the first violin section of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, after a brief stint with the Houston Symphony.  

2017 Zarin Mehta Fellows achievements include Jack Walters, clarinet, earning the Second Clarinet position with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Kevin Chen, violin, joining the New World Symphony this coming September; and Alexander Volkov, violin, earning an internship with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, starting this fall.

The Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara is the first American partner in the New York Philharmonic Global Academy. The four-year partnership, which began in the summer of 2014, combines training of Music Academy fellows by Philharmonic musicians; biennial performances by the Philharmonic at the Music Academy Summer Festival; and Academy Festival Orchestra performances at Music Academy Summer Festivals. This collaboration is the formalization of a long relationship between the Orchestra and the School; twelve New York Philharmonic musicians are alumni of the Music Academy of the West.

During the Music Academy of the West’s 2017 Summer Festival, Music Director Alan Gilbert led the Academy Festival Orchestra in the final concert of the season with soprano Renée Fleming on August 5 at the Granada Theatre, in addition to conducting the New York Philharmonic at Santa Barbara’s City College La Playa Stadium in the Music Academy’s 70th Anniversary Community Concert on July 31. Also as part of this residency, five Philharmonic musicians — Concertmaster Frank Huang, Principal Cello Carter Brey, Principal Bassoon Judith LeClair, Principal Trombone Joseph Alessi, and Associate Principal Percussion Daniel Druckman —served as guest faculty July 30–August 4 to train fellows in collaboration with Academy faculty, including masterclasses, chamber music coachings, private lessons, and lectures. The New York Philharmonic String Quartet also joined faculty members in a chamber music concert on August 1 at the Lobero Theatre.

The Music Academy’s partnership with the New York Philharmonic has been made possible through the generosity of lead sponsors Linda and Michael Keston.

The Global Academy Fellowship Program, in association with the New York Philharmonic Global Academy, is supported in part by The Hilaria and Alec Baldwin Foundation, Inc., an anonymous donor, and other gifts made towards the Zarin Mehta Fund. Additional support provided by Shirley Young/U.S.-China Cultural Foundation.

About the New York Philharmonic

The New York Philharmonic plays a leading cultural role in New York City, the United States, and the world. Each season the Philharmonic connects with up to 50 million music lovers through live concerts in New York City and on its worldwide tours and residencies; digital recording series; international broadcasts; education programs; and the New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives. In the 2017–18 season, during which Jaap van Zweden serves as Music Director Designate, the Philharmonic celebrates its greatest strengths and essential commitments while looking to the future as an innovative, global ensemble, spotlighting its musicians and partners, dedication to new music, wide-ranging repertoire, education programs, and accessibility. The Philharmonic has commissioned and / or premiered works by leading composers from every era since its founding in 1842 — including Dvořák’s New World Symphony, John Adams’s Pulitzer Prize–winning On the Transmigration of Souls, dedicated to the victims of 9/11, Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Piano Concerto, and Wynton Marsalis’s The Jungle (Symphony No. 3). A resource for its community and the world, the Philharmonic complements its annual free citywide Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer, with Philharmonic Free Fridays and its famed Young People’s Concerts. Committed to developing tomorrow’s leading orchestral musicians, the Philharmonic established the New York Philharmonic Global Academy; current Global Academy projects and partners include the Shanghai Orchestra Academy and Residency Partnership and Santa Barbara’s Music Academy of the West. Renowned around the globe, the Orchestra has appeared in 432 cities in 63 countries. The oldest American symphony orchestra and one of the oldest in the world, the New York Philharmonic has made more than 2,000 recordings since 1917 and produced its first-ever Facebook Live concert broadcast in 2016. Jaap van Zweden will become Music Director in 2018–19, succeeding musical leaders including Alan Gilbert, Maazel, Masur, Zubin Mehta, Boulez, Bernstein, Toscanini, and Mahler.

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 of them free of charge. These include performances by faculty, guest artists, and fellows; masterclasses; orchestra and chamber music concerts; and a fully staged opera. The 2017 Summer School and Festival took place June 12 through August 5 at the Academy’s scenic Miraflores campus and in venues throughout Santa Barbara. For more information, visit musicacademy.org.


About the 2018 Zarin Mehta Fellows

Choi Tung Yeung violin, 20, born in Hong Kong, is an undergraduate at The Juilliard School, studying with Ida Kavafian. Ms. Yeung won the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts Concerto Competition, took second prize in the Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld International String Competition, and was first prize winner of the Hong Kong Youth String Competition.

Gi Yeon Yoon violin, 25, born in Korea, is a graduate student at Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Laurie Smukler. Ms. Yoon has performed with Bucheon Philharmonic, Seoul National University Orchestra, and Seoul Arts High School Orchestra. Ms. Yoon’s several awards include receiving first place in the Dong-A, Segye Times, and Kookmin Times Competitions.

Yuan Qi viola, 27, born in Hebei Province, China, is assistant principal violist at the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, and pursuing a graduate diploma at the Peabody Institute. Ms. Qi holds a master’s degree from Yale School of Music and a bachelor’s degree from Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and took second prize in the 2015 International Hugo Kauder Competition.

Jenny Kwak cello, 25, born in Gwangju, South Korea, completed her master’s degree from Yale School of Music. Ms. Kwak has appeared as soloist with the Music in the Mountains Chamber Orchestra and the Texas Christian University Symphony Orchestra as its concerto competition winner. Ms. Kwak attended the Pacific Music Festival, where she performed as principal cellist.

Michael Marks (’16) double bass, 23, an Arizona native, is pursuing a master’s degree at Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. Mr. Marks was Principal Bass of Arizona Opera from 2013-2016. Mr. Marks is currently a substitute musician for the Houston, Phoenix, and New World Symphonies, the Houston Grand and LA Opera Orchestras, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. This was his second summer at the Music Academy of the West.

Hannah Hammel flute, 23, born in Richmond, Virginia, holds a master’s degree from Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin Conservatory. Ms. Hammel won the National Flute Association Young Artist and Orchestral Excerpt Competitions, and is a substitute forNew World Symphony, Richmond Symphony, and Houston Grand Opera.

William Welter oboe, 23, from Crescent, Iowa, is pursuing an Artist Diploma at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music under the instruction of Robert Walters. Mr. Welter has been a substitute musician for the Pittsburgh Symphony, and has performed at Tanglewood Music Center, Bravo! Vail Music Festival, and the Music from Angel Fire Summer Music Festival

Ryan Toher clarinet, 23, born in Arlington Heights, Illinois, is a graduate student at the USC Thornton School of Music. Mr. Toher has attended the New York String Orchestra Seminar, Sarasota Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, Banff Centre Masterclass Series, National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute, and is a substitute for the New World Symphony.

Nathaniel Silberschlag horn, 18, born in Leonardtown, Maryland, is earning a bachelor’s degree at The Juilliard School. Mr. Silberschlag was principal horn of the Romanian State Symphony on a tour in Northern Italy and appeared as a soloist with New York’s Little Orchestra Society and the Bulgarian Philharmonic. Mr. Silberschlag won the 2016 Juilliard Horn Concerto Competition.

Michael Cox trombone, 23, born in Skokie, Illinois, is a graduate student at New England Conservatory of Music, and earned his bachelor’s degree at Northwestern University. Mr. Cox has been a substitute musician with Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and was a finalist in the 2017 International Trombone Festival’s Tenor Trombone Competition.



New York Philharmonic Contact:

Katherine E. Johnson




Music Academy of the West Contact:

Kate Oberjat




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