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Program to award groundbreaking entrepreneurial projects, affording alumni opportunities to spearhead new creative projects

Santa Barbara, CA —The Music Academy has bolstered its ongoing support of its alumni’s entrepreneurial endeavors in classical music by establishing an annual Alumni Enterprise Awards. These awards will fund original ideas in areas including artistic expression, audience development, education, and technology; leading risk-taking and educational initiatives to success. Awards granted for alumni projects will range from $2,500 to $20,000 based on scope and scale. All Academy alumni are eligible, and may submit projects that align with and/or forward the Academy’s mission to further classical music education and/or cultivate discerning, appreciative, and adventurous audiences.

Academy President and CEO Scott Reed said, “The Music Academy is excited to assist our alumni in launching new programs that could be crucial to their growth as entrepreneurial artists. Our commitment to exceptional training, audience development, and nurturing the ongoing vitality of classical music has inspired these new awards to support our exceptional alumni.”


Project proposals will be vetted by the executives of the administration, and reviewed by notable members of the Academy’s National Advisory Council; Director of Artistic Planning at Carnegie Hall Jeremy Geffen, founder of Gleansermusic Gregg Gleasner, Provost and Dean of The Juilliard School Ara Guzelimian, Managing Director of Fidelio Arts Limited Mark Newbanks, and COO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association 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.


Music Academy alumni number nearly 7,000. A veritable "who's who" in the world of classical music, Academy alumni perform around the globe as soloists and in major symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras, ensembles, and opera companies. Many teach at prestigious universities and conservatories, while others are just starting their career trajectories. This awards opportunity is open to all past alumni regardless of age, career stage, or specialty. Notable alumni include composer and songwriter Burt Bacharach, mezzo-soprano Grace Bumbry, violinist Pamela Frank, baritone Thomas Hampson, the late opera director Lotfi Monsouri, clarinetist David Shifrin, violinist Donald Weilerstein, and current Music Academy faculty members such as mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, pianist Martin Katz, and New York Philharmonic Principal Violist Cynthia Phelps.


Applications have been made available at and will be due on February 15, 2018. Criteria and purpose guidelines are the following:


  • Advance social entrepreneurial endeavors/projects in classical music - bold and diverse projects developed and implemented by Academy alumni.
  • Support innovation in the areas of artistic expression, audience development, education, technology, and other relevant areas.
  • Provide funding and mentorship that lead alumni entrepreneurial and educational initiatives to success.


Projects must align with/forward the Academy’s mission, vision, and values to

1)     further classical music education;

2)     cultivate discerning, appreciative, and adventurous audiences.

  • All Music Academy of the West alumni are eligible.
  • Projects submitted by multiple individuals/ensemble must have at least one Academy alumni to qualify.
  • Alumni must demonstrate within their application a feasibility model including the timeline for project implementation, budget, participant/audience metrics, project goals, and location.
  • Minimum award: $2,500. Maximum award: $20,000.

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 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 2018 Summer School and Festival will take place from June 18 to August 12 at the Academy’s scenic Miraflores campus and in venues throughout Santa Barbara. For more information, visit

Released: December 8, 2017


Kate Oberjat

Director of Marketing and Communications

Music Academy of the West


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