Legendary artist to continue teaching at Music Academy Summer Festivals in two-week residencies
Ms. Horne, a 1953 alumna, and 1995 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner, has served as Voice Program Director since 1997
Santa Barbara, CA — The Music Academy of the West’s beloved Voice Program Director Marilyn Horne, called “the most influential singer in American history” (Opera News), is transitioning to the position of Honorary Voice Program Director. Ms. Horne 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 joined the Academy faculty as Director Designate in 1994, and was appointed Voice Program Director in 1997, offering 23 seasons of commitment and service to the Music Academy’s aspiring singers and vocal pianists. Ms. Horne’s milestone achievements during her tenure include the re-establishment of fully-staged opera and launching the annual Marilyn Horne Song Competition in 1997.
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.”
Scott Reed, Music Academy President and CEO said, “We celebrate our iconic Voice Program Director, Marilyn Horne for all of her extraordinary accomplishments. She has impacted many musicians through her incredible passion for teaching and mentoring. It is our privilege that she has been a leader here for more than two decades and will always remain an important part of the Music Academy family.”
In honor of Ms. Horne’s great legacy, the renovated Main House was renamed the Marilyn Horne Main House on June 4, 2016.
As Honorary Voice Program Director, Marilyn Horne will continue teaching private lessons to Voice Program fellows, teach a masterclass each summer, and head the jury of the annual Marilyn Horne Song Competition. She will also maintain a teaching studio at the Music Academy campus throughout the year.
About Marilyn Horne
She has been called the “Star-Spangled Singer” and “the Heifetz of singers.” In 2002, following a career that had seen her dominate her field for more than four decades, Opera News declared, “Marilyn Horne – whose face and song have been in the light – in so many places, in so many styles, through so many media, for so many years – may be the most influential singer in American history.”
Ms. Horne’s distinguished career has garnered her numerous honors, including a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Gramophone magazine. She was named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1995, received the National Medal of Arts in 1992, and has been inducted into the American Classical Music and Hollywood Bowl halls of fame. Among her worldwide prizes are the Order of Arts and Letters from France’s Ministry of Culture. She was named a National Endowment for the Arts Opera Honors recipient in 2009.
Ms. Horne began her music studies with her father and first sang in public at age 2. She studied voice and song/recital works at the University of Southern California and participated in many masterclasses conducted by Lotte Lehmann in Los Angeles and at the Music Academy, where she was a student in 1953. With her 60th birthday gala at Carnegie Hall in 1994, Ms. Horne launched the Marilyn Horne Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted exclusively to the art of the vocal recital in the United States. In 2010 the foundation’s programs became part of the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall.
Ms. Horne has performed in hundreds of recitals, made well over 100 recordings, and received three Grammy Awards. Her Decca release, Marilyn Horne – Just for the Record: The Golden Voice, was a retrospective of her career from 1964-1896, including classical songs, opera, and American standards. Her autobiography, Marilyn Horne: The Song Continues, written with Jane Scovell, was published in 2004.
Ms. Horne was the Music Academy's Distinguished Alumni Award winner in 1995, has been a member of the Academy faculty since 1994, and in 1997 was appointed Voice Program director.
About the Marilyn Horne Song Competition
The Marilyn Horne Song Competition is presented in memory of Gwendolyn Koldofsky. Gwendolyn Williams Koldofsky, a distinguished accompanist and long-time member of the Music Academy faculty, had a profound impact on both the art of accompanying and music education. Born in Canada in 1906, she attended Toronto’s Royal Conservatory; she continued her studies in London and Paris. In a long and distinguished career, Koldofsky collaborated with many illustrious vocal artists and instrumentalists. Today she is perhaps best known for her work with soprano Lotte Lehmann and Marilyn Horne, with whom Koldofsky toured for ten years. Ms. Horne recalls, “She was my teacher, mentor, accompanist, and my dear friend. Gwen was living proof that there are those who can both do and teach.” A revolutionary pedagogue, Koldofsky established the Department of Accompanying at the University of Southern California in 1947, the first program of its kind. “The music tells us what to do” was her credo. Ms. Koldofsky passed away in 1998 in Santa Barbara at the age of 92.
Each singer performs three songs of varying styles for the jury and a public audience. One song must be sung in English. The pianists perform with one or multiple singers and award winners may or not have performed together. The winners each receive The Regina Roney Prize of $5,000, a career development session in New York City with 21C Media Group, a professional photo shoot, and a spring national recital tour, featuring the world premiere of a song cycle written by a Music Academy guest composer, commissioned by the Music Academy. 2017 winners will premiere a song cycle by Jake Heggie.
Past winners include Metropolitan Opera stars Simone Osborne (’08), Edward Parks (’08), Evan Hughes (‘05,’06), Isabel Leonard (‘05), Nadine Sierra (’07), and Isabel Bayrakdarian (’98), pianists Spencer Myer (‘98,’00) and Miah Im (’98), and Tamara Sanikidze (’05) and Nino Sanikidze (’01), sisters who are now both members of the Academy Voice Program faculty.
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 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 musicacademy.org.
Released: December 21, 2017
Director of Marketing and Communications
Music Academy of the West