20 fellows won over $50,000 at the 2021 Summer School & Festival


20 fellows won more than $50,000 in prizes awarded at the conclusion of the 2021 Summer School & Festival

Winners announced for 2022 Music Academy of the West / London Symphony Orchestra Keston MAX program, three Competitions, Digital Challenge, and Fast Pitch Awards

77 public concerts and masterclasses and eight events online presented to thousands of audience members, with over 13,000 tickets sold.

An Amazing Summer Season ends in Triumph. In the annals of the Music Academy of the West, 2021 will be remembered as one of the most important artistic renewals in the institution’s 74-year history.

— Dan Kepl, VOICE Magazine

The Music Academy is committed to offering career-launching pathways for all of its Summer School and Festival fellows. This year, over $50,000 in prizes for auditions and competitions were awarded to 20 fellows at the conclusion of the Festival.

Instrumental fellows were welcome to audition to participate in the 2022 Keston MAX Exchange with the London Symphony Orchestra. Each of the 12 winners received a cash award of $1,500. Five principal LSO musicians Edward Vanderspar, Colin Paris, Daniel Jemison, Paul Milner, and Neil Percy gave more than 30 private lessons remotely to Music Academy fellows. They were joined by their LSO colleagues Carmine Lauri, David Alberman, Rebecca Gilliver, Gareth Thomas, Juliana Koch, Chi-Yu Mo, Tim Jones, Neall Keatley, Ben Thomson, Nigel Thomas, and Sam Walton to provide audition coaching and adjudicate the final audition round.

The lead sponsors of the London Symphony Orchestra partnership are Linda and Michael Keston and Mary Lynn and Warren Staley. Additional support has been provided in remembrance of Léni Fé Bland.

The 2022 Keston MAX winners are: Rodion Belousov, oboe; Aaron Blick, bass; Keoni Bolding, viola; Elissa Brown, flute; Cristina Cutts Dougherty, tuba; Carlos Jiménez Fernández, trombone; Sean Juhl, viola; Kipras Mazeika, bassoon; Emma Lee, cello; Ka Long Lee, cello; Javier Morales-Martinez, clarinet; and Jonathan Wisner, percussion.

2022 Keston MAX Exchange Winners

Pictured from left to right: Rodion Belousov, oboe; Elissa Brown, flute; Kipras Mazeika, bassoon; Ka Long Lee, cello; Javier Morales-Martinez, clarinet;  Emma Lee, cello; Cristina Cutts Dougherty, tuba; Carlos Jiménez Fernández, trombone; Aaron Blick, bass; Jonathan Wisner, percussion. Kneeling: Sean Juhl, viola; Keoni Bolding, viola

Instrumentalists and singers also could opt to take part in up to three of four competitions: Solo Piano, Duo, Marilyn Horne Song, and Digital Challenge. Each of the six winners received a cash award of $5,000. The winners of the Solo Piano, Duo, and Marilyn Horne Song Competitions will also have a work from a composer commissioned on their behalf. For 2021, those commissioned artists are Tyshawn Sorey, Conrad Tao, and Carlos Simon, respectively. The winners will premiere the commissions in recital in the Music Academy’s Hahn Hall in spring 2022. They may also utilize up to $1,000 as an additional award to produce and present their recitals in new ways, including the use of technology for sound, lighting, streaming, or recording. 

Nine finalists shared ideas for new ventures in the Fast Pitch Awards, of which three were awarded $1,500 to encourage their innovation and creativity. They will receive additional training when they attend Music Academy’s 2022 Innovation Residential. 


2021 Competition Winners

2021 Competition Jurors

2021 Solo Piano Competition Winner

solo piano fellow Hsin-Hao Yang

The 2021 Duo Competition Winners

viola fellow Keoni Bolding, collaborative piano fellow Melivia Raharjo

2021 Marilyn Horne Song Competition Winners

vocal piano fellow Alexander Soloway, tenor fellow Shawn Roth

2021 Digital Challenge Winner

Horn fellow Gabrielle Pho, playing in her video submission Essay on Craft.

2021 Fast Pitch Awardees

Pictured left to right: double bass fellow Rachel Martin, baritone fellow Byron J. Mayes, and soprano fellow Anush Avetisyan.

This year’s Festival took place from June 28-August 7 for 110 full scholarship fellows with 77 public events for thousands of audience members on its Miraflores Campus and at the Lobero and Granada Theatres in downtown Santa Barbara, with more than 13,000 tickets sold.

Performance-based training opportunities remain a cornerstone of the Academy’s curriculum. This summer’s events included orchestra concerts under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas, Marin Alsop, and Larry Rachleff, as well as frequent chamber music concerts where fellows performed alongside both their peers and faculty and guest artists. The Takacs Quartet, pianist Jeremy Denk, and newly-minted Distinguished Alumni Awardee violist Richard O’Neill were among faculty artists who taught masterclasses and performed with fellows. Mosher guest artist pianist Conrad Tao performed in recital, while three other Mosher guest artists—cellist Steven Isserlis, soprano Sasha Cooke, and multi-instrumentalist and composer Tyshawn Sorey—participated remotely. Additional faculty and guest artists taught more than 50 masterclasses and studio classes and each fellow received a private lesson weekly. All fellows gained entrepreneurial insight through a range of Innovation Seminars led by industry leaders.

Looking Ahead: 75th Anniversary

The admissions process for the 75th anniversary Summer School and Festival in 2022 will be announced this month, as well as details about this fall’s application process for the annual Alumni Enterprise Awards. The 2022 Summer Festival is planned for June 13-August 6.


Released: August 20, 2021

Kate Oberjat (she/her/hers)
Director of Marketing and Communications
Music Academy of the West
[email protected]


Photos by Phil Channing