Music Academy Announces 2019 Alumni Enterprise Award Winners

Seven Alumni to receive funding for innovative ideas

Music Academy of the West continues its bold support of artistic innovation with the announcement of its 2019 Alumni Enterprise Awards

  • Over $60,000 in Cash Prizes Awarded
  • Funding 4 Projects & 3 Innovation Awards Nationwide
  • New Business Residential for Winners 
  • New Fast Pitch Award Opportunity for 2019 Fellows

Revolutionary. Daring. Inspiring.

Santa Barbara, CA — A pioneer of thought leadership in music and the arts, Music Academy of the West announces the winners of its second annual Alumni Enterprise Awards. Over $60,000 in cash prizes will be shared among seven winning alumni, funding four winning projects and three Innovation Awards nationwide.

The four Alumni Enterprise Award winners are Bernardo Bermudez (’11), for a children’s opera program in San Diego, CA; Victory Hall Opera Music Director Brenda Patterson (’00), who has created a modular opera set design competition in Charlottesville, VA; Music Mission San Francisco founder Steve Perdicaris (’86) who launched and developed a free children’s music lessons program in San Francisco, CA; and cellist John Popham (’05, ’06), who will present a multi-disciplinary videography series in Brooklyn, NY and Louisville, KY.

New Innovation Awards, given in support of thinking that will push the industry forward in bold new ways, were granted to cellist, composer, and curator Joshua Roman (’02), pianist and performance artist Konstantin Soukhovetski (’99), and Living Art Collective Ensemble’s Danielle DeSwert Hahn (’99).

Fast Pitch Awards will be offered for the first time to fellows attending the 2019 Summer Festival. They will have the opportunity to pitch their biggest and brightest ideas for cash prizes totaling $3,000 during the Academy’s Classical Evolution/Revolution Conference on July 24.

The inaugural Entrepreneurship and Innovation Residential, held March 24-28 at the Music Academy and providing intensive classes led by industry leaders, will be offered to all the 2019 winners to help sharpen their business skills.

The Alumni Enterprise Awards are generously supported by Regina and Rick Roney and the Ladera Foundation. 

“The Alumni Enterprise Awards provides an incredible incentive for our alumni to be entrepreneurial. We aim to inspire them to create projects that break the mold for what 21st-century musicians can accomplish while seeding the industry with new ideas. When alumni challenge our mission, it inspires us. These awards have the potential to transform careers and create relevant art that reflects our current society.”
 – Music Academy President & CEO Scott Reed


Taught by leading industry professionals, this groundbreaking Residential – the only intensive of its kind offered by a top-tier performing arts organization – will empower Alumni Enterprise Award winners by affording hands-on learning that shifts analysis and evaluation towards strategic application and execution. Topics will include:

  • Design Thinking and Organizational Behavior
  • Developing a Successful Business Model
  • Fundraising and Cultivation
  • Strategy for Growth and Performance
  • Industry and Competitor Analysis
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Mastering the Business Pitch
  • Negotiations and Legal
  • Case Study Analysis

Classes will be led by industry leaders including: Music Academy Chief Advancement Officer Jonathan Bishop, Lecturer at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business Rich Cox, RA Industries COO Brian Goodman, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Co-Artistic Director Wu Han, Music Academy Director of Innovation and Program Development Kevin Kwan Loucks, and Argyros School of Business and Economics Dean Tom Turk.


Bernardo Bermudez tenor (‘11)  /  The Enchanted Tail

The Enchanted Tail is an original children’s fairytale opera in English set to music from traditional opera and song repertoire including Bizet, Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Lehar, Ponce, and Rossini. In May 2019, 5,000 elementary school students will travel to the Balboa Theater in San Diego to watch the orchestral debut of the opera. All 42 San Diego School Districts will attend with 64% of participants qualifying as Title 1, low-income schools. The goal of the experience is to educate thousands of children through fun and engaging music; fostering creative thinking, cultural awareness, and problem solving.

Brenda Patterson mezzo-soprano (‘00)  /  Ready.Set / Armida

The Director of Music of Victory Hall Opera (VHO) seeks to invent a modern, modular stage set that is affordable, transportable, and reconfigurable. With the Ready.Set Competition, VHO opens up to designers and architects the challenge of creating a modular set design. The winning set will be used in VHO’s groundbreaking production of Haydn’s Armida, a Virginia Premiere, in November 2019.

John Popham cello (‘05, ‘06)  /  The Resonant Lens: A Musical Videography

This project aims to produce a vibrant videography series that brings musical works to life, resonating with viewers emotionally, socially, and culturally. A modular project structure will be used to reach a variety of audiences: virtually, through interactive content on a dedicated website; person-to-person, in live performance by the Longleash Trio supplemented by videography; and remotely, via screenings and gallery exhibits. The scope will include cinematic performance documentation, documentary shorts, and edifying content, presenting works that illuminate 20th century pieces and older works that have significant contemporary resonance, including Hildegard von Bingen’s O virtus sapientiae, Pauline Oliveros’ Tree Peace, Charles Ives’ Trio, and Anthony Cheung’s Flyway Detour.

Steve Perdicaris trombone (‘86)  /  Crescendo 2020

Steve Perdicaris co-founded Music Mission San Francisco (MMSF) with the goal of inspiring children and creating positive social change through music. MMSF provides free after-school music instruction that culminates in public performances at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. With the support of the Music Academy of the West, MMSF will add viola and woodwind teaching artists, expanding the instrumentation of the program’s current offerings as it aims to launch a chamber orchestra program by 2020.


Danielle DeSwert Hahn collaborative piano (‘99)

Ms. Hahn is currently the head of music programs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Formerly principal pianist of the Baltimore Opera Company and the Washington Concert Opera, she has also worked at the Ash Lawn Highland Opera Festival, New York Opera Society, and the Chautauqua, Indianapolis, Kentucky, North Carolina, Portland, Sarasota, and Washington National Opera Companies. Ms. Hahn’s latest project, the Living Art Collective Ensemble (LACE), is a fluid group of musicians committed to bridging the gap between the visual and performing arts, and bringing issues of cultural relevance to light within the context of engaging performances. Recently, Ms. Hahn completed the Association of Performing Arts Professionals Leadership Fellows Program.

Joshua Roman cello (’02)

Joshua Roman has earned an international reputation for his wide-ranging repertoire, a commitment to communicating the essence of music in visionary ways, artistic leadership, and versatility. He is also an accomplished composer and curator, and was named a TED Senior Fellow in 2015. The Artistic Director of TownMusic in Seattle was also appointed the inaugural Artistic Advisor of the contemporary streaming channel Second Inversion. Mr. Roman spent two seasons as principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony from 2006-2008, and since that time has appeared as a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mariinsky Orchestra, New World Symphony, Alabama Symphony, and Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional del Ecuadora.

Konstantin Soukhovetski solo piano (’99)

Mr. Soukhovetski has appeared with Johannesburg Philharmonic, Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, Miami Symphony Orchestra, and the Richmond, Austin, Auburn, Westmoreland, Virginia, and Asheville Symphony Orchestras. His solo performances have taken him to Wigmore Hall, Weill Recital and Zankel Halls at Carnegie Hall, Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, and Zentrum Paul Klee in Switzerland. The Moscow native is an alumnus of The Juilliard School where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal. Following the premiere of his transcription of Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs at L’Esprit du Piano Festival, Mr. Soukhovetski has taken the work on tour in both South Africa and the United States.


The Alumni Enterprise Awards, now in its second year, is open to all alumni of the Academy’s Summer Festival, and funds innovative ideas in areas including artistic expression, audience development, education, community engagement, social justice, and technology. The Music Academy has now invested a total of $150,000 in our alumni-innovated projects since 2018.

The winners were selected by the Academy’s senior management in collaboration with its distinguished National Advisory Council.


The Music Academy of the West advances the development of 21st century classically trained musicians and cultivates discerning, appreciative, and adventurous audiences. Founded in 1947, the Academy operates on a 10-acre, ocean-side campus in Santa Barbara, California. Music Academy of the West’s world-renowned eight-week Summer Festival offers more than 200 events. Programs comprise voice, vocal piano, collaborative piano, instrumental, and solo piano.  The Academy began a four-year partnership with the London Symphony Orchestra in 2018 focused on education and performance on both continents. For more information, visit musicacademy.org.

photos courtesy of the artists

Released: February 21, 2019

Kate Oberjat
Director of Marketing and Communications
Music Academy of the West
[email protected]

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