Music Academy of the West

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Music Academy of the West
Music Academy of the West Logo 2018.png
Funding typePrivate

The Music Academy of the West is a summer music conservatory located in Montecito, California, United States, near Santa Barbara. Participation is merit-based and tuition free.


The academy hosts an annual eight-week summer music festival for the community, highlighted by concerts and workshops directed by famous composers, conductors, and artists. The festival hosts 140 pre-professional musicians who receive merit-based full scholarships. Programs of study include Vocal Piano, Voice, Collaborative Piano, Solo Piano, and Instrumental.[1]


The Music Academy of the West was founded in 1947 by Southern California arts patrons and musicians, including soprano Lotte Lehmann, conductor Otto Klemperer and composer Arnold Schoenberg.[2][3] Among the first scholarschip funders where singer-actors Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, violinist Jascha Heifetz and movie producer Daryl F. Zanuck.[3]

From 1954 to 1980 the academy's music director was Maurice Abravanel.[4] Martial Singher was head of the Voice Department from 1962 till 1981. From 1997 till 2018 the vocal program was directed by Marilyn Horne.[5][6]

Since 2010, the academy has held the annual Marilyn Horne Song Competition; until then, it had been known as the Marilyn Horne Foundation Vocal Competition.

In 2014, the Music Academy of the West began an educational partnership with the New York Philharmonic. Under the collaboration, Music Director Alan Gilbert and orchestra members maintained residencies in Santa Barbara during parts of the festival, and selected Music Academy fellows trained with orchestra members in Santa Barbara and New York City.[7]

Since 2017 the academy is solely using Steinway pianos.[3]

Faculty and guests[edit]

Notable faculty and guests have included Thomas Adès, Jeanne Baxtresser, Jonathan Biss, Carol Burnett, Jeremy Denk, Glenn Dicterow, Eighth Blackbird, Daniel Hope, Marilyn Horne, Benjamin Kamins, Julie Landsman, Jerome Lowenthal, the Takács Quartet, and Deborah Voigt.


Notable alumni include Burt Bacharach, Grace Bumbry, Juan Diego Flórez, Pamela Frank, Thomas Hampson, Marilyn Horne, Cynthia Phelps, David Shifrin, and Donald Weilerstein.


  1. ^ "Programs of Study & Audition Requirements". Archived from the original on 2014-07-25. Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c "History | Music Academy". Archived from the original on 2018-12-28. Retrieved 2018-12-28.
  4. ^ Randel, ed. by Don Michael (1996). The Harvard biographical dictionary of music. Cambridge, Massachusetts [u.a.]: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press. ISBN 0-674-37299-9.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Marilyn Horne | Music Academy". Archived from the original on 2018-12-28. Retrieved 2018-12-28.
  7. ^

External links[edit]