Music Academy of the West Musicians to Travel to New York for Global Academy Fellowship Program

Mike Lawson • News • August 22, 2016

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Ten outstanding Music Academy of the West musicians have been selected to travel to New York as Zarin Mehta Fellows in January 2017 to participate in the third year of the New York Philharmonic Global Academy Fellowship Program, which offers opportunities to train and play with Philharmonic musicians, representing an innovative approach to training the next generation of world-class musicians for successful careers.

The 2017 Zarin Mehta Fellows were selected by audition from Music Academy of the West instrumentalists, all full-scholarship participants during the summer of 2016. They are: Kevin Chen, violin; Minji Choi, cello;Michael Daley, percussion; Kaelan Decman, double bass; Ao Peng, viola; Emily Switzer, violin; Alexander Volkov, violin; Jack Walters, clarinet; Justin Woo, violin; and Hyeree Yu, viola. 2016 Global Academy FellowRainer Saville, trumpet, deferred his participation and will be joining the Global Academy in 2017.

These ten Music Academy of the West fellows will travel to New York in a ten-day training program with a full schedule of events, including training and playing alongside Philharmonic musicians, conducted by Music Director Alan Gilbert, in Brahms’s Symphony No. 3 for the Philharmonic’s subscription concerts January 11–14. The Fellows will learn directly from Philharmonic musicians, a unique experience that will immerse them in all aspects of an orchestral player’s life, from audition to performance, learning invaluable career skills.

President and CEO of the Music Academy of the West Scott Reed said, “The Music Academy’s partnership with the New York Philharmonic is providing invaluable and innovative leadership to our fellows that is tangibly assisting them to take a next step in their careers. Exposure and mentorship by the players of the New York Philharmonic is an invaluable experience for these young musicians, providing the highest caliber orchestral experience to take with them throughout their very promising professional careers.”

New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert said: “I have been inspired by the passion and commitment of the Music Academy of the West fellows with whom I’ve worked in Santa Barbara over the past three summers. I know that these ten players, selected as the best among their talented peers, will benefit tremendously from their exposure to top-level orchestral life during their immersive week in New York, and from working with Philharmonic musicians, who have the ability to inspire and instruct to an astounding degree.”

Since the New York Philharmonic’s Global Academy Fellowship Program began in 2015, several alumni of the program have already been appointed to professional orchestras. 2015 Zarin Mehta Fellow successes include:

Anthony Bellino, trumpet, recently won a position in The President’s Own Marine Band. Matthew Cohen, viola, took first prize at the 2015 Vivo International Music Competition ($3,000 and performance at Weill Hall). Sean Krissman, clarinet, is now the Principal Clarinet of Houston Grand Opera. Simon Michal, violin, is now a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. And Michael Severance, bassoon, is a member of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra.

2016 Zarin Mehta Fellows are also earning positions with major orchestras. Nikolette LaBonte, horn, served last year as Assistant Principal Horn of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. Rebecca Reale, violin, joins the Houston Symphony Orchestra this month.

“It has been thrilling to experience the growth and success of the New York Philharmonic Global Academy partnership with the Music Academy of the West,” said Philharmonic President Matthew VanBesien. “Our first American partner, the Music Academy of the West has been as enthusiastic as its students, who are eager to learn from Philharmonic musicians as well as to learn about orchestras’ administrative side. And it has been enormously gratifying to see the placement of past Zarin Mehta Fellows in top ensembles. The results speak for themselves.”

The Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara is the first American partner in the New York Philharmonic Global Academy. The four-year partnership, which began in the summer of 2014, combines training of Music Academy fellows by Philharmonic musicians; biennial performances by the Philharmonic at the Music Academy Summer Festival; and Academy Festival Orchestra performances at Music Academy Summer Festivals led by Alan Gilbert. This collaboration is the formalization of a long relationship between the Orchestra and the School; thirteen New York Philharmonic musicians are alumni of the Music Academy of the West.

During the Music Academy of the West’s 2016 Summer Festival, Alan Gilbert conducted the Academy Festival Orchestra, and Philharmonic musicians served as visiting artists in Santa Barbara, training Music Academy fellows in collaboration with Academy faculty (including leading master classes, chamber music coaching sessions, private lessons, and lectures). The New York Philharmonic will perform in Santa Barbara next summer as part of the Music Academy of the West’s 70th anniversary.

The Music Academy’s partnership with the New York Philharmonic has been made possible through the generosity of lead sponsors Linda and Michael Keston.

The Global Academy Fellowship Program, in association with the New York Philharmonic Global Academy, is supported in part by The Hilaria and Alec Baldwin Foundation, Inc., an anonymous donor, and other gifts made towards the Zarin Mehta Fund. Additional support provided by Shirley Young/U.S.-China Cultural Foundation.

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