Tag archives: MAW

A Beautiful Evening
By Richard Mineards   |   October 4, 2022

Social gridlock reigned at the Music Academy when Santa Barbara Beautiful staged its 58th annual award celebration with 200 guests at the Kuehn Court reception with wandering musical troubadours Ted Hoagland, Chris Judge, and Collin Richardson. The awards celebration was staged in the Lehman Ballroom, emceed by ubiquitous KEYT-TV reporter John Palminteri, with a welcome […]

So Long Summer Fest 
By Steven Libowitz   |   August 16, 2022

The 2022 Music Academy Summer Festival came to a close on Saturday night with the symphony-vocal extravaganza at the Granada. Coming up next: three different recitals from the five fellows who claimed top prize in the musical competitions, plus perhaps a new product from the winner of the Music Academy Innovation Institute’s 2022 Fast Pitch […]

That’s a Wrap
By Richard Mineards   |   August 16, 2022

The Music Academy wrapped up its 75th anniversary summer festival in fine form at the Granada when alumna Italian Speranza Scappucci conducted the Academy Festival Orchestra. With the hugely entertaining program including Rossini’s “William Tell Overture,” “The Pines of Rome” by Respighi, and vocal works by Donizetti, Verdi, Gounod, Bizet, Serrano, Chapi, and Puccini, the […]

Denève Directs a Success
By Richard Mineards   |   August 9, 2022

As its 75th anniversary season winds down, the Music Academy’s Academy Festival Orchestra under conductor Stéphane Denève was in fine form at the Granada. The entertaining concert featured Ravel’s masterpiece “Daphnis et Chloe Suite No. 2” and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3.” Frenchman Denève, music director of the St. Louis Symphony and the Brussels Philharmonic, was […]

Directing Fellow Craig Carves Her Career Path
By Steven Libowitz   |   August 9, 2022

The Music Academy created its first-ever directing fellow position this summer, and chose Canadian Sawyer Ann Craig, who has a degree from McGill and credits as both a singer and director all over Canada. Craig had the chance to work alongside the directors of each of the vocal performance events, including Sara Widzer, Peter Kazaras, […]

Building Context and Style with Jessie Montgomery
By Steven Libowitz   |   August 2, 2022

Composer-violinist Jessie Montgomery is no stranger to Santa Barbara, having performed several times in the intimate Mary Craig Auditorium at the downtown Museum of Art with the Catalyst Quartet, the Grammy Award-winning string foursome from the Sphinx Organization she spearheaded from 2012-20. But that was before George Floyd, and the Black Lives Matter-spurred reckoning with […]

Come to the Cabaret… With an Open Mind
By Steven Libowitz   |   July 26, 2022

Don’t walk into the Music Academy’s Cabaret at Hahn Hall next Thursday, July 28, expecting to see a knockoff of the 1966 Kander and Ebb Broadway musical or Bob Fosse’s 50-year-old film adaptation. While both are set in Berlin’s cabaret culture during the Weimar Republic, the Academy event is an originally devised cabaret with a […]

Tchaikovsky’s ‘Eugene Onegin’ at the Granada
By Steven Libowitz   |   July 19, 2022

With all due respect to Opera Santa Barbara, the opera event of the year may well take place this weekend when the Music Academy (MA) mounts an original and fully-staged production of Tchaikovsky’s popular and beloved opera Eugene Onegin at the Granada on Friday night and Sunday afternoon. Especially if Peter Kazaras’ direction comes close […]

Sō Percussion Progression
By Steven Libowitz   |   July 12, 2022

Sō Percussion’s mission, which is both straightforward and very ambitious, is to serve as a “percussion-based music organization that creates and presents new collaborative works to adventurous and curious audiences and educational initiatives to engaged students… in order to exemplify the power of music to unite people and forge deep social bonds.  Pretty much all […]

A Hand for Hannu
By Richard Mineards   |   July 12, 2022

How fitting that Hannu Lintu, a graduate of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, should be conducting the Finnish composer’s The Oceanides with the Academy Festival Orchestra at the Granada, part of the Music Academy’s 75th anniversary summer festival celebrations. Lintu, 54, chief conductor of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, was in extraordinary form for […]

Titan Lintu
By Steven Libowitz   |   July 5, 2022

The Music Academy (MA) represents a bit of a beachhead for Hannu Lintu, the Finnish conductor who has extensive experience leading orchestras and opera performances in his homeland and across Europe and the Eastern U.S. but has rarely ventured to the Western states. Helming the Academy Festival Orchestra for this weekend’s concert at the Granada […]

Pursuing a Love, Talent for Opera
By Scott Craig   |   June 28, 2022

Westmont senior Sibongakonkhe (“Sibo”) Msibi joins an elite group of 20 Fellows this summer at the Vocal Institute at the Music Academy in Santa Barbara. The first Westmont student to achieve this honor, he aspires to become “one of the best opera singers out there.” Chosen from an international pool of talented applicants who seek […]

Anniversary Gala at the Academy
By Richard Mineards   |   June 28, 2022

It was an evening of high note, with many in between, when Montecito’s venerable, newly renamed Music Academy celebrated its 75th anniversary with a signature gala on its 10-acre Miraflores oceanside campus for 320 guests raising around $600,000. The boffo bash, co-chaired by the tony triumvirate of Valerie Montgomery, Kandy Luria-Budgor, and Michele Brustin, was […]

The Sound of Cipullo
By Steven Libowitz   |   June 28, 2022

For Tom Cipullo, MAW’s 2022 composer-in-residence, collaborating with two other faculty members in putting together an evening of his vocal works sung by the Academy’s fellows has been both a challenge and a joy. “There are 14 singers in all vocal ranges, and we have to give everybody an experience that fits them and also […]

Music Academy Celebrates 75th in Community Concert
By Steven Libowitz   |   June 21, 2022

Conductor Donato Cabrera and Music Academy of the West (MAW) vocal pianist John Churchwell met in 2003, the first of two summers Donato spent at MAW as assistant conductor for the annual opera. The two, who live near each other in the Bay Area, became fast friends and visit each other frequently. In fact, Cabrera […]

Sum’MAW of 75
By Steven Libowitz   |   June 14, 2022

The Music Academy of the West’s return to its normal extremely event-packed eight-week summer music festival in 2022 happily coincides with a major milestone for the institute headquartered right here in Montecito. If previous partnerships with the New York Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra haven’t already done so, MAW’s 75th anniversary season truly places […]

A New Sun Rising Over the Music Academy
By Richard Mineards   |   June 14, 2022

As Montecito’s Music Academy of the West celebrates its 75th anniversary, it’s a whole new image for the storied 10-acre Miraflores oceanside campus, I can exclusively reveal. For the past eight months, a team of academy board members, administration, and professional consultants – 21C Media Group from New York and My Brilliant Friend from Los […]

The Grand Return of Opera SB
By Steven Libowitz   |   June 7, 2022

Grand opera is returning to the Granada Theatre. After Opera Santa Barbara’s (OSB) two-plus years filled with ways to creatively cope with the COVID pandemic that ranged from virtual performances, to two Concerts in Your Car outdoor staged adaptations (that included, appropriately, a version of Carmen) and a season of smaller, shorter one-acts, reworkings, and […]

Hike Through History
By Richard Mineards   |   June 7, 2022

A new exhibit at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum celebrates the region’s hiking trails and public lands through historic photographs, paintings, and historic items from the museum’s collections. Take a Hike, Save the World is a visual journey through our Eden by the Beach’s most scenic areas, as seen by artists and photographers beginning in […]

A Galaxy of Music with Orion Weiss
By Steven Libowitz   |   May 24, 2022

Lots of locals who have lived here long enough fondly remember the single summer pianist Orion Weiss spent in Montecito as a fellow at Music Academy of the West in 2000. Not only because the then-20-year-old pianist captured the prestigious Concerto Competition back when there was no contest just for the pianists. Weiss also won […]