Music Academy of the West 70th Anniversary Summer Festival

Posted on Jul 20 by SEASONS Magazine


Music Academy of the West, courtesy photo.

Music Academy of the West, courtesy photo.

Music Academy of the West (MAW) not only knows how to harmonize instruments and tunes, but also knows how to harmonize musicians around the country and abroad. Since 1947, MAW has been welcoming 137 full-scholarship recipients to study and perform each summer in what one former fellows calls “one of the most beautiful cities” they have ever been.

Performers and artists, from more than 20 states and 10 countries, audition every year to gather for an eight-week summer school program and to showcase their talents in the annual festival. Not only do they receive high-quality instruction, but they are also invited to participate in beach barbecues, movie and game nights, hiking, soccer and volleyball games, and excursions. With all that fun, it is obvious why one former fellow states, “I came here to get better at the violin. Instead, I went home not only a better musician, but a better human being as well.”

This summer, the class of 2017 performs eight weeks of world-class music during the 70th Anniversary Festival—featuring more than 200 events—many of which are free to the public.

On July 27 and 29, the opera event of the summer takes the stage at The Granada Theatre (1214 State St.). Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, a romantic comedy conducted by Speranza Scapucci, tells a lighthearted and comical story of a phony love potion, along with a couple of valuable life lessons as well.

Then on July 31, the academy welcomes you to Santa Barbara City College‘s (SBCC) La Playa Stadium to enjoy the sunset and witness the oldest symphony orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and joining the Music Academy’s Festival Orchestra as they present the largest classical music event in Santa Barbara history, followed by an evening of fireworks overlooking the ocean. The concert celebrates Alan Gilbert’s final appearance as New York Philharmonic Music Director, and offers more than 7,000 $10 tickets, as well as free student tickets. The festival also features distinguished guest artists, composers and premier performances in strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, harp, piano, vocals, and more. For more information, visit

Danielle Hazlett

Originally published in the Summer 2017 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.


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