Experience the Magic of Music at the Music Academy of the West’s Summer Festival

The Music Academy of the West is set to captivate artists and music enthusiasts with its 77th Summer Music Festival, themed “The Magic of Music.” The Summer Festival runs from June 12 to August 3, at the Music Academy’s picturesque Miraflores campus in Montecito. The Festival promises an unforgettable summer of music, showcasing young talents and world-renowned artists in a diverse range of performances, masterclasses, and competitions.


Opera: Bizet’s Carmen Comes to Life at the Granada Theatre, July 12 and 14
The Lehrer Vocal Institute series offers the best in opera and art song coupled with unique performances curated by leading artists in the field. The centerpiece of the LVI fellows’ experience is a brand-new, can’t-miss production of Bizet’s Carmen, a timeless story illuminating female strength and independence. Principal Opera Conductor Daniela Candillari—also Principal Conductor of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis—takes the podium for the fully staged production in the Granada Theatre anchored by the Academy Festival Orchestra, with mezzo-soprano Maggie Reneé (below), an Academy fellow, in the title role.


A Force to Be Reckoned With: Academy Festival Orchestra
Each year, the Academy Festival Orchestra concerts stand out as a highlight of the Festival, as they introduce the next generation of artists to some of the world’s leading conductors.

Minnesota Orchestra Conductor Laureate Osmo Vänskä (above) opens the series on June 22 conducting Wagner’s Overture to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer with soloists from the Lehrer Vocal Institute, and Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2.

Anthony Parnther (above), Music Director of the San Bernardino Symphony, is equally well-known as an international guest conductor and for blockbuster film scores, most recently including Oppenheimer, Avatar: The Way of Water, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. He returns this summer to lead the Orchestra on June 29 in a varied program including Joan Huang’s Tujia Dance, Florence Price’s Symphony No. 3, and Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.

Former conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and St. Louis Symphony Orchestra David Robertson conducts on July 27 in a program of John Adams’ Violin Concerto with soloist Leila Josefowicz and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5.

Finnish National Opera and Ballet Chief Conductor Hannu Lintu brings the season to a close once again on August 3rd, this time conducting Mahler’s Symphony No. 6, “Tragic.”


Acclaimed Performing Artists: Mosher Guest Artists
The Music Academy is the summer destination for classical music’s biggest stars, who are invited each summer to share their singular expertise and insights with the next generation of musical talents and concert attendees. This year’s Mosher Guest Artists are Joshua Bell, Lawrence Brownlee, and Steven Isserlis.

GRAMMY-winning violinist Joshua Bell, one of the most celebrated artists of this era, joins forces with superstar pianist Jeremy Denk—a Music Academy teaching artist and “a pianist you want to hear no matter what he performs” (New York Times)—for a duo recital of Mozart’s Sonata No. 18 in G Major, Beethoven’s Sonata No. 7, and Stravinsky’s Divertimento from The Fairy’s Kiss on July 2. At the historic Granada Theatre, this rare chance to witness such a talented duo (pictured above) perform in a grand venue is an experience not to be missed.

Bel canto tenor Lawrence Brownlee (above), known as “one of the most in-demand opera singers in the world today” (NPR), joins the Music Academy for a recital on July 23 themed “Songs of my Youth” with pianist John Churchwell, co-director of the Music Academy’s Lehrer Vocal Institute. Inspired by Brownlee’s GRAMMY-nominated album Rising, which sets poetry from the Harlem Renaissance to song by leading African American composers, Brownlee coaches LVI fellows in ‘Uprising/Rising Up,’ a curated program of songs that explore our search, discovery, and celebration of the human spirit.

British cellist extraordinaire Steven Isserlis (above), acclaimed worldwide for his profound musicianship and technical mastery, presents a recital on July 3 alongside pianist Connie Shih, featuring sonatas by Beethoven and Fauré, Trois pièces by Nadia Boulanger, and Rediscovered Places by Thomas Adès.


Masterclasses: A Rare Look
What truly sets the Music Academy fellows apart from any other Festival is the opportunity to observe fellows work one-on-one with their mentors. Masterclasses for a public audience are a cornerstone of the Music Academy experience. All fellows perform in masterclasses, which complement each fellow’s private instruction. Throughout the eight-week Festival, teaching artists in voice, piano, and instrumental studios will teach over 70 public masterclasses. These classes are open to the public, offering a rare look at classical musical instruction.


Tickets for the 2024 Summer Music Festival are on sale now online at musicacademy.org, by phone at 805-969-8787, and at the Music Academy Carsey Ticket Office, open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Music Academy is committed to ensuring low-to-moderate income households in Santa Barbara County have access to the magic of music through $10 Community Access Tickets, subject to availability. Plus, young people ages 7-17 can receive a ticket free of charge when accompanied by a ticketed adult. The Community Access Ticket program is made possible in the loving memory of Linda Sawyer Frankel.  

Photo credits: Dario Acosta (Parnther); Shervin Lainez (Brownlee); Kevin Davis (Isserlis); Zach Mendez (Masterclass and fellows).


Sponsored by the Music Academy of the West.