Michael Tilson Thomas Leads Academy Festival Orchestra and LSO in Santa Barbara; Sir Simon Rattle Oversees New LSO Training Programme in London

The Music Academy of the West and the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) today announce a major new partnership, based at the Academy’s annual Summer School and Festival in Santa Barbara, California, and at the Barbican, and LSO St. Luke’s in London.

Michael Tilson Thomas, the LSO’s Conductor Laureate, will be in residence in Santa Barbara each summer as Signature Festival Conductor, joined by principal players from each section of the LSO during the eight-week Festival, to teach and mentor Academy fellows.

Twelve of the 95 fellows will be selected via audition to travel to London the following winter for ten days of intensive training with the London Symphony Orchestra and its Music Director Sir Simon Rattle. They will experience a week in the life of an LSO musician, taking part in rehearsals, performances, and mock auditions; receiving lessons; and performing chamber music with players, giving them invaluable insight into the life of an LSO member.

The Academy Fellows are the gifted young instrumentalists (aged 18-34) from America and around the world accepted annually into the Academy’s summer school, all on full scholarships, enabling talented musicians from a variety of backgrounds to participate.

Music Academy President and CEO Scott Reed said: “This historic collaboration is transformative for the Music Academy and our community. We are thrilled to expand the Music Academy’s global footprint and collaborate with an international partner in providing the best possible training experience for our fellows. We are inspired by the LSO’s musicians and administration and the significant impact they make on the world of music. ”

Kathryn McDowell, Managing Director of the London Symphony Orchestra said: “Nurturing the next generation of musicians is central to the LSO’s work, so I’m delighted that the Orchestra will collaborate with the Music Academy of the West, which each summer hosts some of the most gifted young players in America. I’m especially pleased to be inviting twelve of them to London where they will get to experience the Orchestra day-to-day under the expert guidance of Simon Rattle, and that Michael Tilson Thomas will lead the project in the US, where his work with young musicians at the highest level over many years is second to none.”

The new partnership will bring an extraordinary roster of guest artists to Santa Barbara each summer, and in 2019 amd 2021 the full London Symphony Orchestra will be in residence performing in concert and side-by-side with the Academy Festival Orchestra.

This summer, Michael Tilson Thomas will participate in a special panel discussion, and six LSO guest artists will be in residence. Elim Chan, winner of the 2014 Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition will conduct the Academy Festival Orchestra and five LSO section principals, David Alberman (2nd violin), David Elton (trumpet), Rebecca Gilliver (cello), Andrew Marriner (clarinet) and Neil Percy (percussion) will teach, perform, and will also oversee the audition process for the London training programme.

As well as the instrumental fellows, the winners of the Academy’s annual Solo Piano and Marilyn Horne Song Competitions will also travel to London to be presented in recital at LSO St. Luke’s. Each recital will feature the European Premiere performances of a work specially composed for the winners as part of the Academy’s Composer-in-Residence Programme.

Michael Tilson Thomas is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony; and Conductor Laureate of the London Symphony Orchestra.

The lead sponsors of the London Symphony Orchestra partnership are Linda and Michael Keston and Mary Lynn and Warren Staley. Additional support has been provided in remembrance of Léni Fé Bland.


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