Archive » August 9, 2007
Music Academy Update
By Steven Libowitz
Can it really be over? Say it isn’t so!
One of the greatest Summer Festivals at the Music Academy of the West – if not the best ever – comes to a close this weekend, and some of us aren’t ready yet to let go. Me, I’m tempted to wrap a chain around the exit gates at the bottom of the hill near Channel Drive-Butterfly Beach and keep the whole crew – both students and faculty – hanging around the Miraflores campus for a little while longer.
But all good things must come to an end. All we can say is get thee to a master class – those revelatory pastiches of performance and instruction – if you haven’t been yet. And check out the last few special events of the season.
Thursday, August 9
If you’ve got afternoons free – or if you can make one, or at least take a late lunch – why not check out the last of the weekly Community Concerts at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara? Sort of a mini-Picnic Concert (the last one of which occurred last night), the performances begin at 2 pm, and offer similar student-performed fare to the more venerable event back on campus, but in a better venue. Best of all, it’s free.
Also, “Cabaret” is the Music Academy of the West’s annual gala benefit in which the summer school’s vocal students literally sing for their supper. Or rather, during your supper. The glittering event – held at the, ocean breeze-cooled rotunda at Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort – includes cocktails, a three-course gourmet dinner and the musical performance. This year’s theme is “Songs from the Silver Screen,” featuring some of the best-known and much-loved tunes from the world of film, including mostly the venerable movie musicals from the Golden Age of Hollywood. The director is Don Pippin, who performed with Voice Program director Marilyn Horne – the celebrated mezzo-soprano who is celebrating a decade at the helm herself this summer – back in 2001, and then directed the Academy’s productions of such benefits as “A Grand Night for Singing” (2002), “Giants of Broadway” (2003), “Who Could Ask for Anything More?” (2004), “From Broadway to Hollywood and Back” (2005) and “A Sea of Shining Stars: The Music of Irving Berlin” (2006).
Pippin served for 14 years as Radio City Music Hall’s music director and counts both a Tony (for “Oliver!”) and Emmy (for “Broadway Sings Jule Styne”) among his accolades, so the Academy’s 24 young singers are in very capable hands. Montecito’s Margo Baker Barbakow is one of the three co-chairs of the event, which is a major fundraiser allowing the Academy to continue to offer full scholarships to all the students that attend each summer. (5:30 pm; tickets range from $300 per individual up to $10,000 for a sponsored table of 10. For information or tickets, call 805-695-7917.)
Friday, August 10
Chamberfest is the only time all year audiences get to hear both students and faculty perform together for every piece of the program. A relatively new phenomenon at MAW, the event pairs outstanding students with the faculty they’ve been coached by all summer for a chamber music concert featuring a program that takes a lot of left turns. See “Classical Connection” for all the details. (8 pm; Lobero; $38).
Saturday, August 11
Perhaps it isn’t by chance that the final Academy Festival Orchestra concert, indeed the final event of the Summer Festival, features conductor Alexander Lazarev. The Russian maestro coaxed great work from the young instrumentalists and astounded the audience in his two previous MAW appearances in 2004-05, and his return is eagerly awaited. Lazarev, Conductor Emeritus of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and former artistic director of the Bolshoi Theatre, will lead an appropriately all-Russian program featuring Stravinsky’s Divertimento, Ballet Suite from “The Fairy’s Kiss” and Tchaikovsky’s majestic, forceful Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64. (8 pm; Lobero; $40).
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