Photo credit: David Bazemore

Performing Arts: Music Academy of the West

Mosher Foundation Sponsors Guest Artists Program

Several years ago, the leaders of the Mosher Foundation started brainstorming with Scott Reed, the president of the Music Academy of the West, trying to figure out the best way for the foundation to help the academy.

“We sat around the table for several hours and spun ideas,” said Ed Birch, president of the Mosher Foundation. “The one major missing piece of the Academy’s program was the ability to bring in very significant, world-renowned artists to spend time with the students. So together, we came up with the idea for Mosher guest artists.”

The Mosher Guest Artist Residency Program, launched in 2011, brings four significant artists to Santa Barbara to perform in an intimate setting and participate in private classes and mentoring of Academy students. Last year, artists included: string quartet Brooklyn Rider; baritone Vladimir Chernov; pianist Jeremy Denk; and violinist Midori.

In addition to exposing the students to such inspiring artists, the Academy also hoped the guest artist program would help with its long-range faculty development efforts – a dream that has come true. Two former guest artists, Glenn Dicterow and Jeremy Denk, have accepted appointments with the Academy.

“The Mosher Guest Artist Residency Program is one of the most significant artist developments in our organization’s 67-year history,” said Reed. “Everything we had hoped would happen, has happened.”

Founded in 1947, the Music Academy of the West is among the nation’s preeminent summer schools and festivals for gifted young classical musicians. The Academy provides these promising musicians with the opportunity for advanced study and frequent performance under the guidance of internationally renowned faculty artists, guest conductors and soloists. The Academy presents more than 200 public events annually.

“It has been really rewarding for us to see the difference our gift has made,” said Birch. “It’s one that I love to tell the story about.”