La Sierra to host international music festival
La Sierra University’s music department has exponentially increased its programming over the past few years and this summer will host a pinnacle event that features some of the world’s foremost musicians.
Montecito International Music Festival will be held between July 12 and July 31 on La Sierra’s campus. The music festival, held annually in Santa Barbara since 2006, this year moved to La Sierra to accommodate the festival’s growth. Last year’s festival attracted 200 students from 15 countries.
The educational and performance event features five eminent guest artists who serve as concertmasters, soloists and performers with the world’s top orchestras. This year’s featured artists are part of a 45-member festival faculty that includes La Sierra’s orchestra conductor Dean Anderson as a guest conductor, La Sierra collaborating faculty members cellist Marek Szpakiewicz and flutist Martin Glicklich, vocalists Javier Gonzalez and Raejin Lee, director of vocal studies. La Sierra pianist Sergio Leiva and student pianist Jonathan Mamora will serve as festival accompanists. Montecito festival will conclude with musical performances for the public.
“Montecito music festival will bring some of the top teachers and performers in classical music to work with students who want to perfect their art,” said Elvin Rodriguez, music department chair pianist and professor of music. “The community will also benefit from student concerts and recitals by some of the same world class performers who are teaching in the festival. I feel this music festival will enrich our local culture in ways typically found only in large cities, while bringing national and international attention to this area.”
The festival’s guest artists include renowned violinist Glenn Dicterow, retired in 2014 from a 34-year career as concertmaster and featured soloist for the New York Philharmonic. He now teaches at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. Also featured are violinist Alexander Treger, concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conductor of the American Youth Symphony, an acclaimed conductor and educator who has soloed with top orchestras around the United States; violinist Joseph Silverstein who has held positions with the orchestras of Houston, Denver, Philadelphia and Boston, and teaching positions at Yale and Boson universities, the New England Conservatory and Tanglewood Music Center; violist Donald McInnes, a retired professor of the Thornton School who has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony and other major groups; and cellist Lynn Harrell, a Grammy award-winner and frequent guest performer with many top orchestras including in those in Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco, as well as a regular collaborator with such noted conductors as James Levine, Sir Neville Marriner, Zubin Mehta, André Previn and others.
Resident guest artist, soprano Faith Esham will provide vocal instruction. Esham has received wide acclaim for her performances in the top opera houses of the United States and Europe, including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the New York City Opera, the Vienna State Opera, La Scala opera house of Milan, Italy, and many others. In 1984 she won a Grammy award for her portrayal of Micaela in a film version of “Carmen” directed by Francesco Rosi with famed operatic singers Plácido Domingo and Julia Migenes.
Paulette Jumalon, a senior vocal performance major at La Sierra University, plans to participate in the festival, a first such experience for the soprano and a major steppingstone toward her goal of earning masters degrees in performance and theatrical production. She aims to create a musical theater program for Seventh-day Adventist students. “This is a wonderful opportunity for me to increase my repertoire and hone my skill set to arm myself with when I march into the real world,” Jumalon said. “Working with the staff and the world-class presenters will give me a rare opportunity to see into that world.”
Festival founder Chan Ho Yun brought the event to La Sierra through his connection with Rodriguez and the music department, whose students and faculty have participated in past Montecito festivals.
“I’m just thrilled because of the wonderful concert hall,” said Yun. “I’m very grateful to La Sierra and the senior administration, and to Elvin.” He added that students return to the Montecito festival each year because of its nurturing, dedicated and friendly faculty. “Our family is not your usual [festival faculty]. We’re very down to earth. We have a deep sense of mission.”
The mission involves community outreach and a holistic view of musical education. The festival’s scholarship recipients will give concerts in senior retirement homes and churches, and senior citizens and the unemployed will be provided free concert admission, Yun said. “Sharing, learning, giving – the festival is about the important facets of being a complete musician,” he said.
Further information about Montecito International Music Festival is available at this link: http://www.montecitomusicfestival.com/