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Music Academy welcomes new Board Chair and 4 new members of the Board of Directors

As a compass for exceptional talent, not only for musicians, but for leaders, the Music Academy announces a new Board Chair and four new members of the Board of Directors. Maurice Singer, a Founding Principal of The Evergreen Advantage, a Real Estate Investment Trust, will take on the role of Board Chair. He is currently a Board Director and served on the Board from 2010-2018. He succeeds Eileen Sheridan, who served as Board Chair from 2020-2022.

The new additions to the Board are Michele Brustin, an executive at NBC and an Executive Producer with her own company for thirty years in Los Angeles; Daniel Dokos, Partner at the international law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Head of Global Finance; Rachel Fine, Executive Director of the Yale Schwarzman Center; and Joshua Ramirez, a realtor with Compass Real Estate in Santa Barbara, and Co-Founder of Princeton North, an innovative branding and marketing company.

“We’ve strategically aligned to move entrepreneurial trailblazer Maurice Singer into the role of Board Chair. His business acumen and philanthropic leadership are hallmarks of an outstanding volunteer. Our four new Board members add rock-solid skillsets that will complement the excellent directors who are continuing their terms."

"I’m honored and excited to serve as Board Chair of this dynamic, forward-thinking institution that affords the next generation of classical musicians the opportunity to continue to develop their skills and explore new inroads to the ever changing and challenging career paths in the music industry.”

The new directors join a group of 23 local and national education, performing arts, and corporate executives and leaders. Among these esteemed professionals are Santa Barbara County Education Office Assistant Superintendent Ellen Barger, Guild Education Chief People Officer Dean Carter, incoming YoungArts President Clive Chang, Sonos CEO Patrick Spence, and former Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Exelon and former Joffrey Ballet and Ravinia Festival Chair Pam Strobel.

"The Music Academy Board is a who’s who of those who are at the top of their game. Becoming a member is an aspirational landing point for any volunteer in our community.”

“Many of our students attend the Music Academy Summer Festival. I’m confident that the CONTINUED strong governance of the organization WILL KEEP LEADING to impactful training in classical music and innovation.”

Maurice Singer and the new directors begin their terms on January 1, 2023. The full roster of the 2022 Board of Directors is available at the Music Academy’s website.

Maurice Singer

Born in New York City, Maurice Singer studied English and economics at the University of Vermont and went on to hold a succession of senior management positions in the film and television industry, including president of HBO Films and senior vice president at Home Box Office, Columbia Pictures Corp., and Westinghouse Broadcasting Co. Shortly after becoming a licensed financial advisor, he founded Los Angeles-based Riviera Capital Management in 1993, an independent firm specializing in wealth management, venture capital, and initial public offering consultation.

 Maurice is currently a founding principal at The Evergreen Advantage, a Real Estate Investment Trust based in Santa Monica with offices in Montecito. The firm has a real estate loan portfolio throughout the west coast. In addition to being a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and the National Association of Television Broadcasters, Maurice has served as a board director for Tempra Technology and Qnext Corp, and The Industry, a Los Angeles-based opera company. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Ojai Music Festival. Maurice Singer served on Music Academy Board of Directors from January 2010 through December 2018 and returned to the Board in January 2020.


Michele Brustin

Michele Brustin was an executive at NBC and an Executive Producer with her own company for thirty years in Los Angeles; prior to that she worked in the non-profit performing arts industry. She honed her skills as head of the Illinois Arts Council. Those skills served her well in Hollywood where she became Vice President of Drama Programs followed by Senior Vice President of Comedy at NBC under Grant Tinker and Brandon Tartikoff. She later formed her own company.

Michele served as an Executive Director of numerous television projects under the umbrella of Universal Television, Columbia, and Scripps Howard. She retired early to enjoy life in Santa Barbara and has spent her free time involved in music organizations which had been her life-time passion since she was a piano student at Peabody Conservatory. She was previously on the Board of the Music Academy for nine years, is now on the Ojai Music Festival Board, and was on the Board of the innovative opera company The Industry in Los Angeles. When she worked in LA, she was on the Board of the UCLA performing arts organization and on the Music Center’s Education Board.


Daniel Dokos

Daniel Dokos is consistently recognized as a leading lawyer for Banking & Finance by Chambers Global and Chambers USA, where clients note “he’s one of the smartest lawyers in the industry” and “an excellent lawyer” who is “very commercial, very responsive, and his work is spot on.” He is recognized as a “Leading Lawyer” for Bank Lending by Legal 500 US, where clients note he is “excellent at working for banks and getting extremely difficult cross-border deals done.” Daniel is also recognized as a “Highly Regarded” lawyer for Banking in the U.S. by IFLR1000.

Dan has acted as outside corporate counsel for Roundabout Theatre in New York City. In his free time, he enjoys playing the piano, studying the cello, and working closely with his husband on residential real estate projects in Montecito and the Hamptons.


Rachel Fine

Rachel Fine is the Executive Director of the Yale Schwarzman Center (YSC), Yale University’s first-ever center for student life and the arts, and former Executive Director & CEO of The Wallis Annenberg Performing Arts Center. Together with the board of directors and administrative team, she established The Wallis as a major player and leading cultural organization in Los Angeles’ burgeoning arts scene.

At The Wallis, she demonstrated dedication to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access; built dynamic artistic partnerships and projects between The Wallis and Los Angeles’ cultural organizations; launched and implemented a $55 million campaign, which more than doubled the organization’s endowment and established a healthy cash reserve in the campaign’s first year; and steered and managed The Wallis successfully through the pandemic. Prior to her tenure at The Wallis, Rachel served as Executive Director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (2010-2015) and Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (2007-2010). In 2009, she founded and built the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus’ Young Men’s Ensemble, a rare chorus for boys with changing voices, which has toured the United States, Canada, Cuba, Vatican City, and Mexico City. Rachel has also held leadership positions at the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, Aspen Music Festival, Santa Fe Opera, and The Juilliard School, among others. She is a proud alumna of the Music Academy, which she attended in 1988 as a solo piano fellow.


Joshua Ramirez

Josh Ramirez is an Estate Agent at Compass Montecito and the founder of “The Network,” a group of luxury real estate agents from Aspen, Hamptons, New York, San Francisco, Miami, and beyond. Josh transitioned to the real estate industry following a successful career in marketing and technology. After growing up in Santa Barbara, Josh spread his globe-trotting wings, like all good locals, and spent several years in the tech industry in Sydney, Australia. Upon his return from Australia, Josh continued in the tech and marketing world for almost a decade.

As a Director at a publicly-traded technology company, Josh had the privilege of being the keynote speaker at a conference in Manhattan, New York City, and working with brands such as Sugarfina, Avon, Ulta Beauty, Road Runner Sports, and many more. In 2016, Josh co-founded a creative marketing agency (Princeton North) that has worked with a number of local and international businesses. When Josh isn’t selling slices of the Spanish seaside town of Santa Barbara, you’ll find him enjoying time with his South African bride and two sons.



Music Academy

Located in Santa Barbara, the Music Academy creates a space where exceptional talent can thrive by encouraging artists to stretch, experiment, improvise, and play. We give artists the tools they need to become not just great musicians but great leaders. With the sun shining brightly on possibility and potential, we unleash the creators who will reimagine the future of classical music. We catalyze the change that will propel classically trained musicians boldly forward. 

The Music Academy’s year round programs are: Sing!, a children’s choir free of charge for all participants that performs with local, national, and international partners; the annual Summer Festival for 136 fellows with more than 120 performances and events, Solo Piano, Duo, Fast Pitch, and Marilyn Horne Song Competitions; the Keston MAX partnership with the London Symphony Orchestra; the Innovation Institute’s Alumni Enterprise Awards; and the new Mariposa Series of concerts by Academy-affiliated artists.


photos by Phil Channing
Rachel Fine and Daniel Dokos courtesy images
Music Academy campus courtesy Santa Barbara Magazine

Kate Oberjat (she/her/hers)
Director of Marketing & Communications
Music Academy
805-695-7908 /



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