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Music Academy Launches the Alumni Performance Award

Music Academy of the West announces the launch of the ALUMNI PERFORMANCE AWARD, sponsored by the Luria/Budgor Family Foundation

Open to all alumni, the annual award will support an emerging Music Academy alum in their professional pursuits as a performing artist.

The inaugural recipient of the award is solo piano alum Evan Shinners (‘09), who is slated to perform in the galleries on Feb 24 at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.


Santa Barbara, CA —The Music Academy, to further bolster support of its alums as they cultivate their careers, has established an annual Alumni Performance Award. Sponsored by the Luria/Budgor Family Foundation, the award will provide a unique performance opportunity that embraces the artist’s pursuits and aligns with the Music Academy’s goals and vision for alumni engagement. 

The Music Academy is excited to assist our alums in creating performance opportunities that could be crucial to their career trajectories. We are committed to uplifting our exceptional alums and this new award provides one additional pathway to their success. Our heartfelt thanks to the Luria/Budgor Family Foundation for making this award possible.


  • Each January a committee will choose an alum to receive the award.
  • The committee will be comprised of the Music Academy’s President & CEO, Vice President of Artistic Operations, Dean, and select teaching artists from the Music Academy’s Summer School & Festival roster, along with a non-voting representative from the Luria/Budgor Family Foundation.  


  • Consideration will be given to an alum who has achieved performance excellence, has experienced limited exposure and performance opportunity. 
  • Recipient will receive an award of $10,000 and up to $3,000 for all expenses related to the performance. 
  • The performance will take place in the calendar year following the year in which the award was given.  


Evan Shinners, who attended the Music Academy as a solo piano fellow in 2009, and is known as an American pianist, clavichordist, electronic music composer, and devoted specialist to the music of J.S. Bach, has been selected as the inaugural winner of the Alumni Performance Award. Evan was also recognized for his innovative Bach Pop-Up Storefront in New York City in 2018 as a recipient of the Academy’s Alumni Enterprise Awards.

Read the NY Times article on The Bach Store here.

Evan’s awarded performance opportunity takes place in Santa Barbara on February 24th at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, where he will perform in solo recital as well as in a trio with two other Music Academy artists.Learn more about this special event and how to get tickets at


Music Academy alums number nearly 7,000. A veritable “who’s who” in the world of classical music, Academy alums perform around the globe as soloists and in major symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras, ensembles, and opera companies. Many teach at prestigious universities and conservatories, while others are just starting their career trajectories. Notable alums include composer and songwriter Burt Bacharach, mezzo-soprano Grace Bumbry, violinist Pamela Frank, baritone Thomas Hampson, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, opera director Lotfi Monsouri, clarinetist David Shifrin, violinist Donald Weilerstein, and recent and current Music Academy teaching artists such as mezzo-sopranos Marilyn Horne and Sasha Cooke, pianist Martin Katz, and violists Richard O’Neill and Cynthia Phelps.



Located in Santa Barbara, the Music Academy of the West creates a space where exceptional talent can thrive by encouraging artists to stretch, experiment, improvise, and play. The Music Academy provides artists with the tools they need to become not just great musicians but great leaders. The Music Academy’s programs are: the annual eight-week Summer School & Festival which trains up to 140 fellows ages 18-34 and presents more than 120 performances and events, competitions, and a fully staged opera; Sing!, a children’s choir free of charge for all participants that performs with local, national, and international partners; the MAX (Music Academy Exchange) partnership with international orchestras; the innovative Alumni Enterprise Awards; and the Mariposa Series of concerts by Academy-affiliated artists. The 2024 Summer School & Festival takes place June 12 through August 3. Learn more at


download high resolution photos HERE


Kate Oberjat
Senior Director of Content Marketing and Digital Experience
Music Academy of the West



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