Skip links

Music Academy sends 31 competition winners to London

The Music Academy sends a record number of exceptionally talented competition winners to London to perform with the London Symphony Orchestra

In its largest global exchange year to date, the Music Academy will send 31 fellows to London this November as part of its 75th anniversary programming. The milestone year celebrations began with three performances of the London Symphony Orchestra in Santa Barbara in March, all under the baton of Music Director Sir Simon Rattle.

31 Keston MAX (Music Academy Exchange) winners from 2019-2022 will train and perform with the Orchestra and LSO Principal Guest Conductor Gianandrea Noseda. LSO musicians coached all finalists who competed to win the exchange and adjudicated auditions, selecting all winners.

“The LSO has created extraordinary opportunities for our fellows to step into experiencing the life of a professional musician at the highest level. Our partnership with the orchestra and their leaders continues to break ground with unique opportunities on an international stage.”

“We always look forward to the residency of the fellows from the Music Academy. They are extremely well prepared to perform with the LSO. Our musicians really enjoy working with these emerging artists.”

All Keston MAX fellows receive a $1,500 award, plus travel, housing, and meals. They will spend ten days participating in the following, and much more: 

  • Nov 17: Fellows will perform Symphonic Jazz with Jess Gillam at Barbican Hall as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival. The program features a work by Sphinx Medal of Excellence honoree Carlos Simon, who was commissioned for a piece for the winners of the 2021 Marilyn Horne Song Competition at the Music Academy

  • Nov 20: Fellows will join the LSO and Gianandrea Noseda for a filmed performance of Beethoven and Berlioz at LSO St Luke’s

  • Nov 24: Fellows will perform Shostakovich: The Year 1905 and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major with Alice Sara Ott and an LSO Panufnik commission world premiere by Louise Drewett at the Barbican with Gianandrea Noseda

  • Private coachings from LSO musicians

  • Recording Studio Training – the LSO is the world’s most recorded orchestra” since 1912

  • An LSO Discovery Workshop for instrumentalists seeking a career in orchestral playing, reflecting what it is to be a 21st century musician

“Our great partners from the Music Academy offer excellent preparation for artists to be able to step into the LSO and maximize their experience in London. What’s going on in Santa Barbara is something special – we're honored to have had this collaboration with them for five years and are optimistic we can continue this unique exchange.”

“I was taught to adhere to a higher standard for myself and for my colleagues. Working and performing in London was life-changing for me, preparing me for my role in the New World Symphony and as a chamber musician.”
– 2018 Keston MAX winner violist Stephanie Block reflecting on her exchange experience with the LSO in 2019
“I have never left the United States before, so getting the chance to travel to the UK and work with so many world class musicians is sure to be transformative and inspiring,”
– Clarinetist Katelyn Poetker, who will arrive in London for the first time this year

The Music Academy will be accepting instrumental applications for its 2023 full scholarship Summer Festival beginning in late November, 2022 at Music Academy competitions are open to all fellows and Alumni Enterprise Awards are open to all alumni.

2022 Keston MAX Participants

The 31 artists participating in Keston MAX November 2022 are: 9 fellows who won auditions in 2022 and 22 winners from 2019-2021 whose participation is now possible and being fulfilled post-pandemic.

Fellow instrument, birthplace, school affiliation, professional affiliation

Shenae Anderson violin, Salt Lake City, UT, Yale School of Music, The Juilliard School; Faculty, Gifted Music School

Chas Barnard cello, Dayton, OH, University of Colorado, Boulder, Lírios Quartet, Boulder Philharmonic

James Blanchard flute, Las Cruces, NM, The Juilliard School, Opera San Jose

Aaron Blick double bass, Los Angeles, CA, University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, San Diego Symphony

Keoni Bolding viola, Tucson, AZ, Curtis Institute of Music, Houston Symphony

Elissa Brown flute, Boston, MA, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Philadelphia Ballet Orchestra

Kenneth Chauby trumpet, Rochester, NY, Yale School of Music, New World Symphony

Christine Comer percussion, Suffolk, VA, Northwestern University; Faculty, Belmont University

Ava Conway horn, Los Angeles, CA, United States Navy Concert/Ceremonial Band

Cristina Cutts Dougherty tuba, Pretoria, South Africa, Seraph Brass, Music Academy Alumni Enterprise Award Winner, Yamaha Performing Artist

Hannah Duncan violin, Sioux Falls, SD, Rice University Shepherd School of Music

Jordan Farber bassoon, Las Vegas, NV, Colburn Conservatory of Music; Faculty, Colburn Community School

Njioma Grevious violin, Newton, MA, The Juilliard School, Abeo Quartet, Opportunity Music Project

Gene Hotta viola, Torrance, CA, McGill University Schulich School of Music

Carlos Jiménez Fernández tenor trombone, Algeciras, Andalucia, Spain, The Juilliard School, New York City Ballet Orchestra

Wenqi Ke violin, Shanghai, China, Colburn School, American Youth Symphony

Emma Lee cello, Orange County, CA, Colburn Conservatory of Music

Ka Long Kelvin Lee cello, Hong Kong, Hong Kong, University of Texas at Austin, Opera Hong Kong

Kipras Mazeika bassoon, Durham, NC, Rice University Shepherd School of Music, Seattle Symphony

Gerbrich Meijer clarinet, Groningen, The Netherlands, Colburn Conservatory of Music, Helsingborg Symphony and North Netherlands Orchestra, Cottage Ensemble

Orion Miller double bass, New York, NY, Rice University Shepherd School of Music

Javier Morales-Martinez clarinet, Los Angeles, CA, Colburn Conservatory of Music

Gabrielle Pho horn, Falls Church, VA, The Juilliard School, Music Academy Digital Challenge Winner

Katelyn Poetker clarinet, Monroe, LA, Oberlin Conservatory of Music

Gracie Potter tenor trombone, Phoenix, AZ, Colburn Conservatory of Music

Noah Roper bass trombone, Aledo, TX, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, New World Symphony

Madison Shake percussion, Indianapolis, IN, Manhattan School of Music, Arkansas Symphony

Ha eun Song cello, Seoul, South Korea, Rice University Shepherd School of Music

Matthew A. West percussion, Dallas, TX, The Juilliard School, Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra

Jonathan Yeoh double bass, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Boston University, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, National Ballet of Canada Orchestra

Melody Yuan violin, Weihai City, Shangdong Province, China, Colburn Conservatory of Music

The lead sponsors of the London Symphony Orchestra partnership are Linda and Michael Keston and Mary Lynn and Warren Staley. Additional support has been provided in remembrance of Léni Fé Bland.

Music Academy / LSO Partnership

The Music Academy and the LSO began collaborating in 2018, when the first Keston MAX auditions were held. That summer, Elim Chan, the first female winner of the Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition, led the Academy Festival Orchestra in concert. 

 The first Keston MAX cohort traveled to London in 2019 and performed under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle. The London Symphony Orchestra arrived in Santa Barbara in 2019, performing two concerts, a family program under the direction of Elim Chan and a joint concert with Music Academy fellows and LSO Principal Guest Conductor Daniel Harding.

 During the pandemic, LSO musicians continued to train Music Academy fellows virtually. Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas led the Academy Festival Orchestra in the summer of 2021. In 2022, the LSO returned to Santa Barbara for three performances with Sir Simon Rattle, and a Keston MAX cohort of six fellows performed in London in June for the Gala Concert at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The November 2022 exchange marks the largest of its kind as fellows who were not able to travel can finally be in London for this unique experience provided by the Music Academy.

Gianandrea Noseda

Widely recognized as one of the leading conductors of his generation, Gianandrea Noseda was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra from the 2016-17 season. In the 2017-18 season he also became Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

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 be come 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 Academys 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.

London Symphony Orchestra


The London Symphony Orchestra was established in 1904 and has a unique ethos. As a musical collective, it is built on artistic ownership and partnership. With an inimitable signature sound, the LSO’s mission is to bring the greatest music to the greatest number of people. The LSO has been the only Resident Orchestra at the Barbican Centre in the City of London since it opened in 1982, giving 70 symphonic concerts there every year. The Orchestra works with a family of artists led by Sir Simon Rattle as Music Director, with Principal Guest Conductors Gianandrea Noseda and François-Xavier Roth, Michael Tilson Thomas as Conductor Laureate, Chief Conductor designate Sir Antonio Pappano and Associate Artists Barbara Hannigan and André J.Thomas. Through LSO Discovery, it is a pioneer of music education, offering musical experiences to 60,000 people every year at its music education centre LSO St Luke’s on Old Street, across East London and further afield. With the formation of its own record label LSO Live in 1999 the LSO pioneered a revolution in recording live orchestral music. The LSO strives to embrace new digital technologies and its music making is enjoyed around the world via digital broadcasts, downloads, streaming, web-based platforms and in virtual reality. The LSO is funded by Arts Council England and the City of London Corporation. Additionally, it is a highly successful creative enterprise, with 80% of all funding self-generated.

photos: Zach Mendez
photos and bios available at 

and via

(Stephanie Block courtesy of artist, Noseda/Barbican Hall courtesy of LSO)

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




One of the most valuable benefits of subscribing is early access to our signature special events.
You must be logged into your account to gain early access.

Once logged in, if you have access to book the subscriber early-access event below, you will be prompted to choose your seats. Otherwise, you will be able to book this event on the single ticket on-sale date.