Music Academy of the West has announced the winners of its third annual Alumni Enterprise Awards. Over $70,000 in cash prizes will be shared among eight alumni, funding four winning projects and two Innovation Awards.

Tenor and non-profit founder of Opera4Kids Bernardo Bermudez (’11) will use digital platforms to bring opera to young people through his program Musical Make Believe.

Violinist Clara Lyon (’03, ’04) and violist Doyle Armbrust (’01, ’03) of the Spektral Quartet (pictured above), will record and release a commissioned work, Enigma, with a 360-degree video screened in planetariums and viewed on VR headsets.

Cellist John Popham (’05, ’06) of Longleash will create a meditative, active listening podcast, States of Listening.

Tenor Andy Zimmermann, who was born in Santa Monica, (’19) will bring opera to Broadway with Opera Jukebox, a concept that will reinvent popular arias for a wide audience with a $20,000 award.

An opera jukebox musical will showcase opera’s greatest hits in a medium better suited to the 21st century audience. A new musical will be created with the greatest hits of opera. 60 minutes of music with a nine-piece band will be presented at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City. While the famous melodies will be taken from opera classics, the lyrics will be in English and the arrangements will be brand-new. All cast members are leaders in their respective industries of Broadway, modern dance, and opera. Andy Zimmermann will be hosting the evening to help guide the audience through a new musical experience.

All 7,000-plus Music Academy alumni are eligible to apply for the Award. Project proposals were vetted by members of the Music Academy Board of Directors, National Advisory Council, and administration, including President and CEO Scott Reed. Representing the Board were former executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Exelon and past chair of the Joffrey Ballet and Ravinia Festival Pamela Strobel, and Director, Strategy & Business Development for Disney Theatrical Group Clive Chang.

“The quality and creativity of the Award proposals were inspiring. Alumni continue to lead us to new thinking about how music is presented and how to reach new audiences,” said Music Academy President & CEO Scott Reed.

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Submitted by Ana Papakhian, Vice President of Marketing and Communications

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