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UCEAP Alumni and Friends

Scott Reed, President and CEO of the Music Academy of the West

With 20 years of experience in the classical music industry, UCEAP alumnus Scott Reed has become a leader in arts education and administration. Scott has been the President and CEO of the Music Academy of the West, in Montecito, CA since 2010.

In his tenure leading the Academy, Scott created an historic four-year partnership and training program with the New York Philharmonic, the first training program of its kind in the United States. Alan Gilbert, Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, says “Scott Reed is a highly effective, visionary leader, who is using his position at the Music Academy of the West to influence the entire music business in a highly positive way.” In the last six years, Academy school applications have increased 27% and performance attendance has increased 38%.

Scott attended UC Santa Barbara, where he majored in Vocal Performance. In 1996 he spent a semester abroad with UCEAP at the Université Lumière Lyon 2, studying French to improve his facility with the language when singing. He credits this term in France for directing his future career in arts administration and developing his passion for making performing arts accessible to everyone. Scott is a baritone, and studied with a vocal coach in Paris. He also had the opportunity to see many live performances at the Opéra National de Lyon.

Scott says “Music was affordable…I was on very limited funds. I had incredible musical experiences that were easily available. It really inspired me to be very serious about becoming an administrator and wanting to be surrounded by that all the time.” He appreciated the natural way that communities engage with culture and performing arts in Europe, and liked the idea of performances being accessible. A classical music concert is “something you can go to multiple times a week and enjoy just like you would a movie, or anything that is part of the way we live.” He keeps this idea in mind when creating programs at the Academy, and works to make the performances part of the local community. 

While abroad, Scott sang with a local church choir, and found other opportunities to perform. One of Scott’s favorite memories was of singing in the wedding of the daughter of his host family. He sang Ave Maria with an organ in a beautiful, old cathedral in Lyon, during the wedding ceremony. Looking back on his experience in Lyon, Scott says it “[was] a time of really nice discovery and growth…A lot of times you hear that going [abroad is about] experiencing other cultures and yes, that’s so important, but it’s also a chance for self-discovery and growth without the regular chaos around you that is so common in a college student’s life here.”

Scott is still in touch with his French teacher from UCSB, Eva Diaz, who helped to prepare him for his time in France. She is now a member of the Academy’s Women’s Auxiliary, and has recently connected him with French conversation groups so he can brush up his language skills.

After graduating from UCSB, Scott worked at the Academy, and later was the Associate Director of Development for the San Francisco Opera. Now back in the Santa Barbara area, he serves on the Board of Kids Helping Kids and as a National Advisor to the Rocky Ridge Music Center.

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