The 2015 Festival is a celebration of 20th and 21st century composers with works by seventeen new to Ojai including Alberto Ginastera, Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe, David Lang, Pauline Oliveros, as well as by emerging composers including Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Lei Liang
The Festival marks the occasion of Pierre Boulez’s 90th birthday with a special event, A Pierre Dream: A Portrait of Pierre Boulez, the West Coast premiere of the Chicago Symphony’s Beyond the Score production on Wednesday, June 10, plus five concerts pairing the music of Boulez with works by Bartók, Messiaen, and Ravel
Program features the West Coast premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams’ Sila: The Breath of the World and the American premiere of Roland Auzet’s staging of Kurt Schwitters’ Dadaist masterpiece Ursonate
Cal Performances’ Ojai at Berkeley slated for June 18-20 after the Ojai Music Festival
“As a percussionist I spend my days searching for new sounds and new places to experience them. I often think of myself as a pilgrim in the land of new noises. For me, then, the Ojai Festival is paradise: it’s the perfect combination of provocative new sounds, great music and a magical place.” – Steven Schick, Music Director
OJAI, CA (November 13, 2014) — The 69th Ojai Music Festival (June 10-14, 2015) with Music Director Steven Schick focuses on 20th and 21st century composers. With Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris, Mr. Schick has curated an explosive festival featuring music by more than 30 composers, half of whom are new to Ojai. Highlights also include the West Coast premiere of John Luther Adams’ Sila: The Breath of the World and the celebration of Pierre Boulez’s 90th birthday with a special event on Wednesday, June 10, and throughout the Festival, with five concerts devoted to his music and musical influences.
The 2015 Festival welcomes Ojai alumni artist, percussionist, conductor, teacher, and author Steven Schick as music director. He will be joined by artistic colleagues making their Ojai debuts, including ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble), flutist Claire Chase, pipa artist Wu Man, cellist Maya Beiser, the Calder Quartet, and San Diego-based string ensemble Renga. Returning to Ojai will be pianists Gloria Cheng and Vicki Ray, mezzo-soprano Peabody Southwell, and percussion ensemble red fish blue fish.
No one has done more to champion, interpret, and expand the repertoire of contemporary percussion music than Steven Schick. Not only has he mastered the entire solo repertory – and more than doubled its size through commissions – but as a conductor, educator, and author he has deepened the understanding of the role of percussion in music’s past, present, and future. More importantly, as an artist of broad interests and deep convictions, he has explored cultural issues well beyond the already boundless frontiers of his chosen specialization.
To a percussionist’s ear music begins with rhythm, color, and gesture and these are the elements that form the nexus of the diverse works and decidedly international array of composers of this all 20th- and 21st-century festival. Mr. Schick will perform classics of the solo percussion repertory — compositions by Karl Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis, and Vinko Globokar — as well as more recent works by David Lang and Kaija Saariaho. Mr. Schick will tackle Globokar’s theatrical works Toucher, in which he is called on to recite Brecht while confronting an array of percussion sounds, and ?Corporel, where he performs body percussion bare-chested and barefoot. He will also perform the American premiere of Roland Auzet’s staging of Kurt Schwitters’ Dadaist masterpiece, Ursonate.
Mr. Schick will also conduct ICE, red fish blue fish, and Renga – groups with which he is closely identified – in a broad array of ensemble works of varied scorings.
Five Festival concerts are devoted to Pierre Boulez’s music and musical influences, four in juxtaposition with works by Béla Bartók — the six string quartets performed by the Calder Quartet, and as the Festival finale, the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion with pianists Gloria Cheng and Vicki Ray and percussionists Steven Schick and Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Joseph Pereira. Another concert will pair Boulez’s works with the music of Maurice Ravel and Olivier Messiaen.
Among the distinguished soloists joining Mr. Schick are cellist Maya Beiser playing pieces by Osvaldo Golijov, Michael Harrison, Bright Sheng, and Chinary Ung; virtuoso pipa player Wu Man performing Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Pipa; and mezzo-soprano Peabody Southwell singing Ravel’s Trois poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé. Other highlights are a sunrise performance of Morton Feldman’s hypnotic 4-1/2 hour marathon, For Philip Guston, in which Mr. Schick will be joined by flutist Claire Chase and pianist Sarah Rothenberg, and Ms. Cheng and Ms. Ray performing Messiaen’s mystical work Visions de l’amen. This year’s program will also include works by Alberto Ginastera, whose music is new to Ojai, Carlos Chavez and Edgard Varèse, as well as one late-night chestnut, Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, in the composer’s arrangement for 13 players.
A Pierre Dream: A Portrait of Pierre Boulez
The Ojai Music Festival honors Pierre Boulez on the occasion of his 90th birthday with four concerts featuring Boulez’s music paired with the music of Béla Bartók. In addition, on Wednesday, June 10, Ojai will present the West Coast premiere of A Pierre Dream: A Portrait of Pierre Boulez, a kaleidoscope of recorded and live music, words, and imagery of Maestro Boulez. A Pierre Dream is one of Chicago Symphony’s Beyond the Score programs and features an original set design by celebrated architect Frank Gehry. The performance will be preceded by a special panel discussion with Boulez’s friends and colleagues entitled “Boulez in Ojai.” Pierre Boulez has served as music director seven times since he first curated the Festival in 1967. He was most recently music director in 2003.
The Ojai performance of A Pierre Dream will be performed by ICE and mezzo-soprano Peabody Southwell, conducted by Steven Schick. It will include projections of rare documentary footage of Pierre Boulez from the 1960s to the present day. At the core of the projected material will be footage from very recent 2013 interviews with Boulez conducted in his home in Baden-Baden, Germany, specially made for this project, the development of which he has supported from the beginning.
“Pierre Boulez is not only one of the seminal figures of our time but a prominent figure in Ojai’s history having made Ojai debut in 1967. He has been music director seven times. It is only fitting that we celebrate this master and friend on this milestone,” commented Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris.
Sila: The Breath of the World
Festival collaborator and recent Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams returns to Ojai with the West Coast premiere of Sila: The Breath of the World, to be performed at a free community event throughout Libbey Park. This new work for an ensemble of 80 musicians received its first performances last July at the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival. In the Inuit tradition, sila is the spirit that animates all things – the wind, the weather, and all forces of nature. In Sila: The Breath of the World, composed specifically to be heard outdoors, musicians and listeners alike are encouraged to move about the performance space freely. The Ojai performance will include musicians from CalArts, ICE, and red fish blue fish. Mr. Adams’ music was first heard at the 2009 Festival, and again in 2012 with a performance of Inuksuit in Libbey Park. The 2013 Festival featured performances of his For Lou Harrison, Strange and Sacred Noise, and songbirdsongs.
The Festival’s tradition of free community concerts and Ojai Late Nights for Festival attendees and the public continues. 2015 highlights include a work by percussionist/composer Glenn Kotche making his Ojai debut; Evan Ziporyn’s arrangements of rock music by Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, and others; and music by emerging composers of the ICElab program. Ojai Films will be announced in the spring.
Ojai Talks with host Ara Guzelimian, former Festival Artistic Director and Dean of The Juilliard School, begin on Thursday, June 11, with Mr. Guzelimian in conversation with John Luther Adams and Steven Schick. This discussion is followed by a second session, “The World of Percussion” with Mr. Schick. On Friday, June 12, Mr. Guzelimian will lead conversations with Festival artists Claire Chase and Wu Man.
Ojai North is now Ojai at Berkeley
Marking the fifth year of artistic partnership, Ojai at Berkeley celebrates the dynamic nature of the Ojai Music Festival and of Cal Performances. As two distinct communities with similar values, Ojai and Berkeley are known for intrepid artistic discovery, spirited intellect, and enduring engagement in the arts. Inaugurated in 2011, Ojai at Berkeley follows the 2015 Ojai Music Festival, taking place from June 18 to 20 in Berkeley, CA. Ojai at Berkeley creates a joint force that enables co-commissions and co-productions and allows artists to achieve more than could be imagined by each organization separately. 2015 Ojai at Berkeley will announce its program schedule on November 18. For more information visit CalPerformances.org.
Steven Schick, Music Director
No stranger to Ojai, percussionist, conductor, and author Steven Schick collaborated on the 2011 Festival’s production of George Crumb’s Winds of Destiny (Dawn Upshaw, music director), as well as the 2012 Festival (Leif Ove Andsnes, music director) in John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit. Mr. Schick was born in Iowa and raised in a farming family. For 35 years he has championed contemporary music by commissioning and premiering more than 150 new works. He was the founding percussionist of the Bang on a Can All-Stars (1992-2002) and served as Artistic Director of the Centre International de Percussion de Genève (2000-2005). Mr. Schick is founder and Artistic Director of the percussion group, red fish blue fish. Currently, he is Music Director of the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus and Artistic Director of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. In 2012 he became the first Artist-in-Residence with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). He also maintains a lively schedule of guest conducting including appearances with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Schick founded and is currently Artistic Director of “Roots and Rhizomes,” a summer course on contemporary percussion music held at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Among his acclaimed publications is a book, The Percussionist’s Art: Same Bed, Different Dreams, and numerous recordings of contemporary percussion music including a three CD set of the complete percussion music of Iannis Xenakis (Mode). Steven Schick is Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of California, San Diego.
Thomas W. Morris, Artistic Director
Thomas W. Morris was appointed artistic director of the Ojai Music Festival starting with the 2004 Festival and will provide artistic direction through the 75th Festival in 2021. Mr. Morris is recognized as one of the most innovative leaders in the orchestra industry and served as the long-time chief executive of both The Cleveland Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Morris is currently active nationally and internationally as a consultant, lecturer, teacher, and writer.
As artistic director of the 69-year-old Festival, Mr. Morris is responsible for artistic planning, and each year appoints a music director with whom he collaborates on shaping the Festival’s programming. During his decade-long tenure, audiences have increased and the scope of the Festival has expanded, most recently to include a collaborative partnership, Ojai at Berkeley, with Cal Performances in Berkeley.
Mr. Morris was a founding director of Spring for Music, and served as the project’s artistic director. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Curtis Institute of Music and as chair of its Board of Overseers, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Interlochen Center for the Arts. He is also an accomplished percussionist.
About the Ojai Music Festival
From its founding in 1947, the Ojai Music Festival has created a place for groundbreaking musical experiences, bringing together innovative artists and curious audiences in an intimate, idyllic setting 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The Festival presents broad-ranging programs in unusual ways with an eclectic mix of rarely performed music, refreshing juxtapositions of musical styles, and music by today’s composers. The four-day festival is a complete immersive experience with concerts, free community events, symposia, film screenings, and gatherings. Considered a highlight of the summer season, Ojai has remained a leader in the classical music landscape.
The Ojai Music Festival attracts the world’s greatest musical artists. Through its unique structure of the Artistic Director appointing an annual music director, Ojai has presented a “who’s who” of music including: Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, Olivier Messiaen, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kent Nagano, Pierre Boulez, John Adams, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Spano, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, David Robertson, eighth blackbird, George Benjamin, Dawn Upshaw, Leif Ove Andsnes, Mark Morris, and Jeremy Denk.
Participation in the 2015 Ojai Music Festival
The Ojai Music Festival continues to draw thousands of curious and engaged music enthusiasts from across the country and has had record sell-out concerts over the last three years. As 2011 Music Director Dawn Upshaw commented, “There is a very special spirit of collaboration here [Ojai], fostered in part by the gorgeous natural setting and also by the friendly engagement of everyone involved.”
As tickets remain in high demand, Ojai now includes virtual opportunities to participate in the Festival experience through live video streaming of concerts. The Festival promotes year-round participation and deeper engagement through its free online courses, OjaiU, which launched in May 2013 and remains active via archives on the Festival website at www.OjaiFestival.org and on the OjaiU website at www.OjaiU.org. OjaiU returns next spring with a class of three online sessions exploring the history and world of percussion as told by 2015 Music Director Steven Schick. The free sessions will explore the history of the relationship between percussion and the culture at large. To register, visit www.OjaiFestival.org.
Festival series passes are available for the 2015 Festival and may be purchased online at OjaiFestival.org or by calling (805) 646-2053. 2015 Ojai Music Festival series passes range from $110 to $730 for reserved seating and lawn series passes start at $55. Single concert passes will be available in spring 2015. Directions to Ojai, as well as information about lodging, concierge services for visitors and other Ojai activities, are also available on the Ojai web site.
Follow Festival updates at OjaiFestival.org, Facebook (Facebook.com/ojaifestival), and Twitter (@ojaifestivals).
Invitation to Members of the Press: For information on press passes and lodging options, please contact Gina Gutierrez at firstname.lastname@example.org.