The Knights, Brooklyn Rider, Uri Caine, Jennifer Frautschi, Hudson Shad, and Storm Large join Mr. Denk as artistic collaborators in works by Beethoven, Caine, Haydn, Janáček, Ives, Ligeti, Mozart, Schubert, Stockhausen, and Weill
The Festival features works by composers Timo Andres and Andrew Norman, including the world premiere of Norman’s 140 characters or less for solo piano, written for Jeremy Denk
The Libbey Bowl stage remains at the heart of the Festival while additional concerts and events showcase the stunning Ojai Valley from “Hymnfest”at Meditation Mount to a sunrise performance with Brooklyn Rider at Besant Hill School in Upper Ojai
Audiences can now purchase passes and share the Festival experience remotely via enhanced live video streaming of concerts at OjaiFestival.org
In the week following the Festival, Cal Performances’ Ojai North at University of California Berkeley takes place June 19–21
“Ojai gives you a freedom to create a program that reflects the diversity of your tastes…we are going to be journeying from pretty early music, possibly as early as 1400, to the very present day…music of great reverence and transcendence and music of great irreverence.”
- Jeremy Denk, Music Director
OJAI, CA – April 17, 2014: The 68th Ojai Music Festival, June 12–15, embraces both the Festival’s ideals and the inventive musical mind of Jeremy Denk, 2014 music director. Thomas W. Morris, artistic director, and Mr. Denk have programmed a festival reflecting music about music.
“Against a framework of classical pillars (Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven), we will examine such music and others through different lenses. Whether the Stucky/Denk opera, Uri Caine’s unique take on Mahler, Timo Andres’ reimagining of Mozart’s “Coronation” Concerto, the music of Charles Ives (which is all about music about music), Jeremy Denk’s eclectic views on musical canons, Ligeti’s extraordinary Piano Études (to be performed for the first time at the Festival), or the ultimate collection of styles and formats, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, this will be an adventure of musical passions, love of fun, provocation, and serious intent,” said Mr. Morris.
Ojai enthusiastically welcomes the return of pianist Jeremy Denk as the Festival’s 2014 Music Director.Mr. Denk made his Ojai debut in 2009 performing Bach’s Goldberg Variations and Ives’ First Sonata, in addition to numerous chamber music works.With his wide-ranging repertoire, Mr. Denk regularly collaborates with leading orchestras, festivals, and soloists, and is an active writer through feature articles in The New Yorker and his blog, “Think Denk,” which delves into both musical and extra-musical observations. Over the last year, Mr. Denk has won a MacArthur Fellowship, Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year award, and the Avery Fisher Prize.
A highlight of the upcoming Festival is the anticipated world premiere on Friday (June 13) of a commissioned opera with libretto by Mr. Denk and music by Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Steven Stucky. The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts) is based on the eponymous award-winning book by American pianist and scholar Charles Rosen. The opera will be conducted by Robert Spano, who served as music director of the Ojai Music Festival in 2006, and will be performed by The Knights, the Brooklyn-based orchestral collective. The semi-staged comic opera will be directed by Mary Birnbaum of The Juilliard School.The cast will feature Aubrey Allicock, bass baritone; Dominic Armstrong, tenor; Rachel Calloway, mezzo-soprano; Keith Jameson, tenor; Kim Josephson, baritone; Ashraf Sewailam, bass baritone; Peabody Southwell, mezzo-soprano; and Jennifer Zetlan, soprano.
The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts)is co-commissioned by the Ojai Music Festival, Cal Performances at UC Berkeley, Carnegie Hall, and the Aspen Music Festival and School. The Ojai premiere is supported by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
“Having seen this project from being just an idea to a libretto to a score to a first workshop run through, and now to witness its further refinement as a finished work of art, has been breathtaking,” commented Mr. Morris.
Making their Ojai Festival debuts are Uri Caine, jazz pianist/composer; Brooklyn Rider, string quartet; Hudson Shad, vocal ensemble; Jennifer Frautschi, violinist; and Storm Large,vocalist. The Festival will present works by composers Timo Andres and Andrew Norman, also making their Ojai debuts.
The 2014 Festival includes Libbey Bowl concerts, late night concerts, sunrise concerts with mountain views, films, talks, social gatherings, and community events throughout the beautiful Ojai Valley. Following an afternoon of talks and film, the Festival begins Thursday night (June 12), with a concert performed by Jeremy Denk, juxtaposing the charm of Schubert’s Ländler and Moments musicaux with excerpts from Janáček’s piano cycle On An Overgrown Path. This sets the stage for Uri Caine’s Mahler, a musical journey, from jazz to klezmer that reimagines the composer’s daring mixture of profound and profane from the context of our time.
On Friday (June 13), prior to the world premiere of The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts), Hudson Shad offers a free evening performance of songs by Kurt Weill and others at the Libbey Park Gazebo. The evening ends with a Late Night concert by the Uri Caine Sextet performing the music of George Gershwin, including Rhapsody in Blue, reimagined and improvised by Uri Caine.
On Saturday (June 14), the Ojai Sunrise concert features Brooklyn Rider performing a program on different times and cultures, including Schubert’s Quartettsatz, works by Evan Ziporyn and Colin Jacobsen, inspired by the music of Asia and the Middle East, and the haunting quartet Philip Glass wrote for a staged performance of Samuel Beckett’s novella, Company. Later in the morning, Jennifer Frautschi and Jeremy Denk perform Charles Ives’ complete Sonatas for Violin and Piano—heard all too rarely and almost never together in a single concert. Saturday evening offers a double billing with the first concert featuring Timo Andres’ re-composition of Mozart’s “Coronation” Concerto and the world premiere of Andrew Norman’s 140 characters or less, commissioned for Jeremy Denk by the Ojai Music Festival and funded by a generous gift from Linda and Stuart Nelson.
The second Saturday night concert showcases The Knights performing works by Luigi Boccherini, Charles Ives’ Three Places in New England, Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Tierkreis – Leo arranged by Caroline Shaw, and concludes with Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins featuring wickedly delicious performances by Storm Large and Hudson Shad. Two soliloquies usher in the Late Night concert at Libbey Bowl with Bach’s third unaccompanied violin sonata performed by Ms. Frautschi and Morton Feldman’s moving Rothko Chapel performed by the Ojai Festival Singers, members of The Knights and conducted by Robert Spano. To end the evening, Storm Large performs her own “Lounge-core mashup” of old and new favorites for Ojai members at Agave Maria’s Restaurant & Cantina.
With the gorgeous Meditation Mount as the setting, Sunday (June 15) begins with a sunrise concert that includes an engaging selection of spirituals and hymns – old and new – performed by the Ojai Festival singers, led by conductor Kevin Fox, and two sing-alongs with the audience. The morning concert at Libbey Bowl is called a “Canonade” and described by Jeremy Denk as “a mélange of musical canons and canon-esque miscellaney” with selected works by Josquin, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Kurtág, Purcell, P.D.Q. Bach, Uri Caine, and J.S. Bach. A concert for donors on Sunday afternoon features Timo Andres performing at the piano his own work it takes a long time to be a good composer, and Schumann’s Kreisleriana. The Festival’s grand finale crescendos from Ligeti’s fiendishly difficult piano Études performed by Jeremy Denk, to Ives’ transcendent setting of Psalm 90 for chorus, bells, and organ, and culminates with Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, a magnificently quirky fantasy for piano, orchestra, chorus, and soloists.
The Ojai Talks series with host Ara Guzelimian, former Festival Artistic Director and Dean of The Juilliard School, begins on Thursday, June 12 with an interview with Jeremy Denk, followed by a second session with Eric and Colin Jacobsen, founders of The Knights, who will talk about the reinvention of today’s orchestras. On Friday, June 13, Mr. Guzelimian moderates a panel discussion on the implications, impact, and meaning of Charles Rosen’s The Classical Style with special guests Timo Andres, composer; Don M. Randel, musicologist and former president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and Henri Zerner, Professor Department of History of Art and Architecture, Sackler Museum at Harvard, and long-time friend of Charles Rosen.
The Ojai Films, selected by Jeremy Denk,follows the 2014 Festival’s approach to presenting both the familiar and the unfamiliar in fresh and unusual ways.Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould will be screened on Thursday, June 12. The award-winning film, written and directed by François Girard, is a collection of vignettes highlighting different aspects of the life, work, and character of the acclaimed pianist. Ojai Films continue on Saturday (June 14) with The Magic Flute (Trollflöjten), an Ingmar Bergman 1975 film version of Mozart‘s opera Die Zauberflöte.
The Ojai Music Festival continues to explore ways to expand access and to nurture the ongoing dialogue around music. The 2014 Festival will provide audiences the opportunity to connect at communal meals, including the Friday à la Carte (June 13) with gourmet food trucks and a Saturday Supper (June 14) with boxed meals served in Libbey Park. Discussion Posts will be set up in the park as comfortable “living room” spaces where special guests and audiences will share their anticipations, impressions, and reactions before and after concerts.
Ojai Live, which streams Festival concerts, continues with improved technology and will feature enhanced editorial content, including interviews with artists and special guests. Launched in 2012, the Festival’s live streaming and its subsequent archival offerings have expanded the reach of the Festival with more than 10,000 views.
Following the 2014 Festival in Ojai, Ojai North will take place June 19–21 in Berkeley, CA. The Ojai Music Festival’s multi-year partnership with Cal Performances at UC Berkeley was inaugurated in 2011. The combination of Ojai’s legacy of artistic innovation and Cal Performances’ tradition of groundbreaking productions creates a joint force that allows artists to achieve more than could be imagined by each organization separately.
Jeremy Denk, Music Director
One of America’s most thought-provoking, multi-faceted, and compelling artists, pianist Jeremy Denk is the winner of a 2013 MacArthur Fellowship, the 2014 Avery Fisher Prize, and Musical America’s 2014 Instrumentalist of the Year award. He has appeared as a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and London, and regularly gives recitals in New York, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia, and throughout the United States. Next season, he looks forward to launching a four-season tenure as an Artistic Partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and to making debuts with The Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.
Mr. Denk is known for his original and insightful writing on music, which Alex Ross praises for its “arresting sensitivity and wit.” The pianist’s blog, Think Denk, is widely read and enjoyed both within and outside the industry, and he has written pieces for The New Yorker, The New York Times Review of Books, Newsweek, The Guardian, the New Republic, and the website of NPR Music. One of his New Yorker contributions, “Every Good Boy Does Fine,” forms the basis of a memoir he is writing for future publication by Random House.
Mr. Denk’s debut recording for Nonesuch Records juxtaposed Ligeti’s Études with Beethoven’s final sonata, and was included on many “Best of 2012” lists, including those of the New Yorker, Washington Post, and NPR Music. His second recording for the label, Bach: Goldberg Variations, was released in September 2013. It reached number one on Billboard’s “Classical Albums” chart, and was named one of the “Best of 2013” by the New Yorker and the New York Times.
Jeremy Denk has earned degrees from Oberlin, Indiana University, and Juilliard. He lives in New York City, and his web site and blog are at jeremydenk.net.
Thomas W. Morris, Artistic Director
Thomas W. Morris was appointed artistic director of the Ojai Music Festival starting with the 2004 Festival. He 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 active nationally and internationally as a consultant, lecturer, teacher, and writer.
As artistic director of the 68-year-old Ojai Music 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 to include Ojai North, a collaborative partnership with Cal Performances in Berkeley.
Mr. Morris is a founding director of Spring for Music, and serves 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, giving patrons a fresh perspective on the works they hear. The four-day festival offers a complete immersion experience with main concerts, free community events, symposia, film screenings, and gatherings. Considered a highlight of the summer season, Ojai remains 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.
The Festival has also recently announced music directors for 2015–2017: Steven Schick, percussionist, for 2015; Peter Sellars, director, for 2016; and Esa-Pekka Salonen, composer/conductor, for 2017.
Participation in the 2014 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.”
The Ojai Music Festival encourages ownership of the Festival by inviting patrons to invest in what they are passionate about, with opportunities ranging from supporting major artistic projects to the Festival’s community involvement. In return, patrons receive meaningful, experiential benefits related to their giving levels that further strengthen their relationship with the Festival. For information on Ojai Membership, visit OjaiFestival.org.
Festival Passes & Information
Series and singles passes are available for the 2014 Festival concerts and may be purchased online at OjaiFestival.org or by calling 805 646 2053. Series passes range from $110 to $730 for reserved seating and lawn series passes start at $55. Single concert passes range from $35 to $120. Lawn seating is $15.
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 on the web at OjaiFestival.org, Facebook (Facebook.com/ojaifestival) and Twitter (@ojaifestivals).
Invitation to the Press: For information on press passes and lodging options, please contact Gina Gutierrez at email@example.com.
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Ojai Music Festival: Gina Gutierrez, firstname.lastname@example.org 805 646 2094
National/International: Nikki Scandalios, email@example.com 704 340 4094
Regional: Laura Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org 310 867 3897
For photos and Ojai Festival information visit the press page at OjaiFestival.org.