Invitations to follow – for more information, contact Anna Wagner at 805 646 2094 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Invitations to follow – for more information, contact Anna Wagner at 805 646 2094 or email@example.com
Congratulations to composer John Luther Adams who won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for music for his composition Become Ocean, an orchestral work that was commissioned and premiered last year by the Seattle Symphony.
Festival Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris hailed John’s achievement, commenting: “Adams is a dear friend of Ojai, and one of the most creative of today’s composers. His unique voice blends exceptional musical sounds with the spirit of life around us into tapestries that thrill, entrance, and amaze.”
Composer/Pianist Timo Andres will be making his Ojai debut this June on Saturday Evening. Recently, he answered a few questions and even put together his ‘Driving To Ojai North’ playlist.
Finish the sentence, “If I wasn’t performing/composing, I would be…”:
There are two ways to interpret this question: what do I do with my free time, and what is my second-choice (non-musical) profession.
The answer to the first is that there are endless ways I distract myself from “real work”—participating in infinite iMessage threads, the acquiring and preparing of foods from out-of-the-way corners of the city, prowling around thrift stores, riding or working on my bike, staying up too late with friends.
As for the second, I’ve always thought I’d have gone into a visual field if I weren’t a musician—perhaps graphic design or typography. As it is, I do a fair amount of these things as a side component of my job. Designing my website or laying out a score, for example, are both good practical and aesthetic challenges.
What are your thoughts on the relationship between a performer/composer and audience?
Like any healthy relationship, the composer-performer-audience triangle has to be based on mutual respect. I like to imagine that my audience is at least as smart as I am, which I think is a safe bet. When I’m in an audience (which happens quite often) I hate the feeling of being spoken down to, or coddled—it makes me want to run screaming from the room. “Just get on with the music,” I want to say.
When somebody comes to one of my shows, they’ve given me 60 or 90 minutes of their time, and usually paid for the privilege. The medium of music provides great power to play with time perception, and when I’m writing, I try to be respectful of that. What is this or that chunk of music going to contribute to the experience, if anything? How can I best fill this time I’ve been given?
This isn’t quite as important with recorded music, and I often feel as though musicians have got it turned around—they focus much more attention on crafting that exquisitely detailed recorded artifact, because it appears to be so permanent. But with a recording, your audience isn’t so beholden to you; they aren’t trapped, and they are able to give their time to more than one thing simultaneously (I most often listen to music when flying or doing housework, for instance).
This is why I think about writing music primarily in structural terms. Musical form can orient or disorient you within a span of time just as the architectural forms of a building alter your perception of space. It’s something I picked up from studying early minimalism—the music isn’t stretched to fit a structure, the structure is the music.
I’m anticipating the long drive from Ojai to Ojai North (in Berkeley) so will use this opportunity to make myself a playlist. As expected, it’s a bit heavy on the tripped-out minimalism, but then, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Unspun — Jacob Cooper
I’m looking forward to listening to this entire album, actually, which will be out by June—Silver Threads, a collaboration between composer Jacob Cooper and soprano Mellissa Hughes. It’s a sort of “operatic electronica”—the good things about art song and studio production in one neat package. Every sound on it is wonderfully detailed, specific, and ravishingly beautiful.
Dayvan Cowboy — Boards of Canada
This track has always made me semi-hallucinate the Pacific Coast Highway, so I’m looking forward to reinforcing that. There is a point about two minutes in that is the aural equivalent of a fog lifting. I can’t listen to too much more Boards of Canada because it makes me want to speed.
Behavior Patterns — Build
Matt McBane is an amiable composer and surfer from Southern California with a band called Build. Most of the tracks do just that, in a remarkably methodical and pleasing way. We are both “slow talkers” and devotees of audible musical structures.
Tension Study #1 — Samuel Carl Adams
This piece is a veritable catalogue of bent, detuned, and distorted guitar and percussion notes, performed by the great duo The Living Earth Show. Sam is a master of this timbral world. It’s a cliché to say that he makes it sound like a single, new instrument—but that resulting sound is anything but cliché.
In a Landscape — John Cage
How could I not? I actually think this piece might be nicer to play even than it is to listen to, but as I’ll be driving, Alexei Lubimov will do the honors.
On a Highway — Animal Collective
I love Animal Collective, and the best thing about their music is all the rhythmic games in it. I still don’t know what happens in this song at the shift from verse to chorus—somehow a regular duple pulse morphs into a wonderfully galumphing juggernaut of dotted rhythms.
Light Over Water — John Adams
This early Adams is a “symphony for brass and two-channel tape” which only hints at how delightful the piece is. A bird’s-eye view of John’s music over the past three decades reveals, among other things, an ever-increasing rate of harmonic change—and Light Over Water is right at the beginning, which means it’s perfect for the PCH. How is brass and synthesizer ensemble not a standard ensemble? I would write all my music for it. Note to self: make sure rental car has a subwoofer.
Fog Tropes — Ingram Marshall
Another piece for brass and tape, and therefore a perfect pairing with the previous. I will try to time this one with my arrival in the Bay Area, since it uses sampled foghorns from the San Francisco harbor.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Ojai Music Festival: Gina Gutierrez, email@example.com 805 646 2094
National/International: Nikki Scandalios, firstname.lastname@example.org 704 340 4094
Regional: Laura Cohen, email@example.com 310 867 3897
April is Pixie Tangerine Month and there are a host of happenings dedicated to the sweet and seedless tangerine that are unique to the Ojai Valley. Pixies are small, sweet, and easy to eat – a local favorite for young and old alike. First grown in Ojai in the 1960′s, today there are over 25,000 pixie trees tended by more than 40 tangerine growers.
From special pixie themed meals to orchard and bicycle tours, celebrate Pixie Tangerine Month with one of these unique Ojai Activities:
This year, the Ojai community joins the Festival in offering new dining options. From box meals to prix fixe menus at participating restaurants, there is a range of ways to fit a unique Ojai meal into your Festival schedule. View Festival Dining Events >>
Prix Fixe Menus – These participating restaurants feature delicious, one-of-a-kind menus that ensure you will be well fed and back at Libbey Bowl in time for the next concert!
Friday á la Carte
Friday, June 13 | 5:00-9:00pm
Los Caporales Restaurant parking lot (downtown Ojai)
Choose from gourmet food trucks to special Festival prix fixe menus at participating restaurants. Stay tuned for more details on participating food trucks!
Saturday, June 14 | 1:00-3:00pm
Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
Celebrate and honor longtime attendees with Festival friends. Plus, Christopher Hailey interviews Storm Large. $55/person. Purchase tickets >>
Saturday, June 14 | 7:00-8:15pm
Between the two evening concerts, enjoy a family-style supper with Festival patrons. The special box meal includes dinner, dessert, and wine. $40/person. Purchase tickets >>
Roasted and sliced lemon-rosemary chicken OR Moroccan-inspired quinoa pilaf with local organic vegetables
Fruit and chocolate tart square
The Ojai Music Festival depends on a large team of talented and dedicated volunteers who take part in all aspects of the Festival. Volunteer opportunities range from working with the Festival’s operations team to ushering, administration, and special events. We invite you to lend your time and talents and be a part of the incredible experience of the Festival.
For more information please call 805 646 2094 ext. 100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been an early riser for most of my life. There is a certain serenity during the few minutes between first light and the time the Ojai foothills are fully lit by the sun. My viewpoint each morning is from Sarzotti Park as I walk with my dogs. The best colors are visible from early spring to early fall, when the earth’s tilt returns to its warmer weather axis. This light show is the evening Pink Moment in reverse.
The air is still and the only sound is the resident hawk declaring his territory from the top of a eucalyptus tree. At a few places in the park, you can see both the sky and the foothills above Grand Avenue and mountains of the Wills Canyon/Rice Canyon ridge line and escarpment toward Meiners Oaks, and into the far reaches of Matilija Canyon.
The tips of the hills and ridges begin turning a light pink as the sun begins to rise out of Santa Paula. If there are some clouds, they too will be pink, contrasting with the turquoise sky. As the light progress down the hill sides, the color moves to a deeper pink, then an amber orange, casting wide vertical shadows that shrink to the east with the increasing light. If you are standing still and staring at the hills you can see this movement and the not-so-slow alteration of color. The clouds start to lose their pink and the sky turns a deeper blue. At the end, the hillsides get a blast of spectacular gold light before finally having all the natural colors of the scrub oak, sage and ceanothus come into view as the sun is fully exposed in the east, bleaching almost all of the blue from the sky and turning the clouds a bright white.
As this daily event unfolds, the sounds of the waking valley begin: more birds calling, dogs barking, motor vehicles starting up, the aroma of frying bacon floating over the park. It is a short show of only ten or fifteen minutes depending on a myriad of influences from humidity to upper atmospheric winds. I am lucky enough to experience this almost every day, and this is one of the things I love about living in Ojai.
- Scott Eicher
CEO, Ojai Valley Chamber of Commerce
Life-long Ojai resident, the third of five generations living in the valley.
The Ojai Music Festival is made possible because of the support and enthusiasm of others, from the artists and behind-the-scenes team, donors and volunteers, to corporate sponsors and media partners. This year, we welcome some new members to our growing Festival community!
Southern California Public Radio (SCPR) is a member-supported public media network that operates 89.3 KPCC-FM in Los Angeles and Orange County, 89.1 KUOR-FM in the Inland Empire and 90.3 KVLA in the Coachella Valley.
Edible Ojai & Ventura County is an award-winning quarterly magazine which promotes the abundance of local foods, season by season – celebrating small family farmers, farmers market vendors and local chefs for their dedication to producing the highest quality, organic, fresh and seasonal foods. Edible Ojai & Ventura County serves all of Ventura County, an agriculturally rich area within California’s Central Coast region.
LA Yoga Ayurveda and Health Magazine is a resource for the vibrant Yoga community of Southern California. In print, in the digital edition, online and in free weekly email newsletter, La Yoga publishes inspirational stories connecting Yoga, the people who practice, and what it means in our lives in the modern world.
Many thanks to all our media partners and sponsors. Read more here >>
When I first moved to Ojai 13 years ago from Santa Barbara, it felt like moving from a big ocean to a small pond. But after getting settled and having a chance to explore the Valley, I have come to find that not only is the weather almost always perfect, but while Ojai is a small town, it in fact has everything that a person could want – visitors and residents alike – all through a cozy network of family owned and operated businesses.
Some of my favorite haunts in town are J & B’s Coffee Connection (referred to as simply Coffee Connection by us locals), Bohemia (another great coffeehouse), Rainbow Bridge (supermarket and deli), and Rains Department Store. As you can see, my tastes center around coffee (organic, fair trade and shade grown), healthy food, and great specialty clothes and items. I enjoy being able to start my day with one of the two coffee houses, walk to Rainbow Bridge for lunch, and end my day browsing through Rains for myself, or for a novelty product for a gift.
Originally opening as a humble hardware store 100 years ago, Rains has grown into a specialty department store that has everything from women’s and men’s clothing to top quality kitchen gadgets for the avid foodie. I love to wander through and see the great new Teva and Merrill brand shoes and boots, as well as the Le Creuset kitchenware that they have. This small town store now has an online store and will ship orders out, so anyone anywhere can order what they need while still supporting the store and the local economy.
While ordering online is quick and easy, I recommend going in in person if you can - the staff is always friendly and very helpful, and many of them have been working for the owners, Alan and Jan Rains, for 10 or more years. Plus you never know what interesting thing you might find. I know I am still pleasantly surprised, 13 years and counting!
by Hilary Feezor, Ojai Music Festival Office Manager
“I feel that the moment, the rightness of the moment, even though it might not make sense in terms of its cause and effect, is very important.” -M.F.
By Max Mandel, violist in The Knights
I find it difficult to talk about Morton Feldman. I’m in awe of his output. I find his music to be exquisitely beautiful and intellectually challenging, a combination very few composers achieve. I often find myself saying to my colleagues, “Yup, another great piece by Feldman.” You start thinking about him and he becomes larger and larger in your mind and at a certain point he becomes too big to deal with. It’s well-known how huge he was. 6 feet, almost 300 pounds. The thick mop of greasy black hair, the coke bottle glasses. The massive appetite, intellectual and sensual, hungry for life. The endless words, the words that poured out of him, the constant conversations with everyone (although he admitted to an interviewer once, “The problem now is that all these things are evasive subterfuges from sitting down and writing that piece of music.”).
He was engaged in a lifelong debate with the musical giants of his time: Boulez, Cage, Stockhausen. After you’re captured by his music, the legend of the man becomes almost even more captivating. For me there is a ghoulish danger there. A strange thing about living in New York City is this continual pull of the legends and the ghosts that live here. I was standing at the corner of 72nd and Central Park West when some tourists haltingly inquired, “Excuse…could you please show where the Beatle was…” they trailed off in embarrassment and yeah, they should be embarrassed, a human being was murdered right there. I shook my fist at them after pointing them in the right direction because I recognized myself in their faces.
John Cage lived for a time in a building at 326 Monroe Street (since demolished) almost underneath the Williamsburg Bridge. Morton Feldman joined him for a year. Christian Wolff, David Tudor, and Merce Cunningham were always there. There isn’t a comparable place in recent music history. You could take Vienna with Haydn and Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven and Louis Spohr, running around in the same streets but imagine if they were closer together in age and hung out at Haydn’s place all the time! There’s nothing like it. I’ve spent a lot of time with Feldman’s scores and writings, wanting to get closer and closer to him. I’m lucky enough to play in a string quartet with three other guys who share my obsession (and we’ve got some serious Feldman-heads in The Knights too) and we’re always tickled by new things we find in his music. The little winks at the performer, the tiny, almost imperceptible changes that happen when he repeats material. Feldman wrote everything by hand and because he was so shortsighted the classic image is of this hulking figure hunched over his scores writing the most detailed music with beautiful penmanship. He talked about the pace at which he wrote being very important, “don’t push the notes around” as a mantra, and I think that the handwritten aspect played a significant role in the deliberate pace of his music. It’s another way we get closer to Feldman, reading a printed edition of his music just isn’t the same.
As musicians of the 21st century we are all of course familiar with John Cage. There is before Cage and there is after Cage. Cage gathered a circle of composers around him. Morty was his intellectual equal. Christian Wolff was the boy genius of the group. David Tudor the consummate performer/composer. (These are obviously superficial descriptions that one could use to pitch a network TV situational comedy, but I’m writing this between rehearsals of an Arensky Piano Quintet and a Rachmaninoff string quartet so give me a break.) Cage and his partner Merce Cunningham invited the composer Earle Brown and his dancer wife Carolyn to join the group, which Feldman apparently objected to and the group of composers broke up. I would love to have been there to drink and debate late into the night with these guys at the Cedar Tavern on University Place. Feldman, Tudor, Cage and Brown are all gone. I’ve met Brown’s widow who is lovely. I’ve worked with Christian Wolff (now 80) who is incredibly kind. People who knew them and knew them well are still walking around these streets. I know some of these people. The thing is...I’m embarrassed to ask about them but especially Morty in particular. I feel like I’ve gotten to know him so well through his music and his writings that he has turned into the superhero who I know. Like I’m Jimmy Olsen with a viola instead of a camera. I know he was a flawed human. I am aware of the feeling that the longer I wait to talk to people about him, that “too-late” is going to rush up against me. I guess there is the humility factor, like “they must be so sick of talking about him” (his former lovers, Bunita Marcus or Barbara Monk). Magnificent composers in their own right, I feel that if I’m playing their music, they deserve my total focus, not some fanboy begging “Tell me about Morty.” What do you think? Should I get over my shame?
After playing so much of his music, reading so much of his writings, and listening to interviews and pouring over pictures, I feel like I have a lifetime of trying to understand Morton Feldman ahead of me and that if an organic conversation develops with a musician who remembers him, it is meant to happen. On top of that I feel like I continue to deepen my understanding though the artists he was connected to, people he was close with and drew inspiration from more than most composers: Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Philip Guston, and Mark Rothko.
I feel like Mark Rothko is a gateway drug to modern art. When I first saw a Rothko, probably in high school, I knew I didn’t “get it” but I knew that I loved it. Maybe I loved the idea that it wasn’t necessary to “get” anything. What struck me at the time was the simplicity and the bravery of the paintings. Just shapes and color. Now I know that Rothko was working, obsessing, winding, layering, beating his head against the brick wall to get to that simplicity. Now I know that what’s behind that simplicity is incredibly complicated. It’s the way I look at Feldman too. I’m thrilled to be performing Feldman’s Rothko Chapel at the Ojai Festival. I’ve visited Rothko Chapel in Houston only once and I keep meaning to go back, but the emotional and spiritual experience of that first visit looms massively in my mind. I am not a religious person. Their website calls it “an intimate sanctuary available to people of every belief” and that kind of attitude will get me in the building. I experienced that calm, peaceful feeling that you often get in church or synagogue but after a time of sitting there with the 14 canvases of Rothko, I started to feel an electrical current passing through me which built and built until my heart was racing and then gradually subsided. This is what I hope we will get to experience together during our performance of Feldman’s music inspired by this place and his long relationship with Mark Rothko.
When I’m faced with a mystery like “Who was Morton Feldman?” or “Why does Rothko make me feel that way?”, I keep coming back to something Feldman often talked about and phrased in different ways. In an essay called “Predeterminate/Indeterminate,” he put it as, “Philip Guston once told me that when he sees how a painting is made he becomes bored with it.”
Feldman never wanted to have a system of composition, and if he could hear the system in a piece of music it would drive him crazy. So as I search to understand how these masters of their art make me feel something so powerful, I know in the back of my mind that I hope I never get to the bottom of it. In fact I’m convinced that with their greatest works I never will and that’s a very comforting thought.
nothing is accomplished by writing a piece of music
nothing is accomplished by hearing a piece of music
nothing is accomplished by playing a piece of music
our ears are now in excellent condition.
So said the ever-provocative John Cage. I suppose this statement could be read as a kind of nihilism, but I see it as Cage prodding the whole musical triangle (composer, performer, listener) to remember to strip oneself of preconceptions as much as possible and allow a sense of wonder back in so that there can be the possibility of Magical Musical Moments (which I will take to calling MMM… onomatopoeia-style. For the record, that is the sound that I’ve witnessed many a Persian and Indian musician emit in the moment when another musician makes a beautiful or telling musical phrase or gesture. Not advocating for that necessarily in a Mozart Symphony, but then again, why not? But I digress…) And I sense that I’m speaking to the choir when talking to Ojai Music Festival fans. I haven’t experienced the Festival before, but have heard from all accounts (including my wife, Maile Okamura who as a member of the Mark Morris Dance Group, was there performing last year) that people come ready to really, really listen and live the experience. Still, at every point along the way it’s useful to reexamine the intention one is putting into the activity at hand and realize the potential to be ever more present, on all sides of that triangle.
Hmm, so I’d like to examine from the composer/performer’s side some aspects that are necessary for MMM to happen through the lens of some of the music we’ll be playing in Ojai. I see part of that job as allowing the audience its own space in the music, meaning that it’s an open dialogue, and though the composer/performer should have a point of view and the courage of one’s convictions, there needs to be space for the listener to have their own experience inside the music. So let me know when you see me (or feel free to write a response to this) what you think the listener’s responsibility is in greater detail. In the meantime, some thoughts on composers/performers…
It occurs to me that the music I love often has some kernel of daring simplicity, whether this is Boccherini, Beethoven, Feldman, Glass, Mozart, or Stockhausen, and that much of the music that our friends Jeremy Denk and Tom Morris have programmed this year and that we are playing with The Knights and Brooklyn Rider at the Festival share this characteristic. Obviously, this simplicity (which is multi-layered and not simplistic) is manifested in very different ways between these composers and the time/place they found themselves in, but somehow they have all created the sense of a relationship with time, whether it’s arresting, lulling, creating, or destroying at all levels of intensity. Let’s take the program with Morton Feldman and Luigi Boccherini. I love those two composers being on the same program! Such different languages. And yet…? Cage accused Feldman at some point of being a sensualist (I guess it’s all relative – in the context of Feldman’s time, I could understand that accusation, as I could with Boccherini within Boccherini’s time.) But that seems to simplify the matter. Boccherini was indeed perfectly happy to have his music stand still and revel in the textural joy of strings and the overtones created therein. In his theatrical piece, La Musica Notturna delle Strade di Madrid, there are beautiful silences and bell-evoking pizzicati that disturb the silence. But this seems to be in the service of creating a sense of heightened awareness in the room. (Thank you Jeremy for allowing us to play a string-centric string composer! After Boccherini and all his predecessors in the Italian baroque era, “serious” music became hijacked by pianist composers. That’s ok, though…) When listening to Morty Feldman’s piece, Madame Press Died Last Week at Ninety, one could hear the repetitive, very very simple antiphonal cuckoo calls in the flutes as creating a continuity within time. But actually it seems to be the opposite, that with each bell-like call (and through the strange voicing of all the other instruments) the previous MMM is destroyed and a new one born. And we are called to attention… MMM…
So, what about one of those pianist composers (of course they all played string instruments too). Mozart. What is fresher sounding in its simplicity than the fugue subject in the finale of his “Jupiter Symphony” as to seem perpetually like it’s the first time? (Oh, did I just say that? Total cliché? And so rises one of the performer’s obstacles in playing something from the canon- clichés like that surface immediately like swarms of gnats. But I suppose there’s a reason that people sometimes come to similar conclusions…) Ahh! But then as performer you try to find your way with one true gesture/breath/bow through those four notes with the lovely chord changes underneath and the undulating, ungratefully difficult inner voices with 40 people and you get to some of the performer’s/ensemble’s dilemma.
And Beethoven: though his Choral Fantasy wanders all over the map, and tries to put as many aspects of musical humanity possible together on one stage in 20 minutes, the snapshot of any single moment reveals a great lucidity that confronts you directly with its message, delivered with the inner “Love and Strength” (text that he drives home with wonderful out-of-another-world E flat chords after much tonic/subdominant/dominant simplicity) necessary to put his complex inner life out into the world in such a simple and direct way.
In the composition Tierkreis, or Signs of the Zodiac, Stockhausen composed a simple, strange melody or tone row for each of the 12 Zodiac signs. He gave room to performer/composers to play them on any instrument or combination of instruments and Caroline Shaw has given new life to Leo (Stockhausen’s own sign) with her wonderful arrangement that captures both the strangeness of the melody but puts it in bright new shiny clothes with an instrumental chorale highlighted by porcelain bowl percussion.
Philip Glass’ 2nd String Quartet, “Company,” written originally for a staged version of Beckett’s prose poem of the same name, became a sort of Rosetta Stone for Brooklyn Rider early on when we became a string quartet and recorded it alongside all of his other quartets to date. With its amazingly clear architecture and simple means of expression; focus immediately went to blend of sound, rhythmic feel, resonance and balance between the voices. We find that audiences often have very different visual experiences with his music, another example of space being provided for the listener from a composer.
As a performer/composer, I suppose one of the things I hopefully bring to the table is a knowledge of how music feels in “real” time/space. With the 3 Miniatures for Quartet, (admittedly channeling a bit of Kayhan Kalhor, a great Persian musician, alongside the string textural writing examples of Boccherini, Glass and Schoenberg) I was hoping to translate some of those influences into a journey in the listener’s mind that could unfold as naturally as possible. And the fact that part of why I write music today is my quartet mates in Brooklyn Rider means that much of this music stems from shared experience.
In both Brooklyn Rider and The Knights (and recognizing that there is a diversity of viewpoints within both groups that may agree with me some, but not all the time), much of our quest for MMM, our rehearsal process, is to strip away excess, lay oneself bare, prepare for the vulnerability of each other and the moment in concert. We embrace the classical canon alongside music of our time, but not necessarily all the assumptions that go with either an exclusively new music group or a traditional symphony orchestra. We try to build our interpretation from the ground up- i.e. what’s the phrase length, or sound picture, what sort of regularity does a composer set up that then is broken or surprised. Within The Knights there are people with greater familiarity with certain forms (whether that be music from the baroque and classical period, contemporary classical specialists, people whose lives intersect with the jazz, pop and world music spheres, composers, arrangers, etc.), and they are great guides into certain styles, but we do not choose a hierarchy of style over form. During rehearsals we end up trying many different ways of speaking a phrase, of bringing this line out or another, of finding a collective rhythmic feel. In my view, this process isn’t about choosing one way of doing something and adhering to it (the search for a finished, deliverable product) — it is about finding an interpretive framework and then allowing the moment to collectively sweep players and audience away to another place. This involves taking risks and being willing to fail, both things that largely aren’t encouraged in our field. But what about this account of the premiere of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy (lifted from the Wikipedia entry), which we can’t wait to do with Jeremy and the Ojai Festival Singers:
“The premiere performance seems to have been a rather troubled one; according to the composer’s secretary, Anton Schindler, it “simply fell apart,” a result most likely attributable to insufficient rehearsal time. Because of a mistake in the execution of the piece, it was stopped half way through and restarted. In Ignaz von Seyfried‘s words: “When the master brought out his orchestral Fantasia with choruses, he arranged with me at the somewhat hurried rehearsal, with wet voice-parts as usual, that the second variation should be played without repeat. In the evening, however, absorbed in his creation, he forgot all about the instructions which he had given, repeated the first part while the orchestra accompanied the second, which sounded not altogether edifying. A trifle too late, the Concertmaster, Unrath, noticed the mistake, looked in surprise at his lost companions, stopped playing and called out dryly: ‘Again!’ A little displeased, the violinist Antonín Vranický asked ‘With repeats?’ ‘Yes,’ came the answer, and now the thing went straight as a string.”
Of course, we hope to fair better! However, acknowledging risk as one of the preconditions of MMM feels important…not that risk-taking can’t happen with intensive, disciplined preparation. Acknowledging that whether it’s a quartet of four people or an orchestra of 40-ish, getting to a place where you can switch gears in the moment according to the demands of the music, does involve a lot of work and trust. But it feels like even in the darkest moment of conflicting viewpoints in rehearsal, when we hold to the viewpoint that it’s all in the service of MMM, we’re doing well.
I look at the 2014 Ojai Music Festival lineup and program this year and see the potential for multiple MMM.
See you soon, Colin
Photo credits: Sarah Small
The Ojai Music Festival invites you to
SUNSET ON MULHOLLAND with Uri Caine
SUNDAY APRIL 6, 2014
at the home of Hyon Chough and Maurice Singer
Bel Air, California
4:30 PM | Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres
6:00 PM | Performance by Uri Caine
A benefit for the Ojai Music Festival
Sponsored by Michael Gorfaine & The Ojai Vineyard
We always love sharing Ojai activities with Festival patrons including new hiking trails to discover. Read Ojai Quarterly Editor Bret Bradigan’s recent article from the winter issue.
1. Shelf Road
Directions: From Ojai Avenue, head north on Signal Street until it ends. Length: 3.5 miles return trip. Difficulty: Easy
It takes about an hour at a brisk pace to walk the length of the trail and back between the trailheads at either North Signal Street or Gridley Road. This hike is perfect for visitors or residents to get “ the lay of the land” in Ojai. It is also one of the most “dog friendly” walks around.
2. Ventura River Bottom Trails
Directions: From Highway 150, there’s a trailhead just east of the Ventura River bridge. From South Rice Road, there’s a trailhead just north of the intersection with Lomita Road. Also from South Rice, take a right on Meyer Road to the Oso Trailhead. Length: Varies. Difficulty: Easy to Moderate.
Three trailheads lead you into the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy’s 1,600-acre Ventura River Preserve. This three-mile stretch of the Ventura River offers a spectacular glimpse into old-growth oak canopy, splendid vistas from rocky ridgelines, deep swimming holes, lush fern grottoes, rare wildflowers and many miles of trails to choose from.
3. Pratt Trail
Directions: From Ojai Avenue, turn north on Signal Street and drive about 1.2 miles until you see the Forest Service sign on the left. The trailhead is a further half-mile. Length: 4.4 miles to Nordhoff Ridge. Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous.
The Pratt Trail criss-crosses a seasonal stream through the backyards of private properties before opening onto a natural bowl formed by the slope of Nordhoff Ridge. Follow the signs through about two miles of dry and dusty switchbacks until you reach the ridgeline. From there, it’s another two steep, dusty miles to Nordhoff Peak, 4,426 feet above sea level.
4. Gridley Trail
Directions: From Ojai Avenue, turn on the Gridley Road. Follow it to the gated end, about two miles. Length: 3 miles to the Gridley Springs, 6 miles to Nordhoff Peak. Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous. Elevation gain: 1,200 feet to the springs.
This trail, at the north end of Gridley Road just to the left before the gates to Hermitage Ranch, begins with a steep climb, then follows an orchard road through avocado trees before making a northeastward turn along the rocky western flank of the mountainside. The trail winds along the steep flank of the mountain until it enters the cool, dense side canyon wherein lies Gridley Springs.
5. Cozy Dell Trail
Directions: Head east on the Maricopa Highway (Highway 33) for 3.3 miles. The turnout is on the left, just before and across from Friend’s Ranch packing house. Cross the street to the trailhead. Length: 1.9 miles to Cozy Dell Creek. Difficulty: Moderate.
The trail begins along a seasonal creek and quickly climbs about 640 feet in elevation along a well-forested and wild-flowered canyon to a ridgeline knoll with spectacular views of the Ojai Valley.
6. Middle Fork of Matilija Canyon
Directions: Head east on Highway 33 for about 4.7 miles to Matilija Canyon Road. Follow the road to the end — about another two miles. Length: Up to 7 miles (14 miles return). Difficulty: Moderate.
Follow the trailhead at the end of Matilija Canyon Road through the gated property to the west side of the creek. The trail, more of a one-track road at this point, heads towards the gates of Blue Heron Ranch, a historic farm with orange and lemon groves. The trail then clambers through thickening chaparral scrub for another 1.5 miles until you can see tilted slabs of weathered granite and a long, green pool to the right. The trail descends back into the creek side sycamore and willow forest through a series of campsites, swimming holes and geologic marvels. The shifting and often-concealed trail eventually leads you to the fabled Three Falls of the Matilija.
The Ojai Music Festival audience members and donors are highly educated, affluent and influential. An effective way to reach this desirable group is through advertising in the Festival’s program book or participating in our corporate partnership program.
The Program Book
The complimentary program book is provided at all concerts where it is read before and after performances, as well at the Festival lectures, community events and films. It is kept long after the Festival, serving not only as as a souvenir but a resource due to the in-depth program notes written by noted musicologist Christopher Hailey.
Each February brings a BRAVO! tradition – the annual Imagine Concert. Last week, over 1,000 local 4th to 6th grade students from eight schools attended a live performance by their older peers and professional area artists, including performances by the Matilija Jr. High strings program and a special preview of Nordhoff High School’s upcoming musical, West Side Story. Also performing were Artist-In-Residence Rebecca Comerford, local musician Jimmy Calire and special guest (and BRAVO! alum), Jacob Scesney.
Multi-instrumentalist Jacob grew up in Ojai playing the saxophone and participating in school music programs and BRAVO! workshops from elementary school, through his time at Matilija and at Nordhoff (where he won several festival awards for outstanding soloist), before transferring to the Idyllwild Arts Academy to complete his high school education. In recent years, Jacob’s burgeoning career has taken him far beyond the Ojai Valley and included tours with Casey Abrams, performances with Tim Ries, Bernie Dresel, Christian Scott, Robben Ford, and Andrew Gouche (among others), the world premiere of Rufus Reid’s Mass Transit at Disney Hall’s Redcat, and even appearances on the hit TV show Glee. He currently studies at California State University Northridge, where he was named the youngest lead alto in the history of the university’s Jazz A Band.
Watch Jacob and Jimmy perform at the Imagine concert last week:
Jacob has fond memories of his time in Ojai and recently wrote on the important role BRAVO! played in his musical training. He writes, “The BRAVO! Program … helped forge an attitude of consistency that has helped carry me through many circumstances. These programs are instrumental to the mindset needed to be a present active professional, in whatever field.”
We’re thrilled to have had Jacob back in Ojai to share his talents with another generation of Ojai’s students. It’s not that long ago that he sat where they were, and we can’t wait to see where the next years take him.
You have an interesting background…tell us a bit about yourself:
I grew up in France, living in Nice and Paris, going to all kinds of festivals – my parents are mostly into new music and baroque music (not orchestral music and opera). They also love modern sculptures, contemporary architecture, and medieval art. They still travel to nurture these passions. In Nice, I lived next to the Matisse Museum, the arenas, and the world-class Nice Jazz Festival. During this one week festival, bands performed on three different stages and changed every hour from 5:30pm to 10:30pm. Guest artists included both the most famous and the up-and-coming like Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, and Stephane Grappelli.
And you became involved with music festivals from an early age?
While in middle and high school, my parents encouraged me to attend summer academies in the most beautiful festival settings. My favorite was the Pablo Casals Festival nestled in a small village, Prades in the Pyrenees, near the Spanish border, where cellist Pablo Casals lived during Franco’s regime. Casals interrupted his international career, left his beloved country and refused to perform in protest. His musician friends and fans finally convinced him to celebrate the bicentennial of Johann Sebastian Bach with them in 1950 after 12 years of silence. That’s how this chamber music festival started.
As a young student at the International Pablo Casals Academy, I would practice, and play chamber music, then get all dressed up and go to the concerts in the late afternoon and evening. Most of the concerts took place in the parish church and in the Abbey of Saint Michel de Cuixa with its pink marble cloister built in the 11th century. The three monks who lived in this reclusive sanctuary kept an eye on us (no tank tops, shorts, etc).
After I left Nice to pursue my studies at the University in Paris, I needed a summer job and the Artistic Director of the festival, Michel Lethiec, invited me back to work in production. I returned to work at the festival every August for seven consecutive years, until I moved to the United States in 1996.
What I love most about festivals is that you put your everyday life aside, and the focus is 100% on music. Beautiful settings have a major effect on us. You feel completely open and focused on the present and what you are about to experience.
What was your first job in the US?
I worked for the Los Angeles Philharmonic at a time when the organization completely re-invented itself and became a model orchestra for the 21st century. I learned about fund development during the capital campaign [to build Walt Disney Concert Hall], the opening celebrations, and the first five years in Disney Hall, when Esa-Pekka Salonen was Music Director. Frank Gehry’s vision was to build a living room for the city. No one on staff, other than [President] Deborah Borda, had opened a new hall before. From one year to the next, the LA Philharmonic Association doubled the number of concerts that it presented from approximately 80 in 2002 to 150 in 2003. What I experienced during those 13 years was so unique: we, the staff, had this extraordinary chance to stretch our minds and work as a team to make this transformation happen.
What was your next big career move?
In October 2008, I left the LA Philharmonic to become the Executive Director of the American Youth Symphony, which is a training ground for exceptionally talented college level musicians. Access to this 105-member orchestra is based on merit only. There is no tuition, no fees to audition; only vibrant music making. The challenge was to turn this traditional orchestra into the powerful and trend-setting organization that it is today.
And now you’re in Ojai at the Festival! What are you most excited about?
I am excited to work with Artistic Director Tom Morris. We share this desire to reinvent the Festival, and ourselves, every year – a love of exploration and new ground. Our work is about creating a stimulating environment for the audience and for world-class artists. It’s about engaging a community into the process of creation.
I’d like to work closely with the Ojai community to make sure the work we do impacts the community in a stronger way. In my mind, this Festival is flourishing because it is rooted here, in a beautiful community and a spectacular natural setting.
I’d like every aspect of the Festival to be cutting-edge; the experiences you gather in Ojai are exceptional, ear-opening, inspiring, and fun. I’d like our guests to feel the way you feel when you visit an exhibition and discover something new and completely unexpected that opens the door to a new world to explore.
Did you ever think that you’d be running your own Festival?
When I was about 22 years old, I had a dream and thought: “Wouldn’t it be nice if I ran my own festival, one-day?“ And here I am!
You can contact Janneke at 805 646 2094 or email@example.com .
2015 Music Director Steven Schick recently celebrated an early 60th birthday by giving two solo recitals, “Origins” and “Responses” at Columbia University’s Miller Theater. The first concert featured works for solo percussion by Morton Feldman, Stockhausen, and Iannis Xenakis, among others, while the second featured many works commissioned by Steve for solo percussion throughout his career, including Roar by John Luther Adams and works by David Lang and Kaija Saariaho.
The New York Times wrote of Steve’s perfomance, “Mathematical virtuosity continues to be a big part of Mr. Schick’s appeal. Even where the rhythmic complexities far surpass the ear’s ability to comprehend them, there is the visual pleasure of watching Mr. Schick translate them into precisely angulated and elegantly economical body movements.” Read the complete review >>
The New York Classical Review also hailed Steve, writing “Schick has absolute command of this music … He is a lyrical percussionist, whether kicking the bass drum pedal or flicking his fingertip off a tubular bell, as he did with exquisite care and beauty in the hushed interior of Feldman’s The King Of Denmark (the musician plays that piece with bare hands). Striking his instruments in time with sticks and his hands, he connects events together in phrases that would sound like Mozart on the piano. He has a graceful, elegant physical style, twisting and turning his body into the shape of clefs as he plays. Every motion has a musical and expressive purpose.” Read the complete review >>
For those of us on the West Coast, there is a special chance to hear a reprise of “Origins” on Friday, February 14th, in San Francisco, presented by the San Francisco Contemporary Music Performers, where Steve is Artistic Director. View details and purchase tickets >>