Q & A With New Board President David Nygren

D Nygren

The Ojai Music Festival is pleased to announce the appointment of David Nygren as president of the board of directors, effective August 2014. David, who has served on the Ojai board since 2011, is the founder and CEO of Nygren Consulting LLC, which specializes in mergers and acquisitions, board effectiveness, organizational strategy, and executive competency assessment. His company balances Fortune 500 for-profit businesses with the non-profit sector where he works extensively with health systems and arts institutions including the New York Philharmonic and New World Symphony.

David was also the executive vice president at DePaul University, where he was awarded rank and tenure in the department of Psychology, teaching organizational theory and design, leadership, and corporate governance.

He assumes leadership of the board after Stephen (Mike) J.M. Morris, who served an extraordinary year of service as president. Mike will continue to serve on the Festival’s executive committee for a smooth transition.

Recently, David spoke with us about coming on the Ojai board, as well as his favorite Ojai moments.

OMF: What are some of your most memorable moments from past Festivals?

DN: My favorite moments are in the splendor of what we experience only here. I marvel at [artistic director] Tom Morris’ brilliance in convening artists from around the world in this beautiful setting and at the spell of their performances.

These have included the toy piano concert in the Libbey Park playground, the surprise appearance of the marching band last year, and early morning concerts at Meditation Mount. What strikes me over and over is the profound humility of the musicians when they take their bow, show their delight, and rejoice in the intimacy of the audience.

OMF: You have served on many non-profit boards and are often asked to serve; what made you choose the Ojai Music Festival?

DN: My willingness to join and support the Festival comes from a deep love of music and my belief in the power of creativity to change the face of the world. As a result, I make personal investments in organizations whose intent it is to advance the common good.

There is nothing quite like Ojai where this level of creativity is inserted in the beauty of the Ojai Valley, where the mountains and the music are in harmony. The most talented artists come together here to express their potential and give us that gift. I have traveled and visited many festivals on other continents…None compare to the experience of the Ojai Music Festival.

OMF: What are you looking for when you join a board?

DN: When I think about joining a board, I think about my passion for the mission of the organization, and I expect the same drive, commitment, and enthusiasm from my fellow board members. On the Ojai Music Festival board, I have found a group that professes a love of the mission and whose eyes light up as soon as we talk about Tom’s programming. This group is intellectually alive, deeply committed financially, and anxious to know about the next innovation.

In Ojai, we have a committed board, extraordinary artistic direction with Tom Morris, and an exceptional guide in [executive director] Janneke Straub.

OMF: Your consulting firm is well-known for facilitating company and organizational growth through effective leadership and long-term strategies. What would you say today’s challenges are for arts non-profit organizations?

DN: The challenges of all arts organizations today are relevance to the communities they serve and financial viability. Neither will hold back the Ojai Music Festival, which is the most deserving arts organization in Southern California. It is my hope as the new president, that California and beyond will continue to support the enormous innovations that are happening in Ojai.

Read about Nygren Consulting >>

Enjoy Concerts From The Festival With Our Live Stream Library

Friday Evening Concert - June 13, 2014
Friday Evening Concert - June 13, 2014

World Premiere of 'The Classical Style: An Opera (of sorts)'. Libretto: Jeremy Denk, Composer: Steven Stucky

Thursday Evening Concert - June 12, 2014
Thursday Evening Concert - June 12, 2014

Pianist Jeremy Denk performs at the 68th Ojai Music Festival at Libbey Bowl followed by "Mahler Reimagined" with the Uri Caine Ensemble.

Saturday Morning Concert - June 14, 2014
Saturday Morning Concert - June 14, 2014

Music of Charles Ives with Jeremy Denk, Jennifer Frautschi and Hudson Shad

2014 Ojai Music Festival - The Knights, Storm Large and Hudson Shad
2014 Ojai Music Festival - The Knights, Storm Large and Hudson Shad

2014 Ojai Music Festival - "Jupiter" Symphony and "Canonade"
2014 Ojai Music Festival - "Jupiter" Symphony and "Canonade"

The 2014 Festival morning concert featured The Knights performing Mozart's "Jupiter" Symphony followed by the second half called “Canonade” conceived by Music Director 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.

2014 Ojai Music Festival - Friday Late Night with Uri Caine Sextet
2014 Ojai Music Festival - Friday Late Night with Uri Caine Sextet

Pianist/Composer Uri Caine and his Uri Caine Sextet reimagine the music of George Gershwin including "Rhapsody in Blue" at the ever-popular Late Nights at Libbey Bowl during the 2014 Ojai Music Festival.

2014 Ojai Music Festival - Friday Late Night with Uri Caine Sextet

Use the drop-downs to view program information:

Thursday Talks - June 12, 2014 - coming soon!

1:00 PM – Ojai Community Church

Part I: Festival Overview with Jeremy Denk
Part II: An Ensemble for the 21st Century: The Musician’s View
with Eric and Colin Jacobsen, founders of The Knights
Ara Guzelimian, Ojai Talks director

Thursday Evening Concert - June 12, 2014

8:00 PM – Libbey Bowl, Ojai, CA

Jeremy Denk, piano
Uri Caine Ensemble

Selections from Janáček’s On An Overgrown Path interwoven with short works by Schubert
URI CAINE: Mahler Re-Imagined – The music of Gustav Mahler viewed through Uri Caine’s lens of transformation and improvisation

Friday Talks - June 13, 2014

1:00 PM – Ojai Community Church

The Classical Style: Impact and Implications
Part I: Jeremy Denk on Charles Rosen
Part II: An in-depth panel discussion on the award-winning book, The Classical Style, with Timo Andres and Don M. Randel
Part III: Mary Birnbaum, director, and Steven Stucky, composer

Friday Evening Concert - June 13, 2014

8:00 PM – Libbey Bowl, Ojai, CA

HAYDN: String Quartet in G minor, Op. 74, No.3, “Rider”
JEREMY DENK / STEVEN STUCKY: The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts)- WORLD PREMIERE

Friday Late Night Concert - June 13, 2014

10:30 PM – Libbey Bowl, Ojai, CA

Uri Caine Sextet

The music of George Gershwin, including Rhapsody in Blue, reimagined and improvised by Uri Caine

Saturday Morning Concert - June 14, 2014

11:00 AM – Libbey Bowl, Ojai, CA

Jennifer Frautschi, violin
Jeremy Denk, piano

IVES: Sonatas for Violin and Piano, Nos. 1-4 (complete)

Saturday Evening Concert I - June 14, 2014 - coming soon!

6:00 PM – Libbey Bowl, Ojai, CA

Jeremy Denk, piano
Timo Andres, piano
Alex Sopp, flute
Colin Jacobsen, violin
Miranda Sielaff, viola
Eric Jacobsen, cello

The Knights
Eric Jacobsen, conductor

ANDREW NORMAN: Light Screens
MOZART / TIMO ANDRES: Coronation Concerto Re-composition

Saturday Evening Concert II - June 14, 2014 - coming soon!

8:00 PM – Libbey Bowl, Ojai, CA

Storm Large, vocalist
Hudson Shad Quartet
The Knights
Eric Jacobsen, conductor

BOCCHERINI (arr. The Knights): String Quintet in C major Op. 30, No. 6 – “La musica Notturna delle Strade di Madrid”
IVES: Three Places in New England (1930 version)
FELDMAN: Madame Press Died Last Week at Ninety
STOCKHAUSEN (arr. Caroline Shaw): Tierkreis – Leo
WEILL: Seven Deadly Sins (in English)

Saturday Late Night Concert - June 14, 2014 - coming soon!

10:30 PM – Libbey Bowl, Ojai, CA

Jennifer Frautschi, violin
Members of The Knights
- Max Mandel, viola
- Joseph Gramley, percussion
- Steven Beck, celesta
Ojai Festival Singers
Robert Spano, conductor

J.S. BACH: Violin Sonata No. 3 in C major, BWV 1005
FELDMAN: Rothko Chapel

Sunday Morning Concert - June 15, 2014

11:00 AM – Libbey Bowl, Ojai, CA

Timo Andres, piano
Jeremy Denk, piano
Lisa Kaplan, piano
Uri Caine Ensemble
Hudson Shad

The Knights
Eric Jacobsen, conductor

MOZART: Symphony No. 41 in C major, K. 551, “Jupiter”
Canonade: 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

Sunday Evening Concert - June 15, 2014

5:30 PM – Libbey Bowl, Ojai, CA

Jeremy Denk, piano
Ojai Festival Singers
The Knights
Kevin Fox, Eric Jacobsen, conductors

LIGETI: Piano Études Books I & II
IVES: Psalm 90
BEETHOVEN: Fantasy in C Minor for Piano, Chorus, and Orchestra, Op.80, “Choral Fantasy”

2014 Festival Audience Survey Results

Each year, the Festival conducts an audience survey as an ongoing effort to measure various aspects of our own performance and receive feedback from patrons. Below are the results from this past Festival in June. We strive to improve our efforts and appreciate our Festival community’s interest in our forward plans.

We welcome any additional comments and observations. Please email us at info@ojaifestival.org or write your comments below.

Survey invitations were e-mailed to 2014 Festival attendees the week following the event. Of a total of 678 delivered, 323 were returned for a response rate of 48%.

Survey 1

survey slide 2a

survey slide 2

survey slide 8

survey slide 7

 Ratings for the following:

1. Food Trucks on Friday Night:

  • Excellent 16%
  • Good 41%
  • Adequate 18%
  • Fair 13%
  • Poor 12%
  • Comments: Just didn’t have time to try the food trucks and would love to have done so….perhaps more than one night; more food truck varieties; more places to sit

2. Saturday Supper at Libbey Park

  • Excellent 45%
  • Good 33%
  • Adequate 17%
  • Fair 2%
  • Poor 3%

3. Live Streaming

  • Excellent 21%
  • Good 56%
  • Adequate 18%
  • Fair 3%
  • Poor 2%
  • Comments: Live streaming and intermission interviews seen after returning home; loved it!

4. Gathering Place in Libbey Park

  • Excellent 41%
  • Good 45%
  • Adequate 11%
  • Fair 2%
  • Poor 1%

View complete PDF >>

Selections of Enthusiastic Patrons’ Memorable Moments
There were so many memorable moments that were shared. Here are several to read online, or read 2014 Selections of Memorable Moments

Hands down: The Classical Style. We loved it and wished we could sit through it twice. (Two of us are trained musically; the third, just a music lover.) Next I’d have to say Jeremy Denk playing the Ligeti Etudes.

I wished I could spend all four days in Ojai. The organization was perfect. Enough restrooms, very clean. I watched afterwards the videos and the program and artists are outstanding. Also very funny especially my first language is German.

Listening to the musicians at the Gazebo on Friday and hearing Storm.

Lying with my young son under the giant oak on the lawn listening to Mozart on a gorgeous Sunday morning and getting a picture that captured the moment – smiles all around.

Sitting in the middle of the choir at Sunday Sunrise concert.  My whole body was immersed in the sound, and my soul was deeply touched by the power of the voices around me.

Both Late night concerts were excellent.  I loved the discussions on Thu and Fri but must admit that I liked Jeremy’s discussion of the idea of the opera more than the opera itself.  Brooklyn Rider and that venue were amazing but so was Sun morning at Meditation Mount and I am not a choral lover usually.

Sunday morning: sitting in that beautiful bowl with the trees and their dappled sunlight and listening to Mozart and the bird’s responses.  It was exquisite.


5 Things to Expect In 2015 Including Pipa Player Wu Man


The “hot” ensemble heading to Ojai next year will be ICE (International Chamber Ensemble).

Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris and Music Director Steven Schick have a lot to share about the 2015 Ojai Music Festival these next 11 months. Plans are underway and we thought we’d give you a glimpse of 5 things to get you started.

1. Performances of works by 19 living composers new to Ojai. Read more about it here >>

2. The West Coast premiere of John Luther Adam’s Sila: The Breath of the World. Learn more about his new outdoor work which makes its world premiere at the Lincoln Center Out of Doors. Click here >>

3. Festival debuts by ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble), pipa virtuoso Wu Man,  cellist Maya Beiser, and San Diego based chamber ensemble Renga

4. Schick Machine directed by Paul Dresher performed by Steven Schick – a visually compelling world of mechanical devices, invented instruments, and seemingly infinite sonic possibilities. Watch here >>

5. A special pre-Festival event on Wednesday, June 10 of Pierre Boulez: A Portrait, a spectacular multi-media kaleidoscope production with narration, archive films clips, live music, and stage set by Frank Gehry, part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Beyond the Score series.

There is so much more to share. Stay tuned as more details are in the works!

Save your seat for an intriguing program of music, talks, events, films, and more. Buy Online >>

Call us at 805 646 2053 for questions about seats or our payment plan.

Enjoy 2014 Live Streaming Concerts

68th Ojai Music Festival - Libbey Bowl - June 14, 2014

Fred Child of American Public Media’s Performance Today interviews Jeremy Denk, music director, during one of the intermission interviews during the 68th Ojai Music Festival. Photo by Timothy Norris.

Libbey Bowl Concerts and Ojai Talks of the 68th Ojai Music Festival, June 12–15, are now archived on our Festival website for your viewing pleasure.

A highlight of this year’s 2014 Ojai Live offerings includes the June 13 world premiere of the new opera with libretto by Jeremy Denk and music by Steven Stucky, The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts). 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.

This year, Ojai Live features an enhanced HD five-camera shoot with concert-quality sound produced by Little Dog Live (http://www.LittleDogLive.com). Intermission interviews with artists and special guests were hosted by Fred Child of American Public Media’s Performance Today.

Now in its 68th year, the Ojai Music Festival celebrates its audience whose interest has resulted in record sales. The concentrated four-day Festival draws thousands of curious and engaged music enthusiasts from across the country, and is pleased to serve a growing community worldwide via these live and archival webcasts.

Watch the stream of the Friday evening concert below and view more videos on the archives here >>

Support New Music, New Ideas, New Learning: Make A Gift To The Festival

68th Ojai Music Festival - Libbey Bowl - June 13, 2014

Led by Artistic Director Tom Morris and Music Director Jeremy Denk, the 68th Ojai Music Festival will be remembered for its amazing concerts and witty, thought-provoking programs.

This record breaking year was marked by sold out performances, the world premiere of Steven Stucky and Jeremy Denk’s comic opera, The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts), a substantial increase in impact thanks to the residency of American Public Media’s Fred Child (Performance Today), and enhanced live video streaming, which has already attracted over 7,000 views from 43 countries. All Libbey Bowl concerts and Ojai Talks are now available to view on our website for free.

This is just the beginning. The Festival’s creative spirit and commitment to nurturing the musicians of today is stronger than ever. Led by Music Director Steven Schick, the 2015 Ojai Music Festival will include works by 20 living composers. With future Music Directors, Peter Sellars in 2016 and Esa-Pekka Salonen in 2017, Steve will open the door to 70 more years of adventurous programming.

We invite you to join us by making a donation by fiscal year end (July 31) and ensure a vibrant future. We support new music, new ideas, new love, and learning. It is our commitment and investment in collective creativity that sets the Ojai Music Festival apart.

Your support is important to us, to the musicians and to the Ojai community.

Make a donation here >>

Read the 2014 Festival Reviews

Bowl day shot

Each June, the Ojai Valley becomes a musical epicenter where audience members, industry leaders, musicians, and members of the press come together and experience innovative programming.

After each Festival, we gather feedback from audience members and colleagues, as well as share press reviews of the 2014 Festival. Read excerpts from the media, and for your convenience, download a complete press review sheet as a PDF here >>

“Like all births, there is something new in the room that wasn’t there before. For Stucky and Denk, this is a fleeting instant of transcendence, namely a miracle.”

Los Angeles Times

“’The Classical Style’ is a mash-up of Glenn Gould at his most satirical, PDQ Bach at his sauciest and a distractedly erudite Rosen cooking up a French sauce while pontificating on harmonic structure in his kitchen. But underlying the jokes (good ones and the groaners) and tomfoolery, Stucky’s resourceful score and Denk’s droll text produce an ingeniously eloquent musing on the meaning of life.”

Los Angeles Times

Read Mark Swed’s wrap-up review >>

“…the concert’s second half was a revelation, with the American pianist and composer Uri Caine and his jazz sextet deconstructing aspects of Gustav Mahler’s oeuvre, including the Adagietto of his Fifth Symphony and the conclusion of “Das Lied von der Erde” (for which a cantor was added). Teasing out the earthy building blocks of these complex and deeply felt masterpieces—that is, the folk songs, military marches and Jewish wedding tunes—Mr. Caine and company reimagined Mahler’s Olympian creations in more human-scale terms.”

Wall Street Journal

“On Saturday morning, he [Jeremy Denk] and Jennifer Frautschi performed with exquisite concentration all four of Ives’s Violin Sonatas, over the cawing of a multitude of crows. In typical Ojai fashion, the experience was enhanced by the presence of the vocal ensemble Hudson Shad…”

Wall Street Journal

“…the definitive factor in Ojai, the thing that sets its apart from ordinary concert life, is the programming. Take that away and you just have pretty concerts in a park. For the listening gourmet, Ojai is the place to taste new things, in abundance, and take a break from Tchaikovsky and Brahms meat and potatoes.”

Orange County Register

Read Tim Mangan’s two reviews: June 13 issue and June 15 issue

“…the pleasantly nostalgic backdrop offered by Stucky’s well-crafted and wide-ranging score, which empliys faux 18th-century music up to Strauss and Stucky himself. Throughout, conductor Robert Spano showed the Knights, the festival’s ‘resident’ orchestra, at their transparent best.” – Musical America

“He [Jeremy Denk] proved to be a terrific fit for this quirky, brainy, adventuresome little festival…”

Classical Voice North America

“…the area’s most consistently thrilling annual event, there was plenty of incredible music to swoon over, obsess about, or just ponder, albeit in new ways.”

Santa Barbara Independent

“From that felicitous combination came an effervescent joy in music that Denk emanates by simply being himself, a man of wit and wonder and a performer of infinite possibilities. Musicians and audience alike couldn’t stop smiling with obvious delight as they shared in his bit of musical heaven.”

– Ventura County Star

The Seven Deadly Sins (libretto by Brecht) was a lot of fun, and well sung by bombshell Storm Large, portraying a woman who experienced all seven and then some, and quartet Hudson Shad.

- Culture Clash
Read Scott Timberg’s review from June 19 >>

Conductors Eric Jacobson & Kevin Fox, alongside New York’s versatile orchestral collective The Knights and the Ojai Festival Singers left the mixed-age audience of both locals and visitors enraptured by the scope of the multiplicitous beauty and wide-ranging inquiry of the festival’s finale.

- I Care If You Listen 

Jeremy Denk, In Words and Music: Read The Los Angeles Times Article

by Barbara Isenberg
June 2, 2014

jeremy-denk-2012-sqThese are illustrious times for the pianist and writer Jeremy Denk. Last year he won a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship, was named Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year and signed a book contract to expand a New Yorker article about piano lessons.

A few months ago, he received the $75,000 Avery Fisher Prize, and in a few weeks he heads west to become music director of the 68th annual Ojai Music Festival. The festival, starting June 12, should offer a change of pace for Denk. Instead of his usual concertizing across the U.S., Europe and elsewhere, he’ll be in residence at the four-day festival — and in charge.

“I’ve never curated anything like this before,” the 44-year-old musician said over coffee on the Upper West Side. “I’ve never had the responsibility for a weekend’s stimulation.”

Denk had been friendly with Rosen, who died last year at 85, and greatly admired Rosen’s “The Classical Style.”

He had never written an opera libretto before, either. But besides curating the festival and performing there, he’s come up with “The Classical Style: An Opera [of Sorts],” which will be given its premiere in Ojai. Based on pianist Charles Rosen’s 1971 scholarly book, “The Classical Style,” with music by composer Steven Stucky, the comic opera features such things as Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn playing Scrabble in heaven.

Read the complete article >>



The Lawn Experience: Tips and FAQ


Thank you for being a part of our Festival lawn area! The lawn is a special experience for Festival patrons – it’s the place to enjoy a picnic before the concert; meet with a group of friends or family; and lie down to stargaze while enjoying the Festival’s music.

To help you enjoy the lawn, here are some things to know:


  • The right side of the lawn is designated for taller chairs and the left side for low-rise chairs.  (A low-rise, beach-style chair is a chair with legs of 10 inches or shorter and an overall height limit of 28 inches.) Patrons with higher-rise chairs, such as camping or deck chairs, will be asked to move to the right side or rear of the lawn so as not to hinder the views of others.
  • Line up early! Lawn lines start as early as two hours before a concert begins. There are two lines for lawn patrons – the left is designated for lawn series subscribers with an access pass and the right for single pass holders.
  • Save your place! Lawn series pass subscribers have the opportunity to save their spot on the lawn between the morning and evening concerts; please use the “Save My Spot” card mailed with your passes.
  • Store it! If you are attending two concerts in one day, you can also place your lawn chairs and blankets near the lawn entrance gate between concerts.  Please do not leave personal belongings as Festival staff cannot be responsible for items left unattended.
  • The Libbey Bowl and Park is a no-smoking and alcohol-free zone designated by the City of Ojai.
  • Ojai weather can be quite unpredictable! During the evening concerts we highly recommend bringing a warm blanket and for the day bringing sunscreen and wearing a hat in case it gets too hot.
  • At the Festival there are food vendors who will have a variety of light food options and beverages. For a greater variety, you can head to the various eateries within walking distance from the Bowl. Visit www.OjaiFestival.org for suggestions.
  • We’re happy to have children enjoy concerts; however, we know they can become restless! If your child needs to stretch their legs, please take them outside the Bowl so as not to disrupt the concert experience for other lawn patrons.


*For the Friday Evening concert featuring the world premiere of The Classical Style: The incline of the lawn is fairly low in relation to the Libbey Bowl stage. For this concert, we will have a small area on the left side for better viewing. Please see the head usher that evening.*


Thank you and enjoy!


What Does Ojai Mean To You?

Each June for four days, Ojai is bustling with music lovers from all across the country, east to west and north to south. Curious and deeply committed patrons gather to experience provocative, unusual, and sometimes, challenging programs of music that encourage stretching musical expectations. As one patron explained, it’s “an eye opening (and ear opening) revelation.” 

In fact, the number of Festival series subscribers has steadily increased in the last four years, almost 30% each year.

As one patron said in a recent survey: “Continue with bold decisions in modern music and keep the Ojai ambiance exactly as it is.”

To each his or her own. Everyone comes away with something different, something special about Ojai. Recently, we asked several of our patrons, “What Does Ojai Mean to You?” And in our usual, Ojai Festival fashion, they had a lot to say. Watch the video below:

Share your comments – what does Ojai mean to you?

Ojai Eats – Food Trucks and Prix Fixe Menus



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!

Agave MariasAgave Maria’s Restaurant & Cantina
11:30am – 9:00pm
106 S. Montgomery St | 805 646 6353 | Website 
Open late with limited menu after Friday Evening Concert


deerlodgeDeer Lodge
11am/8:30am (wknds) – 2am
2261 Maricopa Hwy. | 805 646 4256 | Website
Open late with limited menu after evening weekend concerts
Reservations strongly recommended


feastFeast Bistro
Tues-Sat: 11:30am – 2:30pm | 5:30pm – 9pm (dinner)
254 E. Ojai Ave. | 805 640 9260 | Website
Reservations strongly recommended



Los Caporales Restaurant & Tequila Bar
307 E. Ojai Ave. | 805 646 5452 | Website
Open late with limited menu after evening concerts




Osteria Monte Grappa
Sun – Thurs: 11:30am – 8:30pm | Friday – Sat: 11:30am – 10:00pm
242 E. Ojai Ave | 805 640 6767 | Website
Open late with limited menu after evening concerts



Suzanne’s Cuisine

11:30 am – close (closed Tuesday)
502 W. Ojai Ave. | 805 640 1961 | Website
Reservations strongly recommended

View a list of all local restaurants >>


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. Food Trucks include Scratch, Sweet Arleen’s, The Green Truck, and The Jolly Oyster.

Legacy Lunch
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 Supper
Saturday, June 14 | 7:00-8:15pm
Libbey Park
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 >>

View Menu

Mixed organic greens with dried cranberries, toasted candied pecans, slivered red onions, goat cheese, Tossed with an orange balsamic vinaigrette

Roasted and sliced lemon-rosemary chicken OR Moroccan-inspired quinoa pilaf with local organic vegetables

Fruit and chocolate tart square

Become A Festival Volunteer Today!


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.

Download a Volunteer Application Form >>

For more information please call 805 646 2094 ext. 100 or email volunteer@ojaifestival.org



Ojai Live video-streams world premiere of commissioned opera, The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts)

Ojai Live video-streams world premiere of commissioned opera,
The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts)
libretto by Jeremy Denk and music by Steven Stucky June 13 at 8:00 pm PST

Live and archival HD webcasts of the 68th Ojai Music Festival
(June 12-15, 2014) with Jeremy Denk, Music Director
include Libbey Bowl concerts and Ojai Talks
[see streams here]

Download PDF of the press release >>

Fred Child of American Public Media’s Performance Today hosts intermission interviews with Festival artists and guests. Navigate to www.OjaiFestival.org to watch the streams beginning Thursday, June 12.

“Ojai gives you a freedom to create a program that reflects the diversity of your tastes… [music] of great reverence and transcendence and music of great irreverence.”
- Jeremy Denk, Music Director

OJAI, CA – May 27, 2014: Concerts and talks of the 68th Ojai Music Festival, June 12–15, will be streamed live at www.OjaiFestival.org, and archived on the site after the Festival. The 2014 Festival embraces both the Festival’s ideals and the inventive musical mind of this year’s music director, Jeremy Denk. Thomas W. Morris, artistic director, and Mr. Denk have programmed a festival reflecting music about music.

Ojai Live begins streaming at 1:00pm (Pacific Time) on Thursday, June 12 with the Ojai Talks series hosted by Ara Guzelimian – an interview with Jeremy Denk, followed by a second session featuring Eric and Colin Jacobsen, founders of The Knights, who will talk about the reinvention of orchestras.

A highlight of the 2014 Ojai Live offerings includes the June 13 world premiere of the new opera with libretto by Mr. Denk and music by Steven Stucky, The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts). 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.

Ojai Live, which streams Festival concerts from the Ojai Music Festival website (www.OjaiFestival.org), this year features an enhanced HD five-camera shoot with concert-quality sound produced by Little Dog Live (http://www.LittleDogLive.com). Intermission interviews with artists and special guests will be hosted by Fred Child of American Public Media’s Performance Today. The dynamic multi-camera live webcast brings the Ojai Music Festival to audiences around the world in real time with over 24 hours of live broadcasts of performances, interview segments, and symposia.

Now in its 68th year, the Ojai Music Festival celebrates its audience whose interest has resulted in record sales. The concentrated four-day Festival draws thousands of curious and engaged music enthusiasts from across the country, and is pleased to serve a growing community worldwide via these live and archival webcasts.

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.

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.

Festival Passes & Information
Singles concert passes are available for the 2014 Festival concerts and may be purchased online at OjaiFestival.org or by calling 805 646 2053. 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).

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Saturday Evening Concert I Program Change

The new work by Andrew Norman, set to be performed by Jeremy Denk, will be replaced by another work by Mr. Norman.

Andrew Norman regrets that he was unable to complete his new piece, 140 characters or less, in sufficient time to allow for a premiere at the Ojai Music Festival.  Mr. Denk looks forward to performing the piece at a later date.

SATURDAY, June 14, 6pm

Andrew Norman
Light Screens

Alex Sopp, flute
Colin Jacobsen, violin
Miranda Sielaff, viola
Eric Jacobsen, cello
Mozart/Timo Andres
Coronation” Concerto Re-composition

Timo Andres, piano
The Knights
Eric Jacobsen, conductor

View the complete Saturday schedule here >>

Music Director Steven Schick Reveals 2015 Festival Highlights


2015 Ojai Music Festival Music Director Steven Schick shares initial programming for 69th Festival June 11 – 14, 2015

The 2015 Festival is a celebration of 20th and 21st century composers, including works by 14 composers new to Ojai, a salute to Pierre Boulez on the occasion of his 90th birthday, the West Coast premiere of John Luther Adams Sila: The Breath of the World, and installation and free community performances of Paul Dresher’s theater piece for Steven Schick, Schick Machine

“I’ve been coming to the Ojai Music Festival, off and on, for 20 years. Now, in 2015, I have the great privilege of being music director! Out of a dizzying range of possibilities, we are curating a festival that looks to the future without forgetting where we’ve been. Together with terrific artists and great friends including the International Contemporary Ensemble, red fish blue fish, Maya Beiser, Wu Man, and the San Diego based chamber ensemble, Renga, we’ll revisit classic works by Edgard Varèse, and Béla Bartók, and we’ll hear the emerging voices of Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Roland Auzet, and Lei Liang. We’ll pay tribute to pioneers like Pauline Oliveros, and we’ll be moved by the life-affirming work of George Lewis, Claire Chase, and John Luther Adams. We will celebrate the 90th birthday of Pierre Boulez, who has been Ojai music director seven times. Oh right…and you’ll hear some of the most exciting percussion music on the planet!” – Steven Schick, 2015 music director

Download 2015 series order form >>

As the Ojai Music Festival wraps up the 68th Festival (June 12 – 15, 2014) with Music Director Jeremy Denk, the Festival’s 2015 Music Director Steven Schick and Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris share initial programming for the 69th Festival, which focuses on music by almost thirty composers, half of whom are new to Ojai; the West Coast premiere of John Luther Adam’s Sila: The Breath of the World and a special pre-festival performance on Wednesday June 10 of Pierre Boulez: A Portrait, a spectacular multi-media kaleidoscope production with narration, archive films clips, live music, and stage set by Frank Gehry, part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Beyond the Score series. The 2015 Festival runs from Thursday, June 11 through Sunday, June 14, 2015.

Wu ManOjai enthusiastically welcomes percussionist, conductor, teacher, and author Steven Schick as Music Director. With Mr. Morris, Mr. Schick has devised a unique and explosive festival focused entirely around 20th and 21st century composers, featuring Mr. Schick as collaborator, teacher, actor, conductor, and master percussionist. Joining him will be long-time colleagues including the International Contemporary Ensemble (“ICE”), the San Diego string ensemble Renga, pipa artist Wu Man, and virtuoso cellist Maya Beiser.

The 69th Festival programming will feature works by John Luther Adams, Béla Bartók, Pierre Boulez, Edgard Varèse, and Iannis Xenakis, as well as by emerging composers, including Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Roland Auzet, and Lei Liang. Additional programming will be announced in the fall.

No stranger to Ojai, Mr. 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, performed throughout Libbey Park. A champion of new music, Mr. Schick has commissioned and premiered more than 150 new works and is the founder and artistic director of percussion group red fish blue fish. He is the founding member of the Bang-on-a-Can All Stars and is currently artistic director of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, as well as music director of the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus. He is on the faculty of the University of California, San Diego. In 2015, the program will showcase Mr. Schick’s unique and broad talents as a percussionist, conductor, performer and musical trailblazer.

Boulezportrait300dpi00The 2015 Ojai Music Festival will honor 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 prior to the Thursday June 11 start of the Festival, Ojai will present the West Coast premiere of Pierre Boulez: A Portrait, a kaleidoscope of recorded and live music, words, and imagery. Pierre Boulez is one of Chicago Symphony’s Beyond the Score programs and features original set design by architect Frank Gehry. The performance will be preceded by a special panel discussion by 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.

“Pierre Boulez is not only one of the seminal figures of our time but a prominent figure in Ojai’s history having made his American conducting debut in Ojai in 1965. 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.

Festival collaborator and recent Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams returns to Ojai in 2015 with the West Coast premiere of his 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 will receive its first performances in July 2014 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. John Luther Adams’ music was first heard in the 2009 Festival, and again in 2012 with a performance of Inuksuit in Libbey Park. The 2013 Festival included performances of Mr. Adams’ For Lou Harrison, Strange and Sacred Noise, and songbirdsongs.

Schick MachineThroughout the 2015 Festival, Schick Machine by Paul Dresher will be performed daily in special free community concerts. Collaboratively created by a multi-disciplinary team including composer/instrument builder Paul Dresher, writer/director Rinde Eckert, Steven Schick, lighting and visual designer Tom Ontiveros, instrument inventor/educator Daniel Schmidt, and mechanical sound artist Matt Heckert, Schick Machine features Mr. Schick exploring a visually compelling world of mechanical devices, invented instruments, and seemingly infinite sonic possibilities. Exploring a magical stage filled with enormous, specially conceived instruments — including the Hurdy Grande, the Tumbler, the Peacock, the Field of Flowers, and a deconstructed pipe organ – the Schick Machine weaves whimsical stories of Mr. Schick’s childhood in Iowa with unexpected encounters with noise-making objects and invented instruments. Audience members will be invited onstage at the end of each performance to play with these unique and fantastical instruments.

Download 2015 series order form >>
Or call our box office at 805 646 2053

Read Steven Schick’s bio >>



Uri Caine Q&A: Mahler and His Music

Music Director Jeremy Denk invited artists, who share his passion for music and love for adventure, to join him on Thursday, June 12, the opening night of the Festival. Pianist and composer Uri Caine, who Jeremy describes as an “unbelievable genius,” will make his Ojai debut performing his own interpretation of works by Gustav Mahler.

In April, Uri toured the Libbey Bowl and shared his impressions about Ojai and how his interest in Mahler was born.

Purchase tickets to Uri’s concert on Thursday evening here >>

Relax and Visit Porch Gallery

Porch Gallery by Lisa Casoni

The first Saturday after Heather and I moved to Ojai from Los Angeles we saw two horses parked outside the local coffee shop on our way to breakfast.  We then had lunch at the Deer Lodge, a slightly off the beaten path, roadside bar/restaurant that is as much a part of the fabric of the community as the Ojai Valley Inn. By the time we sat down for dinner at Feast Bistro, the owners were introducing us to the other patrons as the “new girls in town.” That night, I was struck by two things, first, we weren’t in Los Angeles anymore and, second, we needed to finish construction on our kitchen.

Porch2We moved to Ojai four years ago because we wanted to live in a “cosmopolitan small town” where we could walk everywhere. We weren’t asking for much. As long was no one screamed obscenities at us as we shuffled out to dinner, we were content. But, shortly, as humans often do, we wanted more. We wanted friends, community, artistic stimulation and a front porch.

That’s where we hit the jackpot. With our friend Carl Thelander, we opened the Porch Gallery.  Our objective was to create an atmosphere where viewing contemporary art was fun, accessible, and occasionally involved a cocktail while seated in a rocking chair.

Porch Gallery Ojai photoOur current exhibition is a perfect confluence of our goals. Artist Mike Saijo has created a series of pieces that explore the history of spiritual movements in Ojai within the context of art and technology. “We Are Spiritual Machines” involves collaborations with Chumash Elder Julie Lynn Tummait-Stenslie, Ojai perfumer Janna Sheehan, textile master Setsuko Hayashi, Ojai poet akka b. and, at the opening reception, a specialty gin that is foraged from local sources.

We invite all that find themselves walking through downtown to stop by, view the art, and relax with us on “The Porch.”

Stop by Porch Gallery Ojai, 310 E. Matilija Street, Ojai, CA  213-321-3926

View other places to explore in Ojai >>

Interview with Jeremy Denk in The Wall Street Journal


Words and Music: Classical pianist Jeremy Denk is equally at home at both types of keyboard

By DAVID MERMELSTEIN                                          May 12, 2014 Wall Street Journal

Jeremy Denk lives surprisingly modestly for an American pianist of rising fame. The living room of his Upper West Side apartment barely contains his nearly 7-foot-long Steinway grand, so visitors are led to a tiny but light-filled kitchen, where last month he expounded on a range of musical and literary topics over herbal tea and green apples.

In person, Mr. Denk, who last year received a MacArthur fellowship and this year won the Avery Fisher Prize, exudes unpretentious learning and enthusiasm, qualities echoed not just in his playing, but also in his articles for The New Yorker and other publications. The opportunities to write came about thanks to his popular blog, Think Denk, inactive for almost a year because of his increasingly busy schedule. He recently promised Random House a book on piano lessons, an expansion of an essay published in The New Yorker last year.

“I always loved books and writing,” said the prematurely gray Mr. Denk, who turns 44 on Friday. Wearing a black V-neck sweater and charcoal trousers, he sat on an uncomfortable-looking kitchen chair. “Though I let it go for a while, succumbing to the single-mindedness you need to be a pianist, the blog seemed a natural way to return to that. And then The New Yorker wrote me, and that sort of freaked me out, causing me a whole new level of stress. It’s a very neurotic profession, writing. Blogging is much freer. And it had a wonderfully synergistic connection with my career. Now writing has become symbiotic—or parasitical. It can be very satisfying to write down something about music that’s important, just as there’s a thrill playing a phrase as you’ve always imagined it. It is weird being in these two professions at once, but it rises from music as origin. And they both demand a lot of time.”

Free time is increasingly scarce for Mr. Denk. Just back from São Paulo, he performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in Glendale, Calif., and L.A. this weekend. He’ll also play a selection of etudes by György Ligeti on that program, giving audiences a preview of his biggest commitment this season: the music directorship of the Ojai Festival in California, which runs June 12 to 15 and concludes with a concert featuring the bulk of Ligeti’s etudes.

Composed in the late 20th century, these short studies have become something of a specialty for the pianist. He performed six of them during his last solo recital in Manhattan, at the People’s Symphony Concerts last month. And he recorded most of them, to wide acclaim, on an album released by Nonesuch Records in 2012. “The conceptions in the etudes are death defying,” Mr. Denk said, explaining some of their appeal. “Even though they draw from the modern world, they reach back meaningfully to the world of Chopin in terms of lilt and color and phrasing. They are complex but visceral. Their gestures are well defined and powerful. There’s passages—little, seemingly innocuous ones—in which there’s slowing down, and every chord is immaculate and perfect and has wit and elegance. But it’s preposterous some of the things he writes and says you should do. It’s not exactly a perversity, but something like that.”

Mr. Denk, whose formative years were spent in almost equal part first in North Carolina, then in New Jersey and finally in New Mexico, is also widely admired for championing the music of Charles Ives and for his way with Bach’s ” Goldberg ” Variations, one of the keyboard’s most unforgiving milestones, which he recorded last year for Nonesuch on an album that also includes a novice-friendly DVD lecture by the pianist in lieu of liner notes. In typically self-effacing fashion, he described the bonus disc as “really more of a fireside chat.”

Yet despite the recent praise, his success with the ” Goldbergs ” was neither instant nor assured. “I’d agreed to learn it for my friend Toby Saks’s chamber festival, and then it was too late to back out,” he recalled, referring to a recital in Seattle in 2008. “The first performance was terrifying.” Subsequent engagements proved less taxing, so much so that “though I had been reluctant even to play it, I was suddenly touring with it. And then Bob Hurwitz “—the president of Nonesuch—”asked me to record it. He said I was making a unique statement, though I don’t claim that. But it does affect your life. You inhabit it, like a house.”

Bach doesn’t figure on the pianist’s programs at Ojai this year (he played the “Goldbergs” there in 2009), but he has his hands full with other concerns, especially the premiere of a work—subtitled “An Opera (of Sorts)”—for which he wrote the libretto. Titled “The Classical Style” and based on Charles Rosen’s seminal 1971 book of the same name, the endeavor, with music by Steven Stucky, was initially suggested by Mr. Denk as a joke before taking on a life of its own at the encouragement of Thomas W. Morris, Ojai’s long-serving artistic director. “I tried to write something rather serious but kept coming up with these comic thought-experiments,” Mr. Denk said, attempting to explain his concept. “It’s a little like ‘The Impresario’ of Mozart with Tom Stoppard’s ‘Travesties’ thrown in. So it’s not an opera in any conventional way. There’s a lot of spoken text and 18 characters—the singers have multiple roles. To the extent it has a plot, it’s prone to digressions and mishaps. People shouldn’t expect ‘Aida.’”

While acknowledging that “the very premise is absurd” and that the finished product is “music about music” on “a very wonky topic,” the pianist-cum-librettist clearly found the effort rewarding. “Steve and I did a lot of giggling during the workshop,” he said. “It’s very silly and joyful. It’s the world’s first and last musical vaudeville—probably.” Yet despite the self-deprecation, Mr. Denk cannot suppress some deeper feelings for the project, which is no surprise given his friendship with Mr. Rosen, who died in 2012 not long after granting permission for the adaptation. “I’m very happy about the ending,” Mr. Denk said. “I think it really captures something about Charles and about the book’s conclusion, which is very affecting and touching. Steve first went for funny in the score but then sweet and sincere. And the ending just blows me away. I was in tears several times when we played it through.”

Mr. Mermelstein writes for the Journal on classical music, film and television.