Use the player above and join us for Ojai Live 2016 to watch live streamed Festival concerts, interviews, and Talks online on your computer, phone, or tablet. Hosts for this year join us from Classical KUSC and include Executive Producer Gail Eichenthal, host Alan Chapman, and correspondents Craig Curtis and Thomas Kotcheff. Tune in at concert time to view live or use the live stream schedule to catch pre-recorded Festival events.
Schedule – All events live unless otherwise noted
View complete 2016 Festival Schedule
Thursday June 9, 2016 |Stream begins 5:00pm
- 5:00pm – Ojai Talks I
- 6:00pm – Ojai Talks II
- 7:00pm – Transformation Talks
- 7:45pm – Interview with Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris
- 8:00pm – Kaija Saariaho: La Passion de Simone
Friday June 10, 2016 | Stream begins 1:00pm
- 1:00pm – Kaija Saariaho Chamber Music I
- 2:00pm – Pauline Oliveros: Morning Meditations I (replay)
- 3:00pm – Mystic Hour I
- 4:00pm – Interview with ICE founder Claire Chase
- 4:30pm – Festival replays
- 7:00pm – Transformation Talks
- 7:40pm – Interview with Julia Bullock
- 8:00pm – Dina El Wedidi & Band
- 10:30pm – Ojai Late Night: Leila Adu
Saturday June 11, 2016 | Stream begins 12:00pm
- 12:00pm – Morning Ojai Extra (replay)
- 1:00pm – Kaija Saariaho Chamber Music II
- 2:00pm – Ojai Late Night: Leila Adu (replay)
- 3:00pm – Mystic Hour II
- 4:00pm – Kaija Saariaho Chamber Music I (replay)
- 6:30pm – Interview with Tyshawn Sorey
- 7:00pm – Transformation Talks
- 7:40pm – Interview with Andrew Bulbrooke of Calder Quartet
- 8:00pm – Aruna Sairam & Ensemble
- 9:30pm – Interview with Tania León
- 10:30pm: Josephine Baker Project (World Premiere)
Sunday June 12, 2016 | Stream begins 1:00pm
- 1:00pm – Free Family Concert
- 2:00pm – Festival replays
- 2:40pm – Interview with Aruna Sairam
- 3:00pm: Mystic Hour Concert
Thank you to the following 2016 Ojai Live Partners:
Marilyn Bremer Foundation
Little Dog Live
Each year, the Ojai Music Festival Arts Management Internship Program welcomes 12-14 college students and recent graduates to go behind the scenes of a renowned summer music festival. We are very excited to introduce this year’s wonderful interns!
Katurah Ashby lived in Colorado for twenty years until she decided to make the move to California to pursue her dream to be a Photojournalist. She loves meeting and building relationships with people, so if you ever see her walking around, just come on by and say hey! She is proud to say that she is finishing her last year at Brooks Institute. She will be graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Photojournalism. In these past years she has worked with so many wonderful people from the Seattle Seahawks, a biker club in Maryland, and now, the Ojai Music Festival!
Clay Burton is a Los Angeles based sound artist, musical instrument designer and percussionist currently studying Concert Production and Music Technology at California Institute of the Arts. Working under the guidance of John Baffa, Ajay Kapur and Spencer Salazar. Clay’s daily pursuits include a variety of creative and production tasks, ranging from live recording, sound mixing and stage lighting, to web streaming and stage management at venues such as CalArts’ Wild Beast and the Redcat Theater.
Clay’s passion for music, sound and related technologies began early, as he studied Jazz and Latin percussion from the age of ten, performing at LA area jazz clubs and music festivals with school bands, Jazz America and the Colburn Jazz Band. As his focus on technology developed, Clay worked as a technical specialist at Apple, tutoring new users in the use of Apple’s Logic audio recording interface, while at the same time teaching himself Max Msp. His experiences with classic audio gear, repairing vintage analog synthesizers, drum machines and a wide variety of unique electronic instruments with mentor Tim Connif, as well as his work with Bruce Millet at The Desk Doctor, installing and repairing Neve and SSL mixing boards, instilled a deeper curiosity about how sound works. To further pursue that interest, Clay studied at the Institute of Sonology at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague, The Netherlands. It was there, studying with notable specialists such as Joel Ryan, Paul Berg, and Peter Pabon, that Clay’s passion for musical instrument design came into full focus. He is currently exploring that passion in the CalArts program.
Originally from Santa Monica, California, Francesca Ferrara graduated this year from The Boston Conservatory with a BM in Flute Performance. During her undergrad, Francesca participated in a wide range of ensembles such as orchestra, wind ensemble, and a variety of chamber groups. She was also awarded the opportunity to perform with the World Peace Orchestra in a concert at Lincoln Center in 2013. This past summer, Francesca was a counselor at Greenwood Music Camp where she worked with students between the ages of 10 and 14. Along with the typical responsibilities of a camp counselor, she helped guide the young musicians through orchestral and chamber settings, as well as coach them privately. Over the past four years of her college experience, Francesca has found a deep passion for contemporary music. One of her favorite things to do was work with the student composers at her school. Because of they’re creativity and lack of personal skill on the flute, they keep their mind open to any and all possibilities, which enabled her to explore the endless variety of sound spectrums on her instrument. So far in her career, Francesca has premiered over 30 new works. This will be Francesca’s second year interning for the Ojai Music Festival. Last summer, she was so inspired by the beauty and creativity of the performances, as well as the spirit of everyone involved in putting on the festival, and she hopes to one day create her own performances as innovative as the ones she has seen in Ojai. In the Fall, Francesca will be moving to New York City to attend the Manhattan School of Music to earn her master’s degree in Contemporary Performance.
Anna Henning grew up in a small town called Kewaskum near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She began plunking notes on the piano as soon as she was tall enough to reach the keys. In 5th grade she began her study of the French horn, which became her primary instrument. Anna participates in various bands, choirs, and chamber ensembles in the Milwaukee area. In May 2016 she graduated Wisconsin Lutheran College with a degree in music theory and composition. In her free time Anna enjoys every chance she gets to hear live performances by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Symphony orchestra, as well as other area chamber ensembles
Born and raised in Chicago, IL, David Hovorka attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and studied mathematics. He further his studies at Eastern Illinois University earning a master of arts in mathematics, and taught at Eastern for two years before going back to graduate school to pursue a degree in education at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale. After returning to Chicago last September, David has been chasing his passion of becoming a better educator and being an advocate for social justice. He is excited to be working at the Ojai Music Festival and is looking forward to what this experience can offer.
Luke Martin is an experimental composer, musician, and poet currently living in Boston, MA. He received his M.F.A. in Music Composition, studying with Michael Pisaro, from California Institute of the Arts in 2016 and his B.A. in Music (with honors) and English, magna cum laude and phi beta kappa, from Colby College in 2014. His artistic practice is centered on an exploration of silence, neutrality, fragility, and liminality in music, and is influenced by composers/thinkers such as John Cage, Morton Feldman, Alvin Lucier, Peter Ablinger, Samuel Beckett, Marcel Proust, and the Wandelweiser Group. He is currently engaged in an exploration of the possibilities of notating/performing silence.
Cori McGinley was born in Los Angeles and moved to Ojai, California in 2005. She matriculated at the Webb Schools in Claremont in 2012 as a boarding student, and have since played volleyball, tennis, water polo, and track and field. She’s been playing flute for 8 years now, playing in various honors orchestras and the Webb Schools’ Honors Sinfonia group. She received the Autumn Rabe Award for the “Most Inspired Water Polo Player” as well as the Wellesley Book Award for being an outstanding member of the community. She is a member of the Honor Cabinet, a group of eight young women that enforce our school’s honor code. She also joined the Chapel Council, bringing in speakers for our community, in addition to being a Student Ambassador. I am a Rogers Scholar, a scholarship award for student-athletes that show leadership potential. In July of 2015, Cori was sponsored to visit China with a host family to see the country as a part of an immersion program. She has been making the most out of every opportunity at Webb, creating a film club, being an active member of the GSA club, and attending a “Peccary Trip,” a paleontology expedition as a part of Webb’s on-campus museum. Furthermore, she is a part of the Prom, Staff Appreciation Dinner, and Faculty Appreciation Day Committees. Most recently Cori has committed to UC Berkeley as a part of the class of 2020 and can’t wait to start the next steps of her life there.
Farrah O’Shea is a scholar and violist pursuing doctoral studies in Theater and Performance Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research investigates the intersection of musicology and performance studies, and places specific interest on the performing body and art as social action. As a performer, O’Shea is a proponent of new music and seeks out works that stretch notions of sound production and musical color and form. Her interest in exploring the far reaches of human expression has led her to study alternative methods of music analysis and musicology. She hopes to create new pathways to art through interdisciplinary study and performance that will connect wider audiences with richly fulfilling cultural experiences. O’Shea’s mentors include violist Lynne Ramsey, musicologist, Susan McClary and music theorist, Diane Urista. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Boston University and a Master of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Emily Persinko is currently an undergraduate student at San Diego State University where she studies Music Entrepreneurship and Business. Emily is a flutist who studies with Pam Martchev and has played in masterclasses with musicians such as Molly Barth. Emily plays flute and piccolo in various San Diego State University music ensembles under the direction of band director Dr. Shannon Kitelinger and orchestra director Michael Gerdes. After graduating, Emily hopes to use her experience as a music major to work for a classical music organization. When she is not busy playing her flute, Emily enjoys collecting vinyl, doing yoga, and volunteering for local San Diego arts organizations.
Samara Rice is a contemporary classical music composer and educator based in Southern California. Textural elements, unusual instrumentation, extended performance techniques, and imagery inspiration combine themselves to form her compositional sound. She has had her works performed by notable ensembles such as the Southern California Brass Consortium, Friction Quartet, VEDA Quartet, Gnarwhallaby, and Hannah Addario-Berry. Samara is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach. She graduated cum laude and with department honors from the University of California, San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in music composition. Samara’s teachers include Dr. Lei Liang, Dr. Chinary Ung, Rand Steiger, Dr. Alan Shockley, Dr. Alexander Miller, Dr. Martin Herman, Dr. Adriana Verdié, and Dr. Philippe Manoury.
Halley Richardson was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and grew up in Camarillo, California. She is a rising senior at the University of Redlands in California. She is majoring in Photography and Graphic Design and minoring in English. She played piano for 8 years and loves music. Halley enjoys art, taking photos, reading, plants, and listening to great music. Last summer was her first time interning with the Ojai Music Festival. She is looking forward to interning as the Marketing and Communications intern once again.
Ruston Ropac is a dynamic vocalist specializing in contemporary repertoire for both the soprano and mezzo-soprano voice. She is a regular performer of chamber music, contemporary opera, electro-acoustic music, songs for voice and piano, and works for the unaccompanied voice, including several pieces of her own composition. Her extensive work as a chamber musician includes repertoire by Berio, Kagel, Saariaho, Bates, Polansky, Brown, and several world premieres. In 2015, she also performed the role of Georgiana in the world premiere of her chamber opera The Birthmark, based on a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne with a libretto adapted by the composer. 2016 engagements include a recital of works by Schoenberg, Ives, and Saariaho with pianist Jakob Ruderer, and a performance as part of a collaboration concert at Spectrum in New York City. Miss Ropac is currently studying for a Master of Music degree in Contemporary Voice at the Manhattan School of Music, where she is a member of the contemporary ensemble Tactus. She studies with soprano Lucy Shelton.
Daniel Sabzghabaei (b. 1992) is an internationally performed and award-winning composer whose works have been presented by professional and amateur ensembles alike, including: Dallas’ premier new music group Voices of Change, the Kharkov Academic Youth Orchestra, the Ansan City Choir, and Pittsburgh-based OvreArts to name a few. Daniel’s work aims to emphasize the malleability of time and how we experience it, not just in the concert hall but in everyday life as well. As of late, Daniel has been increasingly interested in his Persian heritage, seriously studying Persian art, music, and poetry. Daniel was born in Denton, Texas where he graduated summa cum laude from The University of North Texas as a Distinguished Honors Scholar. Daniel is currently a masters student at The Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University studying with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts. Recent and upcoming engagements include: the premier of Delbaré by Minnesota-based choral ensemble Magpies and Ravens, and a performance of his chamber ensemble and fixed media work Four Short Dreams as First Prize Winner of the Prix d’Été XX (2015-2016).
We’re thrilled to share the 2016 Festival Preview with 2016 Music Director Peter Sellars, Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris, and KUSC‘s Gail Eichenthal, produced as part of their Arts Alive series. Use the media player above to listen online or tune in to Arts Alive on Saturdays at 8am.
2016 Music Director Peter Sellars joined host Helga Davis in The Greene Space at WQXR on Friday, May 13 for an evening of conversation and performances by select musicians from the 2016 Ojai Music Festival. Performers included New Zealand-born singer-songerwriter Leila Adu, who has composed for So Percussion and Gamelan Padhang; International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) guitarist Dan Lippel; and the rising soprano and recent Juilliard graduate Julia Bullock.
Leila Adu, singer and pianist
Leila Adu: Selected Songs
Dan Lippel, guitarist (International Contemporary Ensemble)
Steve Reich: Electric Counterpoint
Julia Bullock, soprano
Poetry by Claudia Rankine
Video excerpt from Henry Purcell: The Indian Queen
The New York Times has just named the “50 Essential Summer Music Festivals” of 2016, and we are thrilled to have made the list! Here’s what they had to say:
“Peter Sellars, who directs the festival this summer, was inspired by the spiritual traditions of the Ojai Valley when creating this rich 70th anniversary lineup, which is also a tribute to female artists. The superb young soprano Julia Bullock sings the title role in a new chamber version of Kaija Saariaho‘s La Passion de Simone an oratorio about the life of the French feminist philosopher Simone Weil. Ms. Bullock also offers a homage to Josephine Baker with the International Contemporary Ensemble. Other highlights include the South Indian vocalist Aruna Sairam and the Cairo-based singer Dina El Wedidi and her band. The imaginative a cappella vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth offers Caroline Shaw’s remarkable Partita for Eight Voices, alongside a new work by Ms. Shaw. (A week later, La Passion de Simone, the Josephine Baker portrait and the concert by Ms. El Wedidi will be repeated during Ojai at Berkeley.)”
India’s legendary classical vocalist Padma Shri Aruna Sairam, makes her Ojai Music Festival debut on June 11, 2016, at 8pm, during the milestone 70th edition of the world-renowned music festival in Ojai, California.
Regarded as the Music Ambassador of India for successfully taking Indian music to the global arena, Aruna Sairam will present a “pure south Indian classical” vocal concert. Joining her will be M Rajeev, violin; Sai Giridhar, mridanjam; Ravi Balasubramaniam, ghatam; and Aamani Mynampati, tempura.
“We are thrilled to welcome to Ojai one of the most revered, beloved, surprising, and progressive stars of South Indian music. Aruna Sairam traces her artistic and spiritual lineages from some of the great gurus of the female vocal tradition, both within her own family and across multiple strands of Indian music. This is a woman who lives and moves in many worlds and holds them all magically on the breath. South Indian music is itself a spiritual quest, a philosophical journey, and an evolving state of ecstasy, rapture, and atonement. Aruna Sairam is one of the masters whose long, sinuous vocal line delineates a past that rises spontaneously in her breath as the future,” said 2016 Music Director Peter Sellars.
Aruna Sairam was born in Mumbai into a family with a deep love of music. Her mother, the singer Smt. Rajalakshmi Sethuraman, was her first teacher in the art of Carnatic music of South India. Her father, a music connoisseur, received the greatest musicians and dancers from northern and southern India in their home. It was in this propitious atmosphere, which was fundamental to the development of her art, that Aruna met Sangita Kalanidhi Smt. T. Brinda, who trained Aruna in the style of her own mentor, the great Veena Dhanammal, one of the most outstanding figures in Carnatic music.
The many national and international honors that have come her way include one of India’s coveted Civilian Honors the Padma Shri, and the prestigious US Congress Proclamation of Excellence, wherein the U.S. national flag was flown atop the Capitol building and handed over to Aruna Sairam with a special Congressional proclamation recognizing her musical contribution. She was appointed by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu as advisor to the Department of Culture, Tamil Nadu, on Musical Education. She is currently Vice Chairperson of India’s National Center for the Performing Arts, The Sangeet Natak Akademi. She has also performed across the length and breadth of the country, bringing the richness of South Indian classical music to people from all walks of life.
CARNATIC MUSIC OF SOUTH INDIA
The musical map of the Indian subcontinent could be viewed as a vast single cultural area with a rich and fascinating range of musical dialects. Among a huge number of regional traditions, several have attained high artistic status, through strong patronage and through the concentration of gifted musicians in particular places. Among these traditions, larger ‘canonical’ groupings have come to be recognized over the centuries, in which different local practices have taken their places within overarching musical cultures.
The two most commonly acknowledged ‘classical’ cultures are the Hindustani music of the North and the Carnatic (or Karnatak) of the South. ‘Classical’ in the Indian context means, among other things, a music that at the highest level is practiced by rigorously trained specialists, is associated with a long and respected tradition of musical theory and is supported by powerful patronage – whether this be historically that of the temple or kingly court or, as more recently in India, a public following in concerts, broadcasts and a recording industry. Though there are musicians who are trained in both Hindustani and Carnatic music – and there have been experiments in melding the two – true musical ‘biculturalism’ is rare and an upbringing in one tradition does not automatically entail an understanding of the other. But underlying the music there are some fundamental concepts of melody, rhythm and composition common to both.
Carnatic music is the dominant classical tradition in the southern states – those parts of India where the major Dravidian languages are spoken: Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil. With the help of a few guiding principles, a first encounter with this fascinating world of South Indian sound and meaning can prove highly rewarding.
Carnatic music, as we now understand it, can be traced as far back as the 17th century, with some surviving from earlier times. The Hindu religious poet Purandara Dasa (died 1564) composed his Kannada-language poems to be sung and he is popularly regarded as the ‘father’ or ‘grandfather’ of Carnatic music. Though we cannot know much about the style in which his poems were first performed, they are still studied and sung in more recent musical settings. There was a rich musical culture in the 18th century at the Maratha court of Tanjore (Thanjavur, in present-day Tamil Nadu). Here were born, all around the same time in the town of Thiruvarur, the three towering figures commonly referred to as the Carnatic ‘Trinity’. Thyagaraja (1767-1847) , Shyama Shastri (1762-1827) and Muttusvami Dikshitar (1775-1835).The works of these composers have formed the major part of the concert repertoire and it would not be uncommon in even a full-length public performance to hear renderings of works of these ‘composers’ alone.( The similarity, the time period, the proximity of locations and the impact on the legacy are all very close to the Western Music Trinity, Mozart, Bach and Beethoven ) . All three are inseparably associated with the South Indian Music and most Carnatic concert music is strongly derived from their works.. The association of the temple is as strong as that of the concert hall.
The Thanjavur musicians became famous and exerted wide influence. Through the traditional Indian system of ‘teacher-pupil succession’ (guru-shishya parampara), repertoires of songs and associated musical lore were kept alive and flourished through the 19th century and beyond. Thanjavur musicians were employed in many other kingly courts, most notably those of Travancore in present-day Kerala and Mysore in Karnataka. In Travancore the young ruler Raja Swati Tirunal (1813-46) was himself a gifted composer and musical connoisseur, and many hundreds of song compositions still sung today are attributed to him. At his court instrumental music also flourished, especially in the hands of a group of players known as the Thanjavur Quartet. At Mysore under the ruling Wadiyar dynasty there grew up an especially distinguished tradition of veena playing. More recently it was particularly in Madras (now Chennai) that public patronage of Carnatic music dominated. The Music Academy founded in that city in 1928 became chief among numerous institutions teaching and promoting the practice and theory of classical music and dance.
WHAT IS CARNATIC VOCAL MUSIC
The repertoire heard in Carnatic concerts is overwhelmingly based on songs – all musicians are brought up to regard the voice as primary and instrumental music as the offspring of the vocal. So it is that instrumentalists can – indeed should – be fundamentally influenced by knowledge of a vocal repertoire and its intricacies, and even of the voice culture that goes with it. A typical program, whether the main soloist is a singer or an instrumentalist, is a mixture of predetermined and improvised material. The same ‘pieces,’ which serve as a basis for extended performance in rigorously structured improvisation, may be sung or played. Instrumentalists – the solo instrument may be a violin or a veena or some other kind of plucked lute will of course omit the words, but many players and teachers insist nevertheless that constant mental reference to the original song, its text and meaning must be made while playing.
A concert will typically start with a song form called a varnam, a structure in three sections preceded by a brief alapana – an improvised introduction to the raga (the underlying melodic and modal structure of the piece). This will be followed by a number of kritis – many being originally composed by members of the Trinity; the melodies of the songs are often also ascribed to these composers and each is in a prescribed metrical cycle (tala). One kriti is likely to be longer and more developed than the others in its execution and elaboration, but each one will be preceded by at least a brief alapana and each will be extended by some apparently open-ended improvisation which reflects the soloist’s inventiveness and a studied body of relevant melodic and rhythmic patterns. A particularly large-scale form is the ragam-tanam-pallavi, in which the opening alapana is long and highly ‘exploratory’.
Like much of Indian music, and especially that of the ‘classical’ traditions, Carnatic melody is based on a system of modal substructures (ragas), each of them defined not only by its name and by ascending and descending scalar patterns, but also by characteristic ‘inflection’ of notes – shakes, oscillations, tremolos and so on – and it is perhaps this style of melodic embellishment above all else that gives South Indian music its particular beauty and its characteristic flavor. There is no fixed pitch; the unshifting tonic of the raga (played throughout the performance by one or more drone instruments – called the tanpura) may be set to suit the natural pitch of the main performing voice or instrument.
By Western standards, audiences of Indian music tend to show their appreciation of performances rather uninhibitedly, and in Carnatic concerts ‘participation’ is expressed most visibly by the marking and punctuating, through hand and finger gestures, of the metrical schemes (talas) to which the songs are set – rhythms and patterns which are played out on the drums and other accompanying percussion instruments. You may like to try it out – just take the lead of a South Indian sitting nearby!
—–Introduction on Carnatic and Vocal Music © Jonathan Katz
Jonathan Katz teaches at St Anne’s and Brasenose Colleges, Oxford. He is a linguist and musician with interests in European as well as South Asian language, literature and musicology.
Longtime contributors to new music blog I Care If You Listen Larry and Arlene Dunn recently published an interview with 2016 Music Director Peter Sellars for the site’s popular “Five Questions To…” interview series. Read the interview below, reposted with permission, and explore more articles and news on the I Care website.
Opera and theater director Peter Sellars is the Music Director for the 70th annual Ojai Music Festival, coming up in June in Ojai, California. He is in great demand as a creative collaborator by composers, performers, and other artists around the globe, as exemplified by this year’s Ojai program which features works by composers Kaija Saariaho, Claude Vivier, and Tyshawn Sorey, and performances by International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), soprano Julia Bullock, and international sensations Aruna Sairam and Dina El Wedidi.
What has been your experience of the Ojai Festival, leading up to your stint as Music Director?
I’ve been coming to Ojai as an audience member for over 30 years, since I first moved to California. The first time I worked here was with Pierre Boulez when we staged Stravinsky’s Soldier Story a week after the Los Angeles uprising. More recently I worked with Dawn Upshaw, when she was Music Director in 2011, to stage George Crumb’s The Winds of Destiny. I am thrilled to now be able to assemble a multi-layered program that rests on the immense history of this place — the spiritual searchings of Krishnamurti sitting under the trees, this sacred site of the Chumash people. Contemporary music is always at the forefront here and represents the connection between music and political and social change. This is not new. Classical composers, in their own times, have a long history of foregrounding the textual materials of the movements of their day, taking their music well beyond the realm of entertainment. Mozart in the Marriage of Figaro, Schoenberg in Moses and Aaron, they directly addressed the structures of inequality through their works. This year at Ojai, most of the composers are women. Now, on the one hand, I’d rather not have to mention that. But there’s something wildly exciting about hearing from the other half of the planet. And there are so many more than just a few to choose from! It’s an amazing and deep body of work, and it would be nice if more institutions recognized that.
Your Ojai program will highlight the works of Kaija Saariaho; what is it like developing projects with her?
Kaija is just an incredible joy to work with; she has such absolute commitment. We discuss new work deeply and intensely, starting very far ahead. Eventually she goes in a room, closes the door and enters a depth of concentration that is extraordinary. She begins with a chart of harmonic colors and everything flows from there. When she has something ready, her work ethic is exemplary. She is in every rehearsal and absolutely engaged with the performers as we hone the final product.
You’ve programmed a chamber version of Saariaho’s La Passion de Simone; how will it differ from the original?
La Passion was originally written ten years ago for Dawn Upshaw, with large symphony orchestra and chorus. The story delves into the inner life of Simone Weil, the 20th century French philosopher, Christian mystic, and political activist. In this new version, we have the soloist, a chamber orchestra of 19 musicians from ICE, still reasonably large, and a vocal quartet of singers from Roomful of Teeth. In this scale, the piece becomes much more intimate. Our soloist will be the stunning young soprano Julia Bullock, one of Ms. Upshaw’s proteges. Ms. Bullock, a young woman of color, brings the Black Lives Matter movement into the room and makes this piece relevant to today’s world. This upends the abstract character of Simone Weil’s philosophy and gives the work new dimensionality. Then as now, we face the danger of civilization in collapse, confronting evil of all kinds. Kaija’s pathbreaking musical work endures and astonishes us with newfound understanding of our world, its challenges, its possibilities.
You’ll also present the world premiere of Josephine Baker: A Portrait; what more can you tell us?
Ah, yes. Julia Bullock will also perform the lead role in Josephine Baker: A Portrait, a new oratorio of sorts by Tyshawn Sorey, percussionist, band leader, and composer beyond categorization. Josephine Baker was an African American expatriate in Paris, a contemporary of Simone Weil. And just like Weil, Baker placed her philosophy in her body, her entire lived self. She was an iconic lightning rod challenging the French establishment on issues of racial and gender equality.
Sorey’s work blurs the boundaries of so-called jazz and classical musics. He looks expectantly to the future, yet is deeply rooted in the present. The spaciousness of his sensibility and many cultural viewpoints intersect with his highly organized musical structures. Although it is important for him to show Josephine Baker as in control of her own destiny, he also takes the audience into her mysterious life behind the stage where she is haunted by deeper principles and the human struggle to survive. This work breaks Josephine Baker free from her commercial patina and probes her inner dimensions.
What other performers on the program are you particularly excited about?
First, let me say I am simply enthralled to be working with ICE. This is our first time collaborating together and it’s totally exhilarating. It seems there is nothing they can’t or won’t do in service to the music. I’m over the moon! They draw you right into their family and make you feel a part of their process. I want to adopt them, or have them adopt me. We also have two paragons of international musics who will inject the soul of their home regions into the festival. Aruna Sairam is the absolute flower of South Indian spiritual music. She is an innovative singer with a strong political voice, and a visionary collaborator with Western musicians. Dina El Wedidi, from Cairo, is the voice of Tahrir Square and the next generation of Egyptian music. Her voice is captivating and irresistible. There is a fierce political thread through her music that opens a space for a future otherwise unable to be born.
Friday, May 13, 2016: Q2 Ojai Festival Preview with Peter Sellars at the Greene Space in New York City
Monday, May 16, 2016: Ojai Festival Preview with Peter Sellars and Alex Ross at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, CAJune 9-12, 2016: 70th Ojai Music Festival, Ojai, CA
June 16-18, 2016: Ojai at Berkeley, at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, CA
The Ojai Music Festival and Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce will present a free Street Party Jam Session following the Sunday, June 12 concert at the Libbey Bowl.
“The Festival will expand and flow into a huge street party in the adjacent town of Santa Paula, culminating in the sheer communal pleasure of the joy of improvisation, increasingly wild juxtapositions, spontaneous jam sessions, and very, very good times.” – Peter Sellars, 2016 Music Director
SUN JUNE 12, 2016
Historic Main Street, Santa Paula
Featured artists will include:
Dina El Wedidi
Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA)
Los Jornaleros del Norte
Plus, downtown Santa Paula restaurants will be open for the community and patrons to enjoy during the evening performances. Free parking in downtown Santa Paula.
Honoring a long-held spirit of pushing boundaries with artists, music, ideas, and audiences, the Festival celebrates its milestone 70th year by broadening the roster of artists, continuing a focus on concerts for the community, and expanding the Festival’s geographic reach
Ojai welcomes Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho and showcases her works throughout the Festival including the US premiere of the chamber version of La Passion de Simone
Ojai presents a commissioned work by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw Don’t Let Me Be Lonely with text by Claudia Rankine, the world premiere of Josephine Baker: A Portrait with arrangements and music by multi-instrumentalist/composer Tyshawn Sorey, a new work by Cuban composer/conductor Tania León for Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA) and ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble)
ICE and the Calder Quartet return on the heels of their 2015 Festival appearances, and Ojai welcomes back alumni soprano Julia Bullock and violinist/vocalist Carla Kihlstedt
Ojai debuts include vocalist/composer Leila Adu, Egyptian singer Dina El Wedidi, flutist Camilla Hoitenga, Grammy-winning vocal collective Roomful of Teeth, baritone Davone Tines, Indian Carnatic singer Aruna Sairam, Flex dancer Sam I Am, and Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA)
In its sixth season, Cal Performances’ Ojai at Berkeley is slated for June 16 to 18, 2016 following the Ojai Music Festival
“The Ojai Valley has long been recognized as a rare and beautiful natural site that invites retreat, renewal, and regeneration, from Chumash ceremonial life to Krishnamurti’s legendary talks under the trees. The valley has both a grandeur and a human scale that inspire and allow the deepest human questions to resonate, and create a setting for the most personal search for answers. The magical play of light across the canyon and the heady aroma of orange blossoms bring the senses to life, awaken the mind, and create a profound aura of openness and well-being. Music incites many of the same thoughts and emotions, with similar immensity and intimacy and awe. The 70th Ojai Music Festival will gather this powerful energy and spirit of inquiry and reflection into a weekend of peak experiences and secret revelations.”
– Peter Sellars, 2016 Music Director
OJAI, CA (UPDATE APRIL 6, 2016) —The 70th Ojai Music Festival (June 9-12, 2016) with Music Director Peter Sellars pays tribute to a defining hallmark of the Festival – reimagining each year by affording the appointed music director creative freedom to explore their artistic interests and collaborations. Acclaimed opera and theatre director Peter Sellars’ vision for the upcoming Festival honors its long-held spirit of challenging audiences musically and intellectually in a celebration of music in the context of our world today.
Festival Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris says, “The festival that Peter has devised pushes all the right boundaries of the Ojai Music Festival on its 70th anniversary. This will be a festival building on the heritage of past achievements, but more importantly, laying the groundwork for an even more exciting future.”
Peter Sellars has long been known for infusing his music and opera productions with contemporary ideas and social issues. Believing that most classical music is grounded in spiritual and political contexts, he includes a variety of perspectives in his work. He says, “Art was invented as a way to face really difficult things with a sense that in facing them, you’ve already started the healing process.” As such, The 70th Festival embraces opening up to new ideas, new music, new audiences, and new communities.
Mr. Sellars is one of the most innovative and powerful forces in the arts, both in America and abroad. His partnership with Ojai dates back to 1992 when he directed a daring version of Stravinsky’s Histoire du Soldat with Music Director Pierre Boulez. Returning to Ojai in 2011 with Music Director Dawn Upshaw, he directed the critically acclaimed world premiere of the staged production of George Crumb’s song cycle, The Winds of Destiny.
Works by Kaija Saariaho
Concerts throughout the Festival will feature the work of Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, a frequent collaborator of Peter Sellars. He describes her featured work saying:
“For the first time, composer Kaija Saariaho will come to Ojai. We will feature one of her most potent and visionary works. Her new chamber version of La Passion de Simone, a meditation on the life of the courageous French philosopher Simone Weil, written to a wise and humane text by Amin Maalouf, will receive its American premiere with the extraordinary young soprano Julia Bullock. It is a work of startling integrity and permanent challenge in dark times, with a flame of hope that burns brightly and intensely in the darkness. The fierce commitment and brilliance of that flame will be embodied by ICE and Roomful of Teeth, conducted by Joana Carneiro.
Kaija Saariaho’s Only the Sound Remains, which was previously announced as part of the 2016 Festival, has been cancelled due to the new work’s technical and musical complexities, and the limitations of the outdoor venue in Ojai. Commenting on the cancellation of Only the Sound Remains, Mr. Morris said, “As completed, the new work is far more complicated than anyone had anticipated, and involves very complex and sophisticated spatial sound processing. With great reluctance, Peter Sellars and I have determined that such needs are beyond the inherent limitations of an outdoor venue.”
Ojai is pleased to announce additional performances, including a free late night event, featuring vocalist Leila Adu on Friday, June 10, 10:30pm, at the Libbey Bowl. On Saturday, June 11, a concert at the Zalk Theater at Besant Hill will feature the Calder Quartet and Davone Tines performing works of Christine Southworth, Caroline Shaw, and Leila Adu. Patrons currently holding tickets to the cancelled performance of Only the Sound Remains will be given priority access to tickets for these two events.
The Festival is offering multiple ways for patrons to handle previously purchased tickets of the Only the Sound Remains, including refunds, exchanges, or tax-deductible donations. Patrons can contact the box office at 805 646 2053 for additional details.
Ojai Debuts and New Works
Making their Ojai debuts in June will be the Egyptian singer Dina El Wedidi and Indian Carnatic singer Aruna Sairam. In Peter Sellars’ words:
“From Tahrir Square in Cairo, Dina El Wedidi and her band come to America to present a new song cycle that paints a personal picture of the realities, aspirations, disappointments, and determination of the Egyptian revolution. Dina El Wedidi epitomizes the new Egyptian women of a rising generation, her unmistakable voice alive with courage, allure, and the breath of freedom. Her band includes traditional Egyptian and modern electronic instruments.
We are thrilled to welcome to Ojai one of the most revered, beloved, surprising, and progressive stars of South Indian music. Aruna Sairam traces her artistic and spiritual lineages from some of the great gurus of the female vocal tradition, both within her own family and across multiple strands of Indian music. She also collaborates with folk artists, electronic ensembles, and pioneering jazz musicians such as Vijay Iyer. This is a woman who lives and moves in many worlds and holds them all magically on the breath. South Indian music is itself a spiritual quest, a philosophical journey, and an evolving state of ecstasy, rapture, and atonement. Aruna Sairam is one of the masters whose long, sinuous vocal line delineates a past that rises spontaneously in her breath as the future.”
Newly announced artists who will also make their Ojai debuts include Leila Adu, a New Zealand composer of Ghanaian descent. With a “voice like hot treacle on broken glass”, she has performed her original piano songs and improvisations worldwide. Based in Brooklyn, she is a currently a Princeton doctoral fellow and also teaches music to prisoners at Sing Sing Correctional Facility as a faculty member of Musicambia – Music as Social Change in Incarcerated Communities.
Ojai audiences will also welcome bass-baritone Davone Tines. Mr. Tines is building an international career commanding a broad spectrum of opera and concert performance from early music to adventurous contemporary works. Upcoming engagements include the workshopping and premiere of Crossing: A New American Opera for The American Repertory Theater directed by Diane Paulus, and his European debut with the Munich Philharmonic and the premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s Only the Sound Remains by the Dutch National Opera in March, directed Peter Sellars. Mr. Tines is a 2009 graduate of Harvard University and 2013 Master of Music graduate of The Juilliard School.
In addition to Ms. Adu and Mr. Tines, Ojai is pleased to announce the debut of flutist Camilla Hoitenga.
Ms. Hoitenga is at home on stages worldwide, playing not only the C-flute, but also the alto, bass, and piccolo flutes, in addition to other varieties of her instrument. Her repertoire ranges from pre-Bach to post-Stockhausen. Her recordings, in particular those with Kaija Saariaho, have won awards in France, Great Britain, and North America. She has performed concertos written for her by composers such as Kaija Saariaho, Péter Köszeghy, Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi, and Raminta Serksnyte.
Soprano Julia Bullock will be featured in the world premiere of Josephine Baker: A Portrait, with new music and arrangements for ICE by composer/multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey. Peter says of the work:
“Julia Bullock will be at the center of a unique and poignant evening honoring the brilliance, daring, public courage, and private tragedies of Josephine Baker, the black icon who created a singing, dancing declaration of independence with her black body, and blazed a trail of irresistible challenge and charm in France in the same years that Simone Weil pursued her feminist vigil on behalf of a larger humanity. Our Ojai evening will be a very personal portrait of Josephine as a fearless fighter for civil rights and a visionary who paid dearly for every forward step. Musical arrangements and original music for the evening will be crafted by the brilliant multi-instrumentalist/composer Tyshawn Sorey.”
“This year’s Festival will have its rituals. At mid-day there will be concerts of the kaleidoscopic and more rarely performed chamber works of Kaija Saariaho. The later afternoons will offer music of longing and consolation. Caroline Shaw’s works will be paired with Carla Kihlstedt’s phosphorescent exploration of dream worlds, At Night We Walk in Circles and Are Consumed by Fire, and Du Yun’s peeling away the surface of the world in An Empty Garlic.
Claudia Rankine’s seminal book, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, inspires another Ojai commission, a new vocal work by Caroline Shaw. Intensely personal, under the skin states of emotion, memory, and hope emerge in Caroline Shaw’s body of work as well as in her body – Caroline Shaw’s music is drawn from her voice, from her throat, from her heart, her pulse, and her blood. Her new work will once again be composed for the ensemble Roomful of Teeth, who will also be reprising her Pulitzer Prize winning Partita for 8 Voices for Ojai.”
An addition to this year’s Festival schedule is Pauline Oliveros’ Sonic Meditations, which will lead the Friday and Sunday mornings, realized by ICE and performed at Meditation Mount.
On Sunday afternoon (June 12), the Festival will present an extremely rarified American premiere of Canadian composer Claude Vivier’s Kopernikus, performed by Roomful of Teeth and ICE, and conducted by Eric Dudley. The performance will be joined by renowned Flex dancer Sam I Am who captivated audiences in FLEXN at the Park Avenue Armory a year ago. The New York Times hailed his “breathtaking lyricism, an unearthly mix of lightness and weight that pools in his big, sad eyes.” Peter describes the work as:
“Based on his own libretto, Claude Vivier’s Kopernikus is an uncategorizable, genre-defying opera/ritual. The posthumous discovery and rediscovery of Vivier’s clairvoyant, tragic, and otherworldly music has brought the dawning realization that the world lost a great composer with his appalling and premature death in 1983. A generation later, his music speaks with a fresh and searing clarity that transcends time – it is medieval and it is modern, it is bizarre and it is Balinese, it is carnal and it is Canadian. And it remains just beyond our earthly sphere. Seven instruments and seven vocalists portray Agni the Hindu God of Fire, Lewis Carroll, Merlin, the Queen of the Night, a blind prophet, an old monk, Tristan and Isolde, Mozart, the Master of the High Seas, and Copernicus and Copernicus’ mother. Claude Vivier’s project: “start again at the beginning, really put the world to rights, rediscover sensitivity.” To quote Copernicus’ mother, “the world is getting ready for a huge change, would you like to participate?”
Free Concerts for the Ojai Community
On Sunday morning (June 12), the Festival will present for the first time two free events for families as part of the regular Festival schedule, at the Ojai Art Center and in the Libbey Bowl:
“The final Sunday of the Festival will shift into an exuberant children’s festival for the first half of the day, featuring music written and performed by, with, and for children and anyone who is ready to listen to the world with fresh ears. The doyenne of the toy piano, Phyllis Chen, will compose, perform, and trigger a participatory cascade of toy piano mania and magnificence. Next, YOLA, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s essential and ebullient Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) comes up to Ojai to join forces with ICE in performing a newly commissioned work by the celebrated and sensational Cuban-born composer Tania León, followed by a second world premiere of a new work written by young Los Angeles composer Sharon Hurvitz.”
Free Street Party Concert in Santa Paula
On Sunday evening following the concerts at the Libbey Bowl, the Festival will present a free street party on the main street of neighboring Santa Paula – a half-hour drive east – featuring ICE, Dina El Wedidi, Aruna Sairam, Roomful of Teeth, Leila Adu, and other artists, expanding the geographic boundaries of the Festival.
“The Festival will then expand and flow into a huge street party in the adjacent town of Santa Paula, culminating in the sheer communal pleasure of the joy of improvisation, increasingly wild juxtapositions, spontaneous jam sessions, and very, very good times.”
Ideas: Ojai Talks, Transformation Talks, Concert Insights
Ojai Talks will launch the Festival on Thursday, June 9 with Ojai Talks Director Ara Guzelimian in conversation with Peter Sellars and Kaija Saariaho, at the Ojai Valley Community Church. Preceding the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday concerts on the Libbey Bowl stage will be Transformation Talks: Light into Darkness, Darkness into Light – a series of discussions with prominent guest panelists moderated by Peter Sellars and distinguished musicologist Susan McClary. Concert Insights with Christopher Hailey interviewing featured artists will take place before the afternoon concerts at the Libbey Park Tennis Courts.
Ojai at Berkeley
Marking the sixth year of artistic partnership, Ojai at Berkeley celebrates the dynamic nature of the Ojai Music Festival and of Cal Performances. As two distinct communities with similar values, Ojai and Berkeley are both known for intrepid artistic discovery, spirited intellect, and enduring engagement in the arts. Inaugurated in 2011, Ojai at Berkeley is a joint force that enables co-commissions and co-productions and allows artists to achieve more than could be imagined by each organization separately. Ojai at Berkeley follows the 2016 Ojai Music Festival and will take place from June 18 to 20 in Berkeley, CA. For more information visit CalPerformances.org.
Festival single tickets are available for the 2016 Festival and may be purchased online or by calling (805) 646-2053. Tickets range from $40 to $150 for reserved seating and lawn tickets are $15.
Percussionists are different. Their musical world has no fixed boundaries; there is no limit to the instruments they play and the sounds they make. There are no pretentious barriers between nature and artifice, no strictures on performing indoors or out. Their precursors reach back to the dawn of time and members of their guild are found in every culture. Hand a percussionist a random rock or the most exquisitely forged gong and he or she will make it speak, sometimes with breathtaking virtuosity born of the simplest gestures by which we interact, though touch, with our material world. So what does it mean that Ojai’s 2015 music director is a percussionist? Quite a lot if that percussionist is Steven Schick.
No one has done more to champion, interpret, and expand the repertory of contemporary percussion music than Steven Schick. Not only has he mastered the entire solo repertory – and more than doubled its size through commissions – but as a conductor, educator, and author he has deepened our understanding of the role of percussion in music’s past, present, and future. More importantly, as an artist of broad interests and deep convictions he has explored cultural issues well beyond the already boundless frontiers of his chosen specialization.
To a percussionist’s ear music begins with rhythm, color, and gesture and these are the elements that form the nexus of the diverse works and decidedly international array of composers of this all 20th– and 21st-century festival. Naturally, we’ll hear Steven Schick perform classics of the solo percussion repertory – compositions by Stockhausen, Xenakis, and Globokar, as well as more recent compositions by David Lang and Kaija Saariaho, and the American premiere of Roland Auzet’s staging of Kurt Schwitter’s Dadist masterpiece, Ursonate. But Steve will also conduct ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble), red fish blue fish, Renga, and musicians from CalArts, groups with which he is closely identified, in a broad array of ensemble works of varied scorings, including the West Coast premiere of John Luther Adams’ Sila. Among the distinguished soloists is cellist Maya Beiser playing pieces by Osvaldo Golijov, Michael Harrison, and Chinary Ung.
Other highlights are a sunrise performance of Morton Feldman’s For Philip Guston in which Steve is joined by flutist Claire Chase and pianist Sarah Rothenberg, Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Pipa featuring Wu Man, and Messiaen’s Vision de l’amen with pianists Gloria Cheng and Vicki Ray. This year’s “old timers” include Copland, Chavez, Ginastera, and Varèse, all with scores new to Ojai, save one late-night chestnut: Appalachian Spring.
2015 marks the beginning of a three-year celebration of Ojai’s roots in Southern California, where open exploration and cross-cultural dialogue are written into the DNA. It is therefore especially apt that this festival opens with a Wednesday night multimedia tribute to Pierre Boulez, seven-time festival director, on the occasion of his 90th birthday. Four concerts are devoted to his music, each in creative juxtaposition with works by Béla Bartók: the six string quartets and, as the finale, the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion. This means Steven Schick will have the last word: a snare drum diminuendo with which he ushers us across the fluid borders of his imagination into silence.
– Christopher Hailey
Christopher Hailey is a music historian specializing in new music. He is the Ojai Music Festival’s longtime annotator and host of Concert Insights, the Festival’s in-depth discussions held before each concert.
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Just as the Festival nurtures emerging artistic talent on the stage and cultivates interest in music in Ojai Valley public schools, it is also committed to training the next generation of music and arts management students through its internship program.
Each year, the Ojai Music Festival Arts Management Internship Program welcomes 12-14 college students and recent graduates to go behind the scenes of a renowned summer music festival. Interns work closely with the staff and production team, providing critical support and gaining invaluable hands-on experience and skills for their future careers. Each intern receives during their 2-3 week internship:
- An immersive experience in the world of a festival and inside knowledge into the many different pieces that come together for a successful weekend of concerts
- Training for their areas of responsibility from staff and leaders in the field
- Free and discounted tickets to Festival concerts (depending on work schedule and availability)
- Housing and/or homestay in the beautiful Ojai Valley and most meals during the Festival
The Festival invites interested students from all fields of study to apply for an internship. The program is ideally suited for curious, motivated individuals who are interested in the diversity of possible careers in the arts, events, and the nonprofit world. Festival interns have gone on to have successful careers in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors – those who have gone on to work in the arts have done so at organizations across the country, including Pacific Symphony, Early Music Guild of Seattle, and Voices of Change, as well as forged new paths as entrepreneurial performing artists and composers.
Thank you to everyone who joined us at our 2015 Launch Party on November 22. We had a wonderful time meeting Festival enthusiasts from Ojai, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles…and beyond!
Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris went through the schedule for 2015, highlighting artists and overarching programmatic themes that emerged over the course of planning the Festival with Music Director Steven Schick. As Tom said, “You can look at the Festival flow in this way: Day 1 – a sonic spectacular; Day 2 – introducing Steven Schick, percussionist; Day 3 – introducing all the artists; Day 4 – mixing everyone up. And cutting across everything is the celebration of Pierre Boulez.”
We also showed clips from the world premiere of A Pierre Dream: A Portrait of Pierre Boulez, which will be presented on June 10, and of John Luther Adams discussing Sila: The Breath of the World, which will be performed on June 11. If you were unable to attend, you can view both clips below.
Join us at our 2015 Launch Party – Saturday, November 22 at 5pm at the Festival Lounge (201 S Signal St)
- Learn more about the 2015 Festival concerts and artists from Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris
- Meet our new Board President David Nygren
- Enjoy the company of other music enthusiasts
Light refreshments will be served.
Free and open to the Festival community.
RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP or calling 805 646 2094. Hope to see you there!
Use the drop-downs to view program information:[wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””] [reveal heading=”%image% 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
[/reveal] [reveal heading=”%image% Thursday Evening Concert – June 12, 2014″] 8:00 PM – Libbey Bowl, Ojai, CA
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
[/reveal] [reveal heading=”%image% 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
Uri Caine Sextet
The music of George Gershwin, including Rhapsody in Blue, reimagined and improvised by Uri Caine
[/reveal] [reveal heading=”%image% Saturday Morning Concert – June 14, 2014″] 11:00 AM – Libbey Bowl, Ojai, CA
IVES: Sonatas for Violin and Piano, Nos. 1-4 (complete)
[/reveal] [/wpcol_1half] [wpcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””] [reveal heading=”%image% Saturday Evening Concert I – June 14, 2014 – coming soon!”] 6:00 PM – Libbey Bowl, Ojai, CA
ANDREW NORMAN: Light Screens
MOZART / TIMO ANDRES: Coronation Concerto Re-composition
[/reveal] [reveal heading=”%image% Saturday Evening Concert II – June 14, 2014 – coming soon!”] 8:00 PM – Libbey Bowl, Ojai, CA
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)
J.S. BACH: Violin Sonata No. 3 in C major, BWV 1005
FELDMAN: Rothko Chapel
[/reveal] [reveal heading=”%image% 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
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
[/reveal] [reveal heading=”%image% Sunday Evening Concert – June 15, 2014″] 5:30 PM – Libbey Bowl, Ojai, CA
LIGETI: Piano Études Books I & II
IVES: Psalm 90
BEETHOVEN: Fantasy in C Minor for Piano, Chorus, and Orchestra, Op.80, “Choral Fantasy”
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 email@example.com 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%.
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%
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.
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 >>
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.”
“’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.”
“…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.”
“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…”
“…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.”
“…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…”
“…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.”
“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.
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.
by Barbara Isenberg
June 2, 2014
These 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.
Listen to the 2014 Festival Preview with Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris and Gail Eichenthal of KUSC:
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
Alex Sopp, flute
Colin Jacobsen, violin
Miranda Sielaff, viola
Eric Jacobsen, cello
“Coronation” Concerto Re-composition
Timo Andres, piano
Eric Jacobsen, conductor
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
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.
Ojai 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.
The 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.
Throughout 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
Ojai is a place where alumni enjoy returning, whether to perform or just enjoy the experience as an audience member. Lisa Kaplan is one such member of the Festival family. As one of the members of the groundbreaking ensemble eighth blackbird, Lisa was first here in 2006 when they made their Festival debut performing Frederic Rzewski’s Coming Together, and captivated the Ojai audience. It was at this Festival that Thomas W. Morris, artistic director, approached them to return to the Libbey Bowl as the Festival’s 2009 Music Director. After their memorable and fearless stint in this post, Lisa and the “birds” were asked back to open the new Libbey Bowl in 2011 performing Osvaldo Golijov’s Ayre with Dawn Upshaw. And Lisa didn’t stay away long – just last year she again soaked in the festival experience, this time as an audience member!
Now we will welcome her back as both a performer and as a supporter to her very good friend, Jeremy Denk. Read her recent Q&A:
OMF: This will be your 5th time back in Ojai to perform but 4th since you came last year to hang out and enjoy the music. How did it feel to be on the other side of the stage as an audience member?
Kap: It was really wonderful to be on the audience side of the Ojai Festival last year. So relaxing! But also a lot to take in in the course of four days. I have been an admirer of Mark Morris for as long as I can remember, and it was truly inspiring to come out to see how he curated the festival. Highlights for me were, the John Luther Adams’ songbirdsongs performed on Meditation Mount at 8am where the sounds of the instrumental bird songs and the actual birds singing their song were completely blurred. Hearing Yulia Van Doren sing Ives and Cowell and Cage, sitting in on toy piano to play In C on a glorious, sunny morning, and Mark’s musical choreography to all of the dance. I was blown away by his piece to Samuel Barber’s “Excursions.” A piano work I’ve never liked but somehow with Mark’s choreography, it absolutely came to life for me. Now when I hear that piece, I can’t help but think of the dancing that goes with it.
OMF: What was your advice to Jeremy Denk once Tom Morris asked him to be Music Director for Ojai?
Kap: I told him that it would be a lot of work, but totally worth it! I encouraged him to do something bold and audacious that he may never have the opportunity to do otherwise. Ojai is a playground for those kinds of projects and has a devoted following that isn’t afraid of new work so it is the perfect opportunity to program something innovative or totally crazy!
OMF: This year we are paying tribute to those who inspire us as musicians, artists, and people as well as recalling an “Aha moment” during your path as an artist. Do you have one that you’d like to share?
Kap: I feel so fortunate to have been mentored and inspired by so many wonderful people over the course of my own career. Here’s a recent “Aha moment.”
Several years ago Jeremy and I were rehearsing Mozart’s exquisite 4-hand Sonata in F major. I was so consumed with wanting everything in my part to be absolutely perfect and as a result everything sounded safe and boring. Then, all of a sudden, I missed several notes in a run. I cursed out loud, and Jeremy looked over while still playing and said, “Great! After the first mistake, then the music can begin.” That’s what Sebök used to tell me. Don’t be so worried! Just play with total abandonment and the music will flow.”
I never played Mozart the same after Jeremy said that to me. I was so much less afraid to perform it and it was far easier to just have fun and make music together. The very best part about playing together with someone like Jeremy who is so talented, is that they up your game too. I always learn something new when I share the stage, (or bench) with him.
You can see Lisa Kaplan at the Sunday, June 15, 11am concert, performing in one of the “Canonade” pieces selected by Jeremy Denk. Buy tickets here >>
“I brought my friend’s teenage daughter and son to their first classical performance. We all thoroughly enjoyed Lou Harrison’s ‘Suite for Symphonic Strings’ and both kids are more engaged in their music preferences as a result.” – 2013 Festival patron
As faculty and students prepare for the final weeks of the school year, the Ojai Music Festival is preparing for another amazing four-day music experience, and we invite students to enjoy Ojai 2014 with our special student ticket offer, made possible through the support of the Shanbrom Audience Development Fund.
Students receive 30% off single reserved seats and $5 lawn tickets with a current student ID.
For more information, call Caitlin Praetorius at 805 646 2053
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We recently asked a few of our artists to describe one of their Aha moments – an experience or piece that opened up the musical universe for them. Here are some of the responses we received:
“Early in my freshman year of college, a graduate violinist hired me to accompany her in John Adams’s Road Movies, having failed to convince any of her pianist colleagues to do so. I’d never heard Adams’s music before, much less played anything like it, and was initially nonplussed; on the page, the piece looked easy, repetitious, even boring. I was surprised to find it cycling endlessly through my head after rehearsal. It was catchy but also tough, and I spent hours with the violinist figuring out how to play it. By the time we performed Road Movies together, I was an Adams acolyte.
That experience taught me something about myself, which is that I figure out music by getting my hands dirty, through the drudgery of practice. It is the best way I know of to answer the questions: Where did this music come from? How does it work? What can I steal from it?”
– Timo Andres, composer and pianist
Read Timo’s Q&A and listen to his specially curated playlist >>