“Musical genre is a twentieth-century concept. Today we can move beyond the dated classification of music into genres like ‘jazz,’ ‘classical,’ ‘experimental,’ and so on; instead there are only communities, and their different ways of making, sharing, and experiencing music. Communities are fluid, porous, and dynamic and can intersect or overlap; you might participate in multiple communities at once. What you will see and hear next year at Ojai is a spectrum of master musicians from disparate communities – composers, performers, improvisers – whose work spans many different systems and approaches. What they have in common, and what binds all of us, is that we listen to each other, and we find ways of making music together.”
– Vijay Iyer, 2017 Music Director.

vijay_iyer-photo-by-BarbaraAs the Ojai Music Festival anticipates this week’s 70th Festival (June 9-12, 2016) with Music Director Peter Sellars, the Festival’s 2017 Music Director Vijay Iyer and Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris share initial programming for the 71st Festival, June 8-11, 2017.

“Vijay Iyer is one of the most creative artists I know, and his breadth of musicianship, intellect, and curiosity made him an irresistible choice to be the 2017 Music Director. Not only does Vijay possess an extraordinary range of musical collaborators, many of whom will join him in Ojai, but he is devising a program centered on the very creativity of producing music – from composition to performing to improvising,” said Thomas W. Morris. “Joining him will be returning Ojai family, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) with conductor, and Ojai’s 2015 Music Director, Steven Schick, Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam, and percussionist Tyshawn Sorey. Among the artists who will make their Ojai debuts in 2017 are violinist Jennifer Koh, the Vijay Iyer Trio and Sextet, and composer-performers Wadada Leo Smith and Steve Lehman.”

2017 Festival programming will feature the world premiere of a commissioned violin concerto by Vijay Iyer for violinist Jennifer Koh; the West Coast premiere of George Lewis’ Afterword: The AACM (as) Opera, based on his award-winning book A Power Stronger than Itself; Stravinsky’s Le Sacré du Printemps in a new arrangement for ICE by Cliff Colnot; and Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi – film by Prashant Bhargava with music by Vijay Iyer, performed with ICE. Additional programming will be announced in the fall.

About Vijay Iyer
The 2017 Festival introduces composer-pianist Vijay Iyer (pronounced “VID-jay EYE-yer”) as Music Director. A Grammy nominee, Iyer was named DownBeat Magazine’s 2015 Artist of the Year and 2014 Pianist of the Year, a 2013 MacArthur Fellow, and a 2012 Doris Duke Performing Artist. He has released over twenty recordings under his own name. The latest, on the ECM label, include A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke (2016), a duo recording with trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith; Mutations, featuring his compositions for piano, string quartet, and electronics; Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi, a film by Prashant Bhargava, with Iyer’s score performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE); and Break Stuff, featuring the Vijay Iyer Trio. Iyer is the Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts in the Department of Music at Harvard University, and the director of the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music. His compositions have been commissioned by Arturo O’Farrill, American Composers Orchestra, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Brentano Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Imani Winds, ICE, Jennifer Koh, Matt Haimovitz, and Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. He is a Steinway artist.

Series Passes for 2017 Ojai Music Festival
Advance 2017 series subscriptions are now available for purchase. To order, come to the box office during the Festival weekend, order online at www.Ojaifestival.org, or by calling 805 646 2053

Download the order form here >>

Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris – Remembering Steven Stucky

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We are all terribly saddened with the news of Steve Stucky’s untimely death Sunday, after a virulent battle with cancer over the last few months.

Steve is of course most well known to the Ojai community for The Classical Style, his comic opera written with librettist Jeremy Denk for the 2014 festival and premiered to critical acclaim. Finding the right composer to set Jeremy’s somewhat unbelievable idea for an opera about musicology was at first a daunting task, but Steve brought exactly the right blend of ingenious new music, reverence for past music (the story after all is about Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven), and a sublime sense of emotional meaning to the story through his music. Watching the creative partnership between them over the two years of project development was an inspiration and joy.

What I remember most was Steve’s infectious and uncontrollable sense of humor. During those long working rehearsals for The Classical Style, he would suddenly burst into laughter at one of Jeremy’s wry turns of phrase, and just as easily chuckle at his own musical jokes imbedded in the score. But Steve was also a deeply caring and emotional man who didn’t hide tears at the touching entrance of Robert Schumann at the end of the opera signaling both the end of the classical style and the birth of the romantic era.

Steve was a great composer, a marvelous musician, and above all a superior human being. He was well known to Southern California audiences through his long association with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. I got to know him through his work as board chair of the American Music Center and subsequently New Music USA. He was always a delight to be with.

Our hearts go out to his wife, Kristen, and all the members of his family, and we are thankful for his indelible role in the Ojai Festival. We still had so much more to do together.

Photo: Steven Stucky at the 2014 Festival premiere of The Classical Style (Timothy Norris)

Vijay Iyer: 71st Festival, June 8 to 11, 2017
Esa-Pekka Salonen: 72nd Festival, June 7 to 10, 2018
Barbara Hannigan: 73rd Festival, June 6 to 9, 2019
Patricia Kopatchinskaja: 74th Festival, June 11 to 14, 2020
Mitsuko Uchida: 75th Festival, June 10 to 13, 2021

“Ojai prides itself on the wide-ranging breadth and depth of its music directors – from conductors, composers, instrumentalists, choreographers, and theater directors to established musical personalities and emerging artists of the future. The fundamental requirements to serve as a music director are to be a serious and curious musical artist of unquestioned excellence and to fully embrace a sense of adventure. He or she must be someone whose musical predilections will surprise, provoke, and delight. Soprano/conductor Barbara Hannigan, violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja and pianist Mitsuko Uchida fulfill these requirements – and along with Peter Sellars, Vijay Iyer, and Esa-Pekka Salonen – will bring to the Ojai Music Festival a truly distinctive and distinguished artistic arc through its 75th anniversary in 2021.”
– Thomas W. Morris, Artistic Director

(FEBRUARY 9, 2016) — As the Ojai Music Festival anticipates the upcoming 70th Festival (June 9-12, 2016) with Music Director Peter Sellars, Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris announces the artists who will serve as Music Directors through the Festival’s 75th anniversary in 2021. Following previously announced future music directors Vijay Iyer (June 8-11, 2017) and Esa-Pekka Salonen (June 7-10, 2018), soprano/conductor Barbara Hannigan will be the 2019 music director (June 6-9), violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja in 2020 (June 11-14) and pianist Mitsuko Uchida in 2021 (June 10-13). Since the late 1940’s, the Ojai Music Festival’s tradition has been to welcome a new Music Director each year to ensure vitality and diversity in programming across Festivals. Read More

Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris – Remembering Our Dear Friend Pierre Boulez

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Dear Ojai Festival Friends:

We are all saddened by the news this morning of Pierre Boulez’s death at the age of 90. He passed away peacefully and quietly in his sleep last night.

That Pierre was one of the seminal thinkers and musical intellects of our time goes without saying, his legacy as a composer is unquestioned, and his setting of standards as a conductor and programmer are unparalleled.

My deepest thoughts this morning go to Pierre Boulez as friend and mentor. He was relentless in forging close and long-lasting relationships with organizations and individuals with whom he felt the common bond of beliefs and commitment. One of those was the Ojai Music Festival, which he considered as one of his important artistic homes. He holds the record for the most times as music director in the Festival’s history – seven times between 1967 and 2003, spanning over half of the Festival’s history and over half of his life. He had close personal creative relationships with four of the Festival’s artistic directors – Lawrence Morton, Ara Guzelimian, Ernest Fleischmann, and myself, which means his ties to Ojai reach back as far as 1954. I am so proud that we appropriately celebrated his 90th birthday last June.

Knowing and working with Pierre through the years fundamentally influenced my own sense of programming and love of musical adventure. While ill health curtailed his performing and traveling over the last four years, he always expressed, in my frequent visits to him in Baden Baden, a profound interest in what was happening at Ojai, and was always misty-eyed with the recollection of his first visit to Ojai in 1967 in Lawrence Morton’s convertible and of the wall of pungent orange blossom scent as he crested the Upper Ojai Valley. The fact that Ojai thrives today with its fearless embrace of the new, its stellar heritage of innovative artists, and its lively and engaged audiences is a tribute to Boulez’s beliefs, his considerable commitment as a conductor/composer/collaborator, and his deep abiding love of Ojai.

Thank you with all my heart, dear Pierre.

Thomas W. Morris
January 6, 2016

Learn more:
View photos of Pierre from our archives >>
See a timeline of Pierre’s Festivals in Ojai >>

The Festival is currently accepting applications for its 2016 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.

Click here to learn more and download an application >>

lynn

Thank you to everyone who joined us this past weekend for the Holiday Home Look In and Marketplace! We’re so glad you were able to attend and hope to see you next November. Thank you to all the volunteers, musicians, and home owners who helped to make the home tour and marketplace so special. And an extra special thank you to the Ojai Festivals Women’s Committee for all their tireless work to put on such a spectacular event.

Watch Peter Sellar Discuss Plans for 2016

Click on the video to watch 2016 Music Director Peter Sellars preview his plans for next June.

Series tickets are now on sale – to click here to order online or call 805 646 2053 for personal assistance.

 

2015 Audience Survey Results

The Festival, a place for experimentation and discovery, looks for feedback from our audience after our time together in June. This year, we sent out an electronic audience survey to 1,013 ticket buyers who attended this past Festival, and we received an overwhelming 40% response. For those who participated, we thank you for making the time to share such thoughtful evaluations about your experience.

As we continue to comb through the results and comments, we would like to share some initial findings. Please see below for responses to our survey. We will keep you posted as additional 2016 Festival details become available, and look forward to welcoming you back to Ojai once again.

In the meantime, and to address one area of concern that was raised by many of you, we will be including more space in next year’s Festival schedule for meals, reflection, and connection. Read More

2015 Festival Reviews

 

The Ojai Music Festival was a colorful and continuous mix of music, conversation, gatherings, and surprises — a total of more than 32 offerings, which added up to one unforgettable Festival.

You can relive the 2015 Festival anytime by watching our archived live streaming concerts, Ojai Talks, and interview intermissions online.

Read excerpts of reviews below or download a pdf version here >>

Feeling the sonic rush at the Ojai Music Festival
Schick did not go so far as to propose compatibility and cohabitation as a festival theme. But by packing the 69th Ojai festival into marathon days of concerts from dawn (and before!) until midnight, he, in fact, turned the five-day festival into a de-facto Davos of musical diplomacy. No model society emerged, but there were helpful hints of how we might proceed.

Los Angeles Times

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Ojai Music Festival and WQXR’s Q2 Music Launch Partnership

Q2_400x400Q2 Music and the Ojai Music Festival are partnering to bring you on-demand audio from past Festivals, as well as a five-part series of festival concert audio hosted by noted choreographer and 2013 Ojai music director Mark Morris.

Listen to episodes from the series, hosted by Mark Morris, below and hear full recordings from the Festival here >>

Read More

Happy 90th Birthday Pierre Boulez!

Boulez 2003 by Frank Bott

Boulez in Ojai (2003). Photo credit: Frank Bott

 

Happy 90th Birthday to Pierre Boulez! We’re kicking off our celebrations by unveiling our Boulez In Ojai timeline – it’s a work in progress and we’ll be adding new photos and material in the coming weeks. Don’t forget to get your tickets to the Wednesday, June 10th Boulez At 90 event, featuring the West Coast Premiere of Beyond the Score® A Pierre Dream: A Portrait of Pierre Boulez.

View the Boulez in Ojai timeline here >>

Read more on Boulez At 90 >>

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

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.

 

 

 

 

We are thrilled to be named one of NPR’s most intriguing classical festivals. Ojai is in good company with esteemed and fascinating organizations including — to the east, Bard Music Festival, Caramoor, and Mostly Mozart, and to the west, Aspen and Moab.

67th Ojai Music Festival - June 8, 2013 - 10:30 PM

red fish blue fish, percussion ensemble, performs works by John Cage at the 2013 Festival Late Night Concert

According to NPR Music’s Tom Huizenga:

“What the Ojai Festival may lack in terms of its length it makes up with a concentrated supply of intriguing concerts in both early morning (Brooklyn Rider playing Glass at 8 a.m.) and late night (Uri Caine’s Sextet with Gershwin at 10:30 p.m.). Perhaps the most anticipated work on tap this year is the world premiere of The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts), a chamber opera based on pianist and pedagogue Charles Rosen’s book The Classical Style by festival music director and pianist Jeremy Denk and Pulitzer-winning composer Steven Stucky.” 

Read more >>

 

 

JLA bioCongratulations to composer John Luther Adams who won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for music for his composition Become Ocean, an orchestral work that was commissioned and premiered last year by the Seattle Symphony.

Festival Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris hailed John’s achievement, commenting: “Adams is a dear friend of Ojai, and one of the most creative of today’s composers. His unique voice blends exceptional musical sounds with the spirit of life around us into tapestries that thrill, entrance, and amaze.”

Besant Hill JLAOjai audiences have been treated to John’s works in 2012 with Inuksuit performed at Libbey Park, and 2013 with For Lou Harrison, songbirdsongs, and Strange and Sacred Noise.

Watch John at last year’s Ojai Talks as he discusses his music and inspirations >>

View the complete list of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize winners here >>

Besant Hill JLA

John Luther Adams watches red fish blue fish perform ‘Strange And Sacred Noise’ at Besant Hill School, Ojai – June 8, 2013

The Festival wishes John Luther Adams a very happy birthday! John’s music has become something of a ‘regular’ at the Festival, first in 2009 with a performance of Dark Waves by Lisa Kaplan and Jeremy Denk, and then in 2012 with the West Coast premiere of his immense Inuksuit in Libbey Park. He made it to Ojai in 2013 with Music Director Mark Morris, with his works (Strange and Sacred Noise and songbirdsongs) being the focal point of the Festival’s two sunrise concerts and the Saturday evening concert (For Lou Harrison) in Libbey Bowl.

While John was at the Festival last year, he also took part in a sold-out Ojai Talk, where he spoke about his musical influences and inspiration, and his friendship with composer Lou Harrison, among other topics. In this clip from the talk, John discusses the genesis of songbirdsongs with Ara Guzelimian:

John also spoke about one of the defining moments of his life – and his musical development – moving to Alaska:

After the Festival, 2013 continued to be a momentous year for John, with the recent, groundbreaking recording of Inuksuit receiving wide acclaim and being named to NPR Classical’s 10 Favorite Albums Of 2013. We look forward to even greater things in the upcoming year and wish John the best on his birthday. We hope we’ll have the chance to see him in Ojai again soon!

View the complete Ojai Talk with John Luther Adams on our YouTube Channel >>

Ojai Music Festival 2011 Day 4 - 5:30 Concert Featuring Australi

Winter Morning Walks at the 2011 Ojai Music Festival

While we don’t have a trophy case in our Ojai office, we’ve been delighted by the recent nomination of Maria Schneider’s Winter Morning Walks for three Grammy Awards, including Best Contemporary Classical Composition and Best Classical Vocal Solo. Dawn Upshaw, who received the latter nod, gave Schneider’s work its world premiere at the 65th Ojai Music Festival in June 2011, alongside the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Winter Morning Walks was a co-commission of the Ojai Music Festival, Cal Performances, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and has since been performed throughout the country and make its Australian premiere early next year.

The award nominations continue what has been a particularly rich last few years for Festival artists. At the 2009 Ojai Music Festival, Steven Mackey’s Slide made its world premiere with eighth blackbird and used the Ojai performance as a springboard to revise and record the work, Lonely Motel: Music From Slide with eighth blackbird. Last year, the album won a Grammy for Best Small Ensemble Performance. The recent (and groundbreaking) recording of John Luther AdamsInuksuit was recently named to NPR’s “10 Favorite Classical Albums of 2013.” And joining the list of accolades are Leif Ove Andsnes, Steven Stucky, Osvaldo Golijov, and George Crumb, among others, all of whom have received Grammy nominations or wins in recent years.

What is especially exciting, for those of us in Ojai, is to see the ways in which what happens for four days each June continues to resonate long after the last instrument has been packed away. We encounter these artists as they enter a supportive environment – Ojai’s creative laboratory – for a brief time and at various stages in their careers. We then have the privilege and honor of watching them continue their artistic development. So to all the artists who have called – and will call – the Festival their home in June, thank you for bringing your work to Ojai. We can’t wait to see what happens next.

 

In late October, BRAVO! launched its new program, Upbeat, at Ojai’s Community Hospital’s continuing care center. Over a dozen residents came out to participate in group music making and song performances, led by percussion specialist, music therapist and BRAVO! Artist-in-Residence, Judy Piazza.

Upbeat was conceived after a pilot workshop at the hospital, where BRAVO! volunteers brought a handful of instruments from the instrument petting zoo and led residents through a brief interactive workshop. The workshop was an instant success. Kristina Moffett, Activity Director at the Ojai Hospital Continuing Care Center wrote to BRAVO! Coordinator Andy Radford:

I am very excited to be a part of this opportunity to establish a music program for the senior care centers in Ojai. I have witnessed the benefits of what this type of program can provide for our seniors – the fun and joy that playing music brought to our residents was truly amazing. From residents who are alert, to those who are lower functioning; from residents who are physically disabled, to non-English speaking residents, everyone was able to take part. The stimulation of sound, vibrations, and movement affected every person that was there. This would truly be a benefit to our community to expand on.

When planning the workshops, it quickly became apparent that BRAVO!‘s existing instruments – trombones, trumpets, violins, chimes, etc – were not well-suited to those with limited movement. Instruments for UPBEAT were specially chosen to enable those with a range of movement abilities to participate. These include shakers and bells and struck sound instruments (drums, boom whackers). Instrument purchases for UPBEAT were made possible by the generous support of the Ojai Festivals Womens Committee, the Ojai Rotary Club and the City of Ojai Arts Commission.

Upbeat workshops are currently being scheduled at the hospital, as well as additional senior resident facilities throughout the valley. We’ll be posting photos and updates throughout the winter and spring. Special thanks to Kristina and all the facility administrators in the valley for helping to make Upbeat a success.

Learn more about the BRAVO! music education program >>

All photos by Fred Rothenberg

 

One of BRAVO!‘s larger programs is its Education Through Music (ETM) residencies. ETM’s weekly workshops integrate vocal music lessons with critical thinking games to teach the fundamentals of pitch and rhythm and build interpersonal skills. In addition to its musical benefits, ETM builds the acquisition of language and movement to enhance the imagination and stabilization of children. Originally offered to only K-1 students, BRAVO! currently provides ETM to K-2  classrooms throughout the Ojai Valley.

Local musipreferredcian and BRAVO! artist in residence Laura Walter has taught ETM for several years, working with students and adults of all ages, utilizing the experience of interactive play to develop motivation and promote community building and conflict resolution skills. Recently, she’s used her work to conduct studies in topics that range from symbolic functioning in math and language systems, to the needs of typical and non-typical learners, entitlement, addiction, effects of domestic violence and abuse, and peer orientation.

As an ETM educator, Laura works with teachers and children to promote, intelligence, attention, literacy, emotional stability and beauty through the aesthetic experience. Through the use of songs and musical games, students learn to think critically, cooperate with one another, communicate their emotions, and strengthen their interpersonal relationships. One ETM activity has students match songs they know with their clapped rhythm:

Laura recently returned from four weeks in Israel where she studied the effects of trauma on childhood, society, and the role of art and beauty in healing conflict. The power of ETM is clear – as Laura writes, “Children in ETM classes create beauty, which leads to empathy and hope, embracing the important contribution of arts education. Teachers often say, ‘ETM has taught these children to be kind and respectful by creating beautiful music with each other.” ETM’s benefits may not always be measured quantitatively, but its effect on students – and all who are involved – remains incredibly profound. BRAVO! and the Festival have been grateful for Laura’s expertise throughout the years and her steadfast advocacy of ETM throughout the country.

About Laura Walter:
Laura Walter received a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance from the University of Kentucky. She studied flute with various members of the Cincinnati Symphony, New York Philharmonic and the London Symphony.  She serves on the faculty of Westmont College and also performs with the Santa Barbara Symphony, Opera Santa Barbara, as well as local choral societies. Laura has performed with several orchestras across the country, is active as a clinician and competition adjudicator, and has established and conducted flute choirs at colleges and festivals across the country.

Alry Publications has published several of her flute choir arrangements and an etude book based on orchestral excerpts.  She has performed with many musicians including Henry Mancini, Roger Sessions, Peter Schickele, Doc Severinsen, Steve Allen and Yanni. She has recorded on 12 different CD’s ranging from classical to Gospel music.

Laura is also an accomplished watercolorist and her paintings have won numerous awards at shows and galleries in Ventura and Santa Barbara. How color interacts on paper is similar to how the sounds of the orchestra instruments combine to create beauty. Some of the most interesting aspects in the process of creating visual art are similar to the process of creating music: responding to what’s happening in the moment, listening very carefully, and finding both the rhythm and the flow in work and play.

Read more about ETM and the Richards Institute >>
See more information on BRAVO! and its programs >>

Judy Vander, Ojai Music Festival Education Committee Member writes about the diverse programs offered as part of BRAVO! – including its new residency ‘Ojai Creates Opera’.

The breadth and variety of the Ojai Music Festival’s BRAVO! music education program has garnered wide acclaim from educators, parents and students for its continued resolve to offer  free programs in the Ojai Valley public school system.

One of the Festival’s newest programs for the very youngest is Education Through Music (ETM), which serves students, kindergarten through first grade, in the Ojai Unified School District. This innovative way of teaching and learning music reaches the child through play, song, language, and movement. ETM has been so successful that there are now ongoing tutorial sessions to give ETM training to classroom teachers, funded by the Ojai Rotary Club. Read More

Backstage-Crew-2012

I spent a lot of my childhood living in Ojai and vaguely remember folks at my schools, Mira Monte and Matilija, mentioning the Ojai Music Festival. Murmurs of experimental music during Ojai summers came through my piano teacher, my school choir community, and through some of my parents’ more artistic friends. However, I remained fairly oblivious. The most actual music I heard from the Festival was from distant rehearsals resounding in the park as I stepped into Ojai Ice Cream on a warm June day.  Who knows, maybe Pierre Boulez opened the door for me at the time, and I missed it. Read More