2012 Festival Reviews

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Read 2012 Ojai Music Festival Reviews or read excerpts from the press below.


“For decades musicians have been emboldened by Ojai to think creatively and take chances with new music. The festival is short and intense. This summer the schedule, planned by Mr. Andsnes and the artistic director, Thomas W. Morris, is fuller than ever, with concerts, lectures, discussions and even films over four days.” – Anthony Tommasini


“In Ojai, though, it [Inuksuit] had the addition of an ad hoc chorus. Wandering spectators kept exclaiming, in happy congratulatory amazement, “Isn’t this so Ojai?” So Ojai, such a ritual hour of enthralling rumble and shimmer, it surely was.” – Mark Swed


“In this fascinating work, performed with the composer conducting from the piano, Mr. de Leeuw intrepidly fractures and alters the originals. He lingers on notes and harmonies, speeds up or slows down phrases, jiggles rhythms, lifts bits from different songs and clashes them together. The soprano Lucy Shelton, in a courageous and emotionally raw performance, sang some phases and delivered others in breathy Sprechstimme.” – Anthony Tommasini 


“The piece [La Mattina] opened movingly, with whispers of the Bach-Busoni chorale that inspired it played with a velvet touch by the pianist. From there, the work became more lively and took unexpected turns—the string players tapping wooden blocks and even humming briefly—before returning to a more somber state and a delicate, heartbreaking conclusion.”
– David Mermelstein 


“The 66th Ojai Music Festival ended in high spirits Sunday. Leif Ove Andsnes and Marc-André Hamelin put on clown’s noses and played a hilarious — and spectacular — two-piano transcription of Stravinsky’s “Circus Polka.” Andsnes, who is Norwegian, was this year’s primarily serious and understated music director.” – Mark Swed


“Listeners also exuded an Ojai essence familiar at the festival, a mix of wise-looking elders and members of a with-it younger generation who had either grown up around the special attractions of the erudite festival or been drawn to its enduring spirit of pushing the musical envelope.” – Rita Moran


“When Leif Ove Andsnes, the immensely gifted pianist who served as music director of the 66th annual Ojai Music Festival, stood to acknowledge the applause at the end of the Festival’s final day, he hesitated before issuing his first thanks, which went to the audience. “This is truly the world’s best audience,” he said, and a ripple of happy laughter passed through the  larger wave of applause that followed his remark.” – Charles Donelan


“More generally speaking, Mr. Andsnes’ smartly-designed program fell in line with the recent trend at this traditionally untraditional, contemporary music-minded festival — especially in the current regime of artistic director Thomas Morris, here since 2004 — for blending contemporary music with music of old, of finding continuities and affinities between music separated by centuries and cultural differences.” – Josef Woodard