“Ojai is special. There is no fight with new music, no fear — just curiosity and hunger for fresh music of today. The Ojai audiences are completely open minded, and it’s a wonderful possibility to do music that I truly enjoy and find powerfully relevant in our present world. Ojai is magic,” Patricia Kopatchinskaja, 2018 Music Director.
“When I first met Patricia Kopatchinskaja, I knew she was a natural to be Music Director of the Festival. She is, quite simply, a force of nature. Her unstoppable energy, blazing virtuosity, and relentless curiosity are irresistible. The 2018 Festival will showcase her wildly diverse artistic talents as a violinist, a collaborator, a director, an advocate, and as a creative force. Patricia sees music in the context of today’s social and political issues so the 2018 Festival is one that will surely offer confrontation, questioning, and healing. The 2018 Festival aims to capture Patricia’s infectious energy and virtuosity,” Thomas W. Morris, Artistic Director.
The 72nd Ojai Music Festival, June 7-10, 2018, presents Music Director Patricia Kopatchinskaja’s unbounded musical creativity and perspective in the context of today’s social and political climate.
The 2018 Ojai Music Festival welcomes the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO) in its first extended United States residency. Founded in 1997, the Berlin-based MCO defines itself as a free and international ensemble, dedicated to creating and sharing exceptional experiences in classical music. With members spanning 20 different countries, the MCO works as a nomadic collective of passionate musicians uniting for specific projects in Europe and across the world. The MCO forms the basis of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and maintains long and fruitful artistic relationships with major artists, including Ms. Kopatchinskaja and Mitsuko Uchida, Ojai’s 2021 Music Director. In Ojai, MCO will display its versatility and virtuosity as an orchestral ensemble, in smaller chamber iterations, and also in superb solo performances from individual members.
The JACK Quartet also makes its Ojai debut at the 2018 Festival. Deemed “superheroes of the new music world” (Boston Globe), JACK is dedicated to the performance, commissioning, and spread of new string quartet music. Comprising violinists Christopher Otto and Austin Wulliman, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Jay Campbell, the group collaborates with composers of our day, including John Luther Adams, Chaya Czernowin, Simon Steen-Andersen, Caroline Shaw, Helmut Lachenmann, Steve Reich, Matthias Pintscher, and John Zorn. Upcoming and recent premieres include works by Derek Bermel, Cenk Ergün, Roger Reynolds, Toby Twining, and Georg Friedrich Haas. At the 2018 Festival, JACK will perform works by Georg Frederick Haas, Horatio Radulescu, Morton Feldman, George Crumb and Jorge Sanchez-Chiong.
Major projects will include two semi-staged concerts conceived and directed by Ms. Kopatchinskaja. The first, which opens the Festival on Thursday night, is Bye Bye Beethoven. Kopatchinskaja describes the concert as a commentary on “the irrelevance of the classic concert routine for our present life.” This program features a mash-up of music by Charles Ives, John Cage, Joseph Haydn, György Kurtág, Johann Sebastian Bach, and the Beethoven Violin Concerto. This marks the US premiere of Bye Bye Beethoven, which was premiered at the Hamburg International Music Festival and subsequently staged in Berlin. This production marked the fourth collaboration between Ms. Kopatchinskaja and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Bye Bye Beethoven involves musicians in both conventional and unconventional roles, encounters with different musical genres – including a collaboration with sound designer Jorge Sanchez-Chiong – and discourse among sound, space and imagery.
The second semi-staged concert conceived and directed by Ms. Kopatchinskaja is her own provocative commentary on the consequences of global warming. Titled Dies Irae, the program is an aesthetic reflection of a time rife with global warming, wars over resources, and refugee crises. Musical selections include Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, George Crumb, Michael Hersch, Byzantine chant, Giacinto Scelsi, and Galina Ustvolskaya’s remarkable Dies Irae for eight double basses, piano, and wooden box. The evening performance on Saturday, June 9, 2018 marks its American premiere.
A new piece by American composer Michael Hersch – described by him as a dramatic cantata for two sopranos and eight instrumentalists – will receive its world premiere at the 2018 Ojai Music Festival, with subsequent performances at Cal Performances’ Ojai at Berkeley and at Great Britain’s venerable Aldeburgh Festival. The Friday, June 8, 2018 premiere follows works by Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach, Jorge Sanchez-Chiong, and piano music by Bull, Byrd, Purcell as well as improvisations. Mr. Hersch, who wrote a violin concerto for Ms. Kopatchinskaja two years ago, is considered one of the most gifted composers of his generation and is a formidable pianist. He currently serves on the composition faculty at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
Featured on Friday afternoon (June 8) will be the music of Russian composer Galina Ustvolskaya, described by Alex Ross as “one of the century’s grand originals.” Kopatchinskaja has long been a passionate advocate of Ustvolskaya’s music and will perform with pianist Markus Hinterhäuser her Duet and Sonata. Hinterhäuser, who is also the Intendant of the Salzburg Festival, will perform all six of her piano sonatas. Ustvolskaya’s powerful Dies irae will be featured in the Saturday evening concert of the same title.
Additional programming highlights include Kurtag’s Kafka Fragments; Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat on the occasion of its centennial; major chamber and piano music by Galina Ustvolskaya; as well as Roumanian and Moldavian folk music performed by Ms. Kopatchinskaja and her parents, Viktor and Emilia Kopatchinski on cimbalom and violin. The Festival closes with the Ligeti Violin Concerto performed by Patricia Kopatchinskaja.
Free Community Concerts
The 2018 Festival continues to build on its commitment to reach broader audiences with several opportunities for all to experience Ojai offerings. On Thursday June 7, following the three-part Ojai Talks dialogues, the Festival commences the first in a series of six free pop-up concerts in the Gazebo of Libbey Park, featuring performances of most of Luciano Berio’s Sequenzas for solo instruments by members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Jorge Sanchez-Chiong, electronics, will also perform Luigi Nono’s La lontanaza nostalgica utopia future in a free concert Thursday evening in Libbey Park, preceding the Festival’s first main Libbey Bowl concert of Ms. Kopatchinskaja’s semi-staged concert Bye Bye Beethoven. Additionally, Ms. Kopatchinskaja has programmed two free concerts just for children. Children of all ages will convene in the Ojai Art Center listen to works by Berio, Biber, Cage, Holliger, Arthur Honegger, and Ferdinand the Bull by Alan Ridout for solo violin and speaker. These concerts for children are presented in association with the Festival’s BRAVO education program for schools and community.
The 2018 Festival begins with Ojai Talks hosted by Ara Guzelimian, former Festival Artistic Director and current Dean and Provost of The Julliard School. On Thursday, June 7, a three-part series of discussions will begin with an exploration of Patricia Kopatchinskaja’s musical preferences and inspirations. The Ojai Music Festival’s march toward its 75th anniversary frames the second Ojai Talks, with reflections on its storied legacy, contextualization of its place on the world stage, and hints of what evolutions may impact the Festival in the future. The third part of the discussion series will speak to the reinvention of musical groups, with panelists from the JACK Quartet and from the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
Additional on-site and on-line dialogue during the 2018 Festival includes Concert Insights, the preconcert talks at the LIbbey Bowl Tennis Courts with Festival artists hosted by resident musicologist Christoper Hailey. Preconcert interviews are broadcast through the Festival’s free live streaming program, hosted by content-expert individuals from across the nation.
Additional details for Ms. Kopatchinskaja’s 2018 Festival will be announced in the spring.
New Partnership with the Aldeburgh Festival
Following the 2018 Festival in Ojai with Music Director Patricia Kopatchinskaja and the following week’s Ojai at Berkeley presented in collaboration with Cal Performances, a new partnership with Aldeburgh will take place at the end of the Aldeburgh Festival (June 21 – 24) based at the acclaimed Maltings Concert Hall and in the town of Snape near Aldeburgh in England. The collaboration with Aldeburgh follows the formation of Ojai at Berkeley as a partnership of co-productions and co-commissions that affords the Ojai Music Festival, the Aldeburgh Festival, and Cal Performances the ability to present more complex and creative artistic projects than could be conceived by each partner separately. The Aldeburgh relationship launches in June 2018, for an initial four-year period.
Ojai at Berkeley
Marking the eighth year of artistic partnership, Ojai at Berkeley celebrates the dynamic nature of the Ojai Music Festival and of Cal Performances. As two distinct communities, 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 will take place from June 15-17 in Berkeley, CA, following the Ojai Music Festival. For more information, visit CalPerformances.org.
2018 Festival series passes are available now and may be purchased online at OjaiFestival.org or by calling (805) 646-2053.