2020 Music Director Matthias Pintscher and Artistic Director Chad Smith Announce Programming for the 74th Festival

The 2020 Festival – June 11 to 14 – celebrates Pintscher as composer, conductor, and collaborator; welcomes the residency of his Ensemble intercontemporain (EIC) in its first Ojai appearance; and anticipates the return of the Calder Quartet Building connections between today’s most progressive composers and those from the past six centuries, the Festival explores the …

The 2020 Festival – June 11 to 14 – celebrates Pintscher as composer, conductor, and collaborator; welcomes the residency of his Ensemble intercontemporain (EIC) in its first Ojai appearance; and anticipates the return of the Calder Quartet
Building connections between today’s most progressive composers and those from the past six centuries, the Festival explores the sonic worlds of Matthias Pintscher, seven-time Ojai Music Director Pierre Boulez, and composer Olga Neuwirth with highlights:
  • The 2020 Festival is anchored by Boulez’s Memoriale and sur Incises; the US Premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s Eleanor Suite, as well as performances of her In the realms of the unreal and Aello; the West Coast Premiere of Pintscher’s Nur and Uriel, Bereshit, Rittrato di Gesualdo featured for the first time in Ojai; and programmed alongside works by Bach, Unsuk Chin, Gesualdo, Ligeti, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Steve Reich, Schubert, Varèse, and Zappa
  • US Premiere of the Genesis Cycle, with World Premiere EIC/Ojai co-commission of the “eighth day” The Flood by Toshio Hosakawa. Curated by Pintscher for EIC’s 40th birthday in 2017, the Genesis Cycle explores the Creation story and features works by composers from different countries, including Mark Andre, Franck Bedrossian, Chaya Czernowin, Joan Magrané Figuera, Stefano Gervasoni, Toshio Hosakawa, Marko Nikodijevic, and Anna Thorvaldsdottir
  • Festival concludes with a Free Concert for the Community, including works by Angélica Negrón, Gabriela Ortiz, Copland, and Stravinsky
  • 2020 Ojai Music Festival Preview Concert features the US Premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s Le Encantadas o le avventure nel mare delle meraviglie with Pintscher conducting his Ensemble intercontemporain and members of IRCAM, in partnership with the LA Philharmonic’s Noon to Midnight at Walt Disney Concert Hall, June 6

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Link to 2020 Festival schedule 

(November 12, 2019– Ojai, California) – The 74th Ojai Music Festival, June 11-14, 2020, celebrates Music Director Matthias Pintscher as composer, conductor, and collaborator, and his commitment to strengthening the interactions and connections between the music of today and seminal works from across the centuries.

Joining Mr. Pintscher will be the Ensemble intercontemporain (EIC) in its first appearance at the Ojai Music Festival. Mr. Pintscher is Music Director of the EIC, the world’s leading contemporary music ensemble founded by seven-time Ojai Music Director Pierre Boulez. The 2020 Festival welcomes the return of the Calder Quartet and the LA Phil New Music Group, plus the Ojai debuts of mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford, tenor Andrew Staples, and singer/songwriter Della Miles.

Matthias Pintscher said, “Since I received the invitation to serve as Music Director for the Ojai Music Festival, I am in an inspiring state of excitement, passion, and curiosity on all imaginable levels. Ojai is truly a magical place that allows all of us to find out more about ourselves. Here we can take risks, be bold, be introspective, and dare to wade towards the unknown, even the big unknown inside ourselves. Working and living in NYC and Paris I naturally wanted to create the vision of building a musical “invisible bridge” between two equally strong musical cultures – how they clash with, and yet complete each other today. It is a journey and it is my privilege to take you by the hand and to walk with you in this beautiful sonic garden where we are all invited to explore and discover together.”

Artistic Director Chad Smith commented, “Here in Ojai you will find an oasis of music making of the highest caliber in a relaxing and openhearted environment. Audiences and artists create memorable moments together – moments of discovery and of deep listening, and moments when we realize we are hearing the future of music play out in front of us. This journey, where music of today interconnects to seminal musical moments of our great tradition, requires a bold guide, an imaginative programmer, and an enthusiastic advocate. Therefore, I am thrilled to welcome Matthias Pintscher, one of today’s singular composers and most sought-after conductors, as Music Director. Matthias embodies Ojai’s commitment to adventurous music making and to introducing virtuosic artists to our community. This year we will meet his extraordinary Ensemble intercontemporain. Their arrival is both an exciting first and a powerful connection to Ojai’s storied past. Alongside works by Matthias, Boulez’s provocative and riveting music will be a featured thread across the Festival, as will the mu-sic of Olga Neuwirth, one the most brilliant composers of our time.”

Chad Smith, who serves as Ojai’s Artistic Director for the 2020 Festival, was appointed in March 2018 to succeed Thomas W. Morris. As announced last month, Ara Guzelimian has been named as Ojai’s next Artistic Director beginning with the 2021 Festival, following Mr. Smith’s decision to step away from Ojai, given his recent appointment as Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Details for Mr. Guzelimian’s first Festival – the Ojai Music Festival’s 75th – will be announced in 2020.

Based in Paris, Ensemble intercontemporain is considered one of the leading performance organizations devoted to contemporary new music and was founded in 1976 by former Ojai Music Director Pierre Boulez. Now led by Mr. Pintscher, EIC’s 31 soloists share a passion for 20th to 21st century music and collaborate closely with composers of today to explore instrumental techniques and develop projects, which interweave music, dance, theater, film, and the visual arts. EIC last appeared in the US in 2013 for Mr. Pintscher’s inaugural year as their music director. Their last Los Angeles appearance was in 1986 with Pierre Boulez.

The Calder Quartet, which made its Ojai debut at the 2015 Festival with Music Director Steven Schick and returned in 2016 with Music Director Peter Sellars, will present during the 2020 Festival a thoughtfully balanced mix of new and old works for the Ojai Dawns and Libbey Bowl concerts. The Calder will perform a wide range of works by Olga Neuwirth, Matthias Pintscher, Cage, Schubert, and Ives. Hailed as one of American’s great quartets, the Los Angeles-based Calder Quartet is currently composed of violinists Benjamin Jacobson and Tereza Stanislav, violist Jonathan Moerschel, and cellist Eric Byers. Violinist Tereza Stanislav joined the quartet in 2019, replacing
Andrew Bulbrook who was an original member of the quartet. Founded in 1998 at the University of Southern California, the group takes its name from American sculptor Alexander Calder.

Since the first concert in 1981, the LA Phil New Music Group has performed works by some of the sharpest minds in composition. Their Ojai appearance in June 2020 marks a return after nearly two decades, performing Steve Reich’s seminal Tehillim on Friday, June 12.

The 2020 Festival will feature the Ojai debuts of several performers. Singer/songwriter Della Miles, who created the role of Eleanor in the world premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s opera American Lulu at the Komische Oper Berlin in 2012, will reprise her role on opening night, Thursday, June 11, in the Suite for Eleanor. Mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford and tenor Andrew Staples will be the featured soloists in Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde arranged by Glenn Cortese on Sunday, June 14

Pintscher, Boulez, and Neuwirth
Known as one of today’s foremost composers, Matthias Pintscher will have his works interspersed throughout the 2020 Festival, including Bereshit, Nur, Uriel, and 4° quartetto d’archi Ritratto di Gesualdo. In addition to his music directorship of the Ensemble intercontemporain founded by Pierre Boulez, Mr. Pintscher’s connection with Boulez was a deeply personal friendship and an interwoven professional path that also included their respective roles with EIC, IRCAM, the Lucerne Festival Academy, and now the Ojai Music Festival. Boulez’s works to be performed by EIC include his sur Incises and Mèmoriale.

The 2020 Festival also shines a light on the work of the prolific, ingenious, daring, and deeply relevant work of Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth. Three of her major works will be performed during the Festival with EIC, Calder Quartet, and singer/songwriter Della Miles including Suite from Eleanor, which received its premiere in 2015 at the Salzburg Festival. Additional featured music of Ms. Neuwirth during the Festival will include in the realms of the unreal performed by the Calder Quartet and Aello – ballet mécanomorphe with the EIC.

Prior to the start of the 74th Festival in Ojai, an Ojai Music Festival Preview Concert at the LA Phil’s Noon to Midnight on June 6 will offer the US Premiere of Ms. Neuwirth’s Le Encantadas o le avventure nel mare delle meraviglie. Mr. Pintscher will conduct the EIC with members of IRCAM (Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music), also founded by Boulez.

IRCAM is a Paris-based public research center dedicated to both scientific research on sound and the creation and transmission of music. Ms. Neuwirth’s Le Encantadas o le avventure nel mare delle meraviglie is inspired by Herman Melville’s descriptions of the Galapagos Islands and the sounds of Venice, the city of islands. The performance, which requires the capacities of an indoor venue, will utilize the full Walt Disney Concert Hall placing musicians throughout the Hall. Prior to this US concert, Ms. Neuwirth’s Le Encantadas has been performed in Europe, including at the Philharmonie de Paris (2015), the Lucerne Festival (2016), and most recently, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg (2019). This Ojai Preview Concert will be the first appearance of an Ojai program as part of the LA Phil’s Noon to Midnight.

Chad Smith commented, “Olga’s spatial work, Le Encantadas o le avventure nel mare delle meraviglie, is a work of extraordinary imagination and technical brilliance. It is also a deeply affecting work requiring a special acoustic environment – one tailor-made for Walt Disney Concert Hall. With EIC in residence at Ojai, Matthias and I thought a perfect way to kick off the Ojai Music Festival this year was to present Olga’s work at the LA Phil’s Noon to Midnight festival.”

The last time Ms. Neuwirth’s works were performed in Ojai was in 2002 with the world premiere of Incidendo/fluido for piano with pianist Marino Formenti. “Thrilling and ingenious, Neuwirth’s works are musically innovative, socially and politically critical and ethically earnest. They are an expression of her convictions and her finely honed sense of justice, capturing almost every conceivable genre and mood: from light to dark, brutal to tender, tragic to comic, real to imagined, social to existential. Olga Neuwirth has at times risked being ostracized by the music world and society in general for what she believes. Yet she does not let this discourage her, but pushes herself to step outside her comfort zone and cut across categories to embrace people and affinities of every imaginable race, age and gender,” wrote Catherine Saxon-Kerkhoff (Berlin 2015) of Ms. Neuwirth.

The Genesis Cycle
In celebration of the EIC’s 40th birthday in 2017, Matthias Pintscher curated the Genesis Cycle by inviting seven composers from seven different countries to write a new, approximately ten-minute work capturing one of the seven days of Creation. The pieces reflect the Old Testament’s telling of how the universe came to be, as well as the composers’ own creative process of musical imagination. For the Ojai performance and US premiere, Genesis Cycle will include the world premiere of an eighth day with a new work by Japanese composer Toshio Hosakowa, entitled The Flood. The first seven days comprise works by Mark Andre, Franck Bedrossian, Chaya Czernowin, Joan Magrane Figuera, Stefano Gervasoni, Marko Nikodijevic, and Anna Thorvaldsdottir. This joint project is a compelling panorama of composition in the present day with various stylistic leanings.

Furthering the dialogue between new and old music, the Festival will explore Mr. Pintscher’s interest in Mozart with a performance of the Gran Partita, as well as Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4, and Gesualdo’s arrangement by Sciarrino.

Free Concert for the Community
The 2020 Ojai Music Festival will culminate on Sunday afternoon with a free concert event for the community at the Libbey Bowl with the Calder Quartet and guest artists. It will feature the music of Angélica Negrón, Gabriela Ortiz, Copland, and Stravinsky. Additional program details will be shared in the spring of 2020.

Ojai Talks
The 2020 Festival begins with Ojai Talks hosted by Ara Guzelimian, who will return as Ojai’s Artistic Director with the 2021 Festival. On Thursday, June 11, a series of discussions will begin with an exploration of the 2020 Festival programming and its connection with the sonic world of Pierre Boulez. More on-site and online dialogue during the 2020 Festival includes Concert Insights, the pre-concert talks at the Libbey Bowl Tennis Courts with Festival artists. Pre-concert interviews with artists are also broadcast through the Festival’s live streaming programs.

Further details for Mr. Pintscher’s 2020 Festival will be announced in the spring. 

Matthias Pintscher, 2020 Music Director
Matthias Pintscher is the Music Director of the Ensemble intercontemporain, the world’s leading contemporary music ensemble, founded by Pierre Boulez. In addition to a robust concert season in Paris, he toured extensively with them throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States this season including concerts in Berlin, Brussels, Russia, and the United States. Known as one of today’s foremost composers, Mr. Pintscher will conduct the premiere of his new work for baritone, chorus, and orchestra, performed by Georg Nigl and the Chorus and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks at their Musica Viva festival in February 2020.

In the 2019/20 season, Mr. Pintscher makes debuts with the symphony orchestras of Montreal, Baltimore, Houston, Pittsburgh, and with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at Interlochen. He also makes his debut at the Vienna State Opera conducting the premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s new opera Orlando, and returns to the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin to conduct performances of Beat Furrer’s Violetter Schnee, which he premiered in January 2019. Re-invitations this season include the Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

Highlights of Mr. Pintscher’s 2018/19 season included serving as the Season Creative Chair for the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, as Artist-in-Residence at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and concluding a nine-year term as the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra’s Artist-in-Association. Last season, Mr. Pintscher made his debuts with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Phil-harmonic, and the Staatsoper Berlin, and returned to the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, the New York Philharmonic, the New World Symphony in Miami, and the Music Academy of the West. In Europe, he conducted the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the Edinburgh International Festival and returned to the Orchestre de Paris, Danish Na-tional Symphony Orchestra, and Helsinki Philharmonic. Mr. Pintscher also conducted the premiere of his work Nur, a new concerto for piano and ensemble, performed by Daniel Barenboim and the Boulez Ensemble in January 2018. An enthusiastic supporter of and mentor to students and young musicians, Mr. Pintscher served as Principal Conductor of the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra from 2016-2018 and worked with the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic in their 2017/18 season, culminating in a concert at the Philharmonie.

Matthias Pintscher began his musical training in conducting, studying with Pierre Boulez and Peter Eötvös in his early twenties, during which time composing took a more prominent role in his life. He rapidly gained critical acclaim in both areas of activity, and continues to compose in addition to his conducting career. Mr. Pintscher’s music is championed by some of today’s finest performing art-ists, orchestras, and conductors. His works have been performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the Orchestre de Paris, among many others. Bärenreiter is his exclusive publisher, and recordings of his compositions can be found on Kairos, EMI, Teldec, Wergo, and Winter & Winter. Mr. Pintscher has been on the composition faculty of The Juilliard School since 2014.

Ensemble intercontemporain
In 1976, Pierre Boulez founded the Ensemble intercontemporain with the support of Michel Guy (who was Minister of Culture at the time) and the collaboration of Nicholas Snowman. The Ensemble’s 31 soloists share a passion for 20th to 21st century music. They are employed on permanent contract, enabling them to fulfill the major aims of the Ensemble: performance, creation, and education for young musicians and the public.

Under the artistic direction of Matthias Pintscher, the musicians work in close collaboration with composers, exploring instrumental techniques and developing projects that interweave music, dance, theater, film, video, and visual arts. In collaboration with IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique), the EIC is also active in the field of synthetic sound generation. New pieces are commissioned and performed on a regular basis with the support of the Fondation Meyer.

The EIC is renowned for its strong emphasis on music education: concerts for kids, creative work-shops for students, training programs for future performers, conductors, and composers. Since 2004, the soloists have been tutoring young instrumentalists, conductors and composers in the field of contemporary repertoire at the Lucerne Festival Academy, a several week educational project held by the Lucerne Festival. Resident of the Cité de la musique-Philharmonie de Paris, the Ensemble performs and records in France and abroad, taking part in major festivals worldwide. The Ensemble is financed by the Ministry of Culture and Communication and receives additional support from the Par-is City Council. New commissions by Ensemble intercontemporain are supported by Fondation Meyer.

Chad Smith, Artistic Director
Chad Smith currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. Prior to his promotion in October 2019, Mr. Smith was Chief Operating Officer for the Association. He held that post for four years and was responsible for the artistic oversight and coordination of the orchestra’s programming, as well as the organization’s marketing, communications and public relations, production, orchestra operations, media, and learning initiatives. His tenure with the orchestra has been defined by his close relationships with Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel and Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen; groundbreaking artistic initiatives including the launch of new orchestral series, major multi-disciplinary projects and dozens of festivals; and an unparalleled commitment to composers and the music of today. He has also overseen the launch of many of the organization’s defining learning programs, including YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles), a program which has provided daily after-school music training to thousands of children in several of L.A.’s underserved communities.

Mr. Smith began his career in 2000 at the New World Symphony, working closely with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. He first joined the LA Phil in 2002, when he was responsible for planning the orchestra’s Green Umbrella new music series, as well as its classical programming at the Hollywood Bowl. After briefly serving as the New York Philharmonic’s head artistic planner, in 2006 he returned to the LA Phil in the expanded role of Vice President of Artistic Planning, a position he held until being named COO in 2015.

A trustee of the New England Conservatory, he also serves on the advisory board of the Music Academy of the West and is a member of the Executive Committee for the Avery Fisher Artist Program. A native of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, he earned a B.A. in European history from Tufts University, as well as B.M. and M.M. Degrees in vocal performance from the New England Conservatory.

Ojai Music Festival
From its founding in 1947, the Ojai Music Festival has been a hallmark for presenting groundbreaking musical experiences, bringing together innovative artists and curious audiences in an intimate, idyllic setting 75 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The Festival presents broad-ranging programs in unusual ways with an eclectic mix of new and rarely performed music, as well as refreshing juxtapositions of musical styles. The Festival, which takes place in June, is an immersive experience with concerts, free community events, symposia, and gatherings. Considered a highlight of the international music summer season, Ojai has remained a leader in the classical music landscape for seven decades.
Through its signature structure of the Artistic Director appointing an annual Music Director, Ojai has presented a “who’s who” of music including Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, Michael Tilson Thom-as, Kent Nagano, Pierre Boulez, John Adams, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Spano, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, David Robertson, Eighth Blackbird, George Benjamin, Dawn Upshaw, Leif Ove Andsnes, Mark Morris, Jeremy Denk, Steven Schick, Peter Sellars, Vijay Iyer, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Barbara Hannigan, and Matthias Pintscher.

As it approaches its 75th anniversary, Ojai looks toward its future with Ara Guzelimian, whose tenure as Artistic Director will begin following the 2020 Festival.

Series Passes for 2020 Ojai Music Festival
2020 Festival series passes are available and may be purchased online at OjaiFestival.org or by calling (805) 646-2053. Ojai Music Festival series passes range from $205 to $950 for reserved seating and lawn series passes start at $75. Single concert tickets will be available in spring 2020. Tickets for the Ojai Preview Concert at the LA Phil’s Noon to Midnight will be available in the spring.


Press contacts: 
Ojai Music Festival: Gina Gutierrez, [email protected] (805) 646-2181
National/International: Nikki Scandalios, [email protected] (704) 340-4094