2022 Music Director AMOC (American Modern Opera Company) and Artistic Director Ara Guzelimian Announce the 76th Ojai Music Festival: June 9 to 12, 2022
Festival programming will include six world premieres:
- Family Dinner, a cycle of new mini-concertos by Matthew Aucoin, featuring the entire AMOC ensemble, including Davóne Tines, Emi Ferguson, Doug Balliett, and Jonny Allen
- the echoing of tenses, a newly commissioned song cycle by Anthony Cheung, setting poems by Asian-American poets including Arthur Sze, Monica Youn, Jenny Xie, and Ocean Vuong, and featuring Paul Appleby, Miranda Cuckson, and Conor Hanick
- A semi-staged performance of Olivier Messiaen’s song cycle Harawi featuring soprano Julia Bullock and pianist Conor Hanick, directed by Zack Winokur, choreographed and danced by Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schraiber
- A collaborative dance-theater work directed by Bobbi Jene Smith featuring AMOC artists and guests Vinson Fraley, Jesse Kovarsky, Yiannis Logothetis, Mackenzie Meldrum, and Mouna Soualem
- How to Fall Apart, a music-dance piece newly commissioned by AMOC, composed by Carolyn Chen in collaboration with Jay Campbell, Julia Eichten, Keir GoGwilt, Or Schraiber and guests Yiannis Logothetis and Matilda Sakamoto
- Waiting, a music-dance piece, created by AMOC members Or Schraiber, Coleman Itzkoff, Bobbi Jene Smith, and guest collaborator Yiannis Logothetis
Additional concert performances will include EASTMAN, a multi-dimensional performance piece, reflecting on Julius Eastman’s art and the larger context of his life, creativity, and humanity. Other programs will range from works of Monteverdi and Bach to Cassandra Miller, Reiko Fueting, and Hans Otte in a special performance of his epic The Book of Sounds. Guest artists include the early-music ensemble Ruckus and cellist Seth Parker Woods
“For many decades, the Ojai Festival has been an artistic oasis, a place where artists and audiences alike go to be refreshed by the Festival’s atmosphere of openness, experimentation, and adventure. AMOC is thrilled and honored to uphold Ojai’s essential spirit and to expand the Festival’s scope through works developed in collaboration across the arts. We can’t imagine a better forum to feature the work of AMOC’s many artists and guest collaborators.
This Festival will be a welcome return for many of us: a return to Ojai for previous Festival artists including Julia Bullock, Jay Campbell, Miranda Cuckson, Emi Ferguson, and Davóne Tines, and a return to collaboration with Ojai’s Artistic Director & Executive Director Ara Guzelimian for the many AMOC artists who have benefited from Ara’s wisdom throughout their careers.” — AMOC, 2022 Music Director
The 76th Ojai Music Festival, June 9 to 12, 2022, welcomes as Music Director the discipline-colliding collective AMOC (American Modern Opera Company), which represents a new generation of artists working together in creation and performance. Ojai’s Music Director AMOC is made up of 17 of the most adventurous singers, dancers, instrumentalists, choreographers, and composers at work today in music and dance.
For the 2022 Festival, AMOC will serve as the first-ever collective to hold the position of Music Director in the Festival’s 75-year history. As described by The Boston Globe, AMOC is “a creative incubator par excellence.” A collective of some of the most creative, forward-thinking artists working between tradition and experimentation, AMOC was co-founded by composer/conductor Matthew Aucoin and director/choreographer Zack Winokur and includes core members Jonny Allen (percussion), Paul Appleby (tenor), Doug Balliett (double bass/composer), Julia Bullock (soprano), Jay Campbell (cello), Anthony Roth Costanzo (countertenor), Miranda Cuckson (violin/viola), Julia Eichten (dancer/choreographer), Emi Ferguson (flute), Keir GoGwilt (violin/scholar), Conor Hanick (piano), Coleman Itzkoff (cello), Or Schraiber (dancer/choreographer), Bobbi Jene Smith (dancer/choreographer), and Davóne Tines (bass-baritone). AMOC personnel includes Jennifer Chen (managing director), Cath Brittan (producer), and Mary McGowan (company manager). Julia Bullock, Jay Campbell, Miranda Cuckson, Emi Ferguson, and Davóne Tines will all make welcome returns to Ojai, having participated in past Ojai Festivals.
Ojai Festival’s Artistic and Executive Director Ara Guzelimian commented, “As we mark the 75th anniversary of the Festival’s founding in 1947, we celebrate the spirit of Ojai which has always led the way to new and unexpected horizons, a spirit embodied in the work of AMOC. This brilliant assembly is representative of a new generation of artists — in their fearless melding of disciplines, in their spirit of collaboration as a central artistic premise, and their collective commitment to creation as well as performance. Together, they have produced some of the most exciting work to emerge in recent years. Their music directorship at Ojai is the first curatorial project that involves every single member of AMOC, and it has been an exhilarating process to devise these programs together. I happily anticipate a Festival full of joyous discovery and adventure.”
Programming for the 2022 Festival will include the world premiere performance of AMOC’s staging of Olivier Messiaen’s deeply affecting song cycle Harawi for soprano and piano. In addition to Julia Bullock and Conor Hanick’s performance of this sweeping work, this semi-staged production breaks open Messiaen’s musical explorations of love and death into a newly physicalized and theatrical dimension through the choreographic work of Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schraiber, and direction by Zack Winokur. Harawi, written in 1945, is based on an Andean love song genre of the same name, with texts by Messiaen and incorporating the Quechua language.
The world premiere of Family Dinner anchors the Friday evening slot of the 2022 Festival. Family Dinner is a cycle of mini-concertos by Matthew Aucoin, each movement of which spotlights a different member of AMOC. The piece will also feature spoken “toasts” delivered both by AMOC artists and special guests.
The Festival will present the premiere of Carolyn Chen’s How to Fall Apart, a newly-commissioned one-hour work integrating text, gesture, and music. This will be a first-time collaboration between Chen and AMOC, and will feature AMOC members Jay Campbell, Julia Eichten, Keir GoGwilt, Or Schraiber, and guest collaborators Yiannis Logothetis, and Matilda Sakamoto.
A new full-length collaborative dance work created especially for the Ojai Festival by AMOC member and choreographer Bobbi Jene Smith. This new work, evolving and adapting parts of Smith’s most recent film Broken Theater, which was developed and shot at Mass MoCA and La MaMa, explores themes of power, love, and trust through the theatrics of rehearsal. The work will feature music by Schubert, Bach, Connie Converse, and Pete Seeger.
Waiting, another new collaborative piece, will receive its first performance at Ojai. Created by Or Schraiber, Yiannis Logothetis, Coleman Itzkoff, and Bobbi Jene Smith, Waiting is a dance-music piece excavating the complexity of ancient relationships: the tortured conception of friendship as a messy amalgam of love, hatred, insecurity, and neediness.
Rounding out the world premieres in Ojai will be an AMOC-commissioned song cycle, the echoing of tenses, by Anthony Cheung. The piece sets poems by Asian-American writers interconnected by the larger theme of memory, made complicated by the circumstances and tensions of cultural and personal identity, family, migration, loss, and reflection. The various poems by Arthur Sze, Monica Youn, Jenny Xie, Ocean Vuong, and others will be sung, spoken, and interwoven throughout. The work features Paul Appleby, Miranda Cuckson, and Conor Hanick.
In addition to a rich offering of AMOC’s newest productions, the 2022 Festival will include concert events in Libbey Bowl, with a kick-off concert on Thursday evening presenting an epic musical marathon that will feature AMOC’s core members. This wide-ranging program will include music by Andy Akiho, Kate Soper, Alban Berg, Celeste Oram, Matthew Aucoin, Iannis Xenakis, and Eric Wubbels. Bookending the four-day event on Sunday evening, AMOC will bring the 2022 Festival to a close with a joyful, high-spirited program that brings together every one of the Festival’s artists, in every discipline, for a grand finale and communal catharsis. The program will range from Baroque arias featuring countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, to the ecstatic, shape-shifting grooves of Julius Eastman.
Musical highlights of the four-day Festival will include EASTMAN, a multi-dimensional performance piece, reflecting the performers’ consideration of Julius Eastman’s art and the larger context of his life, creativity, and humanity; a rare performance of the complete epic solo piano work The Book of Sounds by pioneering German composer and pianist Hans Otte played by Conor Hanick; and a program titled About Bach, which pairs works of Bach with contemporary reflections on his music by Cassandra Miller and Reiko Fueting, among others.
Making their Ojai Festival debuts will be Ruckus, a “shapeshifting” Baroque early music band comprising some of today’s leading soloists of Baroque repertoire; cellist Seth Parker Woods and artistic collaborators in the multi-disciplinary works including Vinson Fraley, Jesse Kovarsky, Yiannis Logothetis, Mackenzie Meldrum, Matilda Sakamoto, and Mouna Soualem.
During the four days of the upcoming Festival, free community activities will occur in Libbey Park and throughout Ojai, as well as ongoing integration of the Festival’s year-round BRAVO music education program in the public schools. Additional programming details will be announced in spring 2022.
BEYOND OJAI: DIGITAL OFFERINGS
The Ojai Music Festival lives beyond the flagship four-day festival in June, allowing further engagement with audiences worldwide. Free offerings include the Festival’s state-of-the-art live streaming and archived library of concerts, Virtual Ojai Talks with featured Festival artists and alum, and OjaiCast, the new podcast series that provides insights on upcoming programming. The Festival’s digital projects are available at OjaiFestival.org.
AMOC (AMERICAN MODERN OPERA COMPANY), 2022 MUSIC DIRECTOR
Founded in 2017 by Matthew Aucoin and Zack Winokur, the mission of AMOC (American Modern Opera Company) is to build and share a body of collaborative work. As a group of dancers, singers, musicians, writers, directors, composers, choreographers, and producers united by a core set of values, AMOC artists pool their resources to create new pathways that connect creators and audiences in surprising and visceral ways.
Current and past projects include The No One’s Rose, a devised music-theater-dance piece featuring new music by Matthew Aucoin, directed by Zack Winokur with choreography by Bobbi Jene Smith; EASTMAN, a multi-dimensional performance piece contending with the life and work of Julius Eastman; Winokur’s production of Hans Werner Henze’s El Cimarrón, which has been performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Repertory Theater; a new arrangement of John Adams’s El Niño, premiered at The Met Cloisters as part of Julia Bullock’s season-long residency at the Met Museum; Davóne Tines’s and Winokur’s Were You There, a meditation on black lives lost in recent years to police violence; and Bobbi Jene Smith and Keir GoGwilt’s dance/music works With Care and A Study on Effort, which have been produced at San Francisco’s ODC Theater, Toronto’s Luminato Festival, and elsewhere. Conor Hanick’s performance of CAGE, Zack Winokur’s production of John Cage’s music for prepared piano, was cited as the best recital of the year by The New York Times in 2018 and The Boston Globe in 2019. Additionally, AMOC will serve as the Ojai Music Festival’s 2022 Music Director, only the second ensemble, and first explicitly interdisciplinary company, to hold the position in the Festival’s 75-year history.
MATTHEW AUCOIN, composer, conductor, pianist
ZACK WINOKUR, director, choreographer, dancer
JONNY ALLEN, percussionist
PAUL APPLEBY, tenor
DOUG BALLIETT, double bassist, composer
JULIA BULLOCK, soprano
JAY CAMPBELL, cellist
ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO, countertenor
MIRANDA CUCKSON, violinist, violist
JULIA EICHTEN, dancer, choreographer
EMI FERGUSON, flutist
KEIR GOGWILT, violinist, scholar
CONOR HANICK, pianist
COLEMAN ITZKOFF, cellist
OR SCHRAIBER, dancer, choreographer
BOBBI JENE SMITH, dancer, choreographer
DAVÓNE TINES, bass-baritone
COVID-19 HEALTH AND SAFETY PLANNING
The health and safety of the Festival’s family of artists, audiences, and Ojai community is paramount. We will continue to update safety protocols to ensure we follow best practices for the Festival in June 2022. During the 2021 Festival, the Festival developed COVID-19 safety protocols with a team of local public health officials that included proof of vaccination and wearing masks. As we look toward June when we gather once again, the Festival will continue to monitor evolving information related to the global pandemic and work with our team to determine the safest protocol.
SERIES PASSES FOR 2022 OJAI MUSIC FESTIVAL
2022 Ojai Festival series passes are available and may be purchased online, or by calling (805) 646-2053. Festival series passes range from $205 to $965 for
reserved seating and lawn series passes start at $80.