“Every work is ambiguous: attached to the past, oriented towards the future. What is important to me is its current contribution.” – Pierre Boulez
“Boulez came to Ojai for the first time in 1966. He still vividly recalls cresting the lip of the Ojai Valley from the upper Ojai Valley in a convertible with legendary Artistic Director Lawrence Morton and being assaulted with the aroma of orange blossoms. It was at that moment that began Pierre’s love affair with Ojai. He returned seven times as music director – more than any artist. Throughout his long career, he never strayed from his firm conviction that musical programs need to be firmly grounded in music of our time, and his own steadfast belief in that principle has resulted in his leading a true revolution in programming. He always found Ojai a willing and enthusiastic partner in this quest which was why he returned again and again and again, and why we this year celebrate his astonishing 90th birthday with many of his works with the deepest thanks for the musical gifts he has given us.” – Thomas W. Morris, artistic director
2015 marks the 90th birthday of celebrated composer and conductor Pierre Boulez. His longtime association with Ojai began in 1967 at the 20th Festival – he would go on to serve as music director 7 times, most recently in 2003. At this year’s Festival, we celebrate his unmatched contributions to music with a special event and concerts dedicated to his work and musical influences.
The 69th Ojai Music Festival opened with a special event on Wednesday, June 10 to honor Pierre Boulez on the occasion of his 90th birthday with the West Coast premiere of Beyond the Score’s® A Pierre Dream: A Portrait of Pierre Boulez, a kaleidoscope of recorded and live music, words, and imagery of Boulez. A Pierre Dream is one of Chicago Symphony’s Beyond the Score series and features an original set design by celebrated architect Frank Gehry. The performance was preceded by a special panel discussion with Boulez’s friends and colleagues entitled “Boulez in Ojai,” including Tom Morris and Frank Gehry as well as with artists Ralph Grierson and William Kraft. Pierre Boulez served as music director seven times since he first curated the Festival in 1967. He was most recently music director in 2003.
A Pierre Dream was performed by ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble) and mezzo-soprano Peabody Southwell, conducted by Steven Schick. Described by the Chicago Tribune as “a concert of the French master’s works [which is] an illuminating theatrical phantasmagoria about how Boulez’s intricate music is made – and even more about the aesthetic issues that have preoccupied him from his earliest compositions of the 1950s,” it included projections of rare documentary footage of Pierre Boulez from the 1960s to the present day. At the core of the projected material was footage from very recent 2013 interviews from his home in Baden-Baden, Germany. These interviews were specially made for this project, the development of which Boulez has supported from the beginning.