Ojai Music Festival shares Five Subscriber Experiences

At the Ojai Music Festival, we value our patron’s experiences. This New Year we are kicking off an exclusive feature of five questions with five dedicated subscribers.

Bonnie Wright

First, tell us a little about yourself – what do you do? Do you play an instrument? I present the Fresh Sound concert series and have been doing this for 22 years.  Its all contemporary music not matter what the genre.  And, all musicians from out of town.  My goal is to bring music to San Diego that they wouldn’t otherwise get to hear.  Here’s the link to the website:http://www.freshsoundmusic.com

How many Festivals have you attended?

Im not quite sure – probably 2008 and will continue to do so until I drop-dead. 

How did you first hear about Ojai Music Festival?

 I don’t remember that either.  But since I am in the music-world, I’m guessing that somehow I got on your mailing list or heard about it from one of my friends.  OR,  Maybe in 2008 because Steve Reich was involved in and I’ve been a huge admirer of his since “Music for 18 Musicians” was out in the world in 1976.

How would you describe your Ojai experience?

 Delightful in every way.  The town, the restaurants, my Inn where I stay every year,  Libby Bowl, the friends I connect with while there and, of course, the music. And, Gina Gutierrez has become a friend over the years. She is wonderful,  efficient  and happily I get my same seat every year (P112)   It feels like it’s become my second home.    

What is the most surprising thing you learned or experienced at the Festival?  

Hmmm,  I always learn more about the music especially from Christopher Hailey and Ara Guzelimian.  


What is your favorite Ojai hangout between concerts – places to eat, visit, see?   

Osteria Monte Grappa where I/we can sit outside and enjoy.  Also, the Festival Place for members. 

Any recommendations for a Festival first-timer?  

GO . . .   Be sure to go to everything – Dawn concerts,  any and all talks, suppers in the Park and All the concerts. A good friend is coming there for the first time and he got a seat right next to me.  Yippee.  I will show him around.  

Glenn and Ida Mercer


(Pictured Above: John Adams, Glenn Mercer, and Ida Mercer) 

First, tell us a little about yourself – what do you do? Do you play an instrument?

Glenn: self-employed in the field of automotive research

Ida: professional musician (cellist) who performs (solo, chamber music, orchestral), teaches (Cleveland Music School Settlement), and manages (Executive Director, Cleveland Cello Society)

How many Festivals have you attended?

Six

How did you first hear about Ojai Music Festival?

A friend told us about it.

How would you describe your Ojai experience?

Off the charts, in every way.  The music selection is fantastic, the performances almost always absolute top tier, the setting (Ojai itself and the individual venues) wonderful, the staff supremely competent (this is a VERY well-run festival), and the audience so supportive. It is almost otherworldly (where else do we hear listeners in their 70s or 80s griping that the program “isn’t modern enough this year!”).

“This past year (2019) we brought our adult son Ian along, as he is very interested in new composed music, as are we.  (Ian works in operations at The Cleveland Orchestra.)  He was especially taken with the precision and commitment of the JACK Quartet morning performances, and the power of the Grisey “Quatre Chants…”  And he has been a fan of Barbara Hannigan for a very long time.  He, as will we, will be back in 2020, for Matthias Pintscher and the Ensemble Intercontemporain.”

What is the most surprising thing you learned or experienced at the Festival?

Musicians are approachable here.  As a small community forms around the Festival for its brief term of existence, anyone and everyone walks through the park, and can be met and talked to.  Almost anywhere else, featured artists are hustled off by their handlers to a hotel room, or just glimpsed briefly at the stage door.  Here, the musicians are available out in the open as it were, and seem delighted to interact with the audience.

What is your favorite Ojai hangout between concerts – places to eat, visit, see?

Believe it or not, we cannot answer this question in a satisfactory way, and it is not because the town does not offer numerous wonderful spots.  This is because one reason we come back is for the full immersion: we go to EVERY concert you make available.  As a result, we don’t hang out anywhere, but just go home and sleep, until the next event!  That being said, we daily raid Rainbow Bridge for snacks and meals to go.

 Any recommendations for a Festival first-timer?

Seriously consider the 4-day series pass.  If you’re going to hear music of this quality, why not go for it and treat yourself to a year’s worth of excellence, in just four days!  If you are a fan of modern composed music, you cannot touch this Festival for abundance.

 

Lucy McKnight

Last week, Perry and Tricia La Marca gave us their feedback into the Ojai Music Festival advising all of us to “dive in and embrace the experience.”  

This Week, Lucy McKnight gives us her insight into her festival experience.

First, tell us a little about yourself – what do you do? Do you play an instrument? How many Festivals have you attended? 

I am a composer and singer and a senior at USC Thornton School of Music. I have attended eight Ojai Music Festivals since I was 12 years old.

How did you first hear about Ojai Music Festival?

My parents brought me because I love music and because, at that time, just my older sibling was composing. Now we both compose, and our younger brother composes and arranges jazz music. The Ojai Music Festival has been a huge part of my–and my siblings’–education and growth as listeners, performers, and composers.

How would you describe your Ojai experience?

We dive in and swim around in it. I love the early morning concerts at Besant Hill School, and the large-scale John Luther Adams pieces that involve walking around Libbey Park. I love the satisfying exhaustion of days filled to the brim with music. 

What is the most surprising thing you learned or experienced at the Festival?  

You can fall asleep two feet from Steven Schick and Claire Chase and Sarah Rothenberg! I know because I have done it while they were performing For Phillip Guston, an incredible 4.5 hour long piece by Morton Feldman. It started at 5 am and I lay down with my siblings on the blankets and pillows provided on the floor and drifted gently in and out of sleep. Asleep or awake, it was one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard.

What is your favorite Ojai hangout between concerts – places to eat, visit, see? 

Bonnie Lu’s diner on Ojai Avenue where they have chicken-fried steak for breakfast! The Ojai Meadows Preserve is a nice place to walk and listen to the birds. Renting bikes at The Mob Shop or Bicycles of Ojai and going on the bike trails down toward Ventura – I try to do that every year.

Any recommendations for a Festival first-timer?

Go to everything. Talk to the people next to you during intermission. Buy or bring a seat cushion, a broad-brimmed serious sun hat and lots of sunscreen. Settle in and open your ears.

Perry & Tricia La Marca

Tricia & Perry La Marca

First, tell us a little about yourself – what do you do? Do you play an instrument? How many Festivals have you attended?

Perry is a film/TVcomposer and pianist. Tricia has an undergraduate degree in Music and is a former music teacher and current businesswoman. We both attended the Festival in 2019 and 2018.

Question:
How did you first hear about Ojai Music Festival?

We learned of the Festival and its programming from friends/colleagues during their respective University years.

Question:
How would you describe your Ojai experience?

Amazing; sublime; wonderful. In addition to thoroughly enjoying the performances and lectures by world class talent as well as the opportunity to experience esoteric and rarely performed pieces, we were genuinely touched by the community and new friends made. 

Question:
What is the most surprising thing you learned or experienced at the Festival?

I think we were surprised to find such a diverse and down to earth group of Festival regulars. The Ojai family is very different than what you typically experience at classical music events.

Question:
What is your favorite Ojai hangout between concerts – places to eat, visit, see?

We love to eat at Azu and Osteria Monte Grappa. We also love to sample the vinegars and olive oils at Carolina Gramm.

Question:
Any recommendations for a Festival first-timer?

Dive in and embrace the experience.  It’s a lot to see, but you’ll regret it if you miss something. Also, do the pre-concert Suppers in the Park!  It’s a great way to meet festival newcomers and regulars.  

Join us as a subscriber for the 2020 Ojai Music Festival with Music Director Matthias Pintscher!