From Ara: A Year Filled with Memories

As the New Year approaches, it is only fitting to take a moment to reflect on… [continue reading]

Dear Ojai Festival friends,

As the New Year approaches, it is only fitting to take a moment to reflect on the year that was at the Ojai Music Festival. Rhiannon Giddens was at the exhilarating center of this year’s Festival, illuminating everything she does with passion, formidable commitment, and heart. She is one of those artists who uses her gifts to make our understanding of the world broader and more whole.

And what a Festival it was, with discovery, adventure, and delight around every corner, from new music to old and everything in between, from Senegal to North Carolina, from Mexico to Iran, from Haydn to Squarepusher . . .

Photo by Jack Baran

Tan Dun’s pioneering Ghost Opera brought together the remarkable Wu Man, who was in on its creation, with a new generation of collaborators in the Attacca Quartet and dancer/choreographer PeiJu Chien Pott in a completely fresh re-thinking of the work. In late September, the production traveled East for performances at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park in New York, another in a long tradition of Ojai-originated projects having creative ripple effects across the performing arts world.

Back home in Ojai, we celebrated the first-ever statewide California Festival of new music with a November concert – an engrossing and hugely inventive program of music by Reena Esmail, Dylan Mattingly, M.A. Tiesenga, and Samuel Adams, showcasing the creativity of a new generation of California composers. We were mesmerized by the Hindustani vocals of Saili Oak and encountered the electronic hurdy-gurdy!

Looking back on the year, I am filled with gratitude on every level at the company we keep – the artists, the staff, the many volunteers, the endlessly open and curious audiences, our gracious and generous donors. Thank you for being part of this boundless musical adventure!

And there is much more to come around the corner.  We can happily anticipate the 2024 Festival with the profound artistry of Mitsuko Uchida, joined by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and a host of gifted young artists in a characteristically wide-ranging program from Mozart to Kaija Saariaho.

More details about the Festival to come in January. See you in 2024!

In the meantime, all the warmest good wishes for a healthy, happy, and most of all, peaceful New Year,

Ara Guzelimian

Artistic and Executive Director

The artwork, FESTIVAL, created by Christopher Noxon.
Christopher Noxon paints and writes in Ojai, California. Sullivan Goss Gallery in Santa Barbara featured his work in the 2023 exhibit “Betty Lane & Christopher Noxon: From One Generation to the Next.” His work is in the permanent collection of the Ojai Valley Museum and he’s shown at Gallery 825 in Los Angeles, the Santa Paula Art Museum and the Beatrice Woods Center for the Arts. His writing and illustrations have appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic and New York Times Magazine.