Jeremy Denk on the 2014 Ojai Music Festival

“On the advice of my lawyer, I’m not going to tell you what I’ve planned for 2014,” joked Ojai Music Festival 2014 Music Director Jeremy Denk at the Sunrise Breakfast. The joke was half-serious. Denk, in conversation with Performance Today’s Fred Child, revealed a few things over the course of a discussion that ranged from Denk’s 2001 residency on Performance Today – an hour every morning for a week of interviewing and performing – to why Denk double-majored in chemistry and music performance at Oberlin.

Child and Denk spoke in front of a crowd of donors at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa after OMF artistic director Tom Morris chatted a little about the status of sales for this year and for next – about 700 tickets had been sold for 2013 by the fourth day of this year’s festival – and Denk, who performed at the Festival with eighth blackbird in 2009, said that he was nervous the first time he was here and didn’t get to fully appreciate the atmosphere. But on Thursday night, as he listened to Marc-André Hamelin play the Concord Sonata, he started settling into the beauty of nature and thinking about the ways nature “and all its colors” could play out in the programming for 2014.

When an audience member asked Denk if Ojai 2014 would be seeing any “Denkian words” on stage during his festival, he said, “That’s a probability,” and he also hinted that he might be inviting violinist Stefan Jackiw. “I feel confident in saying someone from Brooklyn, or someone who has lived in Brooklyn, will be in the festival,” he added, in response to an audience question about the new music scene centered in Brooklyn

Denk said he feels a little bit like “a fuddy-duddy” in comparison to some of the younger musicians experimenting with music in New York. But, he added, “I feel like Ojai has a sort of party atmosphere that should not be lost in the music-making.” The audience clapped and laughed

An audience member asked, “Are you thinking about doing some composing?” and Denk responded, “Please! No.” He’s working on another major piece for The New Yorker, he said, and he added, “There’s that practicing the piano thing to do, which does take some hours every day.”

-Suzi Steffen