Ojai Music Festival announces 2025 Music Director

Ojai Music Festival announces Claire Chase as 2025 Music Director.… [continue reading]

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“Claire Chase is one of the boldest, most inventive and irresistibly joyous musicians I have ever known. She is such a generative force in all that she does, embracing composers, audiences, and entire communities with generosity. She is the perfect match for Ojai’s spirit of adventure, and I can’t wait to imagine the possibilities together for the 2025 Festival!” – Ara Guzelimian, Artistic and Executive Director

(April 10, 2024 – Ojai, California) – As the Ojai Music Festival anticipates the upcoming 78th Festival (June 6-9, 2024) with Music Director Mitsuko Uchida, Artistic and Executive Director Ara Guzelimian announces flutist Claire Chase as Music Director for the 2025 Festival.  Since the late 1940s, the Ojai Music Festival’s tradition has been to welcome a new Music Director each year to ensure vitality and diversity in programming across Festivals.  Initial details for Chase’s 2025 Festival (June 5 to 8, 2025) will be announced in June 2024. 

“When Ara called me with the invitation, I nearly dropped the phone! The Ojai Festival has been a kind of dreamland for me since I was a kid growing up in Southern California, and I have the deepest affection for the audiences at Ojai – I don’t know that a more curious, adventurous, and open-eared group of listeners exists anywhere in the world. I’m tremendously excited to work with Ara to craft experiences that I hope will animate, complicate, and celebrate the connections between musics of the past and the beating-heart present,” shares Claire Chase.

Previously, Chase performed at the Ojai Music Festival with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) in 2015 with that year’s Music Director Steven Schick, in 2016 with Music Director Peter Sellars, and in 2017 with Music Director Vijay Iyer. 

Claire Chase, described by The New York Times recently as “the North Star of her instrument’s ever-expanding universe,” is a musician, interdisciplinary artist, and educator. Passionately dedicated to the creation of new ecosystems for the music of our time, Chase has given the world premieres of hundreds of new works by a new generation of artists, and in 2013 launched the 24-year commissioning project Density 2036. Now in its eleventh year, Density 2036 reimagines the solo flute literature over a quarter-century through commissions, performances, recordings, education, and an accessible archive at density2036.org. Chase co-founded the International Contemporary Ensemble in 2001, was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2012, and in 2017 was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Chase is currently Professor of the Practice of Music at Harvard University’s Department of Music, a Creative Associate at The Juilliard School, and a Collaborative Partner with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony.  For complete biographical information on Claire Chase, visit OjaiFestival.org.

Details of the 2025 Ojai Festival programming and artists will be announced in June 2024.


Ara Guzelimian is the Artistic and Executive Director of the Ojai Music Festival, having begun in that position in July 2020. The appointment culminates many years of association with the Festival including tenures as director of the Ojai Talks and as Artistic Director from 1992–97. Guzelimian stepped down as Provost and Dean of the Juilliard School in New York City in June 2020, having served in that position since 2007.  He continues at Juilliard as Special Advisor.

Prior to the Juilliard appointment, he was Senior Director and Artistic Advisor of Carnegie Hall from 1998 to 2006. Guzelimian serves as artistic consultant for the Marlboro Music Festival and School in Vermont. He is a member of the steering committee of the Aga Khan Music Awards, the artistic committee of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust in London, and a board member of the Amphion and Pacific Harmony Foundations. He is also a member of the music visiting committee of the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City. In 2020, Guzelimian was appointed to the advisory panel of the Birgit Nilsson Foundation in Sweden.

Previously, Guzelimian held the position of Artistic Administrator of the Aspen Music Festival and School in Colorado, and he was long associated with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, first as producer for the orchestra’s national radio broadcasts and, subsequently, as Artistic Administrator. Guzelimian is editor of Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society (Pantheon Books, 2002), a collection of dialogues between Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said. In September 2003, he was awarded the title Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government for his contributions to French music and culture.


The Ojai Music Festival represents an ideal of adventurous, open-minded, and openhearted programming in the most beautiful and welcoming of settings, with audiences and artists to match its aspirations. Now in its 78th year, the Festival remains a creative laboratory for thought-provoking musical experiences, bringing together innovative artists and curious audiences in an intimate, idyllic outdoor setting. Each Festival’s narrative is guided by a different Music Director, whose distinctive perspectives shape programming — ensuring energized festivals year after year.

Throughout each year, the Ojai Music Festival contributes to Southern California’s cultural landscape with in-person and online programming as well as robust educational offerings that serve thousands of public-school students and seniors. The organization’s apex is the world-renowned Festival, which takes place over four days in Ojai, a breathtaking valley 75 miles from Los Angeles, which is a perennial platform for the fresh and unexpected. During the immersive experience, a mingling of the most curious take part in concerts, symposia, free community events, and social gatherings. The intimate Festival weekend, considered a highlight of the international music summer season, welcomes up to 5,000 patrons and reaches exponentially more audiences worldwide through streaming and broadcasts of concerts and discussions throughout the year.

Since its founding in 1947, the Ojai Music Festival has presented expansive programming in unusual ways with an eclectic mix of new and rarely performed music, as well as refreshing juxtapositions of musical styles. Through its signature structure of the Artistic Director appointing a different Music Director each year, Ojai has presented a “who’s who” of music including Mitsuko Uchida, Rhiannon Giddens, AMOC* (American Modern Opera Company), Vijay Iyer, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, and Barbara Hannigan in recent years; throughout its history, featured artists have included Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kent Nagano, Pierre Boulez, John Adams, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Spano, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, David Robertson, Eighth Blackbird, George Benjamin, Dawn Upshaw, Leif Ove Andsnes, Mark Morris, Jeremy Denk, Steven Schick, Matthias Pintscher, and Peter Sellars.


The 78th Ojai Music Festival, June 6 to 9, 2024, welcomes as Music Director pianist Mitsuko Uchida, one of the most universally admired artists of our time. Mitsuko Uchida last performed at the 2004 Festival and was co-music director in 1998.

Uchida, who will perform each Festival evening in works by Schoenberg and Mozart, welcomes 2024 collaborators the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Brentano String Quartet, violinist Alexi Kenney, cellist Jay Campbell, harpist Julie Smith Phillips, soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon, percussionist Sae Hashimoto, accordionist Ljubinka Kulisic and bassist Rick Stotijn. 

Works By Kaija Saariaho are woven throughout the 2024 Festival, including Dreaming Chaconne, Fall, Six Japanese Gardens, and Lichtbogen, conducted by Saariaho’s daughter Aliisa Neige Barriere. Highlights of the 2024 Festival also include music of John Adams, Bartók, Biber, Cage, Debussy, Sofia Gubaidulina, Kurtág, Helmut Lachenmann, Missy Mazzoli, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Stravinsky, Jörg Widmann, and John Zorn.

In collaboration with Baryshnikov Arts, Shifting Ground features violinist Alexi Kenney and video projections by Xuan, juxtaposing Baroque works by Bach and Matteis, with recent music by Kaija Saariaho, Angélica Negrón, Paul Wiancko, and Salina Fisher.  The 2024 Festival integrates music from both the First and Second Viennese Schools, from Haydn and Mozart to Berg, Webern, and multiple works by Arnold Schoenberg in honor of the 150th Anniversary of his birth.

Single tickets and day passes to the 2024 Festival are available online at OjaiFestival.org or by calling (805) 646-2053. Follow Festival updates at OjaiFestival.org.

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