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Interning with the 2012 Festival

The Ojai Festival’s internship program was by far the highlight of my summer.  It’s three weeks of learning, making friends and gaining experience that feels more like a few days at the end of it.

My euphonium teacher at UC Berkeley recommended the program to me – I told him I was looking for an arts management internship in Southern California and this immediately came to his mind.  I had known about the success of the Festival in years past, and I was sold once I found out about the internship program.  I actually applied late, having found out about the program in early May.  Luckily for me they had an open spot, and after e-mailing an application and a couple of short essays I interviewed on the phone with Jillian, the intern coordinator.

Three days later Jillian informed me that I had been accepted into the program as a Marketing/Public Relations intern, something I was very excited about.  Then, after a little more than a month, I arrived at the Ojai Festival.  I actually arrived a week later than all of the other interns did, because I was to stay a week later to work on marketing-related projects.  Because of this, I arrived on Festival week – after three short days of introduction, it was time to dive into the exciting and fast four days of the Festival.

I live near Ojai, but had never before attended the Festival, so it was amazing to me to see how well the event flowed and how smooth the planning was – and of course, how wonderful the music was.  During the Festival I did a variety tasks including handling incoming 2013 subscriptions, handing out and recording audience surveys, and taking photos during the Festival for social media purposes.

The retail interns handled the large books both with CDs, the box office interns attended to the influx of ticket orders and will call, and every other intern had something specific to attend to.  Some handled special events, some backstage, some the front desk, and so on.  After a little over 72 hours, all of the events were done and Libbey Park no longer glowed with green lanterns.

The next week, the final week for most interns, involved finalizing and approving what had happened during the Festival and getting ready to say goodbye.  We had become a little family over the Festival – the intern program had students from a wide variety of schools, from Washington to Texas, from the Bay Area to Southern California.

Many interns come back year after year, but many do not because of scheduling issues.  It was such a great experience to meet people that have the same passions as I did and connect with fellow music lovers.

I am very, very happy my euphonium teacher mentioned this program to me – I believe it has helped me greatly with my understanding of a successful non-profit and of the ways in which music events work.  I know I will be using this experience in my future internships and jobs with arts management.

– Lauren Eales

To apply to the program or for more information, click here.


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

Five Things Friday – Reinbert de Leeuw

Conductor, composer, pianist, author . . . Dutch musician Reinbert de Leeuw wears many hats. Throughout his career, de Leeuw has been an ardent champion of new music, co-founding the Schoenberg Ensemble in 1974 (he’s been conductor and music director since its inception). If you aren’t familiar with Reinbert de Leeuw, here’s five things to help you get acquainted:

  • Mr. de Leeuw is an accomplished pianist – he will be performing his own Im wunderschönen Monat Mai on Friday Night with Barbara Sukowa. His interpretations of Erik Satie, in particular, have brought him widespread acclaim. Here’s a video of him playing Satie’s Le Fils des Étoiles No. 2. 
  • In addition to his work with the Schoenberg Ensemble, Mr. de Leeuw has also served as music director of the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music (1994-1998) and artistic advisor for contemporary music at the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (2000-2004). He has also been involved in several opera productions, including works by Stravinsky, Andriessen, Ligeti, Vivier, and Rob Zuiddam.
  • In 2011, Mr. de Leeuw accomplished a cherished dream – to lead a complete performance of Schoenberg’s massive Gurre-Lieder. For his performance, de Leeuw brought together 356 musicians, including students of the Royal Conservatoir and Codarts Rotterdam. Here’s a brief video taken from one of the rehearsals.
  • If that isn’t enough, Mr. de Leeuw is the author of two books (one on Charles Ives and a collection of essays), and helped to create an internationally acclaimed eight-part documentary on twentieth-century composers.
  • And one more…In 2010, Mr. de Leeuw was a part of the “Cage Against The Machine” campaign, which was a worldwide push to get John Cage’s 4’33” as the Christmas No. 1. Here is his performance for Dutch television (begins at 6:30). If anyone speaks Dutch, we’d love to know what he says!

We’re excited that Reinbert de Leeuw will be joining us in June. From what we’ve seen so far, he’s an incredibly talented musician and thinker – we can’t wait to meet him! He’ll be in Ojai June 7-10 – click here for tickets and further information.

Looking Back on Ojai Festival 2012 Preview Events

At our Preview Events last weekend, hosted by Artistic Director Tom Morris and founder Doug McLennan, we asked attendees to tell us what they thought and what the most interesting thing they heard was – here are a few of the comments we received. Thank you to all of our friends who attended our events in Ojai, Santa Monica, and Pasadena; it was so wonderful to meet you all!

Needless to say, with less than two months to go, excitement for the Festival in June continues to mount. We hope to see you there – purchase your tickets today.


Five Things Friday – The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra

The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra (or, as we’ve shortened it here in the office, the NCO) has worked with 2012 Music Director Leif Ove Andsnes for several years, both on recording projects and at the Risør Festival in Norway. But the group is well-known and established in their own right, so for this week’s Five Things Friday, we’ve decided to see what we could learn about the NCO:

  • The group was started in 1977, bursting onto the international music scene with its acclaimed recording of Grieg’s complete works for string orchestra in 1979. The NCO has benefited from having two long-term leaders: Terje Tønnesen (1977-1981, 2010-present) and Iona Brown (1981-2001). Leif Ove Andsnes was the orchestra’s first guest leader, holding the position from 2002-2010.
  • Terje Tønnesen is active across several different genres, enjoying working in jazz, rock, and theatrical performance in addition to his work with the NCO. Here’s an incredible video of Tønnesen performing in Dance Macabre (1995), choreographed by Kjersti Alveberg.
  • The NCO is known for their dedication to developing new performance concepts and modes of presentation. Take, for example, their performance of Grieg’s In ‘Holberg’s Time’, in 2010 (wait for about 50 seconds in).
  • The NCO appeared as part of the BBC Proms in 2010, receiving almost universal praise for their (and Andnes’) performances of Grieg and Mozart’s piano concertos. But they gave another performance as well, at the much less traditional 100 Club, usually home to Jazz and rock groups. You can see a video of their sold-out performance here.
  • And speaking of unusual venues, the NCO also had a series of performances throughout the city, including in a train station. Definitely one of the times we wish we spoke Norwegian.

There are less than two months to go until the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Leif Ove Andsnes, and the rest of the 2012 artists arrive in Ojai. If you have not yet bought tickets, you can do so online at

Chatting with Marc-André Hamelin

A few weeks ago we collected questions to ask Marc-André Hamelin. He’s just gotten back to us, answering questions about working with Leif Ove Andsnes, favorite pianists, and desert islands. Here’s what he said:


When you and Leif Ove Andsnes perform works for four hands, how do you decide who plays which part?

It’s only happened for two pieces so far, so there’s no great tradition yet! If one of us expresses a preference, the other respects it; that’s all there really is to it. Incidentally, we’ve only played 2-piano pieces so far — nothing on just one piano.


How do you decide the balance between solo, chamber, and orchestral appearances? Do you have a preference? What are the attractions of each?

It all depends on what concert offers come my way. I tend to take all I can, whether solo, chamber or orchestral, provided my schedule doesn’t get overcrowded; beyond a certain number of concerts, the quality of what I do is bound to start to suffer.


You have played pretty much everything…is there anything left, or will you turn to composition full-time?

I find this question extremely amusing! If one could play literally everything ever written for the piano, it would take at least twenty lifetimes! It’s not generally appreciated just how much there really is. True, a lot of it is forgettable or out of fashion, but there’s still many good things out there waiting to be heard.

As far as composition, it’s a necessary thing for me, and I enjoy it tremendously, but my concert activity will always be my main priority.


Desert island music question! What are the five recordings you’d want if you were actually stranded on an island? (box sets don’t count).

The more CDs and LPs you have (and yes, I still collect LPs) the more it would be impossible to make a choice! Also, I’d be afraid that if I took a small number of records to a desert island, I’d get sick of them, and that would be unfortunate…


Do you have any favorite pianists among the legendary figures of the past (or present)?  Any favorite recordings or concert experiences?

When I was little, my father played a lot of the Golden Age pianists’ recordings — those were his favorites by far, so naturally I got to know and love them very much. I liked a lot of them — hard to pick one. Ignaz Friedman and Josef Hofmann, perhaps. As far as now, people like Freire, Lupu, Uchida, Ax, Andsnes and Zimerman…well, the world would be much poorer without them.

Two of the concerts that particularly affected me (in a positive way!) were Shura Cherkassky’s two Montréal appearances back in the late 70s, when I was an impressionable youth.


If you weren’t playing piano, you’d be….

A master of ‘air chess’!  No, seriously…I have a certain aptitude for languages (even though I only speak two) so maybe a linguist?


Thanks to everyone who sent in their questions, and a big thank you to Marc-André – we can’t wait to see you in June! If you’re interested in seeing Marc-André Hamelin perform at the 65th Ojai Music Festival, click here for a program schedule.

Inuksuit, John Luther Adams, and Ojai

Just before the new year, influential music critic Alex Ross released several end of year lists. He named the Festival’s own Thomas Morris as one of the Persons of the Year, and released his list of the greatest performances of 2011. One of the selected highlights was the performance of John Luther Adams’ “Inuksuit” at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. Written for Steve Schick, Inuksuit–the title is derived from the stone cairns used by the indigenous peoples of the Arctic–is an arresting piece for 9-99 percussion performers who are located throughout a large space (it was originally intended to be performed outdoors), allowing audience members to remain stationary or to move through the performers at will. Watch excerpts from the Armory performance.

Lucky for us, we don’t have to travel to New York to witness Inuksuit. The 2012 Festival will kick off with the piece’s West Coast premiere on Thursday Evening at 5pm. The premiere will be a free community performance featuring 48 percussionists led by Steven Schick, including professional musicians, music students from Southern California universities and colleges, and local musicians from Ojai. They will be placed throughout Libbey Park and Bowl to create a truly unique, interactive musical experience.

Luther Adams is no stranger to such intersections and interactions between space and sound. Described by the New Yorker as “one of the most original musical thinkers of the 21st century,” his works take the vast natural landscapes and the indigenous cultures of his adopted Alaska as their inspiration. Spurred by his deep interest in environmental conservation, Luther Adams’ compositions create a bridge between human experience and the natural world, bringing audiences greater awareness and a heightened connection with nature. Many of his works take their material directly from nature itself. In The Place Where You Go To Listen, for instance, Luther Adams used seismological readings and geophysical data in composing.

In many ways Luther Adams’ compositions are a perfect fit for the outdoor setting of Libbey Bowl, and the 2012 Festival will feature several of his works. After Inuksuit on Thursday, the evening concert will also feature Red Arc/Blue Veil, performed by Marc-André Hamelin and Steve Schick. Luther Adams’ work returns on Sunday night, where Leif Ove Andsnes will join Hamelin to perform Dark Waves. Click here to listen to a preview.

This year’s Festival is promising to be a truly unique intersection of music, place, and idea. If you have not yet purchased your tickets for this year’s Festival, you can do so online, or by calling 805.646.2053.

For more information on John Luther Adams and to read his writing on music, composition, and the environment, visit his website.

Five Things Friday – Martin Fröst

Until you’ve heard Martin Fröst, you haven’t really heard the clarinet.” – The Times

Swedish clarinetist Martin Fröst is known throughout the world for his virtuosic abilities and his dedication to stretching the boundaries of the traditional classical music performance. His championing of pieces such as Anders Hillborg’s Peacock Tales has led to developing performances that not only include clarinet, but dance and theatrical production as well. If you’re curious about this multi-talented musician, here’s five things you may (or may not) know about Martin Fröst:

  • Dances to a Black Pipe, Fröst’s latest CD includes dance music by Copland, Brahms, Piazzolla, and Goran Fröst, Martin’s brother. The CD also features Ojai alums Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Watch Fröst and the ACO recording Dances to a Black Pipe here.
  • Fröst is a longtime collaborator with 2012 Music Director Leif Ove Andsnes, and has been a frequent performer at the Risør Music Festival in Norway.
  • Several of his special projects (Peacock Tales, Dance to Black Pipe, No Strings Attached) can only be described as monodramas, with Fröst himself playing the main role and musical lead, creating new ways to convey stories and music to audiences. Here’s a preview of Peacock Tales, which Fröst will be performing at the Sunday Morning Concert.
  • Even royalty love Martin Fröst. He was the only classical instrumentalist featured during the gala concert celebrating the marriage of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Prince Daniel Westling.

Fröst will be performing in Ojai during the Saturday Morning and Evening concerts, as well as the Sunday morning concert. Highlights will include his famous performance of Peacock Tales and Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, among other works, among others. Buy tickets to the 2012 Festival here.

If you can’t wait until June, he will be performing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic on March 24-25.

And finally, a little Friday treat – Fröst and Malena Ernman performing Flight of the Bumblebee.



March 2, 2012
In the concerts of the clarinetist Martin Fröst, the conventional rocks. He put a spell on the Luzern audience.
“Very rarely does the clarient get to establish itself so exaltedly as in Anders Hillborg’s Peacock Tales.
Martin Fröst was the guest of the Luzern Symphony Orchestra with the extrordinary composition on Wednesday and Thursday. The Swede is considered the most complete clarinetist, also visually, with engaging artistic presence and an incomparable technical supremacy. His compatriot Anders Hillborg has written the Peacock Tales in 1998 as if it was tailored specially for him. However, with all the skills required for such experimental art forms, all the forceful soundmaking of the instrument, Fröst expresses his rich clarinet tone and his mastery of frasing most fully in the conventional repertoire: a wonderful example of this being Debussy´s Première Rhapsodie.”

– Neue Luzerner Zeitung

Andsnes and Friends

In preparing for this year’s 66th Festival I’ve had two long conversations with Leif Ove Andsnes and each time, it seems, he is most interested in talking about his partners and collaborators. This is not just a question of generosity and good manners, but a genuine admiration for fellow musicians – what they know, what they can do, and, above all, what they can teach him about music. Andsnes is full of awe, for instance, for the range of repertory his friend Marc Andre Hamelin has mastered, the corners of the song literature Christianne Stotijn has explored, and Martin Fröst’s stylistic assurance in music new and old. These musicians share his passion for music and their collaboration is one of unspoken trust and rapport. “When I work with another artist,” Andsnes once said, “I believe in a kind of musical offering that isn’t merely the result of exchanges of words and ideas, but rather of an inquisitive attitude fed by musical intuition.”

It is clear that Andnes loves giving – and attending concerts. He is an avid listener and you can be sure he’ll be in the audience of Hamelin’s reading of the Ives’ Concord Sonata, which he calls one of the great musical experiences of his life. At the same time he loves programs that mix solo and chamber works, creating a partnership among equals with no fuss about “billing.” And in this equation he includes the audience, from whom he hopes to draw that same degree of absorbed concentration that characterizes his own engagement with music.

– Christopher Hailey

PS – Watch the video of Leif Ove Andsnes and Marc-Andre Hamelin discussing pianos, Stravinsky and music. Click here>

Five Things Friday – Marc-André Hamelin

If you live in Los Angeles, there is really only one classical music station that you tune to—the inimitable 91.5 KUSC. And when you grow up listening to KUSC, artist names quickly become familiar, even without your realizing it. For me, one of those names was the pianist Marc-André Hamelin. So you can imagine my anticipation when I heard he was coming to Ojai in June. However I realized that despite having heard his recordings many times, I actually knew very little about Hamelin. So, in preparation for his Ojai debut, we’ve found five things you may (or may not) know about Hamelin:

– Montreal-born Hamelin is an incredibly virtuosic pianist, known for his breadth of expression and astonishing technical ability. If you need proof, here’s a video of him performing Triple Etude d’Apres Chopin, where he plays three Chopin A minor etudes…simultaneously.

– In an interview with Ethan Iverson, Hamelin noted that the first recording he bought for himself was of Ives’ Concord Sonata when he was 13. It has since become something of a signature piece for him…and he’ll be playing it on Thursday night in Ojai.

– He is also a talented composer—his recording of his own compositions, Hamelin: Ètudes brought him his ninth Grammy Nomination and first prize from the German Record Critic’s Association

– He is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Chevalier de l’Ordre national du Québec (National Order of Quebec).

– Hamelin has achieved the near-impossible: he has managed to make the Nokia ringtone almost bearable, with his very own Valse Irritation d’après Nokia.

Needless to say, we’re looking forward to meeting Hamelin and hearing him play in person. He will be performing throughout the Festival weekend, both solo and with his friend and long-time collaborator Music Director Leif Ove Andsnes, playing works by John Luther Adams, Ives, Berg, Bolcom, and Stravinsky. Click here to see his concerts and buy tickets to the 2012 Festival.

If you want to learn more about Hamelin, read Ethan Iverson’s excellent interview or visit his web site.

SFCV Spotlight on Leif Ove Andsnes

2012 Music Director and celebrated pianist Leif Ove Andsnes continues his extensive U.S tour. In this recent SFCV web article, he talks about his music and his “big” celebration!

Leif Ove Andsnes has been in the spotlight for over two decades. His long list of accomplishments includes eight Grammy nominations, five Gramophone Awards, and the prestigious honor of Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. He has performed with the world’s best orchestras on the world’s most famous stages. He has guided countless students into the realm of professional music at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo and the Royal Music Conservatory in Copenhagen. His resume is long and awe-inspiring, but when my call was answered at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia, I found the famous Leif Ove not just coming fresh off a performance, but rather a gentle man in love with his piano….”

Read the entire Q&A here…

San Francisco Classical Voice Spotlights Leif Ove Andsnes

2012 Music Director and celebrated pianist Leif Ove Andsnes continues his extensive U.S tour. In this recent SFCV web article, he talks about his music and his “big” celebration!

Leif Ove Andsnes has been in the spotlight for over two decades. His long list of accomplishments includes eight Grammy nominations, five Gramophone Awards, and the prestigious honor of Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. He has performed with the world’s best orchestras on the world’s most famous stages. He has guided countless students into the realm of professional music at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo and the Royal Music Conservatory in Copenhagen. His resume is long and awe-inspiring, but when my call was answered at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia, I found the famous Leif Ove not just coming fresh off a performance, but rather a gentle man in love with his piano….”

Read the entire Q&A here…

Five Things Friday – Christianne Stotijn

This week mezzo-soprano and 2012 Festival artist Christianne Stotijn  will be performing Mahler 2 and 3 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, as part of the Phil’s month-long Mahler Project. Delft-born Stotijn is known throughout the world for her passionate and nuanced interpretations of lieder. Here are five things we’ve learned about Stotijn in preparation for her arrival in Ojai:

– She’s not only a singer, but an accomplished violinist as well.

– She is the recipient of several awards, including the ECHO Rising Stars Award (2005/2006) and the Nederlands Muziekprijs (2008). In 2007, she was selected as a BBC New Generation Artist and her recording of Tchaikovsky songs with pianist Julius Drake won a BBC Music Magazine award.

– Stotijn has performed with leading orchestras throughout the world, including the Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Orchestre National de France, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and now, the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

– She has appeared in major roles with the Paris Opera, the Royal Opera House in Convent Garden, the Nederlandse Opera and the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels.

– BBC Music Magazine hails her as “that artist in a thousand whose personality shines through in everything she does.”

From what we’ve learned, Stotijn is an artist who is not to be missed and we’re excited to welcome her to Ojai in June. You can catch Stotijn in Ojai throughout the Festival weekend, where she will be performing works by Shostakovich, Wagner, and William Bolcolm, among others. Click here to see her concerts and to buy tickets to the 2012 Festival.

And if you can’t wait until June, here’s a little behind-the-scenes YouTube video to tide you over: Christianne Stotijn Recording Schubert, Berg, Wolf

Learn more about Christianne Stotijn at her website.


Ojai Music Festival expresses gratitude for support

Gratitude.  On this Thanksgiving I want to extend my gratitude to the hundreds of volunteers, donors, audience members, and artists who selflessly give of their time, talent, and money to support the Ojai Music Festival.  All of us share a common passion in the interest of exploring the highest forms of creativity expressed through music and sustaining one of the most engaging musical experiences all of us have each year—the Ojai Music Festival.  This annual pilgrimage only exists because each of us helps to support it in our own, unique way which makes it a culmination of all of our collective efforts.
Thank you for your interest, trust, and dedication to the Ojai Music Festival.
With gratitude,
photo caption: At the volunteer luncheon in November, the Festival honored longtime volunteer coordinator Jessica Murray (center). Operations director Gillian McManus (right) helps oversee the enormous efforts of our volunteers with Jessica.

Andsnes and Hamelin: A Music World Bromance

Ah, collaborative friendships…sometimes two minds really are better than one. From Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to Spock and Captain Kirk, the “bromance” is alive and well in all areas of popular culture. But they aren’t just for movies or books…if you know where to look, bromances can be found in the world of music as well.

For instance, take pianists Leif Ove Andsnes of Norway and Marc André-Hamelin of Canada, who are prolific collaborators on stage and good friends off it. Take a look at this behind-the-scenes video as they prepare for a rehearsal of Stravinsky’s arrangement of Rite of Spring for two pianos as part of Risør in Brussels last year…you’ve got to love the debate over which piano to take!

As both artists mention in the video, the piano arrangement offers a different interpretation of the regularly-heard orchestral version, and may not even have been intended for concert performance. Luckily for us, Andsnes and Hamelin are going to bring the dual piano version–and their rehearsal antics–to Ojai for the Sunday Night Concert. We hope you’ll join us and help welcome one of the bromances of the music world to the Ojai Music Festival in June 2012!

Leif Ove…it’s like Billy-Joe or Jean-Pierre…

During a recent Facebook conversation with our Ojai Music Festival friends, the question was posed “How DO you pronounce 2012 Music Director Leif Ove Andsnes‘ name?” – a very valid question, indeed. So, we went trolling on the internet to make sure we could answer this correctly, and it seems that this has been asked before… In a 1996 article for the Baltimore Sun, Andsnes explained, “It’s really not that difficult,” says the pianist, 26, speaking by telephone from California where he was performing Beethoven with the San Francisco Symphony. “It’s ‘LAYff oo-VAY ANS-ness’,” he says. “Just keep in mind that, in Scandinavian double first names, the second one is as important as the first — like ‘Billy Joe’ or ‘Jean-Pierre.’ ”  So when we see him in Ojai next June we’ll be certain to welcome him confidently as Leif Ove...

You can read the complete article by clicking here .
Check out what Leif Ove and his artistic collaborators have in store for us at the 2012 Festival  

The Festival Advantage

Each fall, about 15 of my peers who lead the top classical music festivals of the Western United States gather.  This year, we converged in Portland for three days of lively discussion about the future of audiences, role of the Internet in reaching audiences and artists, ways we can collaborate on various projects, and learning more about the artistic successes of each of our pursuits.  As I made my way back to Ojai, I was struck by the advantage festivals have over traditional orchestras, in that we have much greater freedom and opportunity to explore a broader range of repertoire and more meaningful ways of connecting to our audiences.

Ojai in particular holds a great advantage in that all of its concerts and events are packed into just four days.  There is no other festival that offers so many opportunities in such a condensed time period.  This also gives Ojai another advantage that all of its artists are present at the same time.  Rarely do audience members or artists come in and out during the festival…you are either in Ojai for the festival or not!

While it is clear that each festival is working significantly harder to maintain their programs (Ojai is not an exception to this!), each of us are still finding new, passionate audiences for our work when we hold a clear artistic perspective and stick with it.

…….for those of you who know or plan to visit Portland, let me share a few highlights.  We ate at Andino Peruvian Tapas restaurant in the Pearl District.  This was a fantastic restaurant and we were feted with a taste of the entire menu!  My favorites were the empanadas, ceviche, and hand made licorice chocolate truffles. The space was also quite interesting as it had many different rooms and nooks.  I also enjoyed starting my day at the Pearl Bakery with one of their incredible breads cooked on the premises.  Finally, a highlight of the trip was meeting Michael Powell, owner of the famous Powells Books.  He hosted us for a reception in his rare book room and we talked about how he has made book buying an experience and not just a transaction.  Of course, Portland was cloudy most of the time, but the periodic rain adds to the charm of this vibrant city. Next year, Aspen…


A gathering among friends

Last week’s Annual General Meeting was a bit like the Festival itself…a reunion of close friends getting together, swapping stories and talking about what they enjoyed at the Festival, and of course, what they didn’t. After all, this was the Ojai Festival crowd, and that meant plenty of provocative and lively discussion at every table!

There were many highlights to the lovely afternoon at the Ranch House, but what everyone eagerly waited upon was getting inside details of the 2012 Festival from Artistic Director Tom Morris. Tom shared that he and Music Director Leif Ove Andsnes had been working over the past months to craft a program that reflects Andsnes’ wide-ranging and diverse interests. Like the reputable Risor Festival in Norway which he helped co-found, Ojai will embrace a sense of community not only between artists on the stage, but between audience and artists. We can expect some adventurous mix of elements and as Tom said a “wall-to-wall’ weekend of music and discussion.

Tom also highlight that Ojai already places music of our time at the center of what it does, but unlike some contemporary music festivals that concentrate on just what’s new, Ojai builds a case for how the music of today fits into the context of the longer musical historical conversation.

More discussions on this very topic will start to percolate these next several months and definitely during the Festival. Stay tuned!


Leif Ove Andsnes, 2012 Music Director

LEIF OVE ANDSNES, music director

The New York Times has called Leif Ove Andsnes “a pianist of magisterial elegance, power and insight.” With his commanding technique and searching interpretations, the celebrated Norwegian pianist has won worldwide acclaim, prompting the Wall Street Journal to call him “one of the most gifted musicians of his generation.” He gives recitals and plays concertos each season in the world’s leading concert halls and with the foremost orchestras. Andsnes is also an active recording artist, as well as an avid chamber musician who has joined select colleagues each summer at Norway’s Risør Festival of Chamber Music. He will serve as Music Director of the 2012 Ojai Music Festival in California.

Beethoven will figure prominently in Leif Ove Andsnes’s 2011-12 season and beyond, in concerto performances, recitals and recordings. Together with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Jiří Bělohlávek, he will perform the Third Concerto in London and on tour in Spain. Soon after, he performs the First Concerto with the Vienna Symphony and Andris Nelsons, including concerts in Vienna’s Musikverein. Andsnes will play the same two concertos with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra in Gothenburg and Oslo. He then heads to North America for a series of fall performances of the First Concerto: with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Manfred Honeck; the Montreal Symphony with Roger Norrington; and, in January, the Boston Symphony under David Zinman, before returning to the Third Concerto, which he performs with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Herbert Blomstedt. Andsnes will play and direct both concertos with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra in Örebro, Sweden; and with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra in Trondheim, Norway. He will tour with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in Italy – including performances in Brescia, Lugano, Torino, Bergamo – as well as Dresden, Prague, and Bergen. The Prague concerts will be recorded live by Sony Classical – his label debut – and are the beginning of a multi-year project, entitled “Beethoven – A Journey,” to play and record all five of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos.

Other highlights of the 2011-12 season include performances of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Hannover’s NDR Radiophilharmonie, Japan’s NHK Symphony, and his hometown orchestra, the Bergen Philharmonic. While in Japan, he will also give recitals in Tokyo and Nagoya. Music by Chopin, Debussy, Bartók and Haydn will be featured on a recital program in North America and Europe. The first leg of the tour includes performances in Los Angeles; Morrow and Savannah, Georgia; Washington, DC; New York’s Carnegie Hall; Chapel Hill, NC; and Chicago. A nine-city European tour includes performances in Schloss Elmau (Munich), Brussels, Oslo, Paris, Birmingham, London, Florence, Genova, and Berlin. A spring recital tour featuring songs by Mahler and Shostakovich brings Andsnes back to the States for performances with baritone Matthias Goerne in San Francisco, St. Paul, Kalamazoo, Detroit, and New York’s Carnegie Hall.

Among the many highlights of Leif Ove Andsnes’s 2010-11 season were two residencies: as Pianist in Residence with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, he performed five diverse programs including chamber music, Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with conductor Bernard Haitink, and a solo recital. He also served as Artist in Residence with his hometown orchestra, the Bergen Philharmonic. He toured Europe with the London Philharmonic and Vladimir Jurowski as well as Mariss Jansons and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and performed concertos with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Orchestre de Paris.

Last fall, EMI Classics released a recording of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concertos Nos. 3 and 4 with Andsnes, Antonio Pappano and the London Symphony Orchestra; in the spring his recording of Schumann’s complete Piano Trios with violinist Christian Tetzlaff and his sister, cellist Tonja Tetzlaff was also released on EMI Classics.

Leif Ove Andsnes now records exclusively for Sony Classical. His previous discography comprises more than 30 discs for EMI Classics – solo, chamber and concerto releases, many of them bestsellers – spanning repertoire from Bach to the present day. He has been nominated for seven Grammys and awarded many international prizes, including five Gramophone Awards. His recordings of the music of his countryman, Edvard Grieg, have been especially celebrated: the New York Times named Andsnes’s 2004 recording of the Piano Concerto with Mariss Jansons and the Berlin Philharmonic a “Best CD of the Year,” and the Penguin Guide awarded it a coveted “Rosette.” Like that Concerto recording, his disc of Grieg’s Lyric Pieces won a Gramophone Award. His recording of Mozart’s Piano Concertos 9 and 18 was another New York Times “Best of the Year” and Penguin Guide “Rosette” honoree. He won yet another Gramophone Award for Rachmaninov’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 with Antonio Pappano and the Berlin Philharmonic. A series of recordings of Schubert’s late sonatas – innovatively paired with selected songs sung by Ian Bostridge – prompted lavish acclaim, with the Chicago Tribune calling one release “Schubert playing of the highest order throughout.”

Andsnes was born in Karmøy, Norway in 1970, and studied at the Bergen Music Conservatory under the renowned Czech professor Jiří Hlinka. Andsnes currently lives in Copenhagen and Bergen, and also spends much time at his mountain home in Norway’s western Hardanger area. He is a Professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, a Visiting Professor at the Royal Music Conservatory of Copenhagen, and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. Andsnes occasionally contributes written commentaries to NPR’s “Deceptive Cadence” blog, and in June 2010, he achieved one of his proudest accomplishments to date: he became a father for the first time.

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Leif Ove Andsnes

This is the trailer for the 2012 Ojai Music Festival, featuring the 2012 Music Director, Leif Ove Andsnes.