2014 Festival Audience Survey Results

Each year, the Festival conducts an audience survey as an ongoing effort to measure various aspects of our own performance and receive feedback from patrons. Below are the results from this past Festival in June. We strive to improve our efforts and appreciate our Festival community’s interest in our forward plans.

We welcome any additional comments and observations. Please email us at [email protected] or write your comments below.

Survey invitations were e-mailed to 2014 Festival attendees the week following the event. Of a total of 678 delivered, 323 were returned for a response rate of 48%.

Survey 1

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 Ratings for the following:

1. Food Trucks on Friday Night:

  • Excellent 16%
  • Good 41%
  • Adequate 18%
  • Fair 13%
  • Poor 12%
  • Comments: Just didn’t have time to try the food trucks and would love to have done so….perhaps more than one night; more food truck varieties; more places to sit

2. Saturday Supper at Libbey Park

  • Excellent 45%
  • Good 33%
  • Adequate 17%
  • Fair 2%
  • Poor 3%

3. Live Streaming

  • Excellent 21%
  • Good 56%
  • Adequate 18%
  • Fair 3%
  • Poor 2%
  • Comments: Live streaming and intermission interviews seen after returning home; loved it!

4. Gathering Place in Libbey Park

  • Excellent 41%
  • Good 45%
  • Adequate 11%
  • Fair 2%
  • Poor 1%

View complete PDF >>

Selections of Enthusiastic Patrons’ Memorable Moments
There were so many memorable moments that were shared. Here are several to read online, or read 2014 Selections of Memorable Moments

Hands down: The Classical Style. We loved it and wished we could sit through it twice. (Two of us are trained musically; the third, just a music lover.) Next I’d have to say Jeremy Denk playing the Ligeti Etudes.

I wished I could spend all four days in Ojai. The organization was perfect. Enough restrooms, very clean. I watched afterwards the videos and the program and artists are outstanding. Also very funny especially my first language is German.

Listening to the musicians at the Gazebo on Friday and hearing Storm.

Lying with my young son under the giant oak on the lawn listening to Mozart on a gorgeous Sunday morning and getting a picture that captured the moment – smiles all around.

Sitting in the middle of the choir at Sunday Sunrise concert.  My whole body was immersed in the sound, and my soul was deeply touched by the power of the voices around me.

Both Late night concerts were excellent.  I loved the discussions on Thu and Fri but must admit that I liked Jeremy’s discussion of the idea of the opera more than the opera itself.  Brooklyn Rider and that venue were amazing but so was Sun morning at Meditation Mount and I am not a choral lover usually.

Sunday morning: sitting in that beautiful bowl with the trees and their dappled sunlight and listening to Mozart and the bird’s responses.  It was exquisite.


Enjoy 2014 Live Streaming Concerts

68th Ojai Music Festival - Libbey Bowl - June 14, 2014
Fred Child of American Public Media’s Performance Today interviews Jeremy Denk, music director, during one of the intermission interviews during the 68th Ojai Music Festival. Photo by Timothy Norris.

Libbey Bowl Concerts and Ojai Talks of the 68th Ojai Music Festival, June 12–15, are now archived on our Festival website for your viewing pleasure.

A highlight of this year’s 2014 Ojai Live offerings includes the June 13 world premiere of the new opera with libretto by Jeremy Denk and music by Steven Stucky, The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts). The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts) is co-commissioned by the Ojai Music Festival, Cal Performances at UC Berkeley, Carnegie Hall, and the Aspen Music Festival and School. The Ojai premiere is supported by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This year, Ojai Live features an enhanced HD five-camera shoot with concert-quality sound produced by Little Dog Live (http://www.LittleDogLive.com). Intermission interviews with artists and special guests were hosted by Fred Child of American Public Media’s Performance Today.

Now in its 68th year, the Ojai Music Festival celebrates its audience whose interest has resulted in record sales. The concentrated four-day Festival draws thousands of curious and engaged music enthusiasts from across the country, and is pleased to serve a growing community worldwide via these live and archival webcasts.

Watch the stream of the Friday evening concert below and view more videos on the archives here >>

Read the 2014 Festival Reviews

Bowl day shot

Each June, the Ojai Valley becomes a musical epicenter where audience members, industry leaders, musicians, and members of the press come together and experience innovative programming.

After each Festival, we gather feedback from audience members and colleagues, as well as share press reviews of the 2014 Festival. Read excerpts from the media, and for your convenience, download a complete press review sheet as a PDF here >>

“Like all births, there is something new in the room that wasn’t there before. For Stucky and Denk, this is a fleeting instant of transcendence, namely a miracle.”

Los Angeles Times

“’The Classical Style’ is a mash-up of Glenn Gould at his most satirical, PDQ Bach at his sauciest and a distractedly erudite Rosen cooking up a French sauce while pontificating on harmonic structure in his kitchen. But underlying the jokes (good ones and the groaners) and tomfoolery, Stucky’s resourceful score and Denk’s droll text produce an ingeniously eloquent musing on the meaning of life.”

Los Angeles Times

Read Mark Swed’s wrap-up review >>

“…the concert’s second half was a revelation, with the American pianist and composer Uri Caine and his jazz sextet deconstructing aspects of Gustav Mahler’s oeuvre, including the Adagietto of his Fifth Symphony and the conclusion of “Das Lied von der Erde” (for which a cantor was added). Teasing out the earthy building blocks of these complex and deeply felt masterpieces—that is, the folk songs, military marches and Jewish wedding tunes—Mr. Caine and company reimagined Mahler’s Olympian creations in more human-scale terms.”

Wall Street Journal

“On Saturday morning, he [Jeremy Denk] and Jennifer Frautschi performed with exquisite concentration all four of Ives’s Violin Sonatas, over the cawing of a multitude of crows. In typical Ojai fashion, the experience was enhanced by the presence of the vocal ensemble Hudson Shad…”

Wall Street Journal

“…the definitive factor in Ojai, the thing that sets its apart from ordinary concert life, is the programming. Take that away and you just have pretty concerts in a park. For the listening gourmet, Ojai is the place to taste new things, in abundance, and take a break from Tchaikovsky and Brahms meat and potatoes.”

Orange County Register

Read Tim Mangan’s two reviews: June 13 issue and June 15 issue

“…the pleasantly nostalgic backdrop offered by Stucky’s well-crafted and wide-ranging score, which empliys faux 18th-century music up to Strauss and Stucky himself. Throughout, conductor Robert Spano showed the Knights, the festival’s ‘resident’ orchestra, at their transparent best.” – Musical America

“He [Jeremy Denk] proved to be a terrific fit for this quirky, brainy, adventuresome little festival…”

Classical Voice North America

“…the area’s most consistently thrilling annual event, there was plenty of incredible music to swoon over, obsess about, or just ponder, albeit in new ways.”

Santa Barbara Independent

“From that felicitous combination came an effervescent joy in music that Denk emanates by simply being himself, a man of wit and wonder and a performer of infinite possibilities. Musicians and audience alike couldn’t stop smiling with obvious delight as they shared in his bit of musical heaven.”

– Ventura County Star

The Seven Deadly Sins (libretto by Brecht) was a lot of fun, and well sung by bombshell Storm Large, portraying a woman who experienced all seven and then some, and quartet Hudson Shad.

– Culture Clash
Read Scott Timberg’s review from June 19 >>

Conductors Eric Jacobson & Kevin Fox, alongside New York’s versatile orchestral collective The Knights and the Ojai Festival Singers left the mixed-age audience of both locals and visitors enraptured by the scope of the multiplicitous beauty and wide-ranging inquiry of the festival’s finale.

I Care If You Listen 

Jeremy Denk, In Words and Music: Read The Los Angeles Times Article

by Barbara Isenberg
June 2, 2014

jeremy-denk-2012-sqThese are illustrious times for the pianist and writer Jeremy Denk. Last year he won a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship, was named Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year and signed a book contract to expand a New Yorker article about piano lessons.

A few months ago, he received the $75,000 Avery Fisher Prize, and in a few weeks he heads west to become music director of the 68th annual Ojai Music Festival. The festival, starting June 12, should offer a change of pace for Denk. Instead of his usual concertizing across the U.S., Europe and elsewhere, he’ll be in residence at the four-day festival — and in charge.

“I’ve never curated anything like this before,” the 44-year-old musician said over coffee on the Upper West Side. “I’ve never had the responsibility for a weekend’s stimulation.”

Denk had been friendly with Rosen, who died last year at 85, and greatly admired Rosen’s “The Classical Style.”

He had never written an opera libretto before, either. But besides curating the festival and performing there, he’s come up with “The Classical Style: An Opera [of Sorts],” which will be given its premiere in Ojai. Based on pianist Charles Rosen’s 1971 scholarly book, “The Classical Style,” with music by composer Steven Stucky, the comic opera features such things as Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn playing Scrabble in heaven.

Read the complete article >>



Relive The Memories: View Our 2014 Festival Album

Relive your favorite moments from the 2014 Festival through our Festival albums. Photos are taken by Timothy Norris for the Ojai Music Festival. Click the photos to view a larger image.


Listen to the 2014 Festival Preview with Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris and Gail Eichenthal of KUSC



Listen to the 2014 Festival Preview with Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris and Gail Eichenthal of KUSC:


Special thanks to:

Saturday Evening Concert I Program Change

The new work by Andrew Norman, set to be performed by Jeremy Denk, will be replaced by another work by Mr. Norman.

Andrew Norman regrets that he was unable to complete his new piece, 140 characters or less, in sufficient time to allow for a premiere at the Ojai Music Festival.  Mr. Denk looks forward to performing the piece at a later date.

SATURDAY, June 14, 6pm

Andrew Norman
Light Screens

Alex Sopp, flute
Colin Jacobsen, violin
Miranda Sielaff, viola
Eric Jacobsen, cello
Mozart/Timo Andres
Coronation” Concerto Re-composition

Timo Andres, piano
The Knights
Eric Jacobsen, conductor

View the complete Saturday schedule here >>

Lisa Kaplan Returns to Ojai: Read Her Ojai Q&A

2009 Ojai Music Saturday - June 13, 2009Ojai is a place where alumni enjoy returning, whether to perform or just enjoy the experience as an audience member. Lisa Kaplan is one such member of the Festival family. As one of the members of the groundbreaking ensemble eighth blackbird, Lisa was first here in 2006 when they made their Festival debut performing Frederic Rzewski’s Coming Together,  and captivated the Ojai audience. It was at this Festival that Thomas W. Morris, artistic director, approached them to return to the Libbey Bowl as the Festival’s 2009 Music Director.  After their memorable and fearless stint in this post, Lisa and the “birds” were asked back to open the new Libbey Bowl in 2011 performing Osvaldo Golijov’s Ayre with Dawn Upshaw. And Lisa didn’t stay away long – just last year she again soaked in the festival experience, this time as an audience member!

Now we will welcome her back as both a performer and as a supporter to her very good friend, Jeremy Denk. Read her recent Q&A:

OMF: This will be your 5th time back in Ojai to perform but 4th since you came last year to hang out and enjoy the music. How did it feel to be on the other side of the stage as an audience member?

Kap: It was really wonderful to be on the audience side of the Ojai Festival last year. So relaxing! But also a lot to take in in the course of four days. I have been an admirer of Mark Morris for as long as I can remember, and it was truly inspiring to come out to see hLisa Kaplanow he curated the festival. Highlights for me were, the John Luther Adams’ songbirdsongs performed on Meditation Mount at 8am where the sounds of the instrumental bird songs and the actual birds singing their song were completely blurred. Hearing Yulia Van Doren sing Ives and Cowell and Cage, sitting in on toy piano to play In C on a glorious, sunny morning, and Mark’s musical choreography to all of the dance. I was blown away by his piece to Samuel Barber’s “Excursions.” A piano work I’ve never liked but somehow with Mark’s choreography, it absolutely came to life for me. Now when I hear that piece, I can’t help but think of the dancing that goes with it.

OMF: What was your advice to Jeremy Denk once Tom Morris asked him to be Music Director for Ojai?

Kap: I told him that it would be a lot of work, but totally worth it! I encouraged him to do something bold and audacious that he may never have the opportunity to do otherwise. Ojai is a playground for those kinds of projects and has a devoted following that isn’t afraid of new work so it is the perfect opportunity to program something innovative or totally crazy!

OMF: This year we are paying tribute to those who inspire us as musicians, artists, and people as well as recalling an “Aha moment” during your path as an artist. Do you have one that you’d like to share?

Kap: I feel so fortunate to have been mentored and inspired by so many wonderful people over the course of my own career. Here’s a recent “Aha moment.”

Several years ago Jeremy and I were rehearsing Mozart’s exquisite 4-hand Sonata in F major. I was so consumed with wanting everything in my part to be absolutely perfect and as a result everything sounded safe and boring. Then, all of a sudden, I missed several notes in a run. I cursed out loud, and Jeremy looked over while still playing and said, “Great! After the first mistake, then the music can begin.” That’s what Sebök used to tell me. Don’t be so worried! Just play with total abandonment and the music will flow.”

I never played Mozart the same after Jeremy said that to me. I was so much less afraid to perform it and it was far easier to just have fun and make music together. The very best part about playing together with someone like Jeremy who is so talented, is that they up your game too. I always learn something new when I share the stage, (or bench) with him.

You can see Lisa Kaplan at the Sunday, June 15, 11am concert, performing in one of the “Canonade” pieces selected by Jeremy Denk. Buy tickets here >>

Student Ticket Discount Available for the 68th Festival

“I brought my friend’s teenage daughter and son to their first classical performance. We all thoroughly enjoyed Lou Harrison’s ‘Suite for Symphonic Strings’ and both kids are more engaged in their music preferences as a result.” – 2013 Festival patron

Kelly Elizabeth and Kayla.5453As faculty and students prepare for the final weeks of the school year, the Ojai Music Festival is preparing for another amazing four-day music experience, and we invite students to enjoy Ojai 2014 with our special student ticket offer, made possible through the support of the Shanbrom Audience Development Fund.

Students receive 30% off single reserved seats and $5 lawn tickets with a current student ID.

Download an order form here >>

For more information, call Caitlin Praetorius at 805 646 2053
or email [email protected]

Artists Share Their “Aha Moments”

We recently asked a few of our artists to describe one of their Aha moments – an experience or piece that opened up the musical universe for them. Here are some of the responses we received:

timo_mw_2013_33“Early in my freshman year of college, a graduate violinist hired me to accompany her in John Adams’s Road Movies, having failed to convince any of her pianist colleagues to do so. I’d never heard Adams’s music before, much less played anything like it, and was initially nonplussed; on the page, the piece looked easy, repetitious, even boring. I was surprised to find it cycling endlessly through my head after rehearsal. It was catchy but also tough, and I spent hours with the violinist figuring out how to play it. By the time we performed Road Movies together, I was an Adams acolyte.

That experience taught me something about myself, which is that I figure out music by getting my hands dirty, through the drudgery of practice. It is the best way I know of to answer the questions: Where did this music come from? How does it work? What can I steal from it?”

Timo Andres, composer and pianist
Read Timo’s Q&A and listen to his specially curated playlist >>

Q & A with Timo Andres


Composer/Pianist Timo Andres will be making his Ojai debut this June on Saturday Evening. Recently, he answered a few questions and even put together his ‘Driving To Ojai North’ playlist.

Finish the sentence, “If I wasn’t performing/composing, I would be…”:

There are two ways to interpret this question: what do I do with my free time, and what is my second-choice (non-musical) profession.

The answer to the first is that there are endless ways I distract myself from “real work”—participating in infinite iMessage threads, the acquiring and preparing of foods from out-of-the-way corners of the city, prowling around thrift stores, riding or working on my bike, staying up too late with friends.

As for the second, I’ve always thought I’d have gone into a visual field if I weren’t a musician—perhaps graphic design or typography. As it is, I do a fair amount of these things as a side component of my job. Designing my website or laying out a score, for example, are both good practical and aesthetic challenges.

View The Updated 2014 Festival Schedule

Jeremy Denk 2 - Credit Michael Wilson

The updated 2014 Festival schedule is now available. Click the link below to view the complete schedule of events, program details, and more!
View schedule >>Purchase Festival passes >>


“Finding Feldman” – Guest Blog by Max Mandel of The Knights

Morton_Feldman_1976“I feel that the moment, the rightness of the moment, even though it might not make sense in terms of its cause and effect, is very important.” -M.F.

By Max Mandel, violist in The Knights 

I find it difficult to talk about Morton Feldman. I’m in awe of his output. I find his music to be exquisitely beautiful and intellectually challenging, a combination very few composers achieve. I often find myself saying to my colleagues, “Yup, another great piece by Feldman.” You start thinking about him and he becomes larger and larger in your mind and at a certain point he becomes too big to deal with. It’s well-known how huge he was. 6 feet, almost 300 pounds. The thick mop of greasy black hair, the coke bottle glasses. The massive appetite, intellectual and sensual, hungry for life. The endless words, the words that poured out of him, the constant conversations with everyone (although he admitted to an interviewer once, “The problem now is that all these things are evasive subterfuges from sitting down and writing that piece of music.”).

He was engaged in a lifelong debate with the musical giants of his time: Boulez, Cage, Stockhausen. After you’re captured by his music, the legend of the man becomes almost even more captivating. For me there is a ghoulish danger there. A strange thing about living in New York City is this continual pull of the legends and the ghosts that live here. I was standing at the corner of 72nd and Central Park West when some tourists haltingly inquired, “Excuse…could you please show where the Beatle was…” they trailed off in embarrassment and yeah, they should be embarrassed, a human being was murdered right there. I shook my fist at them after pointing them in the right direction because I recognized myself in their faces.

“Our Ears Are Open Now” – Guest Blog by Colin Jacobsen

Brooklyn Rider

nothing is accomplished by writing a piece of music
nothing is accomplished by hearing a piece of music
nothing is accomplished by playing a piece of music
our ears are now in excellent condition.

So said the ever-provocative John Cage. I suppose this statement could be read as a kind of nihilism, but I see it as Cage prodding the whole musical triangle (composer, performer, listener) to remember to strip oneself of preconceptions as much as possible and allow a sense of wonder back in so that there can be the possibility of Magical Musical Moments (which I will take to calling MMM… onomatopoeia-style. For the record, that is the sound that I’ve witnessed many a Persian and Indian musician emit in the moment when another musician makes a beautiful or telling musical phrase or gesture. Not advocating for that necessarily in a Mozart Symphony, but then again, why not? But I digress…) And I sense that I’m speaking to the choir when talking to Ojai Music Festival fans. I haven’t experienced the Festival before, but have heard from all accounts (including my wife, Maile Okamura who as a member of the Mark Morris Dance Group, was there performing last year) that people come ready to really, really listen and live the experience. Still, at every point along the way it’s useful to reexamine the intention one is putting into the activity at hand and realize the potential to be ever more present, on all sides of that triangle.

Hmm, so I’d like to examine from the composer/performer’s side some aspects that are necessary for MMM to happen through the lens of some of the music we’ll be playing in Ojai. I see part of that job as allowing the audience its own space in the music, meaning that it’s an open dialogue, and though the composer/performer should have a point of view and the courage of one’s convictions, there needs to be space for the listener to have their own experience inside the music. So let me know when you see me (or feel free to write a response to this) what you think the listener’s responsibility is in greater detail. In the meantime, some thoughts on composers/performers…

Preview Festival Music With Our Playlists

OMF 2011 BowlWith the Festival quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to listen up on some of the programming for this June. You can listen to recordings of some of the works to be performed this year using our Spotify playlists.

Preview 2014 Festival music here >>

3 Minutes With 2014 Music Director Jeremy Denk

Our Ojai North partner, Cal Performances, has produced “3 Minutes With Jeremy Denk” – watch Jeremy preview 2014 highlights, explain The Classical Style…and give a brief music lesson on Bach:

View the 2014 Ojai Music Festival Schedule >>
View the 2014 Ojai North Schedule >>

Purchase tickets to the 2014 Ojai Music Festival >>
Purchase tickets to the 2014 Ojai North >>

Ojai North 2014 Schedule Announced

The schedule for the 2014 Ojai North (June 19-21) with Music Director Jeremy Denk schedule has been announced. Scheduled concerts include the Bay Area Premiere of The Classical Style, performances by Jeremy Denk, Brooklyn Rider, Timo Andres, and Storm Large. Now in its fourth year, the collaboration between the Ojai Music Festival and Cal Performances enables reprises of Ojai concerts in Berkeley and creates a joint force allowing artists to achieve more than possible by each institution separately.

View the 2014 Ojai North Schedule >>
Purchase tickets to Ojai North, June 19 – 21, 2014 >>

Read the complete press release below:

Thursday-Saturday, June 19-21

Bay Area Premiere of The Classical Style,
a New Comic Opera by Jeremy Denk and Steven Stucky based on
Charles Rosen’s classic book 

Cal Performances debuts by Brooklyn Rider, Timo Andres, Storm Large, and
The Knights joining Denk to perform music by Beethoven, Feldman, Haydn,
Janáček, Ives, Ligeti, Mozart, Schubert, Weill, and more

 Ojai Music Festival to be held June 12-15 in Ojai Valley

BERKELEY, January 21, 2014—Cal Performances’ fourth annual Ojai North music festival opens Thursday, June 19 with the Bay Area premiere of the comic opera, The Classical Style, based on the eponymous award-winning book by the late pianist and scholar Charles Rosen, with a libretto by 2014 Ojai Music Director Jeremy Denk and music by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky. Ojai North is Cal Performances presentation of the highlights of the Ojai Music Festival considered one of the finest celebrations of music and culture in the world; this is the fourth year of the partnership . The music continues in Berkeley at the end of every annual festival in Ojai Valley.

Five distinct concerts are on the program for Ojai North. Making their debuts at Cal Performances are artistic collaborators who share Denk’s musical passions and love of fun, including jazz pianist and composer Uri Caine, the trailblazing string quartet Brooklyn Rider, pianist/composer Timo Andres, vocalist Storm Large, and contemporary ensemble The Knights.

While music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Joseph Haydn will set the framework for The Classical Style, Ojai North features works by Leoš Janáček, Charles Ives, Morton Feldman, György Ligeti, Franz Schubert, and Kurt Weill  plus the work of the distinctive Palo Alto-born composer Timo Andres.

“It’s a thrill to welcome Jeremy Denk as Ojai’s Music Director. His multi-dimensional approach to a musical life—as a performer, teacher, writer, creator and thinker on music—makes him an ideal choice,” said Cal Performances’ Executive and Artistic Director Matías Tarnopolsky. “The programs he has crafted for Ojai and Berkeley bring together the perfect combination of the very old and the very new, of the ferocious and the contemplative, and of the expected and the surprising. That the center piece of Ojai North is two performances of Steven Stucky’s opera The Classical Style, based on a libretto that Jeremy wrote, is testament to his remarkable talents.”

Denk’s trademark vivacious intellect and love of the unexpected is also evident in Uri Caine’s ingenious rendering of Mahler; Timo Andres’s reimagining of Mozart’s “Coronation” Concerto; the music of Charles Ives; and Denk’s eclectic views on musical canons.

Cal Performances has produced an exclusive video with Denk talking about The Classical Style and other works coming to Berkeley.

A series of Discover, Engage! education and community events to compliment Ojai North programming is being planned and will be announced at a later date.

Each summer the Ojai Music Festival (June 12-15, 2014) and Ojai North (June 19-21, 2014), explore the musical interests of its Music Director, an annual position that is held for the first time this year by Jeremy Denk. This collaborative effort makes possible annual reprises of Ojai concerts in Berkeley, as well as co-commissions and co-productions. More than just a sharing of resources, Ojai North represents a joining of artistic ideals and aspirations and is Cal Performances own ‘reinvention’ of the Ojai Music Festival. The organizations shared legacies of artistic innovation and groundbreaking productions create a joint force that allows artists to achieve more than would be possible by each institution separately.


Ojai North kicks off on Thursday, June 19 at 8:00 p.m. in Hertz Hall with the Bay Area premiere of The Classical Style, the first collaboration between Jeremy Denk and Steven Stucky – and the first opera project for both. The opera will be led by Robert Spano, conductor, pianist, composer, educator, and music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and of the Aspen Music Festival and School. The Knights, the New York-based orchestral collective, will serve as the ensemble for The Classical Style.

Denk describes the work as “An opera in which principles of music—harmony, structure—and the big three composers (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven), as well as several completely unnecessary characters, find themselves immersed or enmeshed or mired in an opera buffa. Scenes of Charles Rosen, declaiming some of the most eloquent passages from his masterwork, are interspersed with surreal riffs and thought experiments. Although this music is incredibly great, at times we have to acknowledge the often absurd degree to which we’ve subjected it to analysis. The opera buffa genre is simply a way of enjoying this absurdity, turning music inside out to reflect on itself, using one of the iconic masterpieces of analysis as a vehicle.”

The comic opera will debut at the Ojai Music Festival the week before coming to Berkeley; the work is co-commissioned by Ojai Music Festival, Cal Performances, the Aspen Music Festival and School, and Carnegie Hall.

The first half of the concert will feature Brooklyn Rider performing Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet in G minor, Op. 74, No. 3, “Rider”. This performance repeats on Friday, June 20 at 7:00 p.m.

On Friday at 10:00 p.m. vocalist Storm Large will perform an evening of cabaret songs that she will announce from the stage; the venue of the concert will be announced at a later date.

Ojai North continues on Saturday, June 21, beginning at 11:00 a.m. with jazz pianist and composer Uri Caine and the Uri Caine Ensemble performing Mahler Re-Imagined, works from his critically acclaimed CD, which features his innovative adaptations, transformations and improvisations of Mahler’s music. Since 1998, Caine and his group have toured Mahler: Re-Imagined extensively throughout the world. The concert begins with Jeremy Denk performing Leos Janáček’s On An Overgrown Path interwoven with short works by Franz Schubert.

At 3:00 p.m. Brooklyn-based composer Timo Andres’ reimagines Mozart’s “Coronation” Concerto, a performance described by Alex Ross of The New Yorker as “mesmerizing.”  In this work, while the orchestral parts and the treble piano line are as Mozart notated in his original manuscript (Mozart did not fill out most of the piano counterpoint and harmonies since he improvised performances himself), Andres has recomposed the remainder of the piano part in his own style as if he were improvising a performance today. The work is performed by Andres himself, accompanied by The Knights and conducted by Eric Jacobsen, one of its founders and its regular conductor. The Knights offers an eclectic program of Charles Ives’s Three Places in New England (1930 version); Morton Feldman’s Madame Press died last week at 90; and Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Tierkreis–Leo 4, arranged by Caroline Shaw. Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins will be performed by the “sensational” (The New York Times) vocalist Storm Large and the Hudson Shad vocal quartet in English.

The Festival’s concluding concert at 8:00 p.m. features Ligeti’s Piano Études Books I and II, a specialty of Jeremy Denk’s. The second half of the concert includes Charles Ives’ Psalm 90 performed by the Ojai Festival singers and conducted by Kevin Fox, as well as Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, Op. 80 performed by Denk, The Knights, and the Ojai Festival singers, conducted by Eric Jacobsen.

All concerts are in Hertz Hall.


Tickets for Ojai North Music Festival, Thursday-Saturday, June 19-21 in Hertz Hall range from $20.00-$68.00 and are subject to change. A festival pass with tickets to all the performances is available for $132.00. Single tickets will go on sale February 1, 2014. Tickets are available through the Cal Performances’ Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at www.calperformances.org; and at the door.  Half-price tickets are available for purchase by UC Berkeley students. UC faculty and staff, senior citizens, other students and UC Alumni Association members receive a $5.00 discount (Special Events excluded). For more information, call Cal Performances at (510) 642-9988, or visit www.calperformances.org.

Ojai North
June 19-21, 2014
Concert calendar

Thursday, June 19
8:00 p.m.
Hertz Hall
Bancroft Way at College Ave.
UC Berkeley campus

Ojai North
Jeremy Denk, Music Director

Program: Haydn: String Quartet in G minor, Op. 74, No. 3 “Rider”
Brooklyn Rider

Stucky/Denk: The Classical Style (Bay Area premiere; co-commissioned by the Ojai Music Festival, Cal Performances, Carnegie Hall, and the Aspen Music Festival and School)
The Knights
Robert Spano, conductor
Singers, TBA
Director, Mary Birnbaum

Tickets: $68.00 and are subject to change, and are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at www.calperformances.org; and at the door.

Friday, June 20
7:00 p.m.
Hertz Hall
Bancroft Way at College Ave.
UC Berkeley campus

Ojai North
Jeremy Denk, Music Director

Program: Haydn: String Quartet in G minor, Op. 74, No. 3 “Rider”
Brooklyn Rider

Stucky/Denk: The Classical Style (Bay Area premiere; co-commissioned by the Ojai Music Festival, Cal Performances, Carnegie Hall, and the Aspen Music Festival and School)
The Knights
Robert Spano, conductor
Singers, TBA
Director, Mary Birnbaum

Tickets: $68.00 and are subject to change, and are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at www.calperformances.org; and at the door.

Friday, June 20

10:00 p.m.
Venue to be announced
UC Berkeley Campus

Ojai North
Jeremy Denk, Music Director

Storm Large, vocalist
Program: Cabaret songs with vocalist Storm Large; songs to be announced from the stage.

Tickets: This event is free to festival pass holders; $10.00 for the general public. Prices are subject to change, and are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at www.calperformances.org; and


Saturday, June 21

11:00 a.m.
Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley
Bancroft Way at College Ave.

UC Berkeley campus

Ojai North
Jeremy Denk, Music Director

Program: Uri Caine and Uri Caine Ensemble performing Mahler Re-Imagined; Jeremy Denk performing Leos Janáček’s On An Overgrown Path with short works by Franz Schubert

Tickets: $28.00 and are subject to change, and are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at www.calperformances.org; and at the door.

Saturday, June 21
3:00 p.m.
Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley
Bancroft Way at College Ave.
UC Berkeley campus

Ojai North
Jeremy Denk, Music Director

Program: Timo Andres’ take on Mozart’s “Coronation” Concerto with The Knights conducted by Eric Jacobsen; Charles Ives’s Three Places in New England (1930 version); Morton Feldman’s Madame Press died last week at 90; Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Tierkreis – Leo 4; Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins with vocalist Storm Large and the Hudson Shad vocal quartet.

Tickets: $40.00 and are subject to change, and are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at www.calperformances.org; and at the door.

Saturday, June 21

8:00 p.m.

Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley
Bancroft Way at College Ave.
UC Berkeley campus

Ojai North
Jeremy Denk, music director

Program: Ligeti’s Piano Études Books I and II with Jeremy Denk; Charles Ives’ Psalm 90 with the Ojai Festival singers, conducted by Kevin Fox; and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, Op. 80 with Denk, The Knights, and the Ojai Festival singers, conducted by Eric Jacobsen.

Tickets: $40.00 and are subject to change, and are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at www.calperformances.org; and at the door.

Programming is subject to change




American Public Media’s ‘Performance Today’ Returns For A Second Residency

June 10 OMF Breakfast 8 - Lauren Eales resize

The Ojai Music Festival is pleased to announce that American Public Media’s popular radio program Performance Today will return to Ojai in June for a second residency with the Festival. Performance Today and its host Fred Child was seen at the 2012 Festival with Music Director Leif Ove Andsnes. At the Festival, Fred hosted a Concert Insights session, conducted artists and patron interviews, and recorded performances for rebroadcast throughout the year.

Also present in 2012 was 2014 Music Director Jeremy Denk, who sat down with Fred Child at the Sunrise Subscriber Breakfast at the Ojai Valley Inn. At the breakfast, Jeremy spoke with Fred about his plans for the 68th Festival and answered questions from subscribers. The conversation was recorded and later aired on Performance Today.

If you missed the reception, or want to listen again, you can do so below:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/117519844″ params=”color=000000&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Now, almost two years later, Jeremy prepares to return to Ojai for his Festival. Programs and works may have shifted from his “original ideas,” but the spirit of the ideas shared in 2012 still live on in the planned Festival schedule. We’re so excited to have both Jeremy and APM back in Ojai this June – we hope you will join us!

View the 2014 Festival schedule >>
Order series passes online >>

2014 Ojai Music Festival – Music About Music

2014 Ojai: Music About Music

Jeremy Denk 2 - Credit Michael WilsonJeremy Denk is throwing a party, and he’s calling it the 2014 Ojai Music Festival. His guest list is broad and inclusive — from the Baroque to the music of today — but it’s a party with a theme, and that theme is music about music. So where to begin? Let’s begin with music that begins and then begins again: the canon, feeding on itself and spinning out into infinity. We’ll hear what Bach, Mozart, Schumann, Nancarrow, and Adès do with that canon, and what Uri Caine and Timo Andres do with the other canon as they reimagine music we thought we knew — Mahler, for instance, filtered through jazz and klezmer music, or Mozart’s Coronation Concerto re-composed as if through a time warp. Not for the purist or faint of heart, perhaps, but a telling reflection of what music has become in this age of eclectic listening. Now you see why Ives and Ligeti have been invited, and Janácek and Weill, as well — composers riffing on a layered counterpoint of styles and eras. Expect the same from a new work by Andrew Norman, whose wide-ranging interests and creative independence are part of his generational DNA. And from Jeremy Denk — a libretto inspired by Charles Rosen’s analytical survey of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven — The Classical Style. Hmm, the whiff of musicology…Party over? Not when Denk uses words like “irreverent,” “promiscuous,” and even “perverse” to describe this highspirited romp — abetted by composer Steven Stucky—through the crisp sparkle of the classical style, when music learned the art of conversation.

To Jeremy Denk, intelligent conversation, the give-and-take of ideas, is the whole point of music-making. It informs the depth and insight of his performances, the elegance and wit of his writing, and the quality of his musical friendships. For Ojai he has sought out colleagues who share his musical passions and love of fun, including pianist and conductor Uri Caine, the innovative orchestral collective, The Knights, conductors Robert Spano (2006 Ojai Music Director) and Eric Jacobsen (old friends from college days), as well as such vibrant solo performers as violinist Jennifer Frautschi and vocalist Storm Large. And where else do you throw this kind of party than in Ojai? No idle chatter here, no cocktail trivialities. In this environment, open to discovery with an audience ready to engage, every concert becomes a happening. Because in Ojai, it’s always all about the music.

– Christopher Hailey
Musicologist Christopher Hailey is Ojai’s program book editor and host of Ojai Concert Insights.

Information and Passes
2014 advance series subscriptions are now available; single tickets go on sale Spring 2014. For more information, please call 805 646 2053 or email [email protected].
Order online here >>
Download an order form here >>

Further Reading
Read Jeremy Denk’s bio >>
Visit Jeremy Denk’s website and blog >>
Read more about the Festival’s history >>


Tom Morris Gives Details on Jeremy Denk and The Classical Style

At our recent Annual Meeting, Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris shared details of Jeremy Denk’s planned programming for the 2014 Festival. Joining Jeremy in Ojai next June will be jazz pianist/composer Uri Caine, orchestra collective The Knights, violinist Jennifer Frautschi, composer Timo Andres, vocalist Storm Large, conductor Robert Spano, and more. Watch a video of the highlights below and read the latest, up-to-date schedule here >>

Meeting attendees also learned more about The Classical Style opera project and were introduced to the Festival’s new Executive Director, Janneke Straub. In addition, the organization thanked members of the Board and welcomed arts leaders Scott Reed and Nancybell Coe to the Board of Directors. The meeting concluded with a surprise Education Through Music (ETM) flashmob, featuring BRAVO! students and artists-in-residence.

Further details, including schedules for Ojai Extra events will be released early next year.

Series passes are on sale now for the June 12-15 Festival.
Learn more about pricing and how to purchase here >>

View photos from the Annual Meeting and ETM presentation here >>


Music Director Jeremy Denk Joins Class of 2013 MacArthur Foundation Fellows

2009 Ojai Music Saturday - June 13, 2009
Jeremy Denk performs at the 2009 Ojai Music Festival

We received news late last night that Ojai’s 2014 Music Director, Jeremy Denk, has been named one of 24 recipients of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Jeremy on this well-deserved accolade and can’t wait to see what the next five years bring!

24 Extraordinarily Creative People Who Inspire Us All: Meet the 2013 MacArthur Fellows – 

“MacArthur named its 2013 class of MacArthur Fellows, recognizing 24 exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for even more significant contributions in the future.

Fellows will each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000 (increased from $500,000) paid out over five years. Without stipulations or reporting requirements, the Fellowship provides maximum freedom for recipients to follow their own creative vision.

“This year’s class of MacArthur Fellows is an extraordinary group of individuals who collectively reflect the breadth and depth of American creativity,” said Cecilia Conrad, Vice President, MacArthur Fellows Program. “They are artists, social innovators, scientists, and humanists who are working to improve the human condition and to preserve and sustain our natural and cultural heritage. Their stories should inspire each of us to consider our own potential to contribute our talents for the betterment of humankind.”

Click here for complete article >>
Click here for the complete roster of recipients including Jeremy Denk >>

“Thinking Denk” in Milwaukee

We love to hear when our patrons run into Festival artists outside of Ojai – it’s always thrilling finding out how large (and, at times, far-flung) our Festival family has grown. Rusti and Steve Moffic from Minnesota first attended the Festival in 2008 and have been returning ever since. They attended the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s opening last weekend, which featured none other than 2014 Music Director Jeremy Denk. Steve emailed the office yesterday to share his experience meeting Jeremy…and showcasing his Ojai “Think Denk” pin:

think denk

We did get to meet Jeremy and Rusti took a couple of pictures. Let us know if these work for you. You may notice in the first one, when I am talking to him, that I was wearing the”Think Denk” pin. Jeremy got a big laugh out of this, but it also became an item that others noticed, so we had a chance to inform them about Ojai!

He got rave reviews for his playing the Liszt’s First Piano Concerto. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, our daily paper, by a critic, Elaine Schmidt, who can be tough at times:

“Denk took the stage with Franz Liszt’s dramatic ‘Concerto No. 1’. Although Denk captured the power and drama of the piece, his performance was about far more than the piece’s biggest moments. . . Taking just a pinch of rubato at the top of a phrase or a quick, light release of the end of a passage, he drew his audience into the details of the piece. He moved from soulful, lyrical playing to a jaunty playfulness in this articulate, yet workless, explanation of the piece.”

Before the concert, I got a chance to listen to the CD you sent. I had always been struck by how the transition in Beethoven’s last piano sonata seemed to foreshadow boogie-woogie jazz 200 years later. It was therefore so gratifying that Jeremy made that same point in his liner notes.

In the post concert talk, he mdenk mofficentioned his love of jazz. When I told him that I had noticed that he invited the great jazz pianist Uri Caine, he remarked that “he’s a genius”. I, a lover of jazz more than classical music, couldn’t help but agree. It promises to be a great festival next summer if this is also a harbinger of things to come.

Best to you and the festival staff,

Thanks Steve, for letting us share your email – we can’t wait to see you again in June! Steve also recently wrote a blog on music and its effect on health in those who are older:
Read “Music for the Aging Mind” here >>

Nonesuch Releases Jeremy Denk’s Recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations September 24

JEREMY_DENK_J.S._Bach_-_Goldberg_VariationsSMALLNonesuch releases pianist Jeremy Denk’s recording of J.S.Bach’s  Goldberg Variations on September 24, 2013, available for pre-order now in the Nonesuch Store. A companion DVD accompanies the album and contains video “liner notes,” with Denk demonstrating passages on the piano as he explains certain details of the iconic piece. (Watch an excerpt below.) The beloved Bach work has long been a staple of Denk’s repertoire and his performances have received critical praise. The New York Times has remarked on his “profound affinity with Bach,” and the Philadelphia Inquirer called Denk’s performance of this piece “mesmerizing,” noting that his “Bach is expressive, but not fussy or overthought. Technically unbothered by the work’s more explosive spots and remarkably fluid in its scurrying passage work, he was able to make connections between and among bits of material that sometimes occur many seconds apart.”

Denk plays in 15 US cities this fall, including a performance of the Goldberg Variations in Boston, Chicago, and DC and four nights in Davies Hall, one at Carnegie Hall, and one at the Krannert Center (in Champaign-Urbana) with the San Francisco Symphony playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 in C Major, K. 503. See below for the currently scheduled US dates; for details and tickets, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.

Writing for NPR’s Deceptive Cadence blog last year, Denk said, “The best reason to hate the Goldberg Variations—aside from the obvious reason that everyone asks you all the time which of the two [Glenn Gould] recordings you prefer—is that everybody loves them.” He continued, “Yes, I’m suspicious of the Goldbergs’ popularity. Classical Music is not really supposed to be that popular. I worried for years that I would be seduced into playing them, and would become like all the others—besotted, cultish—and that is exactly what happened. I have been assimilated into the Goldberg Borg.”

Denk’s previous releases include a recording of music by Charles Ives, released on his own Think Denk Media label, and a Nonesuch album of works by Beethoven and Ligeti. He also is an avid chamber musician and a respected writer, both on his blog and in such publications asThe New Yorker. Denk is expanding a recent article in that publication into a book that will be published by Random House.

From the Vault: Jeremy Denk’s Notes from the 2009 Festival on Bach’s Goldberg Variations

Jeremy Denk made his first appearance in Ojai at the 2009 Festival with Music Director eighth blackbird. The pianist was very thoughtful and helpful in sending over notes for his Saturday Morning Concert, which included Bach’s iconic work, Goldberg Variations (about to be released on Nonesuch Records). As we move forward Jeremy’s return to Ojai – this time as the 2014 Music Director – read about how he first explained this piece, which has become an significant part of his repertoire.

2009 Ojai Music Saturday - June 13, 2009
Jeremy Denk performs at the 2009 Festival at Libbey Bowl. Credit: Robert Millard.

“I think the connection between the Goldbergs and the Ives First Sonata is … opposites attract?  Beauty and the Beast?  This program is a bit like a couple that you would never imagine would get together but, when you hook them up, they suddenly have a lot to say to each other.  I love the idea–a kind of painterly contrast–of the luminous, serene Goldbergs against the dark, raucous Ives Sonata.  An 18th-century German Lutheran and a 19th-century Connecticut farming family may not be all that far apart, in some sense:  they’re both spartan and spiritual.  One of my favorite parts of the Goldberg Variations is the concluding Quodlibet, where Bach takes two common tunes and superimposes them over the Goldberg harmonic ground:  a masterstroke of composition, but also a wonderful joke combining high and low, the profound and profane.  And what could be more Ivesian than that?

For me, the Goldberg Variations is a tripartite cosmos:  a third of the variations are full of humorous keyboard virtuosity, another third are extraordinary canonic demonstrations, and another third are “character pieces,” which draw on the musical world around Bach, almost reproducing that world, like a mural.  The Ives Sonata has interesting parallels to this:  it has a big arching structure of three serious movements, flanking two down-and-dirty scherzos.  The effect is that Ives journeys back and forth from the dark, wintry, severe character of his rural Connecticut family–with their plaintive hymns and ballads–to the totally different, citified world of ragtime, painting in wild contrasts a picture of Ives’s sprawling, uniquely American musical world.” – Jeremy Denk