Fall Lessons: Song & Play

Welcome back to school…in the virtual world! Working with the Ojai Unified School District, the Ojai Music Festival’s BRAVO education & community program offers online classes with Ms. Laura.

LESSON 9 | 08.27.20

Our first day back, and it’s so glorious to be together, even though it can only be virtually for now! We are going to set ourselves up to be the most successful we can be, through singing and playing, and starting to learn each other’s names. How important is a name? It is how we are known. It is an avenue for attachment. It leads us into community. 


This song is often the first experience children have playing on an instrument. We approach this folk song through a story. Why did people not make signs to advertise what they were selling? How did people sweeten their food 1,000 years ago? What was the importance of singing in the streets? We also add the hand signs for the music notes.


Movement causes our attention systems to click on. Adding movements helps lower distractibility. When we create a train somewhere and move to it, our brain kicks into participation. Participating physically in a basic way is a direct route to play. When we couple the movements with the words (notice the syllables in the fingers), we move the student into stabilization, and the emergence of intelligence.


LESSON 10 | 9.3.20


This week’s play involves the balance between repetition and variation.

2:14  Tideo 
The brain loves repetition. Up to a point. It looks for patterns. Then it delights when there is novelty, something different. Balancing these two helps to stabilize a child’s emotional state. The song stays the same. It is predictable. The fingers popping up are a surprise. Looking for a Hot Cross Buns pattern is always fun!




Special Thanks To

Musical Segues: Where Are They Now?

Musical Segues is a new segment of the Ojai Music Festival’s BRAVO education & community program that introduces our amazing alumni, who either went through the BRAVO program via the Ojai Valley public schools or participated in our Festival Arts Management Internship program.

Every month we will give glimpses into their world, personal journeys, and how music made an impact on their lives.

First up…

Arts Management Intern
Occidental College, Class of 2020

What interested you in applying to the Festival?
I applied to the Festival the summer after my freshman year as my Chamber Music coach told me about the program. I had just gotten into social media marketing at my school (Occidental College) and we agreed this would be a great opportunity to improve those skills as well see what happens behind the scenes – there’s A LOT that goes on.

Eventually, I went on to intern at the Festival for three years: 2017, 2018 and 2019. During those formative summers, I was able to work in three different areas: marketing, retail and the box office.

Enjoying time away from the office with the 2017 Festival interns.

What was your favorite Ojai experience?
I have to say my favorite Ojai experience were outings the interns did together. While we all had busy days, we always had time – at least before the Festival started – for ourselves, and most of the time we would go out for dinner, go to the beach or on a hike. These are your colleagues for the two to three weeks while we are in Ojai, so these outings felt like co-workers hanging out and just recharging for the next day.

L-R: Kathryn Carlson, Dominque Wright, Lucy McKnight

What was an “a-ha” moment working in any of the Festival departments?
Working in the box office, I was able to interact with patrons and the ticketing system which helped me see where our guests were coming from. There were people who would travel hours to come to the Festival. It was an amazing discovery because it showed the impact it had on people and how music brings people together. That’s something I aim to achieve in my career, whatever that may be!

What are you up to now?
This past May, I graduated from Occidental College with a BA in Flute performance and a minor in media studies. Currently I am applying to grad programs for arts administration as well as marketing and looking for jobs to gain more experience, and honestly, keeping myself busy in quarantine. Working in the arts field was never a future I saw for myself until interning at the Festival. I’m aware that my future jobs may not be the same as a festival environment, but this internship was what I always looked forward to throughout the school year; knowing that at the end, I get to go back and be with my Ojai family.

In fact, I’m not the only one who has these career goals, some intern alumni have already started making their mark in the arts workplace, some of which you’ll be hearing from very soon. I look forward to sharing their stories these next several months!

About the Arts Management Internship program 

Play Music on the Porch – A Virtual Global Effort


Now more than ever, creative expression is important to join together even in the virtual world! 

The Ojai Festival’s BRAVO education & community program is delighted to partner with Porch Gallery Ojai by organizing performances of Ojai-area musicians and students for #PlayMusicOnThePorchDay on Saturday, August 29, beginning at 10am.

For the fifth time, Porch Gallery Ojai will join in this global effort to continuing the tradition of singing and playing to re-establish music as an inclusive, shared and participatory celebration of life. Set your calendar for August 29 when we will launch music videos, played in porches across the Ojai Valley! Videos can be accessed, here, on our website or on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ojaifestival/.

“The BRAVO program is pleased to work with the Porch Gallery Ojai in this year’s Music on the Porch project. Local musicians enrich the BRAVO program throughout the year, and we feel deeply grateful for their contributions once again, to help us all connect through music. The arts can help us build bridges of hope,” shared BRAVO coordinator Laura Walter.

What is Play Music On The Porch Day?
In 2013 the founder, Brian Mallman, of Play Music on the Porch Day decided to share the idea – “What if for one day everything stopped…and we all just listened to the music?” –  with the world.  Since then, thousands of musicians from at least 75 countries and over 1450 cities have participated and this movement continues to grow every day with artists, regardless of their differences, are finding common ground through music. Learn more here >

Ojai’s line-up of wonderful musicians providing music for all to enjoy, and inspire us to revive the tradition of gathering, singing and playing music outside with friends and family virtually and safely social distancing! 

Chaparral Swing Band
Celtic Nut (Eilam, Noahm and Edaan Byle)
Licity Collins
Fran Gealer
Coree Kotula 
Ruby Skye
Kaylie Turner 
Babette & Bob Vasquez
Jess Wayne


special thanks to our partner:

Let us help: read our FAQ

The Ojai Music Festival is extremely grateful for our community’s support. We’ve addressed some potential questions that you may have as a result of these unprecedented times. As always, please feel free to reach out to us. 

Is your office open?
While our physical offices are closed to the public at this time, our team is available Monday-Friday, 10AM-5PM if you need assistance. Contact us by email at info@ojaifestival.org or by phone at (805) 646-2094.

How can we stay connected with the Festival now?
We are looking forward to seeing you once allowed to have in-person events. In the meantime, we invite you to visit our concert archives on our website and our 2020 Virtual Festival with talks and music. In addition, we plan to continue serving our Festival family with more digital offerings beginning in the fall. If you would like to receive our monthly e-newsletters for updates, please email us at info@ojaifestival.org.

When will the 2021 Festival be announced? When will tickets go on sale?
We are excited to share what to expect from Music Director John Adams and Ara Guzelimian’s programming. Additional schedule details will be announced later in the fall. 2021 series passes are currently available. Click here to order online. Or, download the PDF form. Please contact our box office at 805 646 2053 if you have any questions.

I am a returning subscriber. Will I be able to reserve my usual seats for the next Festival?
First, thank you for your support! As always, our renewing subscribers receive first choice seating.

What measures will the Festival take to protect patrons when in-person events can resume?
When we are able to be together for live events again, we will carefully adhere to guidelines in collaboration with local and federal health authorities. Details regarding new health and safety protocols will be communicated to patrons prior to any live events and information will available on our website.

I requested that my 2020 Festival series passes be rolled over to the 2021 Festival. How do I make sure that this has occurred?
Subscribers will receive a confirmation about their series passes from our box office later in August. You can also call us at 805 646 2053 if you have any questions.  

With the evolving challenges of the pandemic, what is the Festival’s ticket policy?
Purchasing your series passes is risk-free. As we navigate this time of uncertainty you can feel confident that we will be flexible in handling ticket policy options for our patrons. Please contact us at 805 646 2053 if you have any questions.

How can I support the Ojai Music Festival during this time?
We deeply appreciate the support of our donors. Your generosity powers the Festival through thplanning of the upcoming 75th anniversary season featuring Music Director John Adams and his celebration of young and emerging composers, as well as digital offerings during the year. Your generosity also ensures our BRAVO education program remains an essential part in Ojai schools, including virtual programs for schoolchildren.  These are uncertain times; however,  we know that we can always count on our Festival family! Ojai is Real People …. And we appreciate your devotion and commitment. Click here to donate >

Calder Quartet in a “Quarantine Style” Performance

With works by Cage, Stravinsky, Ockeghem interspersed with arrangements by Kurtág, and Beethoven to reflect on the new and old.

Ara Guzelimian

Ara Guzelimian is Artistic and Executive Director of the Ojai Music Festival, beginning in that position in July 2020. The appointment culminates many years of association with the festival, including tenures as director of the Ojai Talks at the Festival and as Artistic Director 1992-97.

Ara 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. At Juilliard, he worked closely with the President in overseeing the faculty, curriculum and artistic planning of the distinguished performing arts conservatory in all three of its divisions – dance, drama and music. He continues in a transitional role at Juilliard as Special Advisor, Office of the President.

Prior to the Juilliard appointment, he was Senior Director and Artistic Advisor of Carnegie Hall from 1998 to 2006; in that post, he oversaw the artistic planning and programming for the opening of Zankel Hall in 2003. He was also host and producer of the acclaimed “Making Music” composer series at Carnegie Hall from 1999 to 2008. Mr. Guzelimian currently 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.

He has given lectures and taught at the invitation of the Metropolitan Opera, the Salzburg Easter Festival, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Chicago Symphony, the National Center for the Performing Arts in Taipei and the Jerusalem Music Center. Previously, Ara 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 at the beginning of his career, first as producer for the Orchestra’s national radio broadcasts and, subsequently, as Artistic Administrator. As a writer and music critic, he has contributed to such publications as Musical America, Opera Quarterly, Opera News, Symphony magazine, The New York Times, the Record Geijutsu magazine (Tokyo), the program books of the Salzburg and the Helsinki Festivals, and the journal for the IRCAM center in Paris.

Mr. 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. The Chicago, Boston, and London Symphony orchestras, conducted by Bernard Haitink, have performed Mr. Guzelimian’s performing edition of Mendelssohn’s incidental music to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In September 2003, Mr. Guzelimian was awarded the title Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government for his contributions to French music and culture.

Support the Music you Love

“It saddens us to miss this year’s event, however, we understand the need to cancel. The efforts the organization puts into its success pales in the face of our humble contribution.”   “The effort that it takes for all of you to make this week happen every year behind the scenes is just unimaginable. Please …

2020 Festival T-Shirts

The Ojai Music Festival is often cited as a creative laboratory for artists and audiences, and our famously engaged and adventurous patrons are key to each Festival experience. After the cancellation of the 74th Festival, we appreciated the wonderful messages of support from our patrons. Now, we will honor the unrealized Festival, June 11 to 14, 2020, with virtual offerings on our website, OjaiFestival.org. In addition to joining us online for these events, purchase a commemorative shirt to add to your collection! We are beyond grateful to each and every person who comprises our Festival family. Thank you for your support! (Deadline to order is June 15, 2020.)

Click Here to Purchase > 

Views of Ojai

While we can’t be together in Ojai for our traditional four days and four nights of music, discovery and gatherings, we have put together this brief photo gallery from local Ojai friends and photographers. When the time comes to leave our homes and neighborhoods feeling safe and healthy, the picturesque Ojai Valley will be there to enrich our souls.

Thanks to the Ojai Chamber of Commerce for these local resources.
See  local restaurants >
See shops >
See hotels >

Thanks to Cindy Pitou Burton, Cathy Diorio, Gillian McManus, Meditation Mount, Caitlin Praetorius, and Ben Hoffman of Square Productions for photos, Featured image on home page by Ray Powers.

The Art of Transitions


How do we listen to music now? That question might at first prompt a quick checklist of our tech gear — the tools of mechanical reproduction and propagation that have become ever more refined over the 143 years since Thomas Edison first introduced the wax cylinder. But several months into the coronavirus pandemic — with our experience of live performances at best limited to streaming — many of us have been forced to rethink our relationship to music itself.  

How we listen now comes with a fresh awareness of the fragility, the vulnerability of this art — the very traits that make it so transformative. For music exists most fully as a live, present-tense exchange among what Benjamin Britten famously termed the “Holy Trinity” of audience, performer, and composer. Music is an art of transitions. It travels between these vertices in unrepeatable ways, tracing interactive pathways that are unique to each performance. And, in the process, music moves from the material to the immaterial. By definition bound to time, it exists through ephemeral sounds that reverberate in a specific space. Yet music simultaneously occupies a realm, inscribed in memory, that defies time and physical distance.  

All of these topics come into play in the program that Matthias Pintscher planned for the 2020 Ojai Festival. Against the backdrop of the current crisis, his vision has an added resonance that is uncanny, since Pintscher’s core approach to music is to shake away facile assumptions, inviting the audience to question again the very basis of how they listen, and to listen with heightened awareness — to intriguing discoveries from contemporary composers and familiar repertoire alike. The metaphor of a landscape appears frequently in his discussions of music:  

“Landscapes are mostly diverse. Landscapes hold surprises and are deeply human in the end. Music somehow has the same vulnerability and sensitivity as a landscape. You have to care deeply when you put together a program or cultivate a landscape. These are all works that have been part of my life for a long time. As music director, you bring works and flavors and personalities that people have never heard of, and you present pieces they know in a new light.”  

Landscapes, like music, are also about transitions. Various kinds of transitions emerge from the underlying threads that link Pintscher’s intricately designed sequence of programs. Take the transition from his own mentor, Pierre Boulez, to himself and other peers who have navigated paths unforeseen by the postwar Modernists. Pintscher stands as a prime exemplar of these, combining formidable gifts as a composer, conductor, curator, and teacher. A self-described wanderer who was led by curiosity to leave his native Germany as a teenager and who lived in England and Israel in his 20s, Pintscher now divides his time, when not on the road, between Paris and Manhattan. His compositions often explore the transition from indistinct noise to the most refined timbral combinations. They draw on his love of visual art, poetry, and theater, transitioning among these different artistic media without betraying music’s inherent self-referentiality. The 2020 program encompasses a de facto retrospective of Pintscher’s instrumental writing, from an early string quartet that responds to Gesualdo’s late-Renaissance spiritual strife to his recent piano concerto Nur (the Hebrew word for fire), in which impulses from today’s young American avant-garde are discernible.  

As a conductor educated in the fine details of Boulezian aesthetics, Pintscher fondly recalls the first score he studied with the Frenchman Debussy’s exquisite late ballet Jeux. Boulez’s simultaneous command of surface and structure, detail and design, “informed my insight into sound production, into what it means to tackle a style to conduct an orchestra.” Boulez himself proved to be a master of the “art of transition” in the sense in which Wagner used the phrase: with reference to Tristan und Isolde, where he described his ability to shift gradually from one extreme state to another as perhaps his “finest and deepest art.”  

Pintscher ascribes Boulez’s outlook to a “consciousness of detail” that he associates with French culture (and with cooking, another passion). But this also coexists for Pintscher with a love of surprises, with unexpected juxtapositions. Olga Neuwirth’s music could hardly be more different, yet Pintscher, who has long felt a close rapport with his Austrian peer, is one of her most steadfast champions. He recently conducted the world premiere of her Virginia Woolf–inspired opera Orlando — the first opera commissioned from a female composer by the storied Vienna Staatsoper. The moment he began thinking up his ideal programming choices for Ojai, Pintscher says, he knew he wanted to spotlight Neuwirth. Before the pandemic, the plan was for him to conduct the U.S. premiere of Le encantadas, her immersive response to Herman Melville, in Los Angeles — a prelude to set the stage for the Ojai Festival.  

A fiercely original and independent musical thinker, Neuwirth is well represented here in works that respond, variously, to Billie Holiday, the ascetic outsider artist Henry Darger, and J.S. Bach. She relishes theatrically animated hybrids of style, genre, and mood, always showing an urge to reinvent herself and her inspirations. As a young student, Neuwirth spent formative years in San Francisco and developed an abiding fascination with American culture — especially its subversive trends in film and music. Yet she is also a “deeply Austrian” artist Pintscher notes, sharing the obsessions of Schubert and Alban Berg and rebellious in her critiques of philistine conformity by her fellow Austrians. For this she was often marginalized early in her career, when Boulez became one of the few in power to offer his support.  

What was intended as the long-overdue Ojai debut of the Ensemble intercontemporain (EIC) further underscores the complexity of the Boulezian-Pintscher lineage and brings to mind key moments of transition in Ojai’s history as well. As the embodiment of Boulezian values in practice today, EIC would have given the 2020 Festival a striking historical footprint — even though the ensemble had never previously appeared here. Starting in 1967, Boulez served as music director for seven summers at various points in the Festival’s history up to 2003.  

photo by Robert Millard

Boulez’s repeated attraction to this special place — over a period spanning some 36 years — is a remarkable phenomenon, according to Chad Smith, artistic director of the 2020 edition. “Southern California might seem an unlikely place for a Parisian intellectual who brought such a sense of rigorousness to music.” Yet Ojai provided a kind of freedom to breathe that the French master lacked elsewhere. Ojai, a place of natural perfection that conjures paradise for so many, beckoned to Boulez with his own concepts of musical perfectibility, as Smith points out. It was here that he could make an attempt at “perfecting paradise.” In this sense, Pintscher’s Ojai programs posit another transition — an invisible bridge — between concepts of new music in Europe and in the US, from the linearity of discarded notions of “progress” to the riotous, chaotic crazy quilt of diverse possibilities that are a young composer’s to choose from today. The chance to encounter sur Incises, arguably the French master’s most satisfying composition, in the beautiful setting of the Bowl promised to spark a very different understanding of this music, its dazzlingly planned intricacies of texture coming closer to the complex freedoms of jazz — or of the skeins of melody Steve Reich liberates from amplified voices and tuned percussion in Tehillim. The presence of Reich and other American composers, incidentally, helps to right a notable shortcoming of Boulez’s Ojai programming, which notoriously skipped over the work being done by Americans in those years, particularly those animated by the energy of Minimalism.  

The Reich title is one of several Hebrew words that pop up in Pintscher’s programs, beginning with The Beginning — bereshit, the name of Pintscher’s fascinating meditation inspired by the first word of Genesis — and continuing with an entire program built around the biblical Creation story, including a new Ojai commission from Toshio Hosokawa treating the Flood, which sets the whole process back in motion again. Pintscher’s own catalogue is replete with Hebrew titles. Those chosen for the Festival programs in turn suggest a thread of spirituality — in counterpoint to Boulez’s resolutely materialist secularism — that subtly emerges alongside references to J.S. Bach’s divinely inspired quest for compositional perfection, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Gospel-based calls for justice (Olga Neuwirth), and American Transcendentalism (Charles Ives). Steve Reich’s Tehillim itself implicitly asserts the ancient link between words and music as an organized ritual of praise.  

As an art of transitions, music is blessed/condemned to be an art of transience: the notes, colors, combinations which it comprises are destined to fade into nonexistence. Like immortality, music that did not die would rob us of any sense of meaning. This is the paradox Mahler, another traveler between worlds (Old and New, Jewish and Christian, composer and performer) explores so movingly in his late Das Lied von der Erde. The longing for eternity, given voice in the final, longest movement, is at its most acute in a scene of leave-taking.  


Thomas May is a freelance writer, critic, educator, and translator. He has written for The New York Times and regularly contributes to the program books of the Lucerne Festival, Metropolitan Opera, and Juilliard School. His books include Decoding Wagner and The John Adams Reader. Visit Thomas May’s website at https://memeteria.com/ 

Ojai Talk Live Stream

Ojai Talk Live Stream

Steve Reich, Composer

Olga Neuwirth, Composer

Patrons Bring Added Assurance

We, like all of our communities, are grappling with a very different way forward these days.  After cancelling the 2020 Ojai Music Festival, we were not able to share “building a musical bridge between Europe and America” – the vision of composerconductor and 2020 Music Director, Matthias Pintscher.  In reaching out to all of you and to our wonderful artists with the cancellation news, we were greeted by kindness and by the solidarity that binds us together in raising up music to the world.  Here are some generous words of support that we received:

“We will miss out on the potentially Life Changing experiences that happen almost every year.” 


“Over the past few weeks, there has been a depressing wave of cancellations, but this one hurt the most. The Ojai Music Festival is always my favorite event of the year.”  


“The effort that it takes for all of you to make this week happen every year behind the scenes is just unimaginable. My heart goes out to each and everyone of you….Please know that your devotion to the cause of bringing the arts to all of us is recognized and appreciated.” 


“These are definitely extraordinary times.  In the past 46 years, my husband & I missed only one festival due to an accident.  Every year, the festival is such a special experience for us & we will miss it greatly this year.”


To honor each of our patrons and the artists who share in this work, we have created weekly online offerings from our archives of past Festivals called Tune in Tuesdays And just as each of you misses the chance to connect at the Festival, so do our Ojai Valley studentswho now relish coming together in Song and Play with Laura Walter, virtually, each Thursday. 

“Thank you, Laura. Your smile and those cute, funny songs make the kids so happy during these lonely days. We love and miss you. Your music classes make my week!” 

While we cannot be together in Ojai, in Libbey Bowl, or in our classrooms with Laura, we can continue to bring you these memories and moments, until it is safe for us all.  In this liminal space we invite you to consider making a gift to support this work, this music, this community.  Together, we will rise above this time, to gather again in celebration of transcendent music in 2021, for the 75th Ojai Music Festival. 

Vendor Agreement

Ticket and Donation Policy

The Festival ticket policy has been that all sales are final for tickets and special events with no refunds or exchanges. However, due to these unprecedented times with the COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the following options are available for those who have purchased series passes.

To help with the serious financial impact on the Ojai Music Festival:

Choose to contribute your tickets back as a charitable gift (and receive a tax deduction for the total ticket value). Your generous support is vital in helping the Ojai Music Festival to sustain the organization during challenging moments such as this one. We couldn’t do what we do without you. Your donation is fully tax deductible. To donate the value of your tickets please call Anna Wagner at 805 646 3178 or email awagner@ojaifestival.org. 

Place the value of your tickets on your account, to be used toward your 2021 Festival ticket purchases. No further action is necessary should you wish to apply the cost of your 2020 tickets to be used toward the 2021 Festival with John Adams, music director. Please call Nick Svorinich at 805 646 2053 or email boxoffice@ojaifestival.org. 

Or, you may request a refund. Please call Nick Svorinich at 805 646 2053. Deadline to request a refund is April 25, 2020.

For personalized service, please contact Nick Svorinich at 805 646 2053 or Anna Wagner at 805 646 3178, Monday through Friday, 10am-5pm. We expect a high volume of calls and thank you for your patience. Our team, who are exercising shelter in place, will do their best to respond quickly to your calls.


Stay Connected
For the moment, we have begun ways to stay more connected with our Festival community, including sharing daily Festival concert archives released on our Facebook channel and website. For families, we have created digital content through our BRAVO music education program. We will keep you posted as we offer additional online content.

Support Your Ojai Music Festival
Giving now is essential to sustaining the Festival – which will lose ticket revenue and donations due to the cancellation in response to the worldwide health crisis. Please consider contribute your series tickets back as a charitable gift (and receive a tax deduction for the total ticket value). Your tax-deductible donation today ensures that the Festival will continue to move forward into the future as we look forward to celebrating our 75th Festival in June 2021. Click here to make a donation>>

Announcing New Music Directors and 75th Anniversary Celebrations

Ojai Music Festival announces 75th anniversary celebrations beginning with the appointment of John Adams as 2021 Music Director (June 10–13, 2021) and culminating with American Modern Opera Company (AMOC) as Music Director for the 2022 Festival (June 9–12, 2022)

(OJAI, California, March 2, 2020) – Ojai Music Festival and Artistic Director designate Ara Guzelimian announced today the appointment of composer/conductor John Adams as the 2021 Music Director for the 75th Festival (June 10–13, 2021), followed by American Modern Opera Company (AMOC) as Music Director for the 76th Festival in 2022, culminating the Festival’s 75th Anniversary year.

Mr. Guzelimian’s tenure follows that of current Artistic Director Chad Smith, who was appointed CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in October 2019. Mr. Smith planned the upcoming 2020 Festival with Music Director Matthias Pintscher (June 11–14, 2020) and the Ensemble intercontemporain, featuring music of Olga Neuwirth, Steve Reich, Pierre Boulez, and Matthias Pintscher among many others. Mitsuko Uchida, who was previously announced to lead the 2021 Festival, has asked to postpone her appointment because of scheduling conflicts and will return as Music Director in a future Festival.

For more than seven decades, the Ojai Music Festival has flourished as a creative laboratory by combining a boundless sense of adventure, an expansive musical curiosity, and an atmosphere of relaxed but focused informality. Each year a different Music Director is given the freedom and the resources to imagine four days of musical brainstorming. Ojai’s signature blend of an enchanted setting and an audience voracious in its appetite for challenge and discovery has inspired a distinguished series of musical innovators – from Boulez, Copland, and Stravinsky in its formative years to Barbara Hannigan, Vijay Iyer, and Patricia Kopatchinskaja in recent times – to push artistic boundaries. In announcing the appointments of John Adams and AMOC, the Festival now charts a course for its next chapters under the leadership of Artistic Director Ara Guzelimian.

“I am utterly delighted to begin my time at Ojai in the company of artists who continue to advance the forward-looking perspective that has defined Ojai for so long,” said Mr. Guzelimian, who begins his tenure with Ojai following the 2020 Festival. “John Adams’ work as a composer, conductor and tireless advocate for new music has made him a central figure in the musical life of our time. With his characteristic eagerness and curiosity, we have begun conversations about the many young composers he admires and wants to champion at Ojai in 2021.”

“AMOC, the 2022 Music Director, is not exactly an opera company but a remarkable collective of composers, singers, stage directors, choreographers, dancers, and instrumentalists who are among the brightest and freshest artistic voices to emerge in the last few years. We will make our first Ojai acquaintance with numerous members of AMOC as well as welcome back such Festival artists as Julia Bullock, Davóne Tines, and Jay Campbell. We are in for a great adventure,” added Mr. Guzelimian. “But first things first. I am excited about the more immediate 2020 Ojai Music Festival created by Music Director Matthias Pintscher and Artistic Director Chad Smith. I know that these wonderful artistic thinkers have conjured an exceptional musical journey, both true to the spirit of the Festival and also expanding its possibilities.”

As Music Director of the Ojai Music Festival, Mr. Adams will follow violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja (2018), soprano/conductor Barbara Hannigan (2019), and Matthias Pintscher (2020). Prior to this 2021 collaboration, Mr. Adams served as Ojai’s Music Director in 1993. Initial details for Mr. Adams’ 2021 Festival will be announced in June 2020. Ojai’s 2022 Music Director will be American Modern Opera Company (AMOC). As described by The Boston Globe, AMOC is “a creative incubator par excellence . . . where the boundaries between disciplines go to die.” A collective of some of the most creative, forward-thinking artists, AMOC is led by its Artistic Directors composer/conductor Matthew Aucoin and director/choreographer Zack Winokur collaborating with Core Ensemble members Jonny Allen (percussion), Paul Appleby (tenor), Doug Balliett (double bass/composer), Julia Bullock (soprano), Jay Campbell (cello), Anthony Roth Costanzo (countertenor), Miranda Cuckson (violin/viola), Julia Eichten (dancer/choreographer), Emi Ferguson (flute), Keir GoGwilt (violin/writer), Conor Hanick (piano), Coleman Itzkoff (cello), Or Schraiber (dancer/choreographer), Bobbi Jene Smith (dancer/choreographer), and Davóne Tines (bass-baritone). Julia Bullock, Davóne Tines, and Jay Campbell are making a welcome return to Ojai, having participated memorably in past Festivals. Prior to AMOC, Ojai has welcomed only two ensembles as Music Director: Emerson String Quartet in 2002 and Eighth Blackbird in 2009.

John Adams, 2021 Music Director
AMOC, 2022 Music Director
Ara Guzelimian, Artistic Director designate


Press contacts:
Ojai Music Festival: Gina Gutierrez, ggutierrez@ojaifestival.org, 805 646 2094
National/International: Nikki Scandalios, nikki@scandaliospr.com, 704 340 4094

74th Ojai Music Festival Cancelled

Dear Friends, 

I hope you are staying well during this challenging time. This letter is an extremely difficult one to share, but I am writing to let you know that we have made the heartbreaking decision to cancel the 74th Ojai Music Festival, June 11 to 14, 2020, that was brilliantly imagined by Music Director Matthias Pintscher in collaboration with 2020 Artistic Director Chad Smith.

On behalf of my Board colleagues, CEO Jamie Bennett, and the artistic and administrative teams, we are deeply saddened that during this unprecedented uncertainty, this decision is not just a necessary and right step, it is the only step. As we were monitoring the COVID-19 crisis over these last several weeks, we considered the unpredictability of travel as well as the safety and comfort of our artists and patrons. It has also become clear that the institution cannot shoulder the projected financial burden due to the forecasted drop in Festival revenue and increase in Festival expenses.  This unfortunate immediate cancellationis necessitated by our ultimate goal to ensure that the Ojai Music Festival continues to inspire audiences and artists for generations to come. We have communicated our decision to our collaborators, including artists and the production team. We will ensure that the many volunteers whose contributions are incalculable – from ushers to those who provide housing – are contacted directly in the coming days. Our administrative team will reach out to Ojai business partners who are a critical part of the fabric of our Festival experience each year. 

To date and to reduce the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the Ojai Music Festival postponed a scheduled March 22 event in Los Angeles. We also suspended our BRAVO education residencies in the schools due to the Ojai Unified School District closures. Following the shelter in place order as per Governor Newsom’s office, staff is now working from home. 

The Ojai Music Festival is often cited as a creative laboratory for artists and audiences, and our famously engaged and adventurous patrons are key to each Festival experience. For those who have purchased series tickets to the 2020 Festival, we ask you to consider a tax-deductible donation of the value of your tickets to the Ojai Music Festival, which will empower us to keep the Festival moving forward. Alternatively, you may use the value of 2020 tickets toward 2021 Festival ticket purchases, or we will issue refunds. For personalized service, please contact the box office at 805 646 2053, Monday through Friday, 10am-5pm. We expect a high volume of calls and thank you for your patience and support as we navigate this challenging time. 

You are essential to the success of this jewel that is the Ojai Music Festival. Thank you and know that your Ojai family is thinking of you during this difficult time. We have begun to implement efforts to stay more connected with our Festival community, including sharing daily Festival concert archives released on our Facebook channel and website. For families, we are creating digital content through our BRAVO music education program. We will keep you posted as we offer additional online content. 

We are beyond grateful to each and every person who comprises our Festival family – those who join with us onsite in Ojai and those who access our Festival concert broadcasts. Planning for the 2021 Festival is well underway, and we will keep you posted as Ara Guzelimian and John Adams’ programming takes shape. We look forward to reuniting with you at the 75th Ojai Music Festival in June 2021. Until then, please stay well. 

With deep gratitude,


Jerry Eberhardt 
Chairman of the Board


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Concert Archives 


Stay Connected and Reminisce with our Archives

Ojai has been a creative laboratory for today’s pathbreaking artists
featuring refreshing new works to open our hearts and minds. 

Dear Friends, 

As all of us are hunkered down during these challenging times, we invite you to stay connected through the music that inspires, challenges and delights us in Ojai. Here are a few concerts archived of Ojai Music Festival performances featuring the likes of Julia Bullock, Claire Chase, and Patricia Kopatchinskaja.

You can access more concerts on our YouTube channel, too. Click here >

Happy viewing!
The Ojai Music Festival staff  

Josephine Baker: A Portrait – World Premiere
Arrangements and new music by Tyshawn Sorey
Julia Bullock, soprano
Tyshawn Sorey, piano and drums

Density 2036
EDGARD VARÉSE: Density 21.5 Claire Chase, flute
SUZANNE FARRIN: The Stimulus of Loss for glissando headjoint and recorded ondes martenot Claire Chase, flute
TYSHAWN SOREY: Bertha’s Lair Claire Chase, contrabass flute | Tyshawn Sorey, drums
VIJAY IYER: Flute Goals (Five Empty Chambers) for tape Claire Chase, improvised flute
PAUCHI SASAKI: Gama XV Claire Chase, bass flute/vocals/speaker dress | Pauchi Sasaki, violin/electronics/vocals/speaker dress
MARCOS BALTER: Pan (excerpt) Claire Chase, flute | International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)
Charles Ives: Unanswered Question
Franz Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 45
Farewell (arr. Angel Hernandez-Lovera)
John Cage: Once Upon a Time from Living Room Music Johann Sebastian Bach: Es ist genug György Kurtag: The Answered Unanswered Question Ludwig van Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61 Patricia Kopatchinskaja, violin | Maria Ursprung, stage director | Mahler Chamber Orchestra

House an Artist, Make a Friend; Music Ties us all Together

Welcome an Ojai Music Festival artist into your home for ten days? What? Someone we had never met…a total stranger?  Deirdre Daly, Ojai Music Festival Housing Manager, is quite persuasive. Cheryl Armstrong and Mirta Milares said yes.

Every year, the Ojai Music Festival welcomes dozens upon dozens of artists from around the world, each bringing their own artistic insights, talents, and stories as they experience Ojai for the first time. 

Last year, Music Director Barbara Hannigan brought young talent from all across Europe with her Equilibrium Young Artists, a program to further the professional development of distinguished singers early in their professional careers, elevating their total musicianship and discipline, and offering projects with leading orchestras and ensembles. Of course, the Ojai Music Festival was the perfect place to showcase such a program. 

Cheryl Armstrong and Mirta Milares,  Ojai natives and Music Festival attendees, were a bit hesitant at first, but what they saw as an experiment turned into a gift that has continued giving long after the Festival ended when they welcomed singer Fleur Barron into her home. Fleur is a member of Barbara Hannigan’s Equilibrium Young Artists and has toured internationally as a solo artist and opera singer. Hailed as a “charismatic star” by the Boston Globe and as “a knockout performer” by The Times, the British-Singaporean mezzo-soprano is a 2018 HSBC Laureate of the Aix-en-Provence Festival and the recipient of the 2016 Grace B. Jackson Prize from the Tanglewood Music Festival, awarded to one outstanding young singer each year.

“While with us during the Festival, our resident mezzo- soprano, Fleur, regaled us with stories of life in the opera world. She hiked up and down the Ojai trails with us. She sang! We laughed and loved our guest, becoming and remaining proud stage moms.” 

They fast became good friends and last October, Fleur’s charisma, talent and generous soul took to her to Montpellier, France where she performed in Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. Cheryl and Mirta were in attendance.  In February 2021, she will follow her to Arizona where Fleur will star in Bizet’s Carmen.

“We couldn’t be happier that we said yes to hosting a Music Festival artist!”

If you are interested in housing one of our artists for the upcoming 2020 Festival (June 11 to 14, 2020) contact Deirdre Daly. (805) 640-5717 or email info@ojaifestival.org