Continue Your Festival Experience With OjaiU During the Summer

OjaiUlogo1080x87This past May, over 240 Festival enthusiasts participated in our first OjaiU Online University. Through videos from guests instructors (including Mark Morris, Jeremy Denk, John Rockwell, and John Luther Adams) and “listen and do” activities, OjaiU students got a deeper understanding of Festival programming and the thinking that lies behind it.

If you missed the classes in May – it’s not too late! OjaiU classes are still available so that you can extend Festival experience through the summer.

Click here to go to the OjaiU website >>

A Second Summer as an OMF Intern

After having a great time interning for the 2012 Ojai Music Festival, I of course applied again to be a marketing intern for the 67th Ojai Music Festival with Mark Morris as the Music Director.  I expected to do more or less of the same work as I did last year, since I was interning with the same department, under the same Marketing Director Gina Gutierrez. While 2012 was a great experience, I enjoyed my 2013 experience even more because of the even more diverse tasks I got to take on, as well as seeing old friends from the 2012 Festival.

One of the highlights of my Festival experience was working with Doug McLennan from and Suzi Steffen, our Social Media Coordinator to work on the live stream concerts. OMF now provides live streams of every Libbey Bowl concert, with interviews during intermissions, so I helped Doug manage the live streams before, during and after concerts. It was great to be able to sit through every concert and watch insightful interviews between Doug and special guests.  It’s also quite amazing to watch Suzi at work, live-tweeting every event she possibly can during the Festival. If you haven’t checked out our Twitter page, you definitely should.

Get Fit!Mark Morris was the Music Director this year, bringing a lot of energy and dance to the Festival. One very fun community event that happened this year because of him was “Get Fit! With MMDG,” a one-hour morning fitness class taught by two energetic,fun MMDG dancers. The marketing team was put in charge of producing this event, which essentially meant that we had to be there and make sure everything ran smoothly.  It was very fun to see an extremely successful event take place (around 60 people came each morning!).

Aside from doing my job every day, it was fun and interesting to watch all of the other interns perform their duties.  The production interns were constantly running around, driving artists, making name tags, and seemed to leave the Festival with a slightly frenetic but content disposition.  The box office interns dealt with a very wide variety of people, and never failed to deliver some sort of crazy story about a patron at the end of the day. The special events intern was constantly moving to every special event the Festival had, making sure things were running smoothly and patrons were happy. Everybody had their own specific job, but worked together on some projects to ensure the success of the Festival.

It was very fun to come back to familiar faces and meet new ones this year. We have intern dinners and daily intern meetings to see where everyone is at, which adds to the sense of community. It was a wonderful three weeks of friendly faces, beautiful Ojai, and, of course, great music. Ojai Music Festival throws its interns into the storm of a music festival, while giving you all the support you need. It’s a great experience, and I hope to come back next year.

Want to learn more about the internship program? Check out our internship page, which includes links to the application and brochure.



View Our Must-Visit Ojai Destinations

feastThe valley is full of eateries, shops and activities with their own distinctive “Ojai” flavor. Many are located downtown, while others are hidden away – and are always worth the drive!

Use our “Where To Go” guide to discover a few of the things to do while in town.

Restaurants here >>
Shops and services here >>

If you’re looking to get out for a hike, read our hiking guide >>

Complete 2013 Festival Reviews


Mark Morris Dance Group at the Ojai Music Festival – California

Marina Harss
June 9, 2013

Mark Morris is halfway through his tenure as Music Director of the Ojai Music Festival (June 6-9). The festival elects a guest director each year; Morris is the first choreographer to get the job. The seemingly ubiquitous Morris has now taken to calling the current season “my festival”; he’s only half kidding. The centerpiece of the second evening (June 7) was a performance by the Mark Morris Dance Group – the only dance performance – at the outdoor Libbey Bowl, a fantastically pleasant amphitheatre set within a park in the center of bucolic Ojai. Pleasant, but not ideal for dance: the stage is trapezoidal, has no wings, and doesn’t provide ideal sight lines. But that’s what summer festivals are all about. It’s cool, the night air smells of flowers and the encroaching dusk bathes the proceedings in a lavender glow.

The focus this year is on American music, mostly by composers from the West Coast, and more specifically by composers connected to the Seattle-born Lou Harrison (1917-2003), an old friend of Morris’s whose music he has turned to again and again. Other recurring names are Henry Cowell and Charles Ives, with side excursions into the work of John Luther Adams, John Cage and Samuel Barber. Most of these composers are mainstays of the Mark Morris troupe. The evening was split into two halves, separated by a magical sunset performance of works for toy piano by Satie and John Cage (played by Yegor Shevtsov, a lanky dreamer).

Donkey’s jaws and oxygen tanks: red fish blue fish’s percussive arsenal

Dustin Donohue sets up for  John Luther Adams' songbirdsongs at the Friday afternoon talk at Ojai Valley Community Church.
Dustin Donohue sets up for John Luther Adams’ songbirdsongs at the Friday afternoon talk at Ojai Valley Community Church.

Percussionists can play trees, hit sticks together, make music with bones or buildings or bricks – and they do.

The 2013 Ojai Music Festival celebrates percussion in a wide variety of ways, and Steve Schick‘s University of California San Diego grad student ensemble, red fish blue fish, is central to almost every performance.

red fish blue fish performs often this weekend, including at two “sunrise” concerts Saturday and Sunday morning, at Saturday night’s Late Night concert, and during both Sunday evening concerts.

What with rehearsals, late night and talk and early morning and pretty much anytime performances this year, the members of red fish blue fish can be hard to track down. But doctoral student Dustin Donahue, who’s the lead for the ensemble at OMF2013, sat down for an in-depth chat about cool percussion instruments, the (short) history of the percussion ensemble, and his own percussion goals.

Dustin, tell me about your involvement in red fish blue fish.

I joined four years ago. The group consists basically of Steve Schick‘s students [at UCSD], so it’s a rotating roster.

red fish blue fish
red fish blue fish

How did you get started in percussion?

I played piano for most of my life …

Do you think of the piano as percussion?

I do consider it a percussion instrument. You see that with Lou Harrison specifically and with this festival. Every now and then I do end up playing the piano still, but at some point I switched to being a rock ‘n’ roll drummer as a youngster.

In high school I got tired of playing in band – it’s always transcriptions and stuff you’re playing along with the band. I got interested in the birth of the percussion ensemble in the ’30s and ’40s. I found John Cage’s Credo in Us, and a few friends of us put it on. Then the door opened, and I fell in.

Make the Most of Your Lawn Experience

students and familyThe Libbey Bowl lawn is a special experience for Festival patrons – it’s the place to enjoy a picnic before the concert; meet with a group of friends or family; and lie down to stargaze while enjoying the Festival’s music.

To help you enjoy the lawn, here are some important things to know:

  • The right side of the lawn is designated for taller chairs and the left side for low-rise chairs.  (A low-rise, beach-style chair is defined as a chair with legs of 10 inches or shorter and an overall height limit of 28 inches.) Patrons with higher-rise chairs, such as camping or deck chairs, will be asked to move to the right side or rear of the lawn so as not to hinder the views of others.
  • Line up early! Lawn lines start as early as two hours before a concert begins. There are two lines for lawn patrons – the left is designated for lawn series subscribers with an access pass and the right for single pass holders.
  • Save your place! Lawn series pass subscribers have the opportunity to save their spot on the lawn between the morning and evening concerts; please use the “Save My Spot” card mailed with your passes.
  • Store it! If you are attending two concerts in one day, you can also place your lawn chairs and blankets near the lawn entrance gate between concerts.  Please do not leave personal belongings as Festival staff cannot be responsible for items left unattended.
  • The Libbey Bowl and Park is a no-smoking and alcohol-free zone designated by the City of Ojai.
  • Ojai weather can be quite unpredictable! During the evening concerts we highly recommend bringing a warm blanket and for the day bringing sunscreen and wearing a hat in case it gets too hot.
  • At the Festival there is a food vendor who will have a variety of light food options and beverages. For a greater variety, you can head to the various eateries within walking distance from the Bowl.
  • We’re happy to have children enjoy concerts; however, we know they can become restless! If your child needs to stretch their legs, please take them outside the Bowl so as not to disrupt the concert experience for other lawn patrons.

**For the Friday Evening Concert with the Mark Morris Dance Group: the incline of the lawn is fairly low in relation to the Libbey Bowl stage. For this concert, we will have a small area on the left side for better viewing. Please see the head usher that evening.**

If you have any questions please call our box office at 805 646 2053 or email [email protected]


‘Remembering Lou,’ by John Luther Adams

Shortly after Lou Harrison’s death, fellow composer and friend John Luther Adams wrote this remembrance in his honor.

The great redwood has fallen.
Light streams into the forest.
The sound will reverberate
for generations to come.

The passing of Lou Harrison marks the end of an era in American music that began with Charles Ives and continued on through Henry Cowell, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Harry Partch, Conlon Nancarrow, and John Cage.

jla copy
From left: John Luther Adams, Bill Colvig, Lou Harrison. Photo by Dennis Keeley.

The expressive range, diversity of media, prolific quantity, and consistent quality of Lou’s music are perhaps unequalled among recent composers. From heroically dissonant orchestral counterpoint to explosive percussive rhythms to ravishing, timeless music for gamelan, his body of work embraces most of the important currents in the music of our time.

Lou always fearlessly pursued his own way. While still a young man, he left the competitive careerism of New York City to make his home on the California coast. There, surrounded by the beauties of nature and the richness of Pacific cultures, he created his own uniquely personal world, grounded in his credo: “Cherish. Conserve. Consider. Create.”

As a teacher Lou introduced many young Western musicians to the music of other cultures, or as he called it, “the whole, wide, wonderful world of music.” His diminutive Music Primer remains a wellspring of creative wisdom about the life and the craft of a composer.

Through his wide-ranging friendships, Lou was a central figure, connecting five generations of musical independents. His spirit lives on in his music and through the gifts he gave to so many younger musicians. I feel blessed to have been among them.

Thirty years ago, as an aspiring young composer, I won second place in a composition contest. I was especially thrilled since one of the judges was Lou Harrison, whose music I very much admired. Emboldened, I made the pilgrimage to San Jose State University, where Lou was teaching at the time. I was delighted to find the man himself to be every bit as scintillating and engaging as his music.

From that day on, Lou was a generous mentor, an attentive friend, and an inspiring model to me, as he has been for many other younger composers. Lou always treated me with respect as a younger colleague. His matter-of-fact embrace of my aspirations removed any shred of doubt in my mind that I would make a life as a composer.

Lend a Hand! Volunteer at the 67th Festival in June!

Volunteers play an important role at the Ojai Music Festival throughout the year, but during the four-day Festival, their participation grows ten-fold with close to 100 people lending a helping hand to ensure the Festival’s success.

Applications are now being accepted for the 67th Ojai Music Festival, June 6-9. Positions include ushering, backstage crew, venue set up, and merchandise. In addition, office assistance is needed prior to the Festival and during the weekend. Volunteers receive a free Festival shirt and complimentary lawn tickets based on the number of volunteered hours as a token of appreciation.

Celebrating its 67th season, the Ojai Music Festival, June 6-9 will explore the musical interests of its Music Director Mark Morris. The Festival will also feature the Mark Morris Dance Group and MMDG Music Ensemble, the American String Quartet, The Bad Plus, red fish blue fish, Gamelan Sari Raras, and many others.

Download a volunteer application here >>
Questions? Please call (805) 646-2094 ext. 116.

My Memories of Lou Harrison Part I

by Jain Fletcher

The Ojai Music Festival is fortunate to have amazing patrons who share their own personal experiences with music, from their past and present. Long-time patron, Jain Fletcher, kindly gave us a personal account of her friendship with composer Lou Harrison. 

Facing pages from my copy of Lou Harrison’s Music Primer.
Facing pages from my copy of Lou Harrison’s Music Primer.

I entered San José State University (SJSU) in 1967 as a music major (flute). I was very fortunate to enter an environment consisting of a relatively young faculty of musicians who were energetic and capable of instituting and carrying out some really exciting musical initiatives. Although I took it all for granted at the time, in looking back, I have realized that the epitome of my music training and experiences took place in college.  For everything that was good about the Music Department during my years at SJSU (1967 to 1979, from B.A. to M.A.), the greatest part was the benefit of having a sublime eminence on the faculty: Lou Harrison was on the staff as Composer-in-Residence.  

When I first got to college, I never could have foreseen that I was going to have any personal interaction with Lou.  What I did know, from the enthusiastic buzz about him, was that I wanted to experience as much as I could of what he had to offer. So, in those early days, I kept my ears and eyes open for news of concerts with his music, and then attended every one. I also took his survey course, “Music and World Cultures,” in my freshman year. Given that this course was open to all students there was no way it could have been as awesome as it would have been if it had been addressed to music majors or graduates. But think about it: a class on world music(!) from Lou Harrison!!  Needless to say, it was a complete eye-opener. Sure, he knew his subject, but better yet, he was an excellent teacher. I had never heard anyone discourse so articulately and beautifully in- or outside a classroom. Because he was so passionate about this topic, it was also a difficult course to do well in. In the end, what he introduced in that class opened up a whole new world of music for me at a very impressionable time of my life.

My Memories of Lou Harrison Part II

Part II of My Memories of Lou Harrison by Jain Fletcher

A general letter of reference I requested from Lou after I graduated (B.A.) from San José State.
A general letter of reference I requested from Lou after I graduated (B.A.) from San José State.

In my last year of school, I started trying to make plans to go to New York, but with my chronic lack of funds, my chances were not looking very promising. At around that same time, Lou told me he was being asked to make a tour of New York state with his small group (Bill Colvig and Richard Dee) and, since I was “going to New York anyway” he had some music for violin (ossia flute) and drone that he thought would be nice to have me play on the concerts. I could not imagine saying “no” to this unbelievable opportunity, so I happily agreed. To prepare for our tour, we spent at least 3 weekend days at Lou’s and Bill’s place in Cabrillo, practicing the music for the concert. After that, we would have a little dinner before I coaxed my ’56 VW back over the Santa Cruz mountains to San Jose.

Practicing for the concert was very special, indeed, but I treasure even more the chance I got to be with Lou and his friends in his and Bill’s very colorful and comfortable home. The most pleasant part of those dinners was the stories they would tell.  My most vivid memory of those stories was this one time when Bill and Lou regaled me over dinner with their recent adventure at a local hardware store trying out various metallic canisters to be used as “drums” (such as galvanized steel garbage cans) or beaters (such as hammers and large bolts, etc.) for a piece they were going to be staging soon. I could not help imagining the look on other shoppers’ faces when they saw two men pulling several garbage can lids out into the aisles to test their sound qualities–all the while engaged in a spirited discussion of their relative merits. When I registered both my delight and amazement at this story, they assured me that they had long since managed to garner the proprietor’s “blessing” for this activity. I also remember how much Lou shared of himself at his house. I remember asking one evening about how he got such beautiful handwriting. He not only told me how he got his start at calligraphy (which I have managed to forget after all these years), but he also gave me my first impromptu calligraphy “lesson”. He wanted to show me how “easy” it was to make the strokes, first by showing me, then by letting me try. My results could not have been much more than scribbles at the time, but his lesson “took”, because it gave me the courage to continue. About three years later (when I was working in a book and art supplies store), I had my first real chance to learn some calligraphy–and I have practiced it since. Not to either Lou’s or Ron’s level, mind you, but it pleases me anyway…

Festival program book opportunities for Ojai businesses and beyond

A significant part of the Ojai Music Festival’s legacy and ‘aura’ is its idyllic setting. When When John Bauer first laid eyes on Ojai some 67 years ago, he knew that the Ojai Valley would be the perfect location for an emerging festival for the arts.

To this day, Ojai continues to charm not only audience members, but Festival artists who equally fall in love with the intimate, outdoor setting of the Libbey Bowl as well as the eclectic small town and bucolic surroundings.

Indeed, the Festival is fortunate to have a backyard of beauty, plus a very supportive community from the residents to the businesses.

The many businesses – from lodging, restaurants and art galleries to shops, spas and coffee shops, participate in many ways including advertising in the hefty program book, written eloquently by musicologist Christopher Hailey. Although the Festival has other ad partners outside of the Ojai community, it is the local businesses that support the must-read program book that patrons read fiendishly during the Festival and keep even after the Festival as a memento!

View our list of local eateries here > >

Find things to do in Ojai during Festival or year round >> 

Are you a business looking to “win over” a highly –desirable group of arts patrons?
View our media kit, which includes rates and audience demographics >>


Oh, The Places to Go – Ojai Expert Sheila Cohn

Sheila CohnThe Ojai Music Festival is fortunate to have amazing volunteers, who not only assist us during our four-day music event, but throughout the year as well. Meet one such volunteer, Sheila Cohn, who has taken on the duty as our helpful Festival Concierge for the last six years. Sheila is there to provide assistance on lodging and offer superb advice on places to eat, see and do.

My name is Sheila Cohn, and I have been a travel advisor for 38 years, currently at Santa Barbara Travel-Ventura Branch It has been my great privilege to be the Festival Concierge for these many years. This entails arranging lodging and giving advice about restaurants, transportation and sightseeing. Having lived in Ojai for 16 years I am fairly knowledgeable about the town which I love so much. During the Festival we are all immersed in the music and social activities. However, there is always a little downtime to explore the town. Here are some of my ‘go-to’ suggestions that I offer to our patrons looking for an ‘adventure’ close to the Libbey Bowl:

1) Hike up Signal Street. At the end, there are two beautiful trails-straight ahead is Shelf Road-a panoramic fire road that overlooks the city, where you will see orange and avocado groves and beautiful vistas. Go up about two miles and then turn around. If you turn left at the top of Signal you get on Pratt Trail, which is in the Los Padres National Forest. This trail is a little more challenging.

2) Walk along the Arcade (the main shopping street directly across from Libbey Park) and visit the charming galleries and shops. Make sure to visit the shops on Matilija, the street behind the Arcade and on Montgomery and Signal Streets.

3) Wine tasting at Casa Barranca, the Ojai Vineyard, or at Ojai Beverage Company which is a few blocks east of the park.

4) Have lunch at one of the several restaurants that have outdoor patios.

BRAVO! – An Ever-Growing Program for Music in the Schools

Judy Vander, Ojai Music Festival Education Committee Member writes about the diverse programs offered as part of BRAVO! – including its new residency ‘Ojai Creates Opera’.

The breadth and variety of the Ojai Music Festival’s BRAVO! music education program has garnered wide acclaim from educators, parents and students for its continued resolve to offer  free programs in the Ojai Valley public school system.

One of the Festival’s newest programs for the very youngest is Education Through Music (ETM), which serves students, kindergarten through first grade, in the Ojai Unified School District. This innovative way of teaching and learning music reaches the child through play, song, language, and movement. ETM has been so successful that there are now ongoing tutorial sessions to give ETM training to classroom teachers, funded by the Ojai Rotary Club.

Ojai’s Crown Jewel: Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

ovi905 Country Club Rd
Phone: 805 646 1111

Often cited as one of the top resorts in the country, the famed Ojai Valley Inn & Spa offers a complete vacation experience, featuring luxurious rooms, extensive spa services, a variety of delicious restaurants, and a picturesque golf course, all surrounded by stunning views of the Topa Topa mountains and Ojai’s pink moment. Conveniently located a 10 minute walk from Libbey Bowl (or an even shorter bike ride), the Ojai Valley Inn is connected to the Libbey Bowl and downtown Ojai by the Ojai Valley Trail.

Festival patrons receive as special room rate at the Inn. Click here to book online or use group code MUSIC when making your reservation.

A Career Found: Margaret Barrett, From Intern to Asst. Producer


I spent a lot of my childhood living in Ojai and vaguely remember folks at my schools, Mira Monte and Matilija, mentioning the Ojai Music Festival. Murmurs of experimental music during Ojai summers came through my piano teacher, my school choir community, and through some of my parents’ more artistic friends. However, I remained fairly oblivious. The most actual music I heard from the Festival was from distant rehearsals resounding in the park as I stepped into Ojai Ice Cream on a warm June day.  Who knows, maybe Pierre Boulez opened the door for me at the time, and I missed it.

A San Diegan Perspective

You will always find variety at the Ojai Music Festival – the music, opinions, artists, and even the audience members. And like the artists, our audience members have a passion for music and an appetite for adventure, including Bonnie Wright, who has been attending since 2010.

Bonnie has had a busy career supporting music in both the east and west coasts, from curating the Fresh Sound Music series at Sushi: A Center for the Urban Arts, presenting music at The Loft on the UC San Diego campus to hosting music soirees at her home and most recently establishing Henceforth Records, a label which focuses on contemporary music.

Bonnie is ready to go for 2013 – as a matter of fact – she subscribed right before the 2012 Festival, which gave her an invitation to meet 2014 Music Director Jeremy Denk at our subscriber breakfast during Festival weekend. Recently, Bonnie shared with us what she is looking forward to in 2013, and we couldn’t agree with her more!

I am thrilled once again for the programming brilliance of the Ojai Festival. First: Mark Morris!  I’ve enjoyed his dance and choreography for years but what a nice surprise to have him as Music Director this year.

I look forward to everything that he has programmed.  From a San Diegan’s perspective, red fish blue fish is one of the tops.  I have been paying attention to them since they first got started at UCSD under the direction of Steve Schick.

And what will The Rite of Spring sound like performed by The Bad Plus – how cool.

The music of John Luther Adams, Lou Harrison, Messiaen, Terry Riley and Henry Cowell too; what a marvelous treat.  I always love the Ojai Talks led by Ara Guzelimian. How could I not feel like a much smarter person after those?

From my perspective, the Ojai Festival is full of good music, smart talk and casual elegance.  I plan to be there for each Festival as long as I can still wiggle!

– Bonnie Wright

Purchase your 2013 series tickets here >>

photo: Bonnie Wright and fellow subscriber Kurt Wilder at the 2010 Ojai Music Festival. 


Staff Notes – Meet Nathalie Selleslags

We’re relaunching our blog with a new series, Staff Notes, where you can learn a little bit more about the faces behind the Festival’s day-to-day operations and their relationship with OMF. First up is Nathalie – if you’ve stopped by the office or contacted the Festival, chances are Nathalie’s smiling face has been the one to greet you.

Watch The Bad Plus Perform ‘On Sacred Ground’

The Bad Plus are known for challenging the boundaries of genre – one of their latest projects has been the multimedia On Sacred Ground, a jazz arrangement of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Watch excerpts of their Lincoln Center performance below:


While they won’t be performing the full multimedia version at Ojai in June, The Bad Plus will be playing their arrangement during the Thursday Night Concert (June 6, 2013) and again at Ojai North! (June 13-15, 2013).

The Oakridge Inn

Oakridge Picture_small780 North Ventura Avenue
Phone: 805 649 4018


If you’re looking for another lodging alternative in the Ojai Valley during Festival weekend, The Oakridge Inn is just the place for you. The Oakridge Inn is located in Oak View, a small Ojai Valley community nestled among spreading oaks, surrounded by tree-covered mountains, beautiful parks, museums, historical sites, and recreational facilities.


Holiday Home Look In Rain Update

UPDATE for Sunday, November 18

All homes are currently scheduled to be open on Sunday November 18.
For up to the minute updates, please call 805 646 2094.

We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding of the inclement weather on Saturday. Thank you for your support of the Holiday Home Look In!

To purchase tickets, please visit the Holiday Home Marketplace at 703 El Paseo Rd. Ojai, CA 93023. Click here for directions >>

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Click on a photo to view or download a high-res version using the links above.
Contact Gina Gutierrez or call 805 646 2094 ext. 104 for additional images.


Mark Morris Talks About His Creative Process

2013 Music Director and noted American choreographer Mark Morris discusses his creative process, his relationship with music, and a few of his projects.

Inuksuit, John Luther Adams, and Ojai

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

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

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

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

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

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

Confessions of a Teenage ‘Metro Gnome’

György Ligeti’s fluxus score to ‘Poème Symphonique’ spends little time discussing the performance of the work itself. Instead, he addresses a more pressing matter: acquiring 100 metronomes. Music stores, newspaper advertisements, and Maecenas are some of the sources that Ligeti encourages to bribe with program note recognition etc. If a rich patron were to simply buy Ligeti 100 metronomes, the piece would be “dedicated to him alone.”

When Artistic Director Tom Morris pitched the project to me in 2007, he lowered the cone of silence. “We’ve located the metronomes, but now I need you to assemble a team to set them off at the opening night concert.” Six cardboard boxes of time-keeping devices had just arrived from a performance of ‘Poème Symphonique’ in Austin, Texas. We were armed and ready.

Ten tables with ten metronomes each ringed the bowl at the opening night concert. Pianists Amy Williams and Helena Bugallo gave the signal to my team and the clicking commenced. While the sound of one metronome is regular and percussive, multiplied one hundred times, the result is quite different—imagine rain on a tin roof. But one by one, the upward pendulums froze until the heroic last stand of the final metronome. Beats away from death, the wooden pyramid hypnotized the audience. A long pause was observed when the last click sounded.

View Ligeti’s score here.

Albert Behar is a composer and past intern at the Ojai Music Festival. He is currently running around Paris with an accordion in search of jazz manouche. To find out more about his French alter-ego visit: