Getting To Know Christianne Stotijn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more about Christianne Stotijn at her website.


Boston Glober Reviews Leif Ove Andsnes Performances

2012 Music Director Leif Ove Andsnes began his U.S. tour last week stopping in Boston to perform with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Boston Globe music critic Jeremy Eichler described the performance in his review — “Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto with soloist Leif Ove Andsnes. This excellent Norwegian pianist plays with a rare blend of fluidity and control, and his Beethoven last night grew more daring and boldly profiled as the work progressed, ending with a finale that was irresistible.”

Read the full review here


Happy New Year from the Ojai Music Festival

Happy New Year! January is a time when most of us take stock on our success last year and how we want to improve ourselves going forward. For the Festival, January is the time when the staff really starts to feel the clock ticking very quickly toward June and all of the exponential number of details that need to be addressed (upcoming gala, brochures, annual fund appeals, program book notes, corporate sponsorships, education concert, and did I mention fundraising?).

However, January is also the time when we typically implement new systems we have been developing since the last Festival ended. This week, we are implementing our new financial software, Financial Edge, that links directly to our ticketing and fundraising software. This should allow us to streamline our data entry, improve our reporting and analytical capabilities, and reduce the amount of paper forms we need to use. Like the previous two software modules, the Financial Edge installation is funded by a generous Arts Regional Initiative grant from the James Irvine Foundation to improve our Financial Sustainability with better tools. Needless to say, we are both excited and a bit nervous for such a big change. It is important for us to implement this change now before the upcoming wave of single ticket sales (if you haven’t bought your subscription yet—it is best to do it this month before the single tickets go on sale!) and expense checks related to the Festival that start going out in May.

This is just one of a few new “resolutions” for us—one which most of you would never know about (or maybe even care about!), but it should have a big benefit to helping the Ojai Music Festival operate with greater efficiency and provide us with more powerful data needed to navigate a growing Festival through a rapidly changing landscape. Here’s to better bean counting!

A Little Piece of Festival History

In doing our semi-annual office clean-out, we discovered several lost (and dusty!) treasures…including this seating chart from 2006:

Ojai Music Festival Seating Chart, circa 2006 – click for a larger view

If this looks a long way off from the receipts that you receive today, it’s true. Way back before we had a computer-based ticketing system, Festival ticket buyers were handwritten into a paper seating chart—one chart for each concert during Festival weekend. This chart is from the 2006 Saturday Morning concert. Seats that are X’d off are series subscriber seats, while single ticket buyers have been written in between. You can also see the obstructed view seats that were blocked off and the multiple layers of white-out that we had to use when making corrections in the days leading up to the Festival. In the words of Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

This was an inherited system from Betty Izant, who was the Festival’s first administrator during Lawrence Morton’s tenure as Artistic Director. Betty had an almost photographic memory for Festival-goers and could remember their names exact seats with incredible precision. Back then, records were meticulously kept on index cards and updated by hand with new information each year.

Needless to say, things are much easier now. All seating information is stored in our computer system and ticket buyers can even purchase seats online (something almost unheard of only five years ago!). The one thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the care and attention that we give when seating patrons for each year’s Festival.The seating for this year’s 2012 Festival will be especially interesting, as we’re already close to selling out the AA and A sections of Libbey Bowl. If you haven’t yet bought your tickets, you can do so online here or by calling me in the Box Office at (805) 646-2053.



The Festival’s 2013 Music Director Mark Morris received high praise from the Los Angeles Times for the revival of Morris’ two-act masterwork, “L’Allegro, Il Penseroso, ed il Moderato, ” described as both classic and innovative. The production was presented as a collaboration between last May by the Music Center and the LA Opera.

Read Mark Morris bio 

Why I Support the BRAVO! Music Education Program Pt. 2

Judy Vander returns as our guest blogger for the second installment of her post on what it is that makes BRAVO! such a special program. Last time, Judy explained the BRAVO’s several unique workshops; this week she introduces a few of the incredible artists make the program so successful.

BRAVO!’s October Metales Concert

Another reason why I’m proud to support the BRAVO! Program is its collection of extraordinary artists who present their own, unique workshops for the students.

Andy Radford, bassoonist, is BRAVO!’s overall Coordinator/Director. He presents his amazing Adopt-a-Musician workshop,  which includes focused listening: learning to recognize the instruments of the orchestra as well as recognize musical patterns.  From his rich background of performing for major movie studios, Andy shows how music underscores and enhances the emotional/expressive aspects of movies.

Andy is joined by three other outstanding musicians—Julie Tumamait, Judy Piazza, and John Zeretzke—who teach different strands of world music. Julie Tumamait, a member of the Chumash tribe, teaches both Chumash songs and Chumash culture to the students. This is an unusual and authentic experience for the students, an opportunity for cross cultural contact and learning that not even many adult Americans have ever had.  Judy Piazza has studied drum music around the world and the songs that go with the drum patterns. She enriches the musical brew for the students in her own wonderful way—teaching songs and rhythmic patterns, along with the history and geography from whatever part of the world the songs and rhythms originate.

John Zeretzke is a master performer of instruments from around the world, and has composed scores for dance and theater. He gives Ojai students demonstrations on flutes from around the world and lectures on the development of instruments.  Most recently, he created the “Flutes Across the World” program for elementary students. In it, he makes flutes from pipes and given each student two flutes to complete by sanding and decorating. One flute is for the Ojai student to keep and  John takes the second flute, which includes a picture of the Ojai student who decorated it, and personally gives it to a student of a third world country. John’s program teaches music, art, and so much more: he teaches the connection between all people, generosity, and altruism.  He has received a United Nations award for this work.

Is there another music education program of this unique quality in California?  In the United States?  Why am I proud to support the BRAVO! programs?  Let me count the ways!

To learn more about BRAVO! click here.

Why I Support the BRAVO! Music Education Program

Judy Vander has been a  BRAVO! Music Education Program volunteer and friend of the Festival for several years. She is our guest blogger this week as she describes just what it is that makes BRAVO! special.

Judy with the BRAVO! Music Van

Why am I proud to support the extraordinary BRAVO! programs?  Let me count the ways…

Let me start with the Education Through Music workshops, an interactive music program for Kindergarten and first graders that teaches basic musical elements through games, songs, and movement. This relatively new program taps into the natural joy of children and infects the lucky person who gets to witness it. It is currently being taught at five elementary schools in Ojai. Moving on to third grade, Ojai students are all visited by the Music Van, which brings instruments from all the sections of the orchestra to the schools so that every student has a chance to play on every instrument. Logically, this program precedes the fourth grade when students have the chance to pick an instrument of their choice to learn and can join band programs. BRAVO! also funds a special string program where students are given a violin to use for as long as they are part of an instrumental program.

Every year BRAVO! organizes two concerts for the 5th-6th graders, to show them the wonderful musical opportunities that will open up to them when they move on up to Matilija Middle School and Nordhoff High School. The first of these is the IMAGINE concert. Student musical groups from these upper level schools perform and set an inspiring example for the elementary student audience. The second concert, Sing! focuses on vocal music. Prior to the concert, all 6th graders learn two songs. The concert itself features performances by the Matilija and Nordhoff choirs, as well as a set by professional singers. Near the end of the concert, the student audience is thrilled as the choir members come off the stage, mixing with them as they all sing together the two songs that they all had learned in preparation for the concert . . .

To learn more about BRAVO! click here. Look for Part Two of Judy’s blog coming soon!

Listen to the KUSC 2015 Festival Preview


Listen to the 2015 Festival Preview with Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris and Gail Eichenthal of KUSC:


Special thanks to:



Who’s Afraid of New Music?

If you spend any time contemplating directions in contemporary classical music, not to say designing programs full of it, or selling tickets to said programs, no matter how adventurous the vast majority of your audience may be, you almost invariably eventually run into the response, “I just don’t get it.” This is often a kind of mask for “I just really don’t like it,” or worse. In his book, Fear of Music, David stubbs explores why people are drawn to the visual experimentations of Rothko, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into affection for Stockhausen or Cage. NPR’s excellent program, To the Best of our Knowledge just conducted a fascinating interview with Mr. Stubbs. You can hear the whole interview here.