What’s in Libbey Park

Between concerts, you can roam the downtown Ojai Arcade but also enjoy Libbey Park where you can meet up with friends, relax in our sitting areas, or have a picnic.

New this year during the Festival is our Pub in the Park, where you can have a glass of wine or craft beer provided by Attitude Adjustment. Hours are Friday, June 9 and Saturday, June 10, from 5pm to 10:30pm. (Must be 18-years or older. Prices will vary on wine, beer, and cider)

Throughout the 4-day Festival, patrons and the public can enjoy the awe-inspiring audio-kinetic installation, Rio Negro II, created by Douglas Ewart and Douglas Repetto with music by George Lewis, which will be located near the Libbey Park Gazebo. And in the Gazebo, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) will set up shop offering free ICE Pop-U concerts with music by George Lewis, Anthony Braxton, and Mario Diaz de Leon. View the Festival schedule here.

Another addition to this year, is our outdoor Green Room where audience members can mingle and chat with Festival artists after each concert. The Green Room will be at the the center of the park.

Take home something to help you remember your Ojai experience! Visit the Festival Pop-Up Boutique featuring merchandise from our new Patagonia® Ojai Music Festival line and Festival T-shirts, as well as essentials including baseball caps, back pillows, blankets, and tote bags. Plus, pick up the latest recordings of your favorite Festival artists. Visit other booths highlighting the best of the Ojai Valley, including the Ojai Olive Oil, Ojai Citrus Growers, Wachter Hay & Grain, and the “Inventing Ojai” exhibit of the Ojai Valley Museum.

Need a quick bite or refreshments during intermission or before and after the concerts? Visit the Festival Grab-n-Go Market for quick snacks, including local Thacher Road Cookies, Lark Ellen Granola, and Lori’s Lemonade, plus coffee provided by NoSo Vita. Sales benefit the Ojai Music Festival.

 For details on restaurants in Ojai and other places to explore visit the Ojai Visitor Bureau here >

Special thanks to the Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne for their underwriting support to foster engagement with Festival patrons, new audiences, and the community

Sharing Ojai: Insider Tips for Festival Goers

Freelance writer/fine art and antiques broker Leslie A. Westbrook covers Ojai and Ventura County for Ventana magazine and the Ventura County Reporter among other outlets.

She had been attending the Ojai Music Festival off and on for more than three decades. Her father –  “under the radar” jazz pianist and composer Forrest Westbrook – joined her at the Festival during the later part of his life and became a fan as well. Leslie really wishes he was still alive to partake in this year’s jazzy fest— but he will be with her in spirit. We asked Leslie for some of her favorite spots and things to do in Ojai and she has a nice long list to share:

Ojai’s downtown Arcade. Photo courtesy of Michael McFadden/Ojai Visitors Bureau

Music fans cannot live on music alone (well, almost) so what to do in-between concerts? Explore the valley and all it has to offer. Here are a few more reasons (as if you needed one!) to hit Ojai for the Festival this year.

For quick, casual but tasty Mexican, two hole-in-the wall spots popular with locals:

The pineapple tamales at La Fuente (tucked into the corner of a strip mall) are sweetly addictive, but there are six other flavors ranging from cheese and chili to corn or pork.  Street tacos on homemade rosemary tortillas at Ojai Tortilla House satisfy – be prepared to wait in line and eat on the street (no tables here), or better yet, head to Libbey Park and grab a picnic table where you can also enjoy the Rio Negro II sound installation.

Azu of Ojai

Quick nibble before the tennis court pre-concert chat and evening concert? Pop into Azu for tapas and beers. Looking for a great gluten-free meal – Food Harmonics is the new “kid on the block” right on the Arcade.

For a more leisurely meal, Suzanne’s is a long time favorite for concert goers (seafood entrees at dinner; salads at lunch); Nocciola is a wonderful alternative in town. Leave plenty of time so you don’t miss a concert to indulge in the tasting menus in this charmingly restored historic Craftsman bungalow – Bravo to owner/chef Pietro Biondi for bringing a tasty bit of Italy to Shangri-La.

Wake UP! and smell the freshly roasted coffee sourced and roasted by the owners at Beacon Coffee Co. (new since last year’s fest) and a tasty savory or grab a cuppa java at longtime fave Ojai Roasting Co. The gigantic berry muffins at Ojai Café Emporium will hold you through morning concerts.

Midday refreshment? Grab a smoothie or healthy salads from the deli case at Rainbow Bridge – and people watch from a street side table.

The Ojai Vineyard on Montgomery Street

Pop in for a  pre-concert wine tasting at The Ojai Vineyard tasting room – we’ve never had a bad wine from winemaker Adam Tolmach. At the Festival’s new “Pub in the Park” on Friday and Saturday night, Attitude Adjustment will have OV wines available for purchase.


Ojai is famous as a spiritualist retreat and community, Krishnamurti lived here – visit the philosopher’s library and former home in Ojai’s East End. Or head to Meditation Mount for stunning views of the valley.


Meditation Mount spectacular view

From contemporary fine art to handmade pottery, Ojai prides itself on the talent in the valley. If you like what you see, plan to revisit Ojai during the annual Studio Artists Tour in the fall and visit studios and meet the artists.

The Porch Gallery shows cutting edge contemporary art, During the Festival check out its current exhibit – the Ojai Invitational 2017: “California Space & Light”, a collaboration with EMS Arts featuring selected works by Kelly Berg, Brad Howe, Andy Moses and Jennifer Wolf.

 Ojai has an earthly side, too. Contemporary ceramics can be purchased at PSpace Pottery or take a drive up and over the grade to visit Ojai icon Beatrice Wood’s (1893-1998) pottery studio, who credited her longevity thusly: “I owe it all to art books, chocolates, and young men.”). We’d add good music.

Rains Department Store in downtown Ojai

De Kor & Co, is a great emporium for a mix of home wares, clothing and cool gifts. Rains is an old-fashioned department store and Ojai institution. Walk on through – for men and women’s clothing and a great kitchen department! Partake in olive oil tasting at former high fashion mode Carolina Gramm’s gorgeous shop – she flavors EVOO and vinegars as well with subtle flavors. Walnut balsamic vinegar is a fav, but find your own amidst the vast array.

Don’t miss the Sunday Farmer’s Market – Mingle with locals and check out Ventura County’s rich cornucopia of flavorful, fresh organic produce. Nibble on popsicles in unique flavors (chili anyone?), chocolates made by a mother/daughter team, baked goods and other treats and you might even find Golden State papayas – who knew these tropical treats are raised in our region?

Need to stretch? Hike Shelf Road – or take a drive 3 miles to stroll Taft Gardens to admire exotic and rare botanicals from Australia and beyond.

Last but not least, don’t miss Ojai’s famous Pink Moment – the magic glow at sunset that kisses the Topa Topa mountain range.

  • Leslie A. Westbrook 

2017 Ojai Music Festival Program Notes

A Message from the Music Director

Thank you for joining us for these very special days and nights of music in Ojai. After two years of planning, we’ve somehow managed to gather dozens of my favorite artists: creative visionaries across generations, geographies, and histories, every one of them beyond category.

I am honored to be a featured composer and pianist throughout this Festival, but I’m even more pleased to report that it’s not all about me. You will find many other recurring themes over the weekend: improvisation and “real-time” music making; American experimentalism; radically inventive composer-performers; non-European musical systems; dialogue between the past and the present; collective struggles against racism and oppression; and central to all of this, the legacy of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).

You will recognize some performers and composers from past Festivals (Aruna Sairam, Tyshawn Sorey, Steven Schick, George Lewis, ICE), and you will meet others whose sounds are new to Ojai (Jen Shyu, Courtney Bryan, and myself). You will meet legendary elders (Zakir Hussain, Muhal Richard Abrams, and Roscoe Mitchell) and younger upstarts (Steve Lehman, Rudresh Mahanthappa, and Cory Smythe). You will hear state-of-the-art interpreters (Jennifer Koh, Brentano Quartet, Claire Chase, and Helga Davis) and wizardly real-time creators (Graham Haynes, Wadada Leo Smith, Nicole Mitchell, and Mark Shim). You will hear music as object—composed opuses, whether finished centuries ago or with ink still fresh—and you will hear music as process—the sonic choices of networks of actors moving in relation to each other and to their environment. And you might notice that—to some degree, every musical performance contains both of these elements.

By now you’ve probably heard or read my suggestion that we should replace the word “genre” with “community”—a very different word, concerned not with styles, but with people. I realize that the latter has become a no-less-hackneyed term, wishful and forced, invoked too often. With this distinction I only meant to point out a simple truth about music: In listening to each other, we become connected. When done with patience and compassion, listening can elicit recognition of the other as a version of one’s own self. This kind of empathic listening shakes us out of our habitual role as musical “consumers,” by reminding us that music is the sound of human action, and not a disembodied substance. It de-centers “the composer” as the primary actor in music, and reorients us instead towards the shared present: being together in time. Empathic listening begins to bring all of us in, music makers and observers alike, towards a shared purpose.

Here we find common cause with Judith Butler’s Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly, her recent far-reaching meditations on the politics inherent in the act of gathering. When we, as assembled bodies, are able to theorize a common purpose—to reflect upon ourselves, or to dream together, if you prefer—that is the moment that we become political; that is when we are first able to unite around something larger than the self, deeper than aesthetic enjoyment, more urgent than mere curiosity. In this sense, I would add, the moment we commit to empathetic listening, to hearing one another as fellow human beings, we immediately have the potential for not just community, but equality and justice, through direct action and collective transformation. And I am certain that such moments, such purposeful shared presence—a power stronger than itself—will emerge, here, this weekend, with and among each other.

So I thank you, once again, for assembling, and for listening.


Click here to read the 2017 Ojai Music Festival Program Notes

Rock the Glass: Ojai Music Festival’s Notetini


Welcome to Ojaipedia

Ojaipedia Entry #1


This series aims to provide additional information and context about the 2017 Ojai Music Festival. 

Thursday, June 8
Evening Concert
8:00 – 10:00pm

There will be three performances during the Ojai Music Festival’s opening concert. The concert offers distinct modes of performance that rarely share a concert stage. The concert begins with Emergence, a piece for orchestra and trio, which incorporates compositional interpretation alongside improvisation. After that, Vijay Iyer’s violin concerto Trouble premieres, with Jennifer Koh as the soloist. Finally, Vijay Iyer and composer-trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith will perform selections from their recent project A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke.


To quote Wikipedia: “In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is a phenomenon whereby larger entities arise through interactions among smaller or simpler entities such that the larger entities exhibit the properties the smaller/simpler entities do not exhibit.”

Under this definition, music making is emergence. The “simpler” entities are the individuals who exhibit sound, such as performers, audience members, the conductor, and the composer. In Vijay Iyer’s Emergence, an orchestra and a trio work together to create the music. The orchestra follows the lead of a score and a conductor (Steve Schick), while the trio members have license to improvise. If you listen to this recording from last week, you can hear the direct, emergent communication that occurs.

When the orchestra and an improvisational solo seem to perfectly synchronize, listeners may wonder, “was that on purpose?” Whether those moments are “composed” in advance or in real time, the answer is yes.

Listen below:


Vijay Iyer’s violin concerto Trouble premieres after Emergence. In his notes for the piece’s workshop version, Iyer says, “When meeting with Jennifer Koh over the past year to discuss the details of this piece, I often found it difficult to focus; typically we found ourselves instead recoiling in horror at the events of any given day. This pattern has only intensified since January 20, as we find our communities, our country, and our planet in greater peril with each passing hour. In creating the piece I found myself both channeling and pushing against the sensation of extreme precarity that pervades our moment.” Exploring different relationships between the soloist and the group, Iyer says “the soloist can embody the relationship of an artist to her community: not so much a “leader” or “hero,” but something more like a shaman, a conduit for the forces in motion around us.”

Jennifer Koh, the Oberlin Contemporary String Ensemble, and International Contemporary Ensemble will perform under the baton of Steven Schick, Ojai’s 2015 music director. Here is a picture of Vijay Iyer reviewing the score while Jennifer Koh and the Oberlin players rehearse in Oberlin’s Warner Hall:

(a nice shot by Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris)

A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke

In his New Yorker review for 2016’s Big Ears Festival, Alex Ross described Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith’s performance: “Smith presents a fragment of chiselled melody, like a pillar of a building that has otherwise fallen to ruin. Iyer answers with a misty dissonance or a ghostly filigree pattern. They create an illusion of vast space in which two solitary paths intersect. At one extraordinary moment, Smith began climbing up the steps of the major scale, as if he had found a stairway to the light; but then he let his tone crack, reverted to halting chromatic steps, and fell silent.”

Wadada Leo Smith was an early member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). The organization’s influence emanates through the Festival, with Afterword, an opera, art installation Rio Negro II, and a performance by a trio of early AACM members Muhal Richard Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell, and George Lewis as Festival highlights. 

Click here to buy tickets to this concert


The title “Ojaipedia” draws inspiration from our friends at the LA Philharmonic’s “Philpedia” webpage. We designed this “pedia” to be interactive; please feel free to contribute, dispute, or clarify things by emailing ksloan@ojaifestival.org. Any additional information is welcome and encouraged.

April is Ojai Pixie Tangerine Month – Celebrate With A Unique Ojai Activity!

OVB_PixieMonthLogo_2014Final_WebApril is Ojai Pixie Month – one of our favorite times of the year! Years ago, over 40 local farmers collaborated to form the Ojai Pixie Growers Association.  Ojai’s unique micro-climate offers optimal growing conditions for our petite, ultra-sweet tangerines, so we decided to honor them annually in April with Ojai Pixie Month.  It’s a short harvest season though, usually March through May, so the whole community comes together and celebrates by offering Pixie-centric hotel packages, libation and culinary specials, spa treatments, retail discounts, outdoor activities and much more. Ojai offers a variety of lodging accommodations to fit your family’s needs.  Check out some of the specials below, and have fun deciding which activities you’d like to participate in!  Or, if you’d rather just quietly enjoy Ojai Pixies on your own, pick up a few at a local grocer or Farmer’s Market on Sunday, discover one of Ojai’s great hiking spots, and see, smell, feel and taste what all the fuss is about!

The Ojai Music Festival is celebrating with Pixie Passes: get up to 20% off of your ticket order!

Discount Details     Discount Code       
Reserve seats to 2 concerts, receive 10% off total order OjaiPixie10
Reserve seats to 4 concerts, receive 15% off total order OjaiPixie15
Reserve seats to 6 concerts, receive 20% off total order OjaiPixie20

Buy online and use a promo code, valid April 1 – April 30, not valid for previously purchased tickets

Pixie Month Specials – Dine, Shop, Explore and Relax

HOTEL PACKAGES:   There’s so much to do, you’ll want to stay a few days and soak in all the Ojai sunshine.  Take advantage of some of the great lodging offers below:

The Oaks: With any lodging package, enjoy a complimentary Ojai Pixie Scrub or a Pixie Pedicure. Give The Oaks a call to learn about all their healthful and fun Pixie offers.

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa: Ojai’s five diamond resort celebrates Pixies around every turn of their lovely 220 acres! The Spring Pixies 2017 package includes a Pixie massage at Spa Ojai, two Pixie-inspired cocktails, breakfast for two at The Oak, and a special Pixie Tangerine Welcome Amenity!

The Lavender Inn team loves Pixie Month and celebrates with culinary specials all month.  Guests are treated to a fresh, Pixie-inspired breakfast every day outside on the veranda. Explore the beauty of Ojai during the day, and return to the Inn each night for complimentary tapas and house-crafted Pixie cocktails.

Emerald and Blue Iguana Inns celebrate Ojai’s famed Pixie Tangerine season with the Pixie Pamper Me Package & Gourmet Gift Basket. Relax, be pampered and celebrate this Pixie season with the all-inclusive, Pixie inspired gourmet gift basket, massage, and dinner package at East End Restaurant & Bar! 

Su Nido and Casa Ojai: Enjoy the Pixie season with a 25% discount Sunday through Thursday, and 15% on Friday and Saturday nights!  The sweet taste and smell of complimentary Pixies are yours throughout your stay!


Agave Maria’s Pixie Margarita anyone? Try this fresh squeezed Pixie cocktail on the patio!

Azu features refreshing cocktails and culinary specials all month long – Try a Pixie Drop Martini or a Pixie Blossom Margarita! The White Pixie Ale is available at Ojai Valley Brewery‘s new taproom, located at Azu. How about a great, messy burger paired with a cold White Pixie Ale? 

Bliss Frozen Yogurt:  Pixie frozen yogurt and sorbet … what’s your pleasure?  Best enjoyed while people watching in front! 

East End Restaurant & Bar: Enjoy a Pixie old fashioned, a specialty salmon entrée glazed with a pomegranate, pixie salsa over pesto quinoa and seasoned vegetables.

Food Harmonics: Nutritious and delicious! Ojai’s 100% organic and gluten-free restaurant serving Vegan, Vegetarian, and Paleo dishes has created a probiotic Pixie Chutney to accompany their dosas and toasts, and will be serving Iced Pixie Kefir on the patio courtyard.

Knead Baking Company:  Knead’s Citrus Syrup Cake is just too good for words – imagine a delicious cake soaked in Pixie syrup!  Knead is serving up lots of sweet and savory special surprises.

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa: Irresistible crème brulee, sorbet, and chocolate Pixie-infused desserts will be served resort-wide.  Incomparable views paired with a hand-crafted Pixie cocktail just might be the highlight of your Ojai getaway!

Ojai Coffee Roasting Company: Relax with a fresh squeezed Pixie Tangerine Mocha, topped with whipped cream and Pixie zest, or try a Pixie Tangerine Salad with grilled chicken, fresh strawberries, stilton cheese tossed wtih mixed greens and a Pixie tangerine dressing. 

Osteria Monte Grappa: Enjoy a fresh squeezed, Ojai Pixie Margarita on the patio!

Ojai Cafe Emporium: Try the Ojai Pixie Salad, featuring greens, with pixies, roasted beets, and goat cheese.

Revel: Ojai’s new Jun Kombucha Brewery & Tasting Room, releases the first ever, freshly juiced Pixie tangerines in sparkling probiotic goodness, served cold and on-tap!

Suzanne’s:  Longtime favorite Pixie Cosmo is offered, along with tasty Pixie-centric culinary surprises all month long!

Tipple & Ramble: Location … location … Step out onto a lovely patio and enjoy housemade Pixie marmalade served with the cheese boards, and on the weekends, Pixie Aperol Spritz served with a Pixie ginger ricotta tart under lovely shade trees.  Ojai at its finest!


The Oaks:  Relax, and let the knowledgeable spa team at The Oaks offer you their seasonal Ojai Pixie Scrub treatment or a Pixie Pedicure.

The Day Spa of Ojai: Exfoliate in pixie essential oils and pure sea salts with the Ojai Salt Glow body treatment, or the Anti-Aging Vitamin C Pixie Facial to rejuvenate, moisturize, and tone your skin.

Spa Ojai at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa: Luxuriate in the uplifting Ojai Pixie Tangerine Body Polish treatment, and as an extra bonus, this treatment is offered at 20% discount.  Seasonal manicures and pedicures are also available for your rejuvenating spa experience.

Enhanced Day Spa: You’ll be exhilarated and energized by the Pixie scents in the spa! Enjoy the Ojai Pixie Custard Foot & Calf Treatment, Ojai Dreamsicle Massage, or Pixie Facial!

EarthTonics Botanical Spa: Brighten, balance, and even out your skin tone with a Pixie-infused facial, full of antioxidants! Holistic esthetician Daron Hope has created this rejuvenating facial with her signature botanical tonics.


Treasures of Ojai:  Hunt for the tangerine-colored price tags, and enjoy those items at 20% off!

The Oaks Spa:  Be sure to head over to The Nest for 10% discount on any tangerine-colored items.

Ojai Clothing:  There is a distinct Ojai style – Come check out all orange-colored merchandise storewide; it will be offered at 20% discount.

Summer Camp: The popular Ojai Pixie and Citrus Vibes soy candles, infused with high-grade essential oils, are available all month. Both are offered at a 10% discount all month long. Receive a 15% discount on any custom picture frame.

Carolina Gramm Extra Virgin Olive Oil Products: Visit Carolina’s eclectic shop and enjoy an exclusive taste of Pixie-infused olive oil! 

GloWest:  The new salon in town offers 10% discount on Ojai Pixie pedicures and 15% discount on all Ojai Pixie Candles and Happy Trail Bath Soak.  Come be pixi-fied!

Ojai Baby: Don’t forget about your little ones during Pixie Month – Baby organic Pixie onesies and T’s are a must during our celebratory Month!

Azu: Purchase a Hippie Care Package filled with Ojai specialties such as local wine, Palo Santo incense bundle, citrus soy wax candle, Pixie Tangerine Moon Valley Marmalde and, of course, Ojai’s sweet Pixies (if picked up locally)!  Makes a great gift for a special someone, and be sure to treat yourself too!


The MOB Shop and Porch Gallery Ojai partner to present Curated Rides for the cultured, curious, and adventurous! Riders will enjoy a two-hour guided tour featuring eight iconic Ojai landmarks. Rides are offered morning, afternoon, and early evening! Teams receive water bottles, signature glass from Porch Gallery and Ojai Pixies!

Cloud Climbers Jeep Tours:  Explore birds-eye views of the beautiful patchwork of Ojai’s celebrated citrus groves in a custom, open-air Jeep driven by a professional guide. The tour includes a stop at Ojai Olive Oil where you can sample citrus-flavored vinegars and local, award-winning olive oils.

Friends Ranch Orchard Tours:  Learn what all the fuss is about! The Pixie story is warmly shared by the Friends family.  Kids and adults are treated to samples and picking your own fruit.  April tour dates are the 1st, 5th, 15th, 22nd and 29th.  Be sure to book in advance! 

Ojai Valley Trail Riding Company: Enjoy Ojai’s wide open spaces, and take a scenic horseback ride during Ojai Pixie Month! Guests will enjoy fresh Pixies and $10 discount on all rides during April!

Ojai Valley Brewery Party at Azu Restaurant & Bar: Come taste the White Pixie Ale, enjoy Pixie cocktails and mimosas, live entertainment, and complimentary Pixie-centric food 4:00 – 9:00 p.m on Sunday, April 9, 2017!

Ojai Music Festival: Here’s your chance to purchase tickets to Ojai’s famed annual Music Festival! Classical music lovers from all over the world converge in Ojai in June, and if you purchase tickets during Pixie Month, you’ll receive a discount – the more you purchase the greater the discount!

Ojai Farmers Market: Locals and visitors gather at this favorite spot on Sunday mornings from 9am-1pm. Fresh pixies are featured by some of the local growers. Stop by, introduce yourself, and enjoy the Farmers Market vibe! The freshest fruits and vegetables, friendly people, hand-crafted wares and live music await you!

Pixie Open House at Enhanced Day Spa: Come celebrate everything Pixie at Enhanced Day Spa on April 8th, 1 – 4pm! Enjoy a Pixie-inspired, mini spa treatment and complimentary Ojai Pixie cocktails and appetizers. Shop the boutique for pixie special discounts!

Ojai Pixie Tangerine Cooking Class:  In an idyllic setting, Chef Robin Goldstein, will create and enjoy tasty dishes such as citrus marinated whitefish crudo, roast organic chicken with Pixies and much more!  Book the class, and stay for the night with a $10 discount on your room on April 9, 2017 at the Lavender Inn. 

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

  • “Pixology” Class:  The Inn’s award-winning bartending team gives participants a guided demonstration and sampling of two cocktails with Pixie-inspired recipes.  Fridays, from 4:30 to 5pm. $25 
  • Pixie Pool Party:  Hotel guests can splash the day away during the Inn’s Pixie pool celebration on April 8th & 15th! Fun for the whole family – activities counselors will be leading fun games and offering complimentary Pixie popsicles!
  • Pixie Golf: Think you’re seeing orange?  Look twice when you see something orange on the golf course.  Not only do you get to play on a historic course but you’ll enjoy the Inn’s limited edition Pixie season golf balls!

The Ojai:117th Annual Tennis Tournament: A longtime Ojai tradition, treat yourself to exciting tennis matches on April 26 – 30, 2017.

All season, fresh Pixies are sold Tuesday and Friday mornings at the Friends Ranch Packing House, and daily at Rainbow Bridge Natural Foods Market, and Westridge Markets.

2017 Imagine Concert featuring Nestor Torres and Student Musicians

The annual Imagine concert in February was all about sharing music with students by students. Both the Matilija Junior High School and Nordhoff High School music students performed to a crowd of close to 500 local Ojai and Ventura-area elementary students.

This year a special highlight was a guest appearance by GRAMMY Latin Jazz winner Nestor Torres, who performed for the students and a surprise improvisatoin session along side the student musicians.

Photos courtesy of Kirby Russell.

 “We got to experience the excitement of improvising real jazz on the spot with an amazing player, as well as learn to listen to each other and share the spotlight to create music of our own. It also taught us to push our bodies in what we thought we were capable of doing and showed us that, just like anything else, music can be a form of communication that gives us a voice to speak our own message.”– Noah Byle, 12th grade, Nordhoff High School

“The Imagine concert is a wonderful part of the musical culture of Ojai! The middle school performers remember attending the concert as elementary school students. They tell me with a great deal of enthusiasm about the performances they watched, and they are proud to now be part of the show. In turn, their collaboration with the high school students give them a taste of the next level of musicianship. To top it all off, the guest performers never cease to expand our idea of what is possible.” — Thomas Fredrickson, Matilija Junior High School Music Director


Ojai Music Festival and 2017 Music Director Vijay Iyer Announce the 71st Festival Program June 8-11, 2017

Vijay Iyer is joined by a community of artistic collaborators, including returning Ojai family members 2015 Music Director Steven Schick, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam, flutist Claire Chase, and composer/percussionist Tyshawn Sorey 

Iyer introduces Ojai to master musicians from various backgrounds and communities: Brentano Quartet; violinist Jennifer Koh; vocalist/composer Jen Shyu; Vijay Iyer Trio; Vijay Iyer Sextet; Tyshawn Sorey Double Trio; tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain; saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa; trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith; and The Trio featuring Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis, and Roscoe Mitchell

Highlights of the 2017 Festival include the world premiere of Vijay Iyer’s Violin Concerto, written for and performed by Jennifer Koh; the American premiere of Iyer’s Emergence for trio and ensemble; RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi with music by Iyer and film by Prashant Bhargava; the West Coast premiere of the opera Afterword by George Lewis; and Yet Unheard (world premiere of chamber version) by Courtney Bryan

Cal PerformancesOjai at Berkeley is slated for June 15-17, 2017 following the Ojai Music Festival

download pdf version 
download 2017 schedule 

(November 16, 2016– Ojai, California) – The Ojai Music Festival, June 8-11, 2017, with Music Director Vijay Iyer celebrates diverse communities of music, artists, and collaborations in a weekend of stimulation and reflection.

Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris stated, “Vijay Iyer is usually described as a composer, a pianist, an improviser, a collaborator, and a teacher. What really distinguishes him, however, is not just what he does but who he is and what he stands for. Vijay believes a life in the arts is a life of service in imagining, building, and enacting community that transcends heritage, nation, and creed. The 2017 Festival reflects these beliefs in the range of collaborators joining us – from Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam to percussionist/composer Tyshawn Sorey, to the virtuosic ensemble ICE, to trumpet legend Wadada Leo Smith; in the breadth of roles Vijay will play – from composer, to performer, to collaborator, to intellectual guide; and in the historical and social perspectives represented by the music and artists – from how so much of the Festival’s foundation is based on the groundbreaking Association for the Advancement of Creative Music (AACM), to young composer Courtney Bryan’s powerful tribute to Sandra Bland, a vivid testimony to music’s ability to bring communities together in healing.”

Vijay Iyer commented, “When I was invited to take on the role of Music Director for the 2017 Ojai Music Festival, it was a shocking but validating proposition. As an artist, I like to insert myself into situations where some might not necessarily imagine I belong. I have many different affinities musically, and also very real associations across different musical communities, generations, geographic locations, and traditions that speak to me and through me. Our 2017 Festival feels like a good opportunity to update the idea of what music is today. I know the hallowed history of this Festival and I’ve seen different versions of what it can be. I’m just glad that Tom Morris invited me to intervene, and to bring my people with me. I’m going to learn so much over those few days in June, and I believe everyone there will discover a great deal – not just about music, but about themselves.” 

Watch Vijay Iyer Discuss the 2017 Festival

Much of the four-day Festival programming revolves around the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), an organization founded in Chicago in 1965 by a group of African-American experimentalists. Musicians of the AACM were not only committed to an adventurous synthesis of music making strategies – contemporary and ancient, familiar and faraway – but their very being was framed out of the Civil Rights struggles of that era. The New York Times, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the AACM a year ago said, “The AACM has been one of the country’s great engines of experimental art, producing work with an irreducible breadth of scope and style.”  Some of the original founding AACM members, including Wadada Leo Smith, Muhal Richard Abrams, and Roscoe Mitchell will be featured 2017 Ojai artists, as will composer/trombonist George Lewis, whose book A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music tells the definitive history of the AACM. Lewis’ opera Afterword, which is receiving its West Coast premiere, is based on the history of the organization.

The 2017 Festival begins on Thursday, June 8 showcasing the talents of Vijay Iyer. The program features two recent works by Mr. Iyer, the American premiere of Emergence, performed by ICE and the Vijay Iyer Trio conducted by Steven Schick; and the world premiere of his Violin Concerto, a co-commission by the Ojai Music Festival, Cal Performances in Berkeley, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The Violin Concerto was composed for and will be performed by violinist Jennifer Koh. The evening closes with a duo comprising Mr. Iyer and the celebrated trumpet player and a founder of the AACM, Wadada Leo Smith. Described by Mr. Iyer as his “hero, friend, and teacher,” Mr. Smith collaborates with the pianist on music that is “spellbinding and traverses musical identities.”

The two-part Friday afternoon concert on June 9 features flutist Claire Chase performing a selection from her recent Density 2036 project, a 22-year program conceived by Ms. Chase in 2014 to commission an entirely new body of repertory for solo flute each year until the 100th anniversary of Edgard Varèse groundbreaking 1936 flute solo. Following Density 2036 will be a rare performance by Tyshawn Sorey’s Double Trio in a program called “The Inner Spectrum of Variables.” Mr. Sorey made his Ojai debut last year composing music for and performing in the Josephine Baker Portrait. 

Friday evening’s concert features the West Coast premiere of George Lewis’ opera Afterword, for a small ensemble and three singers, performed by ICE with soprano Joelle Lamarre, contralto Gwendolyn Brown, and tenor JuIian Otis, all of whom sang in the 2016 American premiere of the work in Chicago, and with Steven Schick conducting. A 2002 MacArthur Fellow, George Lewis is a composer, theorist, musicologist, and virtuoso trombonist with an endowed chair at Columbia University. His A Will to Adorn was performed during the 2015 Ojai Music Festival. Mr. Lewis is the author of A Power Stronger than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music, a prizewinning, comprehensive cultural history of this influential organization and its members. The opera Afterword draws from the book’s own afterword, consisting of transcribed dialogues and testimonials about the AACM’s founding in 1965. Afterword will be semi-staged and directed by Sean Griffin.

Saturday afternoon’s two-part concert on June 10 begins with a program by the Brentano Quartet. In addition to performing the entire two-century range of standard quartet repertoire, the Brentano Quartet has a strong interest in both old and new music. The concert features music by György Kurtág and Mozart, as well as Vijay Iyer’s Mozart Effects, written for the quartet. Following this will be Conduction® led by Tyshawn Sorey, who is widely considered to be among the most important young artists at the intersection between composed and improvised music. Conduction®, is a gestural language invented by the acclaimed cornetist and composer Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris. As defined by the composer, “Conduction® is the practice of conveying and interpreting a lexicon of directives to construct or modify sonic arrangement or composition; a structure-content exchange between composer/conductor and instrumentalists that provides the immediate possibility of initiating or altering harmony, melody, rhythm, tempo, progression, articulation, phrasing, or form through the manipulation of pitch, dynamics (volume/intensity/density), timbre, duration, silence, and organization in real-time. Conduction® is a 60-minute piece of new music for an ensemble of 20 players being composed in real time – none of the performers nor conductor have a note of music in front of them.”

The Saturday evening centerpiece is RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi, commissioned five years ago by Carolina Performing Arts at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to celebrate the centennial of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps. RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi is a vivid and mesmerizing multimedia collaboration by Mr. Iyer and filmmaker Prashant Bhargava (who passed away in 2015 at the age of 42), exploring another sort of rite of spring, the Hindu festival of Holi, famous for its revelry of color in celebration of the love between the divine Krishna and Radha. In northern India, Mr. Bhargava filmed ravishing hi-definition images of an eight-day Holi festival, later editing the footage into a finished 37-minute film with Stravinsky’s Sacre musical structure as the basis for its film structure. Mr. Iyer composed a new score as the musical complement to Mr. Bhargava’s visual ballet, drawing at times on the rhythms and chants of the Holi festival. The result is one of Mr. Iyer’s warmest, most colorful creations to date, as rich melodically as it is texturally. The work is for an ensemble of 13 players that will be performed by ICE and conducted by Steven Schick, who will accompany the projected film live on the Libbey Bowl stage. The first half of the concert will be the West Coast premiere of a new version of Le Sacre du printemps arranged by composer Cliff Colnot for the same instrumental forces.

The final day of the Festival on Sunday, June 11 is a mini-festival of improvisation. It begins in the early morning with a free concert of living legends that will be one of the historical highlights at Ojai – The Trio featuring octogenarian pianist Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis on trombone and laptop, and Roscoe Mitchell on assorted woodwinds. Mr. Abrams and Mr. Mitchell were among the founders of the AACM. The afternoon concert presents Vijay Iyer and his close collaborator for more than twenty years, the award-winning saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, joining forces with two living giants of Indian classical music: celebrated Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam and tabla maestro and world music pioneer Zakir Hussain. This day realizes one of Vijay Iyer’s dreams for the 2017 Festival, to create a new musical fabric with these remarkable artists together in Ojai. The Festival closes with Vijay Iyer and his all-star sextet including bassist Stephan Crump, Tyshawn Sorey on drums, alto saxophonist Steve Lehman, Graham Haynes on cornet and flugelhorn, and tenor saxophonist Mark Shim, an ensemble The New York Times has said, “addresses original music with a gripping sense of purpose.”

In addition to the main concert lineup there will be two Daybreak concerts both starting at 9am at Zalk Theatre at Besant Hill School in the upper Ojai for Ojai Music Festival members. On Friday, June 9 the performance features Jen Shyu, experimental vocalist, composer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, and Fulbright scholar, who will perform her own work, Solo Rites: Seven Breaths. Saturday, June 10 features Nicole Mitchell, flutist, composer, bandleader, and educator. Ms. Mitchell’s music celebrates African American culture while reaching across genres and integrating new ideas with moments in the legacy of jazz, gospel, experimentalism, pop, and African percussion. She formerly served as the first woman president of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).

Free Community Concerts

Ojai continues to build on its commitment to reach an ever-broader audience, and the 2017 Festival offers two free Late Night concerts in the Libbey Bowl, in addition to the Sunday morning concert. Friday evening at 10:30pm features a recital by Jennifer Koh, entitled “Bach and Beyond” in which Ms. Koh will perform works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Missy Mazzoli, Luciano Berio, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Saturday night at 10:30pm brings Vijay Iyer together with the Brentano Quartet to perform his Time, Place, Action. The Brentano Quartet opens the concert with selections from Bach’s Art of the Fugue, and the concert closes with the American premiere of a new version of Yet Unheard by the versatile composer and pianist Courtney Bryan. Written for chorus, orchestra, and the vocalist Helga Davis, Yet Unheard sets a new text by poet Sharan Strange memorializing Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old African American woman who died in police custody in Waller County, Texas, on July 13, 2015. Her death was classified as a suicide, though protests dispute the cause of death and allege racial violence. Focusing on bridging the sacred and the secular, Ms. Bryan’s recent compositions explore human emotions through sound, confronting the challenge of notating the feeling of improvisation. 

Ojai Talks

The 2017 Festival begins with Ojai Talks hosted by Ara Guzelimian, former Festival Artistic Director and current Dean and Provost of The Juilliard School. On Thursday June 8 the first part session topic is “The Art of Improvisation” with Vijay Iyer. The second part of the Talks features a panel to discuss “Music as Community” with Mr. Iyer and other prominent guests. On Friday evening, June 9 the Ojai Talks will be held prior to the 8pm concert of George Lewis’ Afterword on the Libbey Bowl stage. The session will feature a discussion on the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) with special guests. Additional details will be announced at a later date.

Ojai at Berkeley

Marking the seventh year of artistic partnership, Ojai at Berkeley celebrates the dynamic nature of the Ojai Music Festival and of Cal Performances. As two distinct communities, Ojai and Berkeley are both known for intrepid artistic discovery, spirited intellect, and enduring engagement in the arts. Inaugurated in 2011, Ojai at Berkeley is a joint force that enables co-commissions and co-productions and allows artists to achieve more than could be imagined by each organization separately. Ojai at Berkeley follows the 2017 Ojai Music Festival and will take place from June 15-17 in Berkeley, CA. For more information visit CalPerformances.org.

Vijay Iyer, Music Director

Composer-pianist Vijay Iyer is the Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts at Harvard University. He was named Downbeat Magazine’s Jazz Artist of the Year for 2012, 2015, and 2016, and he received a 2016 US Artists Fellowship, 2013 MacArthur Fellowship, a 2012 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, and a 2011 Grammy nomination. He has released twenty-one albums, including A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke (ECM, 2016) in duo with legendary composer-trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, named “Best New Music” by Pitchfork; Break Stuff (ECM, 2015) with the Vijay Iyer Trio, winner of the German Record Critics’ Award for Album of the Year; the live score to the film RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi (ECM, 2014) by filmmaker Prashant Bhargava; and Holding it Down: The Veterans’ Dreams Project (Pi Recordings, 2013), his third politically searing collaboration with poet-performer Mike Ladd, named Album of the Year in the Los Angeles Times.

Mr. Iyer’s compositions have been commissioned and premiered by Bang on a Can All-Stars, The Silk Road Ensemble, Ethel, Brentano Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Imani Winds, American Composers Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra Leopoldinum, Matt Haimowitz, and Jennifer Koh. Mr. Iyer serves as Director of the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music.

Thomas W. Morris, Artistic Director

Thomas W. Morris was appointed Artistic Director of the Ojai Music Festival starting with the 2004 Festival. Morris is recognized as one of the most innovative leaders in the orchestra industry and served as the long-time chief executive of both The Cleveland Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He is currently active nationally and internationally as a consultant, lecturer, teacher, and writer. As Artistic Director, Morris is responsible for artistic planning and each year appoints a music director with whom he collaborates on shaping the Festival’s programming. During his decade-long tenure, audiences have increased and the scope of the Festival has expanded, most recently to include a collaborative partnership, Ojai at Berkeley, with Cal Performances at UC Berkeley. Morris was a founding director of Spring for Music at New York’s Carnegie Hall and served as the project’s artistic director. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Interlochen Center for the Arts. He is also an accomplished percussionist.

About the Ojai Music Festival

From its founding in 1947, the Ojai Music Festival has created a place for groundbreaking musical experiences, bringing together innovative artists and curious audiences in an intimate, idyllic setting 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The Festival presents broad-ranging programs in unusual ways with an eclectic mix of rarely performed music, refreshing juxtapositions of musical styles, and works by today’s composers. The four-day festival is an immersive experience with concerts, free community events, symposia, and gatherings. Considered a highlight of the international music summer season, Ojai has remained a leader in the classical music landscape for seven decades.

Through its unique structure of the Artistic Director appointing an annual Music Director, Ojai has presented a “who’s who” of music including Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, Olivier Messiaen, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kent Nagano, Pierre Boulez, John Adams, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Spano, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, David Robertson, Eighth Blackbird, George Benjamin, Dawn Upshaw, Leif Ove Andsnes, Mark Morris, Jeremy Denk, Steven Schick, and Peter Sellars.

The Festival, which enters its 71st year in 2017, is a nonprofit organization based in Ojai, California. The Board Chairman is David Nygren and President is Jamie Bennett.

Remote Access to the Ojai Music Festival

The Ojai Music Festival continues to draw thousands of curious and engaged music enthusiasts from across the country. As tickets remain in high demand, Ojai includes free access to the Festival experience through live and archived video streaming at OjaiFestival.org. Festival concert archives can also be heard on media partner Q2 Music’s website at WQXR.org. 

Series Passes for 2017 Ojai Music Festival

2017 Festival series passes are available and may be purchased online at OjaiFestival.org or by calling (805) 646-2053. 2017 Ojai Music Festival series passes range from $140 to $860 for reserved seating and lawn series passes start at $60. Single concert tickets will be available in spring 2017.

Directions to Ojai and Libbey Bowl, as well as information about lodging, concierge services for visitors, and other Ojai activities, are available on the Festival website. Follow Festival updates at OjaiFestival.org, Facebook (Facebook.com/ojaifestival), and Twitter (@ojaifestivals).

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Application deadline: March 1, 2017
Download application form


(Ojai, CA) —  Applications are now being accepted to participate in the Ojai Music Festival’s arts management internship program coinciding with the 71st Ojai Music Festival slated for June 8-11, 2017 with Music Director Vijay Iyer.  Entering its tenth year, the Festival’s three-week program provides hands-on experiences to college students.

Ojai’s arts management internship program offers select students direct experience as they are immersed in areas of administration, operations, special events, merchandising, production, marketing, public relations, and patron services.

Students from varying fields and walks of life enjoy access to different opportunities which give them new skill sets and experiences that they take with them throughout their careers. The internship program also provides them to interact with leaders in the music industry and create lasting friendships with other students. 

Applicants must be 18 or over and enrolled in a two or four year accredited college. The Festival provides housing for the duration of the internship as well as a stipend. Applications are due by March 1, 2017. 

The 71st Ojai Music Festival, June 8-11, 2017, will celebrate diverse communities of music, artists, and collaborations in a weekend of stimulation and reflection curated by this year’s Music Director Vijay Iyer. A genre-transcending composer, pianist, improviser, and musical thinker, Iyer’s programming vision will make connections across genres to help audiences discover how composers, performers, and improvisers make music together.

Joining him will be a community of artistic collaborators, including returning Ojai family members 2015 Music Director Steven Schick, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam, flutist Claire Chase, and composer/percussionist Tyshawn Sorey. Master musicians from various backgrounds making their Ojai debuts include Brentano Quartet; violinist Jennifer Koh; Vijay Iyer Trio; Vijay Iyer Sextet; tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain; saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa; trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith; and The Trio featuring Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis, and Roscoe Mitchell.

The 2017 Festival will also feature the world premiere of Vijay Iyer’s Violin Concerto, the American premiere of Iyer’s Emergence; Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi with music by Iyer and film by Prashant Bhargava; the West Coast premiere of the opera Afterword by George Lewis; and Yet Unheard (world premiere of chamber version) by Courtney Bryan.

For more information regarding the internship program for the Ojai Music Festival, please call the main office at 805 646 2094 or email info@ojaifestival.org.  For more information on the 70th Ojai Music Festival, visit OjaiFestival.org.



Graham Haynes, cornet and flugelhorn

Graham Haynes is an American cornetist, trumpeter and composer. The son of jazz drummer Roy Haynes,[1] Graham is known for his work in nu jazz, fusing jazz with elements of hip hop and electronic music.

With aspirations to push jazz beyond its traditional boundaries, Graham Haynes’ first foray into electronic music came in 1979 upon meeting alto saxophonist Steve Coleman. Together, they formed a band called Five Elements, which launched an influential group of improvisers called M-Base Collective. After the formation of his own ensemble – Graham Haynes and No Image – and the subsequent release of an album (What Time It Be?), Haynes would spend the balance of the 1980s studying a wide range of African, Arabic and South Asian Music. After a move to France in 1990, Haynes incorporated these far-off influences into his next two releases – Nocturne Parisian and Griot’s Footsteps.

Roscoe Mitchell, winds

roscoe-mitchell_d200Internationally renowned musician, composer, and innovator, began his distinguished career in the spirited 1960s of Chicago, Illinois. His role in the resurrection of long neglected woodwind instruments of extreme register, his innovation as a solo woodwind performer, his and his reassertion of the composer into what has traditionally been an improvisational form have placed him at the forefront of contemporary music for over four decades. A leader in the field of avant-garde jazz and contemporary music, Mr. Mitchell is a founding member of the world renowned Art Ensemble of Chicago, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, and the Trio Space.

Muhal Richard Abrams, piano

muhal-richard-abrams_d200Muhal Richard Abrams has been in the forefront of the contemporary music scene for well over forty years. Muhal is a co-founder of The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), founder of The AACM School of Music and President of The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, New York City Chapter. Muhal was the first recipient of the grand international jazz award, “The Jazzpar Prize”, which was awarded to him in 1990 by the Danish Jazz Center in Copenhagen, Denmark.. In 1999 Muhal was presented a proclamation by Richard M. Daley, Mayor of the City of Chicago, declaring April 11, 1999 as Muhal Richard Abrams Day in Chicago.

Except for a brief period of study at Chicago Musical College and Governors State University in Chicago, Illinois where he studied electronic music, Mr. Abrams is predominately a self-taught musician who, as a result of many years of observation, analysis, and practice as a performing musician, has developed a highly respected command of a variety of musical styles both as a pianist and composer. The versatile Mr. Abrams and members of The AACM are responsible for some of the most original new music approaches of the last three decades.

Be Prepared: Read The HHTM Fact Sheet


Here are several reminders to make your tour experience more enjoyable!

  • Your ticket is valid for either or both days (November 12-13) to visit each house once. Hours are 10am-4pm. 
  • Shuttle transportation will be provided to all homes. Shuttles will depart from Ojai Valley School (723 El Paseo Rd.) and San Antonio Elementary School (650 Carne Rd.) approximately every 20 minutes. Your ticket will have the locations of the shuttle stops. Last shuttle is 3:30pm. 
  • Homes may be visited in any order. Please keep in mind that the last shuttle will depart at 3:30pm and if you begin the tour in the late afternoon you may not be able to visit all the homes. 
  • The homes are not wheelchair accessible. If you have special needs, please contact Sherry at the Ojai Music Festival office for further information: 805-646-2094.
  •  Flat shoes are required and closed-toe shoes recommended. If you wear high-heeled shoes, you will be asked to remove your shoes. Booties will be distributed at the homes. 
  • Public restrooms will be available at the Holiday Marketplace at 703 El Paseo Rd. 
  • Children under the age of 12 will not be admitted into the homes
  • Docents will help guide the tour and answer any questions about the homes.
  •  There will be entertainment at various homes provided by students and Ojai musicians. 
  • Tickets will be sold during the weekend of the event at the Holiday Marketplace, located at 703 El Paseo Road and at the homes. Tickets will be $45 the day of the event. 
  • Please join us at the Holiday Marketplace, rain or shine! Admission is free and open to the public. Hours are Saturday 10am-5:30pm and Sunday 10:00am-4:30pm. 
  • There are no refunds on tickets. But if you turn your tickets back, we will issue a receipt to you for a tax-deductible donation in the amount of the value of your tickets.
  • In case of heavy rain, the event will be canceled. Your ticket will be considered a donation to the Ojai Music Festival.

Buy tickets here > 

Jen Shyu, performer/composer

jen-shyu-2Born from Taiwanese and East Timorese immigrant parents, 2016 Doris Duke Artist Jen Shyu (Chinese name: 徐秋雁) is an experimental jazz vocalist, composer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, producer, and Fulbright scholar. Known mostly for her virtuosic singing with saxophonist and 2014 MacArthur Genius Fellow Steve Coleman since 2003 and having collaborated with innovators Anthony Braxton, Bobby Previte, Chris Potter, Michael Formanek, and David Binney to name a few, she has performed her own music around the world in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rubin Museum of Art, Ringling International Arts Festival, Asia Society, Roulette, Blue Note, Bimhuis, Salihara Theater, National Gugak Center, and National Theater of Korea and festivals around the world.

Meet the 2016 Ojai Holiday Home Designers

An essential part of the annual Ojai Holiday Home Tour is the festive inspirations created by the select floral designers who work with each homeowner. Meet the 2017 designers: 

Angela’s Flowers
Irma Murillo, owner 
Home: Carroll House 
Since 2010, Irma Murillo has been the proud owner of Angela’s Flowers although she had been working at the shop when she was just a sophomore attending Nordhoff High School. At that time, she learned from the original owner Joanne Moore. Irma has made Angela’s Flowers a continued success, nominated Best Florist in Ojai for several years in a row. She is a proud resident of the valley with her husband Juan Murillo, her children Carlos, Natali and Gabriel as well as her “adopted children,” her chinchilla Chinch and her cat Lulu.

Address: 226 W Ojai Ave #102
Phone: (805) 646-5404
Web: angelasflowersojai.com

Digs Design
Lynn Malone, owner
Home: El Toro 
lynn-malone-10-6-14_0013-correctedWith over 20 years managing fundraising events for various Ojai nonprofits including the Ojai Music Festival, Lynn Malone, owner and lead designer at Digs, has made an art of creating exquisite event designs on a budget, a befitting skill to help benefit the annual Holiday Home Look In fundraiser.

For the past three years, Digs has strived to bring joyous Holiday designs to showcased homes on the tour much to the delight of guests who were excited and inspired by creative décor for the holidays. This year, Lynn and her team look forward to embellishing a historic Spanish revival home steeped in rich memories of bygone eras. 

The Digs team is excited to work with the homeowners of the El Toro house to create holiday designs honoring the home’s historic significance, as well as the many fond memories of Christmases past as shared by the homeowner and the design team. Don’t be surprised to see a few that you grew up with too.  Departing from traditional reds and greens, however, this year’s designs will incorporate winter whites, and the bountiful fruits and greens of the season and of the property itself. You’ll see many of the lush landscape elements found on the property incorporated into the Holiday floral designs.

As has come to be expected of Team Digs, you’ll also be treated to a bit of whimsy and some modern holiday touches too, including, of course, “Grace,” our signature holiday mannequin who, once again, will be dressed in her finest Holiday greenery for the season. As always, Digs hopes to inspire excitement to decorate your home for the upcoming holidays. However, if time runs short for DIY decorating or gifting, we are always happy to help.  Some of the creations you’ll see on the tour will be available at Digs throughout the holiday season. 

Address: On the corner of Baldwin Road and Highway 33
Phone: (805) 646-3447
Web: YourDigsDesigns.com

Janelle Interiors Design Showroom
Janelle Kandziora, owner
Home: Ladera Ranch Home
Janelle is the owner and lead designer at Janelle Interiors Design Showroom in Ojai. She specializes in construction design, color consulting, custom furniture, lighting and much more. Janelle has a successful design career furnishing homes all over the greater Los Angeles area, Santa Barbara, and Palm Springs Desert communities. 

Her career began with 550 Design of Minneapolis where she trained under a senior staff of highly experienced designers. Specializing in residential and hospitality design, her experience quickly brought her to Palm Desert, California in early 2004. Her desert career began with Ambiance Unlimited where she refined her residential design skills and completed the model homes for PGA West’s Greg Norman Estates Country Club.  With an interest in construction design she then joined the luxurious Andalusia Country Club design team and assisted owners in the creation of their dream homes. In 2009 she then opened Janelle Interiors as an independent design corporation and has since designed homes in some of the desert’s premier clubs.

Relocating to Ojai in 2012 she opened up her design showroom where clients can view the extensive home furnishing resources. Janelle’s design approach is, “Simple but Elegant,” with attention to the planning of space and style. She prides herself in creating a look and feel that coincides with her clients dream or vision in any project.

Address: 987 W Ojai Ave
Showroom: (805) 640-0194
Email: janelle@janelleinteriors.com
Web: janelleinteriors.com

Passion Flowers
Michelle Rein, owner 
Home: Libbey House 

passion-flowersFounder and entrepreneur of Passion Flowers Ventura Michelle Rein has been passionate about flowers her whole life. In business for over 35 years, Michelle still loves creating with the gift of nature and all its colors and elements. Her shop is open daily and one of the great enjoyments is her customers. Besides the daily routine of the floral shop, Michelle loves working with clients for special events, celebrations, and tributes. Every piece is created heartfelt.

Address: 920 E Main St., Ventura
Phone: (805)641-1076
Web: passionflowersventura.com


Explore 2017 Festival Artists on Spotify

Prepare for June by listening to upcoming Festival artists using our Spotify playlists.

Don’t have Spotify? Follow these easy instructions: click here sign up for a free account using your email or Facebook account. Once you have signed in, click on one of the tracks below to listen.


Sitting In with Vijay Iyer

vijay-iyer-pressBack in 1992 Vijay Iyer, studying physics at UC Berkeley and living in Oakland, crossed the street to check out the music in a neighborhood club. Before long the young graduate student and largely self-taught jazz pianist was sitting in with a cohort of local elder statesmen, three and four times his age. Music had already begun to dominate Vijay’s interests, but those evenings in the Bird Kage club taught him something more: his creative juices began to flow when curiosity overcame diffidence, and wariness gave way to mutual trust. Ever since, he has been crossing streets and sitting in, finding his place in a succession of vibrant musical communities.

Vijay Iyer likes thinking about communities – where you find them, how they are formed, what cultural expressions they create. And what they create is very much a question of how they listen. The communities Iyer has found create music through improvisation – listening, thinking, weighing options, making decisions, finding ways to open new doors, or, as he likes to put it, “responding to crisis.” So from jamming with friends and strangers, seeking out mentors, and studying the masters he has developed his own distinctive musical personality combining expressive warmth with dazzling inventiveness. In the meantime, his academic interests turned toward the cognitive science of music: questions about how we listen, how we make music, and how we interpret what we hear. For Iyer, a MacArthur Fellow and Harvard professor, music is both emotional and intellectual, visceral and analytical, an activity whose structure and syntax are deeply imbedded in our shared humanity and cultural experience.

66th Ojai Music Festival June 7, 2012 - 8PM Opening Night ConcerFor all his celebrity, he is remarkably self-effacing and in conversation devotes a good deal of time speaking about others – celebrated idols, cherished teachers, treasured colleagues, admired contemporaries to whom he feels indebted. It is therefore no surprise that his selection of artists for this year’s festival is both multi-generational and deeply personal: “people who are dear to me – each has changed my life.” People like the cellist Okkyung Lee and choreographer Michelle Boulé (“visceral, awe-inspiring”), Steven Schick (“a transformative influence”), or Roscoe Mitchell (“completely changed my idea of what music can be”) – musicians who have inspired, challenged, and even confounded him.

Today Vijay inhabits a post-genre world, and Ojai 2017 will no doubt challenge and confound our notions of music. The familiar – Bach’s Art of the Fugue, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring (in a new arrangement for 12 players) – are juxtaposed with his Time, Place, Action for quartet and piano, Emergence for piano trio and orchestra, and his score to Prashant Bhargava’s Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi, a cinematic refraction of the Indian festival of Holi, created for the centennial of Stravinsky’s iconic Rite. We’ll also hear a newly commissioned violin concerto for Jennifer Koh, and performances by some of the foremost improvisers of today, including three legends: Wadada Leo Smith, Roscoe Mitchell, both in their 70s, and pianist Muhal Richard Abrams, now 86 – living exemplars of generational transmission, a reminder of the “real education” Iyer received when he sought out musicians “older, better, wiser than me.”

george-lewis-bioSmith, Mitchell, and Abrams, emerging from the African American musical movements of the 1950s and 60s – its patron saints included the likes of Coltrane, Mingus, Ornette Coleman, and Thelonious Monk –  have in turn shaped the scene of the last fifty years, not least through their activities with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), which they co-founded in 1965 in Chicago. We’ll hear Afterword, an opera about the group’s origins by the composer George Lewis, whose research and creative work (we heard The Will to Adorn in 2015) often explore the relationships among music, community, and the self. We’ll also hear a Lewis protégée, the young composer Courtney Bryan, whose work Yet Unheard for soprano, orchestra, and choir, with libretto by poet Sharan Strange, explores the current moment; the piece conjures the soul and spirit of Sandra Bland, whose unexplained death in police custody in Texas has become one of many tragedies motivating the Black Lives Matter movement.

Ojai Music Festival - Aruna Sairam and Ensemble 6/10/2016 Libbey BowlVijay self-identifies as a composer, but he also places a lot of faith in real-time music-making. In Ojai he’ll play duets with the aforementioned trumpeter-composer Wadada Leo Smith, and he will also make music with two of today’s foremost Indian classical performers: Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam (who mesmerized in her 2015 Ojai debut) and pioneering tabla legend Zakir Hussain. The thrill of the musical moment is also why Iyer is so excited by Tyshawn Sorey (“one of the greatest living musicians – period”), whose Perle Noire: A Portrait of Josephine Baker was a highlight of last year’s Ojai Festival. This year Tyshawn will appear as a featured percussionist throughout the festival, and will present his own, uncategorizable music for Double Trio. Also, in a special program, Sorey will lead members of International Contemporary Ensemble using a technique called “conduction,” a process that exemplifies what Iyer values most in music: a community forged through listening. For Iyer it’s all a matter of trust, though not in the sense of a safe space, but a space for shared daring. Whether responding to the intricate systems of Indian music, the technique of orchestral composition, or the challenges of ensemble improvisation, Vijay is looking for expressive frontiers, “to put ourselves at maximum creative risk whenever possible.”

And he’s inviting us to sit in.


Enter the Marketplace Raffle

Enter to win prizes from Holiday Marketplace vendors and the grand prize an Ojai Spa Weekend Getaway! Tickets are $20 for 3 and can be ordered online or by calling 805 646 2053.

Raffle Grand Prize Includes: 

  • 40 Minute Massage by Relaxation Station
  • Bottle of Wine from Topa Mountain Winery
  • Casa Barranca Wine Tasting for Four
  • Coffee by Ojai Coffee Roasting
  • Golf for Four at the Ojai Valley Inn ($720 value)
  • Haircut and Blow-dry by Carol Farrar
  • Necklace by Gayle Caldwell 
  • Night at Casa Ojai
  • Pilates Lesson by Tara Jeffrey 

Additional prizes feature items generously donated by Holiday Marketplace vendors. Click here for the raffle booklet >>

Click here to order raffle tickets online or call 805 646 2053 to purchase over the phone. Proceeds benefit the Ojai Music Festival and its BRAVO music education programs in the schools and community.

This raffle is registered with the CA Dept. of Justice under registration RF1651.

BRAVO Leadership Change: Welcome Sandra Shapiro and Merrill Williams

sandra-shapiro-and-merrill-williamsThe Ojai Music Festival is pleased to announce Sandra Shapiro and Merrill Williams as new co-chairs of the BRAVO Education Committee. Both Sandra and Merrill are excited to help the program in bringing music programs to school children throughout the Ojai Valley, including Music Van, the Imagine concert, Chumash Music and Culture, Education Through Music (ETM), and the Upbeat Percussion Workshops at Continuing Care Centers.

Sandra Shapiro has lived in Ojai for ten years. As a nurse, she has experience working with new mothers in the post-partum field, as well as in school health. She is currently on the Board of the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center, a family-directed outreach program to help families with support, education, and emotional care and served as a past president. Sandra has been an active member of the Ojai Festivals Women’s Committee for five years.

Sandra says about the BRAVO program, “This is something that draws people to be a part of supporting the Festival. It is our greater hope, desire, and awareness that children thrive when exposed to and included in musical participation. They have an appreciation of the expressive culture. Music also builds confidence, brain skills in mathematics and logic and the chance for self-expression. This translates into greater confidence and ultimately better citizens. Music and the arts are part of the powerful, ineffable sphere of the human experience.”

Merrill Williams has lived in Ojai for 44 years. Part of her extensive background in marketing and publicity was working for the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa for 15 years as Public Relations Director. There she worked closely with the national and international press. A long-time Festival subscriber, Merrill recently served as past president of the Ojai Festivals Women’s Committee and joined the Festival’s Board of Director in September. Merrill comes from a musical family; her mother was an arranger who specialized in women’s choral music. She would also lead choirs on tours to local schools and prisons. Merrill is firmly aware of the importance of music to our youth, and to society.

For more information on the Ojai Music Festival’s BRAVO education in the schools and community, click here. If you are interested in the BRAVO committee, a voluntary group that meets once a month, contact Laura Walter at 805 646 2094.

Want to help the program? Join us at the Ojai Holiday Home Tour & Marketplace, November 12 and 13, a major fundraiser for the BRAVO education programs!

Why does L.A. need its own summer classical music festival? – LA Times

Why does L.A. need its own summer classical music festival? For answers, look 6,000 miles away
Mark Swed

Read on the LA Times website >>
Download PDF >>

A tale of two exalted European city festivals begins with surprising signifiers. Conspicuously tacked on a press office bulletin board at the tony Salzburg Festival is a large photo of John Cage. The leading 20th century anti-establishment American artist is — at least in this small Salzburg dominion through which artists, writers and administrators regularly pass — a bastion of the classical music establishment.

At that other prestigious address for classical music in summertime, Lucerne, Switzerland, posters and program books are centered with the words PRIMA DONNA in large type, the I being a graphic of a conductor’s baton extending from the manicured red nail of a lady’s right hand, which is encircled by bees. This year’s theme of the Lucerne festival is the empowerment of women in classical music, particularly as composers and conductors.

Outside observers have found such queen bee business a wee bit condescending, but given that parts of Switzerland gave women the vote only in the 1970s, this is a statement. So too is the fact that the artistic director designate of the Salzburg Festival is Austrian pianist Markus Hinterhäuser, a modern music specialist known for his penetrating recordings of John Cage’s New York School.

Social progress can seem slow in this part of the world. Tradition and history weigh heavily on Switzerland and particularly Austria, where you occasionally encounter opera goers in lederhosen.

Standard repertory and standard stars prevail as they always have in both places. Audiences remain well-heeled. As always, the festivals cater to the classical music business; it can be as easy to run into an orchestra manager or artist’s representative in Salzburg or Lucerne as it is a movie producer in Cannes.

Still something startling is in the air. Lucerne celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2013 with the theme “Viva la Revolución” and festival honchos showed up for a gala event wearing Che garb. Salzburg has yet to announce next year’s program, Hinterhäuser’s first season, but Peter Sellars has said that he will be back at the festival for the first time in almost two decades.

Salzburg and Lucerne are special places. As destination festivals, they have lost none of their importance in the Internet age, however much our expectation is that anything that matters is immediately and effortlessly available.

Indeed the website medici.tv has a smattering of this year’s offerings thus far, including a new production of Gounod’s “Faust” in Salzburg and Riccardo Chailly’s compelling performance of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. As I write, I am listening on the BBC Radio 3 website to a London Proms broadcast of Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla conducting her first program as music director as the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and with a little imagination I can feel the excitement in the Royal Albert Hall.

But vicarious reality is really equivocal reality. I’m not there, I’m at my keyboard, half listening, fooling myself while allowing Grazinyte-Tyla’s thrilling Tchaikovsky Fourth Symphony to help speed my typing.

A festival, on the other hand, is a concentrated excursion away from the computer and the quotidian. It needn’t always be a special destination. The Proms, the Berlin Festival, Paris Autumn and Prague Spring and other city festivals are primarily for residents. A few small, out-of-the-way American cities have small destination festivals of note — Ojai, close to home, is one. But Lincoln Center Festival in July comes closest to a big international festival of the performance arts, and it has become less ambitious and less provocative than it once was.

What about Los Angeles? As the city weighs the feasibility of its bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, let us remember what it meant in 1984 when L.A. mounted an Olympic Arts Festival that changed the complexion of performance arts in Los Angeles. Do we have it in us to do it again by, say, reviving the biannual Los Angeles Festival, the follow-up to the Olympic Arts Festival, which lasted only until 1993 and had ambitions to put us in the league with Berlin and Paris?

First, though, it might be worth considering how Salzburg and Lucerne did it, and how what they do now reverberates around the world.

The Salzburg Festival was founded in 1920 in Mozart’s quaint hometown at the foot of the Austrian Alps to be an international outpouring of opera, concerts and theater from the leading artists of the day. The Lucerne Festival came along 18 years later in reaction to Salzburg having become far too appealing to Hitler and his SS contingent. So the adamant anti-Fascist Arturo Toscanini started a festival on the shores of Lake Lucerne at the foot of the Swiss Alps.

Both festivals enhanced their reputations after World War II with star conductors, notably Herbert von Karajan in Salzburg and Wilhelm Furtwängler in Lucerne. Recordings of concerts and operas from the festivals automatically had the stamp of quality. An air of exclusivity wafted over both places as new concert halls and opera houses were built and offerings became more lavish.

Today Lucerne, which is primarily devoted to concert music, has a budget of around $27 million, while Salzburg, which produces opera and theater as well as concerts, boasts a budget more than double that.

That kind of bankrolling (most of which is private support) can, of course, lend an air of exclusivity, which both festivals have worked hard to lessen, while becoming much more expansive. And to that end, they sponsor education projects, foster emerging artists and commission new work. In Salzburg the lasting contribution from this summer is likely to be the premiere of Thomas Adés’ opera, “The Exterminating Angel,” a work meant to challenge the very essence of status quo — shockingly so in its harsh depiction of stymied high society — which will now be done at Royal Opera in London and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

I was also stuck by the Salzburg debut of pianist Yuja Wang. She may be on the flashy side for the more conservative audiences, but she couldn’t have been more modestly respectful — or daring — than to step into eminent Salzburgian shoes. At a legendary 1970 song recital here, German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter, two of the most celebrated musicians of their time, performed Brahms’ song cycle “Die Schöne Magelone.” This summer, in the gilded great hall of the Mozarteum, Wang became the steady hand that saved overwrought baritone Matthias Goerne from his excesses and helped signal a new maturity for the 29-year-old pianist.

At Lucerne, a number of worthy women conductors — Grazinyte-Tyla, to be sure, but also the likes of the American big-band jazz leader Maria Schneider and the adventurous Canadian singer-conductor Barbara Hannigan — are getting important exposure. The biggest news, though, is likely to be the contribution from Olga Neuwirth, this year’s composer in residence.

I heard a performance of her impressive recent immersive work, “Le Encantadas,” in which the audience was surrounded by instrumental groups and electronic music from loudspeakers. It is a gripping evocation of the Galapagos, inspired by Herman Melville’s voyage to the South American islands, that revealed an alluring and unsettling strangeness even one of America’s greatest writers could not capture as well.

Now back home. Arguments could be made for and against Los Angeles becoming a major festival city. The Los Angeles Philharmonic, where Grazinyte-Tyla began as a Dudamel fellow and is associate conductor, does an exceptional job promoting young talent and commissioning new work. Schneider was a featured artist five years ago at the Ojai Music Festival; Hannigan will be its music director in 2019. Not all that serves as news on the European festival circuit is necessarily news to visiting Angelenos.

Moreover, much of what was new and exciting in dance and theater at the Olympic Arts Festival, which opened with Pina Bausch, the choreographer then unknown in the U.S., is now regularly presented by the Center for Art of Performance at UCLA and REDCAT. Even so, we are a multicultural city that barely scratches the surface of consequential work created in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. For that we need a festival.

So what would it take? First of all, money. Michael Haefliger, Lucerne’s visionary executive and artistic director, told me that if L.A. is going to present a festival it would require a large-scale, full-time operation.

Robert Fitzpatrick, the former president of CalArts who created the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival, said that civic enthusiasm is essential to doing something exceptional. “A festival,” he said over the phone from Long Island, N.Y., “has to be a moment of discovery.”

Fitzpatrick reminded me of the fights he had when he wanted to open his follow-up Los Angeles Festival in 1986 with a Canadian circus no one had ever heard of called Cirque du Soleil. They thought he had to be kidding.

For Fitzpatrick money comes once you have the civic support. Then-Mayor Tom Bradley threw the power of City Hall behind the L.A. Festival. That, Fitzpatrick said, opened doors to donors like Lew Wasserman and Barry Diller.

There is cautious talk coming from the Music Center about an ambitious summer festival, employing its underused-in-the-summer campus, Grand Park and, I would hope, a host of potential venues around downtown. But festivals must be big and bold to matter. Let the talk turn to shouting into loudspeakers at whatever volume is necessary to drown out downtown construction and penetrate the thick walls of the nearby county and city offices.

‘Patricia Kopatchinskaja in praise of minimalism’ – The Guardian

Over the summer, future music director Patricia Kopatchinskaja wrote a piece for The Guardian discussing her favorite pieces of minimalist music – in the process discussing her approach to performing, her relationship with minimalism, and her championing of composer Galina Ustvolskaya. Read the full piece on The Guardian website or download a PDF >>

Less can be more. Arguments do not get more convincing by using more words or by shouting, and a woman does not get more beautiful by hanging lots of jewellery around her. Art forms that make their statements with a minimum of means carry a strong attraction, especially in music. And minimalism is far from a 20th-century invention. Here’s some of my favourite pieces of “minimalist” music .


For me the most outstanding and radical composer of recent times – Galina Ustvolskaja – published only some two dozen works and destroyed the rest, an act which in itself is a form of minimalism. Isolated in the USSR, she wrote the most extreme music, limiting herself to the minimum of musical material and instrumentation, but achieving the maximum of spiritual strength. Her music comes “as is” out of nothing or from deep and primordial sources. She renounces any artificial elaboration. I often think only a woman could become this kind of medium. A man would immediately try to understand, analyse, systematise, “count the legs” of his creature. Ustvolskaja did nothing of the sort.


Here is her Composition No 2 “Dies irae” (1972/3): You see the wooden box that looks like a coffin. This is an instrument of her own invention. In Orthodox Christian countries the closing of the coffin over the body of a beloved relative is a ritual: the hard sound of hitting the coffin nails becomes the memory of a cruel farewell. Throughout her music she is saying – “I give all my soul, all my heart” – and you will do so as well, either as an interpreter or as a listener. Whether you like it or not, your brain will be in serious danger of exploding, and many other pieces of music will suddenly seem an unnecessary waste of time and paper. Of course the piece was banned in her home country after its first performance.