Ojai Music Festival Announces Mitsuko Uchida as Music Director for the 78th Festival: June 6-9, 2024

“We are so delighted to announce the eagerly awaited return of Mitsuko Uchida to the Ojai Music Festival. Mitsuko is one of the most revered musicians of our time, imparting everything she plays with profound insight and commitment.  It is a particular joy for me to work with Mitsuko, given our long-standing friendship and collaborations over the years. We are also thrilled to welcome back the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, with whom she has built a deep partnership over many years. In addition to the MCO, Mitsuko has invited a number of guest artists closely associated with her over the years at Vermont’s legendary Marlboro Festival, where she is Co-Artistic Director — clarinetist Anthony McGill, soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon, violinist Alexi Kenney, and the Brentano String Quartet. We promise a characteristic Ojai mix of the new and old, the expected and the unexpected.” – Artistic and Executive Director Ara Guzelimian 

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OJAI, California — May 31, 2023: As the Ojai Music Festival family anticipates the upcoming 77th Festival with Music Director Rhiannon Giddens (June 8 – 11, 2023), Artistic and Executive Director Ara Guzelimian announces Mitsuko Uchida as Music Director for the 2024 Festival scheduled for June 6 to 9, 2024.  Since the late 1940s, the Ojai Music Festival’s tradition has been to select a new Music Director each year to ensure vitality and diversity in programming across Festivals.  Pianist/conductor Mitsuko Uchida, one of the world’s most celebrated artists, last performed at the 2004 Festival and was co-music director in 1998.  

Ojai will welcome the return of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO), who appeared with the 2018 Festival Music Director Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Those Ojai Music Festival performances marked the MCO’s first extended United States residency. Founded in 1997, the MCO is an international ensemble defined by its distinct sound, independent artistic identity, and agile and democratic structure. The orchestra brings together 27 different nationalities, with musicians living in all parts of the world, to reach audiences across 40 countries on five continents. The MCO forms the basis of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and maintains long and fruitful artistic relationships with major artists, including several Ojai artists such as Ms. Uchida, Ms. Kopatchinskaja, Leif Ove Andsnes (2012 Ojai Music Director) and George Benjamin (2010 Ojai Music Director). In Ojai, MCO will display its versatility and virtuosity as an orchestral ensemble, in smaller chamber iterations, and in solo performances from individual members.

Joining Mitsuko Uchida and the MCO will be artists new to the Ojai Music Festival, including soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon, clarinetist Anthony McGill, and the Brentano String Quartet. Returning to Ojai will be violinist Alexi Kenney, who performed at the 75th Festival with Music Director John Adams.

Programming for the 2024 Festival will include works by Gyorgy Kurtag, Kaija Saariaho, Angelica Negron, Kate Soper, Salina Fisher, and Arnold Schoenberg in honor of the 150th anniversary of his birth. 

Additional details about the 2024 Festival will be shared in the fall of 2023. 


One of the most revered artists of our time, Mitsuko Uchida is known as a peerless interpreter of the works of Mozart, Schubert, Schumann and Beethoven, as well for being a devotee of the piano music of Alban Berg, Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern, and György Kurtág.  She is Musical America’s 2022 Artist of the Yearand a Carnegie Hall Perspectivesartist across the 2022/3, 2023/4 and 2024/5 seasons. Her latest recording, of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, was released to critical acclaim earlier this year, has been nominated for a Grammy® Award, and won the 2022 Gramophone Piano Award.

She has enjoyed close relationships over many years with the world’s most renowned orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and – in the US – the Chicago Symphony and The Cleveland Orchestra, with whom she recently celebrated her 100th performance at Severance Hall. Conductors with whom she has worked closely have included Bernard Haitink, Sir Simon Rattle, Riccardo Muti, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Vladimir Jurowski, Andris Nelsons, Gustavo Dudamel, and Mariss Jansons.

Since 2016, Mitsuko Uchida has been an Artistic Partner of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, with whom she is currently engaged on a multi-season touring project in Europe, Japan, and North America.  She also appears regularly in recital in Vienna, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, London, New York, and Tokyo, and is a frequent guest at the Salzburg Mozartwoche and Salzburg Festival.

Mitsuko Uchida records exclusively for Decca, and her multi-award-winning discography includes the complete Mozart and Schubert piano sonatas.  She is the recipient of two Grammy® Awards – for Mozart Concertos with The Cleveland Orchestra, and for an album of lieder with Dorothea Röschmann – and her recording of the Schoenberg Piano Concerto with Pierre Boulez and the Cleveland Orchestra won the Gramophone Award for Best Concerto.

A founding member of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust and Co-Artistic Director of Marlboro Music Festival, Mitsuko Uchida is a recipient of the Golden Mozart Medal from the Salzburg Mozarteum, and the Praemium Imperiale from the Japan Art Association. She has also been awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society and the Wigmore Hall Medal, and holds Honorary Degrees from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. In 2009 she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.


Ara Guzelimian is the Artistic and Executive Director of the Ojai Music Festival, having begun in that position in July 2020. The appointment culminates many years of association with the Festival including tenures as director of the Ojai Talks and as Artistic Director from 1992–97. Guzelimian stepped down as Provost and Dean of the Juilliard School in New York City in June 2020, having served in that position since 2007. At Juilliard, he worked closely with the president in overseeing the faculty, curriculum, and artistic planning of the distinguished performing arts conservatory in all three of its divisions: dance, drama, and music. He continues at Juilliard as Special Advisor, Office of the President.

Prior to the Juilliard appointment, he was Senior Director and Artistic Advisor of Carnegie Hall from 1998 to 2006. Guzelimian serves as artistic consultant for the Marlboro Music Festival and School in Vermont. He is a member of the steering committee of the Aga Khan Music Awards, the artistic committee of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust in London, and a board member of the Amphion and Pacific Harmony Foundations. He is also a member of the music visiting committee of the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City. In 2020, Guzelimian was appointed to the advisory panel of the Birgit Nilsson Foundation in Sweden.

Previously, Guzelimian held the position of Artistic Administrator of the Aspen Music Festival and School in Colorado, and he was long associated with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the beginning of his career, first as producer for the orchestra’s national radio broadcasts and, subsequently, as Artistic Administrator. Guzelimian is editor of Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society (Pantheon Books, 2002), a collection of dialogues between Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said. In September 2003, he was awarded the title Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government for his contributions to French music and culture.


The Ojai Music Festival represents an ideal of adventurous, openminded, and openhearted programming in the most beautiful and welcoming of settings, with audiences and artists to match its aspirations. Marking its 75th anniversary season last year, the Festival remains a creative laboratory for thought-provoking musical experiences, bringing together innovative artists and curious audiences in an intimate, idyllic outdoor setting. Each Festival’s narrative is guided by a different Music Director, whose distinctive perspectives shape programming — ensuring energized festivals year after year.

Throughout each year, the Ojai Music Festival contributes to Southern California’s cultural landscape with in-person and online Festival-related programming as well as robust educational offerings that serve thousands of public-school students and seniors. The organization’s apex is the world-renowned four-day Festival, which takes place in Ojai, a breathtaking valley 75 miles from Los Angeles, which is a perennial platform for the fresh and unexpected. During the immersive experience, a mingling of the most curious take part in concerts, symposia, free community events, and social gatherings. During the intimate Festival weekend, considered a highlight of the international music summer season, Ojai welcomes up to 5,000 patrons and reaches 35 times more audiences worldwide through live and on- demand streaming of concerts and discussions throughout the year.

Since its founding in 1947, the Ojai Music Festival has presented broad-ranging programs in unusual ways with an eclectic mix of new and rarely performed music, as well as refreshing juxtapositions of musical styles. Through its signature structure of the Artistic Director appointing a different Music Director each year, Ojai has presented a “who’s who” of music including the multi-disciplinary colliding collective AMOC* (American Modern Opera Company), Vijay Iyer, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, and Barbara Hannigan in recent years; throughout its history, featured artists have included Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, 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, Matthias Pintscher, and Peter Sellars.


Early Bird Series Passes for the 2024 Ojai Music Festival will be on sale beginning June 1, 2023 at OjaiFestival.org and onsite at the upcoming Ojai Music Festival, June 8 to 11.


Single Tickets are available and may be purchased at OjaiFestival.org or by calling (805) 646-2053. Single tickets range from $160 to $55 for reserved seating in the Libbey Bowl. General admission for the Lawn in Libbey Bowl is $20. Add-on event prices range from $35 to $50. Student discounts, OjaiNEXT young professional discounts, and group sales are available by inquiring with our Box Office.  Some 2023 Festival concerts are currently sold out. Ojai Music Festival will offer free live streaming of Libbey Bowl concerts June 8 to 11. To access, visit our website or on the Festival’s channel on YouTube

Press contacts:

Ojai Music Festival: Gina Gutierrez, [email protected] (805) 646-2181 National/International: Nikki Scandalios, [email protected] (704) 340-4094

Podcast Series: OJAICast 2023


Welcome to OJAICAST, where we pull back the curtain to take a sneak-peek at the upcoming Ojai Music Festival, June 8 to 11, in beautiful Ojai Valley, California. All are welcome here, from newcomers to long-time music fans. In-depth insights and special guests will help introduce this year’s programming and whet your musical appetites for what’s to come with host Emily Praetorius.

Episode 1

Our first episode gives an in-depth look into the 77th Ojai Music Festival (June 8 – 11, 2023), curated by Music Director Rhiannon Giddens. Special guest Artistic and Executive Director Ara Guzelimian will give us some insights into the creation of this year’s festival programming and background on some of pieces being played.

Ojai Virtual Talks, Rhiannon Giddens
Uncovering the History of the Banjo with Rhiannon Giddens

Emily Praetorius, host and producer
Louis Ng, recording engineer

OJAICast theme by Thomas Kotcheff and Louis Weeks

Music Excerpts in this Episode:
I’m on My Way – Rhiannon Giddens 
Performed by Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi

Liquid Borders – Gabriela Ortiz
Performed by red fish blue fish

Clock Catcher – Flying Lotus
Performed by Attacca Quartet

Ghost Opera – Tan Dun
Performed by Kronos Quartet

Episode 2

Our second episode takes a look at the idea of composing across boundaries with 2023 Festival composers Niloufar Nourbakhsh and Carlos Simon.

Shawn Okpebholo
Ojai Virtual Talks: Lei Liang and Steve Schick
Niloufar Nourbakhsh and IFCA
Carlos Simon, Requiem for the Enslaved
Bill Traylor 

Emily Praetorius, host and producer
Louis Ng, recording engineer

OJAICast theme by Thomas Kotcheff and Louis Weeks

Music Excerpts in this Episode:
mi sueño: afro-flamenco – Shawn Okpebholo
Performed by Clare Longendyke

The Willows are New – Chou Wen-Chung
Performed by Gloria Cheng

Veiled – Niloufar Nourbakhsh
Performed by Amanda Gookin

Between Worlds – Carlos Simon
Performed by Julia Mirzoev

Episode 3

Our final episode welcomes kamancheh player Niloufar Shiri, pipa player Wu Man, and multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi to the podcast, where they discuss the history of their instruments, how they are played in contemporary music today, and what we can look forward to in this year’s Festival programming.

Niloufar Shiri Performs at Ojai Meadows Preserve
Niloufar Shiri
Pop Up Pipa with Wu Man
Francesco Turrisi: Playlist & Ojai Talk
Francesco Turrisi
Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi Met Museum Concert

Emily Praetorius, host and producer
Louis Ng, recording engineer

OJAICast theme by Thomas Kotcheff and Louis Weeks

Music Excerpts in this Episode:
Niloufar Shiri Improvisation
Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi Met Museum Concert

Also available on SPOTIFY and APPLE PODCASTS

Emily Praetorius, former Ojai Music Festival intern and Rothenberg Intern Fellow, is a current Composition DMA candidate at Columbia University. She previously studied composition and clarinet performance at the University of Redlands (BM) and composition at Manhattan School of Music (MM). She has studied with Kathryn Nevin (clarinet), Susan Botti, Georg Friedrich Haas, George Lewis, and Anthony Suter. Emily is from Ojai, CA and lives in New York City where she is a proud co-owner of Kuro Kirin Espresso & Coffee.

Get a Head Start: 2023 Festival Preview

Wednesday, May 31 2023
Bart’s Books


Start your musical exploration before the 2023 Ojai Music Festival, slated for June 8-11, featuring Music Director Rhiannon Giddens!

Join us for a 2023 Festival Preview featuring Artistic and Executive Director Ara Guzelimian who will share program and artist insights for an inside look!

Special thanks to our friends at Bart’s Books for co-hosting this free community offering.

Box Ofice:
Open 10 am – 5 pm, Monday – Friday
[email protected]
805 646 2053

2023 Virtual Ojai Talks

 Get an inside look at the creative process with our free Virtual Ojai Talks, where we celebrate the intersection of music and ideas with the 2023 Festival artists, composers, innovators, and thinkers. Virtual Talks are free and open to the musically curious!

Free and Open to the Public
Virtual Ojai Talks with Michael Abels
May 3, 2023, 5:30-6:30pm

Enjoy a conversation between Ara Guzelimian and featured Festival composer Michael Abels as they talk about creating the world premiere of Omar’s Journey, an Ojai-commissioned work for voices and chamber ensemble drawn from the opera Omar by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels, and his continuing work as both a film and concert composer.

RSVP here >

Watch Virtual Ojai Talks with Steven Schick and Lei Liang

Ara Guzelimian and percussionist/conductor Steven Schick are joined by composer Lei Liang, whose works are featured at this year’s 77th Ojai Music Festival – including vis-à-vis, written specifically for Steven Schick and Wu Man. In addition. they consider the legacy of Chou Wen-chung, the composer and legendary mentor to both, whose centennial is celebrated this year.

About Steven Schick, conductor and percussionist

Percussionist, conductor, and author Steven Schick was born in Iowa and raised in a farming family. Hailed by Alex Ross in the New Yorker as, “one of our supreme living virtuosos, not just of percussion but of any instrument,” he has championed contemporary percussion music by commissioning or premiering more than one hundred-fifty new works. The most important of these have become core repertory for solo percussion. Schick was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 2014.

Steven Schick is artistic director of the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. As a conductor, he has appeared with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony, Ensemble Modern, the International Contemporary Ensemble, and the Asko/Schönberg Ensemble.

Schick’s publications include a book, “The Percussionist’s Art: Same Bed, Different Dreams,” and many articles. He has released numerous recordings including the 2010 “Percussion Works of Iannis Xenakis,” and its companion, “The Complete Early Percussion Works of Karlheinz Stockhausen” in 2014 (both on Mode). He received the “Diapason d’Or” as conductor (Xenakis Ensemble Music with ICE) and the Deutscheschallplattenkritikpreis, as percussionist (Stockhausen), each for the best new music release of 2015.

Steven Schick is Distinguished Professor of Music and holds the Reed Family Presidential Chair at the University of California, San Diego. He was music director of the 2015 Ojai Festival, and starting in 2017, will be co-artistic director, with Claire Chase, of the Summer Music Program at the Banff Centre.

About Lei Liang, composer 

Chinese-born American composer Lei Liang is the winner of the Rome Prize, the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Koussevitzky Foundation Commission, a Creative Capital Award, and the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His concerto for saxophone and orchestra, Xiaoxiang, was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2015. His orchestral work, A Thousand Mountains, A Million Streams, won the prestigious 2021 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition.

Lei Liang was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert for the inaugural concert of the CONTACT! new music series. His ten portrait discs are released on Naxos, New World, Mode, BMOP/sound, Encounter, Albany and Bridge Records. As a scholar and conservationist of cultural traditions, he has edited and co-edited five books and editions, and published more than forty articles.

From 2013-2016, Lei Liang served as Composer-in-Residence at the Qualcomm Institute/Calit2 where his multimedia works preserve and reimagine cultural heritage through combining scientific research and advanced technology. He returned to the Institute as its first Research Artist-in-Residence in 2018.

Lei Liang’s recent works address issues of sex trafficking across the US-Mexican border (Cuatro Corridos), America’s complex relationship with gun and violence (Inheritance), and environmental awareness through the sonification of coral reefs.

Lei Liang is Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of California, San Diego where he served as chair of the composition area, acting chair of the Music Department, as well as chair of campus-wide committee on committees. His catalogue of more than a hundred works is published exclusively by Schott Music Corporation (New York).

Watch Virtual Ojai Talks with Wu Man

Artistic and Executive Director Ara Guzelimian was joined by Wu Man to talk about her career as the world’s premier pipa virtuoso and a leading ambassador of Chinese music. She has carved out a distinguished career as a soloist, educator, and composer giving her instrument—which has a history of over 2,000 years in China—a new role in both traditional and contemporary music.

About Wu Man, pipa player and 2023 Festival artist 

Recognized as the world’s premier pipa virtuoso and leading ambassador of Chinese music, Wu Man has carved out a career as a soloist, educator, and composer giving her lute-like instrument—which has a history of over 2,000 years in China—a new role in both traditional and contemporary music. Through numerous concert tours she has premiered hundreds of new works for the pipa, while spearheading multimedia projects to both preserve and create awareness of China’s ancient musical traditions. Her adventurous spirit and virtuosity have led to collaborations across artistic disciplines, allowing her to reach wider audiences as she works to cross cultural and musical borders. Her efforts were recognized when she was named Musical America’s 2013 “Instrumentalist of the Year,” marking the first time this prestigious award has been bestowed on a player of a non-Western instrument, and in 2021 when she received an honorary Doctorate of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music.

Having been brought up in the Pudong School of pipa playing, one of the most prestigious classical styles of Imperial China, Ms. Wu is now recognized as an outstanding exponent of the traditional repertoire as well as a leading interpreter of contemporary pipa music by today’s most prominent composers such as Tan Dun, Philip Glass, the late Lou Harrison, Terry Riley, Bright Sheng, Chen Yi, and many others. She was the recipient of The Bunting Fellowship at Harvard University in 1998, and was the first Chinese traditional musician to receive The United States Artist Fellowship in 2008. She is also the first artist from China to perform at the White House. Wu Man is a Visiting Professor at her alma mater the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and a Distinguished Professor at the Zhejiang and the Xi’an Conservatories. She has also served as Artistic Director of the Xi’an Silk Road Music Festival at the Xi’an Conservatory. Read Wu Man full bio here

Watch Virtual Ojai Talks with Francesco Turrisi

About Francesco Turrisi, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and 2023 Festival artist

Grammy award winning multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi has been defined a “musical alchemist” and a “musical polyglot” by the press. He left his native Italy in 1997 to study jazz piano and early music at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, where he obtained a Bachelor and a Master’s degree. Since 2004 he has been working successfully as a freelance musician.

He has released five critically acclaimed albums as a leader and two as co-leader (“Tarab” a cross boundary innovative ensemble that blends Irish and Mediterranean traditional music, and “Zahr” a project that looks at connections between southern Italian traditional music and Arabic music).His latest piano solo album “Northern Migrations” was described as “delicate, wistful and wholly engrossing” by the Irish Times. Francesco is also a member of the celebrated early music ensemble L’Arpeggiata. With l’Arpeggiata he has performed at the most important classical music festivals in Europe and around the world (Turkey, Russia, China, Australia, New Zealand, Brasil, Colombia) and has recorded for Warner, Virgin, Naive and Alpha.

Since 2018 he collaborates with American grammy award winning singer and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens, on a duo project that seamlessly combines music from the Mediterranean with music from the African diaspora in the Americas. In 2019 Giddens and Turrisi released their critically acclaimed duo album “there is no Other”. The album single “I’m on my way” was nominated for a 2020 Grammy Award. Their 2021 second duo album “They’re calling me home” was nominated for two Grammy awards and won as best folk album at the 2022 Grammy awards. Francesco currently performs on piano, accordion, harpsichord, organ, various lutes, cello banjo, frame and goblet drums.

He is equally at home playing with jazz veterans Dave Liebman and Gianluigi Trovesi as he is with Irish traditional sean-nós singer Roisin El Safty and with tarantella specialist Lucilla Galeazzi. Turrisi has toured with Bobby McFerrin, interpreted the music of Steve Reich with Bang on a Can All Stars, accompanied flamenco star Pepe El Habichuela and Greek singer Savina Yannatou.

Watch Virtual Ojai Talks with Rhiannon Giddens

About Rhiannon Giddens

The acclaimed musician Rhiannon Giddens uses her art to excavate the past and reveal bold truths about our present. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, Giddens co-founded the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops. She most recently won a Grammy Award for Best Folk Album for They’re Calling Me Home, and was also nominated for Best American Roots Song for “Avalon” from They’re Calling Me Home, which she made with multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi. Giddens is now a two-time winner and eight-time Grammy nominee for her work as a soloist and collaborator.

They’re Calling Me Home was released by Nonesuch last April and has been widely celebrated by the NY Times, NPR Music, NPR, Rolling Stone, People, Associated Press and far beyond, with No Depression deeming it “a near perfect album…her finest work to date.” Recorded over six days in the early phase of the pandemic in a small studio outside of Dublin, Ireland – where both Giddens and Turrisi live – They’re Calling Me Home manages to effortlessly blend the music of their native and adoptive countries: America, Italy, and Ireland. The album speaks of the longing for the comfort of home as well as the metaphorical “call home” of death.

Giddens’s lifelong mission is to lift people whose contributions to American musical history have previously been erased, and to work toward a more accurate understanding of the country’s musical origins. Pitchfork has said of her work, “few artists are so fearless and so ravenous in their exploration,” and Smithsonian Magazine calls her “an electrifying artist who brings alive the memories of forgotten predecessors, white and black.”

Among her many diverse career highlights, Giddens has performed for the Obamas at the White House and received an inaugural Legacy of Americana Award from Nashville’s National Museum of African American History in partnership with the Americana Music Association. Her critical acclaim includes in-depth profiles by CBS Sunday Morning, the New York Times, the New Yorker, and NPR’s Fresh Air, among many others.

Giddens was featured in Ken Burns’s Country Music series, which aired on PBS, where she spoke about the African American origins of country music. She is also a member of the band Our Native Daughters with three other black female banjo players, Leyla McCalla, Allison Russell, and Amythyst Kiah, and co-produced their debut album Songs of Our Native Daughters (2019), which tells stories of historic black womanhood and survival.

Giddens is in the midst of a tremendous 2022. She announced the publication of her first book, Build a House (October 2022),  Lucy Negro Redux, the ballet Giddens wrote the music for, had its premiere at the Nashville Ballet (premiered in 2019 and toured in 2022), and the libretto and music for Giddens’ original opera, Omar, in collaboration with Michael Abels, based on the autobiography of the enslaved man Omar ibn Said, premiered at the Spoleto USA Festival in May. Giddens is also curating a four-concert Perspectives series as part of Carnegie Hall’s 2022–2023 season. Named Artistic Director of Silkroad Ensemble in 2020, Giddens is developing a number of new programs for that ensemble, including one inspired by the history of the American transcontinental railroad and the cultures and music of its builders.

She made her Ojai debut for the celebratory 75th Ojai Music Festival with Music Director John Adams in September 2021.

As an actor, Giddens had a featured role on the television series Nashville.

Rhiannon Giddens photo by Ebru Yildiz

Neutra, Kornfeld, and The Zelter String Quartet

This past Sunday The Zelter String Quartet joined us for music and conversation about the Emigré Legacy in Los Angeles at a beautiful Richard Neutra home in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles.

The Zelter String Quartet performed a special musical performance celebrating the legacy of Neutra’s contemporaries among the emgiré composers who settled in Los Angeles.

Thank you very much to our donors who are able to make events like this possible. The Ojai Music Festival relies on the charitable contributions of our family of patrons, and events like this are a beautiful reminder of how our community comes together to support the music we love.

Thank you very much to our hosts and the guests – both new and familiar for spending a glorious afternoon with us. We were happy to gather before the upcoming 2023 Festival, June 8 to 11, 2023.

For more reading on the Emigré legacy in L.A., check out Alex Ross’ article, Richard Neutra’s Architectural Vanishing Act.

A magical afternoon with Shelley Burgon and Theodosia Roussos

As Ojai begins the blooms in the start of spring, Ojai Music Festival and the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy came together for an enchanted afternoon to hear Theodosia Roussos, acclaimed soprano and english horn/oboe player, and Shelley Burgon – harpist, composer, and, sound artist. 

To celebrate our closest friends and supporters, we shared signature OVLC palomas on the rocks with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice from the garden, and views of the snow capped Topas before settling in to hear Theodosia and Shelley perform (with a surprise new work debut from Shelley!) 

Thank you to our Festival Family and to the OVLC for celebrating music in Ojai, see you in June!

Photos from the Ventura River with OVLC!


In celebration of the incredible spring Ojai weather and our OjaiNEXT Festival attendees, we teamed up with the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy to host our second iteration of the Hike and Hear with Theodosia Roussos, acclaimed Soprano and English Horn/Oboe player. 

After an educational jaunt along the Ventura River with OVLC guides, guests settled into Theodosia’s  interactive performance where audience members became the accompaniment to her dynamic outdoor performance. 

To learn more about events such as these, sign up for updates for our OjaiNEXT audience members, specifically for our younger Festival enjoyers who are eligible to participate fully in all the Festival activities with special discounts, private events, and community building opportunities!



Sunday Afternoon with Alexi Kenney

Recently, we celebrated our longtime Ojai Music Festival attendees with a beautiful performance by violinist Alexi Kenney at a scenic Ojai home.

This event launched the first of many public Future Forward Campaign events, which intend to nurture and grow our relationships with our dedicated Festival attendees as well as new faces at the Festival. The Future Forward campaign aims to secure the long-term existence of the Ojai Music Festival by bolstering the Festival’s endowment and increasing capacity for new creative projects.

As Artistic and Executive Director Ara Guzelimian expressed, “our shared experiences together have not only shaped the Festival, but our Festival community which is the at the center of everything we do. This special event with Alexi was a moment to honor the Festival’s community and celebrate our shared legacy. You are a part of our story!”

The Future Forward Campaign is built to ensure that the Ojai Music Festival will be the best it can be for the next 75 years and counting. Click here to learn more about the campaign initiatives. 




Francesco Turrisi: What’s On My Playlist

Francesco Turrisi

Grammy award winning multi-instrumentalist and 2023 Festival artist Francesco Turrisi has been defined a “musical alchemist” and a “musical polyglot” by the press. Enjoy this wide-ranging music playlist curated by Francesco especially made for the Ojai Music Festival!

PLUS, watch the conversation with Francesco and Festival Artistic Director Ara Guzelimian during our Virtual Ojai Talks in December. Click here >

Preview Francesco Turrisi’s playlist here, and log into Spotify or Apple Music to hear the full songs




Click HERE to listen on Apple Music


1. Slide Dance
by Tamer Pinarbasi, Ismail Lumanovski, Ara Dinkjian


2. Per ogni sorte di strumenti musicale, Op. 22: Passacaglio
composed by Biagio Marini, performed by Jordi Savall and Hespèrion XXI


3. Yo Vivo Enamorado
by Pedrito Martinez


4. Eliasong
by Christian Wallumrød Ensemble


5. Pucciniana
by Guinga


6. Lament for Linus
by Brad Mehldau


7. Sonata Da Chiesa No. 1 in D Major, Op. 5: I. Grave – Adagio – Grave – Allegro – Adagio
composed by Arcangelo Corelli, performed by Accademia Bizantina, Ottavio Dantone, and Stefano Montanari


8. Como al Pie del Suplicio Estuve
by Efrén López


9. La Tarantella dell’Avena
by Zahr


10. Sareri Hovin Mernem
by Lena Chamamyan

BONUS track. Here’s an added piece of music requested by Ojai listeners! Spotify – Passacaglia – song and lyrics by Francesco Turrisi

ENJOY Francesco’s Mom’s delicious “lean” lasagna recipe! Click here >

New Sounds: Ojai On The Air

We are delighted to announce a renewed partnership with WQXR Radio and its remarkable New Sounds program, which just celebrated its 40th anniversary with John Schaefer, one of the most adventurous guides to creative and innovative music anywhere.

This week-long series of programs will connect audiences with the many facets of the Festival’s 2022 collaboration with the discipline colliding collective AMOC*, Ojai’s 2022 Music Director.  Imagined as a vehicle to connect audiences and artists who engage deeply with the world’s most adventurous, new music, WQXR/New Sounds Presents: Ojai On The Air looks toward ongoing programming leading up to and during the 2023 Festival with Music Director Rhiannon Giddens.

Check out the episodes below along with featured clips:

Davóne Tines and New Sounds host John Schaefer discuss Julius Eastman’s work, Tines’ connection to Eastman’s lineage, and how the program Tines and AMOC* prepared honors Eastman as a complete human, exploring the breadth and depth of his life and influence.

Listen to members of AMOC* performing Little Jimmy by violinist and composer Andrew McIntosh (of new music band Wild Up), and songs of drummer/composer Tyshawn Sorey and American composer Margaret Bonds, performed by bass-baritone Davóne Tines.

AMOC* member and pianist Conor Hanick plays and discusses The Book of Sounds by the late German pianist, composer, and broadcaster, Hans Otte.

Listen to a program of J.S. Bach which upends expectations, as arranged by AMOC* member, flutist and composer Emi Ferguson and the period instrument band Ruckus. Plus, from the 2022 Festival Finale, a performance of Julius Eastman’s work of resistance as an act of joy, Stay On It.

BRAVO 2022 Wrap-Up

BRAVO summer music camp

The Ojai Music Festival BRAVO program, directed by BRAVO coordinator Laura Walter, provides music education opportunities to students and residents of the Ojai Valley for more than three decades. 2022 marked a safe return to many workshops and activities after close to two years of no in-person programs. As summer wraps up and we head into a new school year, join us in taking a look back at the BRAVO program’s accomplishments.


Third graders’ returned to visiting retirement homes.
It was a time of authenticity, as the children experienced the joy, wisdom and humor that was possible while playing and singing with our elders. The staff said they hadn’t seen that many smiles in many months. The next week in class the students and teachers talked about how important that time was for them. The children learned that seniors are really nice, and fun!

Ojai O’Daiko performed Taiko Drumming music at this year’s Imagine concert.
840 children and 70 adults attended the performance at the Libbey Bowl thanks to an on-going partnership with the Ojai Valley School and funding from the Barbara Barnard Smith Worlds Music Foundation. Students were amazed that they could feel the music vibrate in their bodies!

The Instrument Petting Zoo was added to the Memorial Day weekend Art in the Park.
The program reached 700 more community members by giving them opportunities to try instruments and meet our BRAVO committee members.

New this past year – bringing musicians into 4th and 5th grade classes and having a few continuing sessions with Ms. Laura to expand upon all that we learned during our previous years together.
Teachers said they had never seen the children so attentive. Plans are in motion to expand the program for next year. Stay tuned!

Children/groups/classes served

Education Through Music schools:
BRAVO was in residence at Summit, San Antonio, Topa Topa, Meiner’s Oaks, Miramonte, Summit/Rock-Tree-Sky
28 classes; 660 children

Pilot Program: 4th/5th grades at Topa Topa Elementary:
7 sessions, 55 children per session
385 direct experiences
4 components: harp, violin, cello, Education Through Music

Artists in Residence:
Shelley Burgon, harp
Kathleen Robertson, violin
Cameron Schubert, cello
Julie Tumamait, Chumash storyteller/musician
Laura Walter, flute
Joann Yabrof, ETM

Music Van:
Thanks to the efforts of our Music Van volunteers, coordinated by Lynne Doherty, Music Van visited 7 schools, 5th graders (455 children)

Bravo Music Camp, June: 5 days, 30 children aged 6-13
Bravo Music Camp, August: 5 days, 30 children aged 5-13

Community Events

Ojai Day Oct. 16, 10am-4pm, 400 people served
Art in the Park, May 25-26, 10am-5pm, 700 people served

Music for Holiday Home Marketplace:
Kathryn Carlson, cello
Babette and Bob, acoustic duo
Debby Finley and Friends
Madrigali, vocal
Ruby Skye, acoustic duo
Fire on the Mountain, bluegrass trio
Ray Sullivan, guitar

Ojai Valley Museum First Fridays:
Dec. Laura Walter, flute; June-Laura Walter and Kylie Cloutier, flutes; August-Ray Sullivan, guitar

Storytelling Festival, Oct. 31, Ruby Skye

Imagine Concert:
Ojai O’Daiko, Taiko Drumming
March 25, Libbey Park, 840 children, 70 adults

Senior Living

Sends volunteers into assisted living facilities (traditionally the Continuing Care Center) and helps the residents play hand percussion.
The Artesian (October, June- cello)

The Bridge
All 3rd graders in the district go into assisted living facilities and play and sing with residents.
The Bridge at The Gables of Ojai—75 students, 40 seniors
The Bridge at The Artesian—75 students, 30 seniors

2022 Festival Photos

Photos by Timothy Teague


Photos by Joshus S. Rose


Festival Patron Photos by Timothy Teague

2022 Festival Critical Acclaim

Thank you

Thank you

Thank you for joining us at our 76th Festival, June 9-12, 2022. It was an exhilarating time! The energy and boundless creativity of AMOC* was vividly present across the Ojai Valley, giving all of us an extraordinary artistic adventure. Read review excerpts below.

Relive concerts anytime by watching our archived live streaming concerts

 View our photo gallery of some of our favorite Festival moments.

Download PDF of reviews here

“The Ojai Music Festival has always been more than the sum of its considerable parts, thanks to its compact duration (little more than a long weekend), eclectic classical programming, embrace of other disciplines (including theater, dance and spoken word), and sustained ability to attract luminaries to its still delightfully rustic outdoor setting—Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland and Pierre Boulez remain the most famous of its annually appointed music directors. Yet this year, something else pervaded, too: a feeling that the center of the classical-music universe, at least from June 9 through 12, was right here.”  – Wall Street Journal

“Davóne Tines, in a program note describing amoc’s approach to Eastman’s unswervingly radical music, wrote, “What is possible if all members of a performing ensemble are present for every step of the creation of a performance?” Ojai made the possibilities clear.” – The New Yorker

“There is nothing in music quite like Ojai, now three-quarters of a century old, with that packed morning-to-night-schedule, its variety of spaces and the stalwart curiosity of its audience. Led by Ara Guzelimian with a steady hand, the festival is Southern California relaxed — T-shirts and shorts, maybe a hoodie at night — but the repertory tends rigorous and recondite.” – New York Times

“This Utopian collective of 17 extraordinary artists happily reinventing opera was the communal music director last weekend for the 75th anniversary of this ever-quixotic festival.” – Los Angeles Times

“Eastman’s beloved half-hour Gay Guerilla was a standout moment during the program — and the festival. The dizzily ecstatic work came off as a musical statement at once unruly and internally logical, raucous and yet reflective, as was Eastman’s complex musical wont. Among other distinguishing marks at Ojai 2022, Eastman now joins the ranks of the festival’s ever-expanding songbook of 20th- and 21st-century greats whose music left a mark in this dreamy outpost of a town.” – San Francisco Classical Voice 

“Open Rehearsal, directed by the choreographer and dancer Bobbi Jene Smith, felt more nuanced. An outgrowth of Smith’s recent work “Broken Theater,” it is a wry, sometimes uproarious and poignant metatheatrical riff on the process of creation.” – New York Times

“For all its worldly trappings, as an annual gathering point for internationally-respected musicians, composers, conductors, plus visitors and press from near and far, the unique power of the Ojai Music Festival (ojaifestival.org) is partly rooted in its “village” concept. As the cliché goes, it “takes one” to pull all the festival pieces together and it is one, a golden west coast destination spot.” – Santa Barbara Independent 

“With AMOC’s boundary-pushing tenure at an end, Ojai has once more proved the most elastic of music festivals. And it seems clear that Mr. Guzelimian intends to continue stretching things.” – Wall Street Journal

“Compositional styles ran a wide gamut at the festival, from the ethereal simplicity of Cassandra Miller’s “About Bach” to the riotous, pop-flavored eclecticism of Doug Balliett’s mini-opera Rome Is Falling.” – The New Yorker

“Everything for AMOC is sacred in that it needs to perform at the highest level, but nothing is so sacred that it can’t be rethought musically, socially, racially, sexually, theatrically, physically.” – Los Angeles Times

“Many in the arts these days talk a big game about interdisciplinary collaboration, but few walk the walk like AMOC– New York Times

Podcast Series: OJAICast 2022


Welcome to OJAICast, where we pull back the curtain to take a sneak-peek at the upcoming Ojai Music Festival, June 9 to 12, in beautiful Ojai Valley, California. All are welcome here, from newcomers to long-time music fans. In-depth insights and special guests will help introduce this year’s programming and whet your musical appetites for what’s to come with host Emily Praetorius.


Episode 1

Our first episode introduces us to our 2022 Music Director AMOC, the multidisciplinary collective which incorporates music, dance, poetry, theatre in all their work and their ambitious programming that begins on Thu June 9. Guests: Ara Guzelimian, Zack Winokur, and Keir Gogwilt

Emily Praetorius, producer and host
Louis Ng, sound engineer (lensonproductions.com)

OJAICast theme by Thomas Kotcheff and Louis Weeks

Music Excerpts in Episode 1:
Craigie Hill, by Keir GoGwilt and Celeste Oram
Performed by Keir GoGwilt

Prelude to the Holy Presence of Joan d’Arc, by Julius Eastman
Performed by Julius Eastman

Rebonds B, by Iannis Xenakis
Performed by Steven Schick

Gretchen am spinnrade, by Eric Wubbels
Performed by Eric Wubbels and Mariel Roberts


Episode 2

From early morning sunrise to evening sunset, AMOC dives into the music of icons George Lewis and Roscoe Mitchell, the life and music of Julius Eastman alongside world premieres of works by Anthony Cheung and new staging of Messian’s Harawi. Guests: AMOC member and flutist Emi Ferguson and composer Anthony Cheung.

Emily Praetorius, producer and host
Louis Ng, sound engineer (lensonproductions.com)

OJAICast theme by Thomas Kotcheff and Louis Weeks

Music Excerpts in Episode 2:
Gay Guerilla, by Julius Eastman
Performed by Julius Eastman

Stay on It, by Julius Eastman
Performed by Julius Eastman, Doug Gaston, Amrom Chodos, Dennis Kahle, Benjamin Hudson, Joseph Ford, George Mitkoff, Jan Williams, Peter Kotik

Harawi, mvts. 2, 6, 10, by Olivier Messiaen
Performed by Hetna Regitze Bruun and Kristoffer Hyldig


Episode 3

Let Festival weekend begin! In this episode we look at the Saturday program which is quintessential Ojai Music Festival — music of Bach and Bach re-imagined and three premieres of some of today’s most exciting composers Matthew Aucoin, Carolyn Chen, and Andrew McIntosh. Guests: AMOC co-founder/composer Matthew Aucoin and AMOC member and violinist Miranda Cuckson.

Emily Praetorius, producer and host
Louis Ng, sound engineer (lensonproductions.com)

OJAICast theme by Thomas Kotcheff and Louis Weeks

Music Excerpts in Episode 3:
cross/collapse, by Catherine Lamb

About Bach, by Cassandra Miller
Performed by Quatuor Bozzini

Tanz Tanz, by Reiko Füting
Performed by Olivia de Prato

Prelude in G Minor, by Bach
Performed by Emi Ferguson and Ruckus

Little Jimmy, by Andrew McIntosh
Performed by Yarn/Wire


Episode 4

More music, meditation, and dance plus community events end the four-day Festival starting with Meditation with the music of Julius Eastman, followed by Hans Otte’s The Book of Sounds, and two world premieres Dance in the Park and Rome is Falling. To end this jam-packed Fesrival, the Sunday Finale will display the virtuosity of all 17 AMOC members as a collective. Guests: Ara Guzelimian, Julia Eichten, and Doug Balliett.

Emily Praetorius, producer and host
Louis Ng, sound engineer (lensonproductions.com)

OJAICast theme by Thomas Kotcheff and Louis Weeks

Music Excerpts in Episode 4:
The Book of Soundsmvts. 1, 10, by Hans Otte
Performed by Ralph van Raat

Also available on SPOTIFY and APPLE PODCASTS

Emily Praetorius, former Ojai Music Festival intern and Rothenberg Intern Fellow, is a current Composition DMA candidate at Columbia University. She previously studied composition and clarinet performance at the University of Redlands (BM) and composition at Manhattan School of Music (MM). She has studied with Kathryn Nevin (clarinet), Susan Botti, Georg Friedrich Haas, George Lewis, and Anthony Suter. Emily is from Ojai, CA and lives in New York City where she is a proud co-owner of Kuro Kirin Espresso & Coffee.

Caffeine Scene

Where to get a cup of coffee (and more) in Ojai

By Lisa McKinnon

First-time visitors to downtown Ojai may be surprised when they go looking for a Starbucks: There isn’t one, thanks to a moratorium on chain businesses with five or more locations. Luckily, Ojai Music Festival audiences in need of a caffeinated pick-me-up between song cycles and dance-theater pieces have plenty of non-corporate options from which to choose.

Beacon Coffee Co., 211 W. Ojai Ave., no phone, beaconcoffee.com. Daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Beans sourced from small farms in Kenya, Costa Rica and Guatemala are roasted at the café’s sister location in Ventura, then featured in pour overs, flat whites, cappuccinos and seasonal mochas (the festival coincides with Beacon’s annual switch from Ojai Pixie to lavender, the latter from Frog Creek Farm in the Upper Ojai). Magic Hour teas blended in Ojai are available hot or cold. The café’s kitchen is home to SunOven gluten-free vegan bakery, which produces lavender-lemon doughnuts among other treats. Additional baked goods are from Frontside Cafe in Ventura.

Café Boku, 987 W. Ojai Ave., 805-650-2658, cafeboku.com. Daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The menu of organic, plant-based food and drinks infused with ingredients from Ojai-based Boku Superfoods includes coffees and espressos made from locally roasted beans from Bonito Coffee Roaster. Enjoy an invigorating Golden Shroom Latte while juicing up your electric car at the café’s bank of chargers.

Coffee Connection, 311 E. El Roblar Drive, Meiners Oaks, 805-646-7821, coffeeconnectionojai.com. 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

Look for the orange patio umbrellas to locate this off-the-beaten path local favorite specializing in organic, fair-trade coffee, espresso and loose-leaf teas. Drinks are available hot or cold. You’ll also find Mexican hot chocolate and baked goods.

Farmer and the Cook, 339 W. El Roblar Drive, Meiners Oaks, 805-640-9608, farmer-and-the-cook.com. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.

The combination organic bakery, market and Mexican café with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options also operates as a community gathering place and espresso bar with drip coffee and specialty drinks. “Beneficial” beverages like the Turmeric Toddy and adaptogenic hot chocolate (made with fungi) are available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Java & Joe, 323 E. Matilija St., Suite 105, 805-646-3138, javajoeojai.com. Daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Nearing its 28th anniversary, the coffeehouse offers an ever-changing lineup of roasts, plus specialty drinks that can be made hot or cold. There’s also a wide selection of whole beans, loose-leaf teas and mugs, carafes and tea pots to take home as gifts.

Love Social Café, 205 N. Signal St., 805-646-1540, lovesocialcafe.com. Daily from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Dune Coffee from Santa Barbara is featured, both freshly brewed and on nitro (cold). The café also serves lattes, cappuccinos and the eye-opening Gibraltar/Cortado – a double espresso topped with an equal amount of micro foam. Fresh-squeezed orange juice and matcha lemonade are also available.

Ojai Coffee Roasting Co., 337 E. Ojai Ave., 805-646-4478, facebook.com/OjaiCoffee. 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Owner and roaster Stacey Jones is often behind the counter at the café she opened in 1995 (and which served as a filming location for the 2010 movie “Easy A” starring Emma Stone). Arabica beans are roasted on site in small batches for coffees, espressos, red eyes (espresso plus drip coffee) and more. Check the specials board for lattes ranging from lavender to honey cinnamon.

Pinyon423 E. Ojai Ave., no phone, pinyonojai.com. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.

In a nod to the coffee-served-all-day tradition set by the pre-moratorium Jersey Mike’s that previously occupied its address, Pinyon serves French-press hot and cold-brew versions of Los Angeles-based Canyon Coffee from opening till close.

Sage Cafè, 217 E. Matilija St., 805-646-9204, rainbowbridgeojai.com/sage. 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays; 5-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.

Keeping track of your caffeine intake? A “none-to-high” scale for teas is spelled out on glass display case at this counter-service restaurant that also serves drip coffee, collagen lattes and herbal tonics.

The Dutchess, 457 E. Ojai Ave., 805-640-7987, thedutchessojai.com. Daily from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Named for a vintage bread oven, the Rustic Canyon Family restaurant operates as a coffeehouse from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.-ish, when the focus is on order-at-the-counter service of Bonito Coffee drinks and Magic Hour teas (including a heavy-caffeine black variety dubbed Organic Flower Dutchess) to go with grab-and-go sandwiches, cookies, seasonal-ingredient cakes and artisanal breads by pastry chef/partner Kelsey Brito and bread baker/partner Kate Pepper. The Dutchess switches to sit-down dinner mode at 4:30 p.m., when its California-Burmese menu becomes available.

Westridge Midtown Market, 131 W. Ojai Ave., 805-646-4082, westridgemarket.com. Daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Fans of Peet’s Coffee will find the brand served at the service deli.

Lisa McKinnon is Ventura-based food writer who drank a LOT of coffee and still managed to fall asleep during a special, four-hour performance at the 2002 Ojai Music Festival — but only because audience members were invited to bring pillows and blankets and told get comfortable on the Ojai Art Center floor for the duration. She’s on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok as 805foodie, and blogs at 805foodie.com.

Grab & Go: A Guide to Getting Something Between Concerts

With nearly 20 concerts, talks and open rehearsals planned over four days, the 76th Ojai Music Festival from June 9-12 doesn’t leave much time for leisurely dining. That’s where this partial list of Ojai places with order-at-the-counter and/or grab-and-go food service comes in handy: It’s organized according to proximity to Libbey Park, so you can find a spot within walking distance between events, or make plans to park just long enough to pick something up while making your way to the next performance. (Starting Thursday, June 9 you can also visit the Ojai Music Festival Green Room in Libbey Park for sales of pre-made sandwiches and small bites by Ojai Valley Deli CaféOjai Rôtie and The Vine Ojai plus beer, cider, and wine from Ojai Beverage Co.)

Marché Gourmet Delicatessen, 133 E. Ojai Ave. (half a block from Libbey Park), 805-646-1133, marchegourmetdeli.com. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays; 5:30-7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options are available from a menu that includes soups, salads, quiches and sandwiches, plus gelato and bottles of wine to go. Call ahead to order box lunches that include a sandwich, side salad and cookie.

Grab n Go places Ojai Tortilla House, 104 N. Signal St. (half a block from Libbey Park), 805-797-8675, facebook.com/Ojaitortillahouse104. Daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – if supplies last that long. 

Don’t let the “cash only” sign put you off: There’s room for an ATM inside this hole in the wall where house-made corn and flour tortillas are turned into tacos, burritos and quesadillas filled with your choice of veggies, steak, chicken or al pastor. 

Yume Japanese Burger Cafe, 254 E. Ojai Ave. (about a block from Libbey Park). 805-272-8963, yumejapaneseburger.com. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays.

Wagyu beef is the specialty of the house, but the café’s riffs on burgers include shrimp katsu, vegetable croquette and – swapping bread for “buns” of rice – vegetable or shrimp tempura. Loaded fries, smoothies, shakes and bubble teas are also served.

Love Social Café, 205 N. Signal St. (about two blocks from Libbey Park), 805-646-1540, lovesocialcafe.com. Daily from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Easy-to-transport dishes range from avocado toast and bagels and lox to tuna, veggie and BLT sandwiches on your choice of croissant, gluten-free bread or Ojai Rôtie sourdough. 

Rainbow Bridge Market Deli, 211 E. Matilija St. (inside Rainbow Bridge Market, about two blocks from Libbey Park), 805-646-6623, rainbowbridgeojai.com. Daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Breakfast burritos and specialty juices — like the aptly named Rainbow Wallbanger — are local favorites. Salads include a mix-and-match option and pre-packaged greens with tofu, chicken or salmon. Sandwiches both hot (Brocc on the Wild Side) and cold (Rainbow tuna salad) are available until 5 p.m. and include gluten-free and vegan selections. 

Westridge Midtown Market, 131 W. Ojai Ave. (about two blocks from Libbey Park), 805-646-4082, westridgemarket.com. Daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.  The service deli has a priced-by-the-pound breakfast bar (open from 7 to 10:30 a.m.), salad bar and hot bar in addition to packaged sushi, grab-and-go burritos and sandwiches, brick-oven pizzas and “famous” Westridge Burgers made with ground beef or turkey. The original Westridge Market (802 E. Ojai Ave., about half a mile from Libbey Park, 805-646-2762) also offers made-to-order burgers, plus a create-your-own taco and burrito bar and, on the weekends, barbecue off the grill in the parking lot.

Hip Vegan, 201 N. Montgomery St. (about three blocks from Libbey Park), 805-669-6363, hipvgn.com. Daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tucked behind a hedge at Montgomery and Matilija streets, Hip Vgn (as the restaurant is styled online) is dedicated to organic, vegan fare that often is also gluten free. Spring rolls are filled with tofu and fresh herbs, while the Tiger Bowl features grilled tempeh with turmeric rice. Smoothies are made with almond, hemp and cashew milks.

Pinyon Ojai, 423 E. Ojai Ave., Suite 101 (about three blocks from Libbey Park), no phone, pinyonojai.com. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. After its debut last winter, the wood-fired pizzeria, bakery and natural wines shop now also offers breakfast. House-made sourdough pastries and bagels are available from 9 a.m. (the latter are sold on their own, as breakfast sandwiches, or with shmear and Mt. Lassen trout lox). Hoagies and sourdough-crust pizza squares join in until around 4 p.m., with small plates, salads, desserts and pizzas available from noon to 9 p.m. 

La Fuente Mexican Food, 423 E. Ojai Ave. Suite 108 (about three blocks from Libbey Park), 805-646-7715, lafuenteojai.com. 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays, 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturdays and 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sundays. This homey spot located in the far corner of Fitzgerald Plaza serves tacos, tamales, sopes, burritos, and quesadillas (plus burgers and fries) in near-record time. Be sure to hit the serve-yourself salsa bar before departing.

Ojai Valley Deli Café1205 Maricopa Highway, Unit A (about 1.3 miles from Libbey Park), 805-272-8139, ojaivalleydelicafe.com. 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Since its December 2021 debut next to the Ben Franklin Store, the deli has become a locals’ favorite for its to-go-only service of salads, eggplant Parmesan, hot-off-the-grill panini and house-made desserts, including tiramisu and vegan carrot cake. Italian coffee is a specialty.

Lisa McKinnon is a Ventura-based food writer who has been squeezing in bites between Ojai Music Festival concerts since the 1990s. She’s on Instagram as 805foodie and blogs at 805foodie.com.

Creative Collisions with AMOC


Audiences expect to get a glimpse of the musical future at Ojai. Not as a sci-fi fantasy of escape but through encounters with visionary artists who are actively transforming the real-world landscape: precisely the kinds of artists attracted to AMOC, a collective of 17 musical thinkers and performers. As the Festival’s Music Director for 2022, AMOC (the acronym for American Modern Opera Company) practices a model of curation grounded in interdisciplinary collaboration.

AMOC gathers like-minded singers, dancers, instrumentalists, and composers who are each at the cutting-edge of their respective fields. It’s the rock super-group of contemporary classical music. “What has been essential for us as a company is that every project is in some way interdisciplinary,” explains composer, pianist, conductor, and writer Matthew Aucoin, who co-founded AMOC with choreographer/director and dancer Zack Winokur in 2017. “We’re excited to bring the theatricality that is inherent in every AMOC project to Ojai.” ‘Collision’ is a favorite image to illustrate how their multifaceted, discipline-crossing approach works. “There’s always a collision, whether that’s between music and dance or music and text and dance,” Aucoin adds. Or, as the Festival’s Artistic and Executive Director Ara Guzelimian puts it: “When you have all of these incredibly vibrant artistic atoms colliding with each other, what results is often the very surprising and very unexpected.”

“As a collective, there are many tentacles to AMOC. Its artists have many diverse gifts, and the whole company has been involved in the programming,” says Aucoin. For example, Family Dinner, his own cycle of mini-concertos, will each feature a different member of the company and include spoken “toasts.” This is among the exciting world premieres that will grace the 2022 Festival to be held June 9 to 12. AMOC choreographer Bobbi Jene Smith will create a new, collaborative dance piece adapting and extending parts of her recent film Broken Theater and showcasing the AMOC family. Smith will choreograph music by Schubert, Bach, Connie Converse, and Pete Seeger, developing a scenario in which the rehearsal process is deconstructed.

Indeed, dance will play an especially prominent role in this edition of Ojai Festival. Smith is joined by Or Schraiber, Yiannis Logothetis, and Coleman Itzkoff in creating Waiting, a new dance-music piece about the bonds of friendship and its attendant moral quandaries that is tinged with 1960s-style French theater of the absurd.

A significant number of AMOC’s members have developed careers in opera — an interdisciplinary pursuit by definition — including soprano Julia Bullock, bass-baritone Davóne Tines, tenor Paul Appleby, and countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo. It’s characteristic of the company that they strive to expand our expectations of what opera can encompass. Aucoin, a 2018 MacArthur Fellow, took on opera’s foundational myth with Eurydice, his setting of a play by Sarah Ruhl that reconsiders the myth of Orpheus and his descent into the Underworld from his wife’s point of view. Eurydice was premiered in 2020 by Los Angeles Opera, where Aucoin is artist-in-residence, and the Metropolitan Opera presented a new production earlier this season that was broadcast internationally in HD.

Among the highlights of Ojai 2022 will be the world premiere staging by Zack Winokur, with choreography by Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schraiber, of Olivier Messiaen’s 1945 song cycle Harawi. The Andean musical tradition illuminates the legend of Tristan and Isolde in this hour-long song cycle for soprano and piano. Julia Bullock has long envisioned a performance that explores the cycle’s dichotomies of “spirituality and sensuality, love and death, men and women.” Drawing together five AMOC members (pianist Conor Hanick, along with the aforementioned artists), this version will layer theatrical and choreographic interpretations with multicultural reflection and musical performance. “With every composer who wants to celebrate other cultures that they’ve experienced or been deeply inspired by, there’s always this danger of appropriation that I wanted to be conscious of,” says Bullock. She has therefore invited the voices of artists of indigenous Andean traditions to share their musical or dance traditions as a counterpart.

Another song cycle on the program highlights the extraordinary music of composer, pianist, and scholar Anthony Cheung: echoing of tenses, commissioned by AMOC, sets the words of Asian-American poets who reflect on issues of family, identity, migration, and loss. Paul Appleby will be joined by Conor Hanick and violinist Miranda Cuckson to perform Cheung’s blend of live performance and pre-recorded sound design.

Interpretation-as-collaboration: this is AMOC’s signature, Winokur observes. “Part of the reason we started the company is that the members are not being asked to interpret something already there but form these ideas collaboratively — and often leading out of their own passions, experiences and desires. We’re good at shape-shifting to support different members in the company’s projects and ideas. Ojai is a perfect place to do this because of its rich history of birthing so many important projects that still live in the world.”

“They are ahead of their time,” says Guzelimian. “The fact that they make the creation and the performance of work integral is also a critical statement about how a new generation of artists works.” Many of AMOC’s members have friendships and working relationships that go back to their student days at Juilliard — bonds that have intensified their collaborative process. Their extraordinary range of interests widens their expressive palette as well. New music meets early music in several of their programs, and the period instrument group/continuo band Ruckus regularly includes musicians who overlap with AMOC, such as composer and bassoonist Doug Balliett and composer and flutist Emi Ferguson. Ruckus will join in some events to expand AMOC’s ensemble. And since several of the AMOCers are avid hikers and lovers of the outdoors, audiences can expect to encounter music in unusual natural settings.

These collaborations allow AMOC to present performances in novel contexts, such as a program devoted to the works of Julius Eastman, for which special guest collaborator Seth Parker Woods shares his inspiring engagement with Eastman’s legacy. Another discovery awaits in a rare solo performance by pianist Conor Hanick of Hans Otte’s The Book of Sounds. A polymath artist who combined music, poetry, drawings, and art videos, Otte wrote in a Minimalist style that incorporates impulses from Eastern mysticism. The result, says Guzelimian, is “revelatory.”

Even a composer as familiar as J.S. Bach will emerge in a new light in a Libbey Bowl event offering contemporary reflections on his instrumental music, including pieces by Cassandra Miller and Reiko Fueting.

Some of the AMOC musicians are already familiar to Ojai audiences. Davóne Tines made his Festival debut in 2016 with Music Director Peter Sellars.  Emi Ferguson was featured in the recent 2021 edition. So did the venturesome violinist and violist Miranda Cuckson. “I loved the experience of playing for the Ojai audience,” she recalls. “Their receptiveness to all kinds of experiences was very palpable.” Julia Bullock made her first-ever appearance at a music festival when Dawn Upshaw invited her to appear at Ojai. For the soprano, “Ojai is a place of comfort, of real communion making, of openness and generosity — a place where community seems to be built.”

Similarly, the Ojai experience of intensive, contemplative music-making seems to be in AMOC’s DNA. “We try to create a festival atmosphere every summer at our residency/creative retreat in Vermont,” Aucoin says. That is the context for which he began creating the concertos in Family Dinner, as showcases to bring the company together after months of being separated during the regular year. “We want to bring that family spirit to Ojai,” Aucoin says. Winokur adds: “When we started the company, we had the thought that festivals were the best way to experience AMOC and for us to experience each other. We hope that will be the experience for the Ojai audience as well. Performing post-COVID, this is a time where we have to get back to the basics of why we do this.”

—Thomas May


AMOC’s Music Playlist

The 2022 Festival Music Director AMOC, a collective of today’s most adventurous musicians, singers, composers, choreographers, and dancers, is as eclectic and open minded with their musical interests as one would expect. To begin the new year and expand our own musical horizons, we asked each member of AMOC to share their personal listening of the moment — a selection which is characteristically wide-ranging and very individualistic.

Listen on Spotify and Apple Music
(Preview the AMOC playlist and log on to your account to listen to the full songs)



Click HERE to listen on Apple Music

Jonny Allen:
Jazz Crimes by Joshua Redman
This is a track that I just keep coming back to.  The groove is subtle but persistent.  Joshua Redman is such an incredible artist and Brian Blade’s drumming has always been an inspiration to me.


Paul Appleby:
My “what I’m listening to” pick is Kate Soper’s set of three songs for soprano and string quartets, Nadja.  I am a huge fan of Kate’s music because she has a language and voice that is entirely her own.  Her intellectual and literary interested are deeply personalized in her compositions and performances and her somewhat esoteric tests become vivid and immediate in her music.  This score is a great example of Kate’s incredible level of technical accomplishment as well as her imaginative and unique approach to her art.

More info


Matthew Aucoin:
Stranger Love, Act 3 (excerpt), by Dylan Mattingly, performed by Contemporaneous
Dylan Mattingly writes music of limitless jubilance and joy. This excerpt from his opera Stranger Love is a kind of dance party for the angels, built upon an unlikely echo from a Springsteen-esque “promised land.”


Doug Balliett:
I cannot stop listening to Ok ok pt 2 from Kanye’s latest album “Donda”. It’s got a heavy dark groove and guest Shenseea’s verse is jaw-dropping.


Julia Bullock:
Up From The Skies by Jimi Hendrix, from the album Bold As Love (1967)
It’s like some prophetic, post-apocalyptic love song… (honestly hope to find a way to sing it one day)


Jay Campbell:
I’m currently listening my way through Wadada Leo Smith’s Ten Freedom Summers, a gigantic sprawling 4.5 hour collection of 19 pieces written over the course of 30+ years, each one titled after various moments, ideas, people, or places related to the Civil Rights Movement. It’s music that is very much alive in a literal sense. As in, it really feels like it is deeply meditating on the lived experience of human life itself. It’s extremely moving, exciting, surprising, and sometimes baffling. But when I listen to this highly abstract music, my ears somehow feel closer to hearing a full spectrum of complex human experience in all of its contradictions of tragedy, playfulness, rage, and joy. And maybe things that I haven’t even felt yet. And — when you consider the context of the composer himself, a Black man born and raised in segregated Mississippi — things that many of us are privileged to never have to personally feel or experience.


Anthony Roth Costanzo:
Lately I’ve become obsessed with Betty Carter and how wildly inventive and abstract she is, both in how she deploys the extremes of her voice, and how she charts the trajectory of a song. From her piercing head tones, to her forthright parlato, to her childlike upper chest register, to her impossibly rich baritone notes, I find her a total revelation. You can hear those colors set forth in this track:


Miranda Cuckson:
Wadada Leo Smith America’s National Parks
I adore this work (which I first heard a few years ago) for many reasons, including its bracing beauty, its grouping of very satisfyingly distinct utterances and instrumental presences, its continually thrilling sensations of space and texture, and the composer’s deep vision of the psychological tension in our shared natural landscapes.


Julia Eichten:
While it was an extreme challenge to choose only one song from Xenia Rubinos’ latest album, Una Rosa, Cógelo Suave has been one of many that I have on repeat.  This swirl of a song will make any day brighter, break you open and have you singing!


Emi Ferguson:


Keir GoGwilt:


Conor Hanick:
The last thing played on my music app was the first disc of Beach House’s upcoming album, Once Twice Melody, which is lush, sweeping, synthy, and grandiose.

I’ve also been enjoying Jonny Greenwood’s soundtrack to the film The Power of the Dog, especially the Messiaen-esque finale Psalm 22.

Lastly, folks are rightly excited about the recent Floating Points / Pharoah Sanders collaboration, but I’ve found myself revisiting Floating Points’ 2015 album of experimental synth-jazz, Elaenia, with a particular habit of rewinding “Silhouettes (I, II, III)”


Coleman Itzkoff:
Pick: Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice
I’ll admit to a certain degree of bias for my playlist pick, Matt being a close friend and current roommate here in New York City, but I truly felt compelled to list this new opera of his, which recently held it’s Met premiere to much acclaim. I was able to attend two live performances, as well as listen to the BBC broadcast on a recent long car trip and found so much of the music staying with me, swirling around in the back of my consciousness like the really great music tends to do. The score is dazzling, deeply moving, complex, tectonic (superlatives abound!), and the performance by Erin Morley, Joshua Hopkins, Barry Banks, and more, all backed by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Met Orchestra, is totally and utterly ravishing. For those already dedicated fans of Matt’s work, Eurydice is the latest and greatest contribution to his oeuvre (not to mention the latest in a 400-year Orphic opera tradition). And for those less familiar with the music of Matthew Aucoin, I can think of no better place to start!

More info


Or Schraiber:
Formidable by Stromae always makes me dance.


Bobbi Jene Smith:
La Solitude always makes me feel the dance inside of me. It has been a song that has been a starting point for many dances I have made. Thank you, Barbara, for haunting and dancing with me. I hope this song will make you feel the dance in you too.


Davónes Tines:
six thirty by Ariana Grande
Towards the end of the year I’m feeling cozy and romantic.  This song from one of my favorite artists, on her latest album, continues to evolve her special combination of crisp vocals wrapped in string-infused r&b redux.


Zack Winokur:
We Do Not Belong Together performed by Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin. I’ve been listening pretty nonstop to Stephen Sondheim since his death. It’s hard to choose just one, but this song is the devastating apotheosis of a genuinely real relationship at the core of Sunday in the Park with George, a show I was going to direct last spring until covid struck it down.

2022 Virtual Ojai Talks

May 25 Ojai Talks

Welcome back to the Festival’s continuing series of Virtual Ojai Talks, where we celebrate the intersection of music, ideas, and the creative process with 2022 Festival artists, composers, innovators, and thinkers.



MAY 25, 5:30PM PT: AMOC* DANCES: COLLABORATIVE DANCE/MUSIC WORKS featuring Bobbi Jene Smith, Julia Eichten, Keir GoGwilt, Coleman Itzkoff, and Or Schraiber with guest host WYNC/New Sounds John Schaefer. 


A new song cycle, the echoing of tenses, commissioned by the Ojai Festival (with a gift in honor of Nancy Sanders) from Anthony Cheung, sets poetry by Asian-American writers interconnected by the larger theme of memory, made complicated by the circumstances of cultural and personal identity. Join us for this illuminating conversation with composer Anthony Cheung and two members of AMOC* – violinist Miranda Cuckson and composer/co-founder Matthew Aucoin.


Messiaen’s HARAWI
WED April 6, 2022 | 5:30-6:30pm

Julia Bullock, Conor Hanick, and Zack Winokur, AMOC members
The Festival will present the world premiere of AMOC’s staging of Messiaen’s song cycle Harawi for soprano and piano. In addition to Julia Bullock and Conor Hanick’s performance, this production breaks open Messiaen’s musical explorations of love and death into a newly theatrical dimension through the choreography of Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schraiber, directed by Zack Winokur.


The Music of Julius Eastman 
Davóne Tines and Doug Balliett, AMOC members
Seth Parker Woods, cello
Episode 3:
The legacy of Julius Eastman will come to the 2022 Ojai Music Festival in a multi-dimensional performance piece, reflecting Eastman’s art and the larger context of his life, creativity, and humanity. Showcased in this concert will be AMOC members Davóne Tines and Doug Balliett, along with cellist and frequent AMOC colleague Seth Parker Woods. Join us for another illuminating conversation on the creative process and Eastman’s impact on each of them.


Episode 2: Pianist and AMOC member Conor Hanick joins us for a lively conversation with Ara Guzelimian to talk about his advocacy for performing new works and his recent discovery of pioneering German composer Hans Otte’s The Book of Sounds, which Conor will perform in an epic recital at Ojai in June.  

Conor Hanick is regarded as one of his generation’s most inquisitive interpreters of music new and old. A fierce advocate for the music of today, he has premiered over 200 works and collaborated with composers both emerging and iconic. Among them, he has worked with Pierre Boulez, Kaija Saariaho, and Steve Reich, in addition to championing music by leading composers of his own generation, including Caroline Shaw, Matthew Aucoin, Nina Young, Nico Muhly, and Samuel Adams.  Conor appears regularly as a recitalist and chamber musician and in recent seasons has been presented by the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Caramoor Festival, Park Avenue Armory, and Gilmore Festival. Since 2014 he has been a faculty artist at the Music Academy of the West and in 2018 became the director of its Solo Piano Program. 

Episode 1: Co-founders Matthew Aucoin and Zack Winokur of AMOC, 2022 Music Director, talk with Ara Guzelimian on the origin story of this exciting collective of artists

Current and past projects include The No One’s Rose, a devised music-theater-dance piece featuring new music by Matthew Aucoin, directed by Zack Winokur with choreography by Bobbi Jene Smith; EASTMAN, a multi-dimensional performance piece contending with the life and work of Julius Eastman; Winokur’s production of Hans Werner Henze’s El Cimarrón, which has been performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Repertory Theater; a new arrangement of John Adams’s El Niño, premiered at The Met Cloisters as part of Julia Bullock’s season-long residency at the Met Museum; Davóne Tines’s and Winokur’s Were You There, a meditation on black lives lost in recent years to police violence; and Bobbi Jene Smith and Keir GoGwilt’s dance/music works With Care and A Study on Effort, which have been produced at San Francisco’s ODC Theater, Toronto’s Luminato Festival, and elsewhere. Conor Hanick’s performance of CAGE, Zack Winokur’s production of John Cage’s music for prepared piano, was cited as the best recital of the year by The New York Times in 2018 and The Boston Globe in 2019. Additionally, AMOC will serve as the Ojai Music Festival’s 2022 Music Director, only the second ensemble, and first explicitly interdisciplinary company, to hold the position in the Festival’s 75-year history.