Take a California Coffee Break with James Freeman

SUN 06.09.24 | 1-2PM | Ojai Festival Lounge

Refresh your senses with this tasting that features three exceptional coffees grown on farms in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Blue Bottle Coffee founder, and former professional clarinetist, James Freeman will guide the tasting with help from Jay Ruskey, whose Frinj Coffee is behind the burgeoning California-grown coffee movement.

Get to Know the 2024 Festival Artists

The 2024 Festival welcomes Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Brentano String Quartet, violinist Alexi Kenney, cellist Jay Campbell, harpist Julie Smith Phillips, and introduces soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon, percussionist Sae Hashimoto, accordionist Ljubinka Kulisic, and bassist Rick Stotijn to Ojai audiences.


2024 Festival Schedule Highlights

  • Mitsuko Uchida performs each Festival evening in works by Schoenberg and Mozart
  • Works by Kaija Saariaho are woven throughout the Festival, including Dreaming Chaconne, Fall, Six Japanese Gardens, and Lichtbogen, conducted by Saariaho’s daughter, Aliisa Neige Barrière
  • Concert programs include the music of John Adams, Bartók, Biber, Cage, Debussy, Sofia Gubaidulina, Kurtág, Helmut Lachenmann, Missy Mazzoli, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Stravinsky, Jörg Widmann, and John Zorn
  • In collaboration with Baryshnikov Arts, Shifting Ground features violinist Alexi Kenney and video projections by Xuan, juxtaposing Baroque works by Bach and Matteis, with recent music by Kaija Saariaho, Angélica Negrón, Paul Wiancko, and Salina Fisher
  • The Festival features music from both the First and Second Viennese Schools, from Haydn and Mozart to Berg, Webern, and multiple works by Arnold Schoenberg in honor of the 150th Anniversary of his birth

Take Advantage of Student Opportunities

Our student discounts are a great opportunity to enjoy the Festival at any age. All discounts except our gas rebate are available for students of any grade level. Students age 12 and up are welcome to utilize our student discounts for Libbey Bowl or lawn tickets. We welcome children ages 6 to 11 on our lawn for $5. Children age 5 and under are free on the lawn.

[email protected] | 805 646 2053

30% OFF Any Tickets, Any Time

When you show your active student ID to the Box Office, either in person or via email.

College Faculty: 15% OFF Any Tickets, Any Time

When you show your faculty student ID to the Box Office, either in person or via email.

Student Rush Tickets, 50% OFF

When you show your active student ID to the Box Office 30 minutes or less before the start time of a Festival concert. Valid only for concerts at Libbey Bowl, while supplies last. In the event that a concert sells out, there is no guarantee of entry.

Gas Rebate

When you show your active student ID and a gas receipt to the Box Office prior to a concert, we will refund up to $30 of what you spent. The gas receipt must be from the same day of the concert you are attending. Valid for high school and college students only. While supplies last.


Other Opportunities to Get Involved

Whether you’re a classical music lover or simply curious about this yearly Ojai staple, look at our various perks to help welcome you to the Ojai Festival community.

Our Festival volunteers are the heart and soul of the Festival community. Thanks to our combined team efforts, we provide an exceptional setting for all to enjoy the immersive Ojai experience.

Each year, the Ojai Music Festival Arts Management Internship Program welcomes a dozen college students and recent graduates to go behind the scenes of a renowned summer music festival.

Visit our FAQ

View the 2024 Schedule

Volunteers: Heart and Soul of the Festival

Ojai Music Festiva volunteers

Since the Ojai Music Festival’s founding in 1947, volunteers have ensured the enduring success of the organization, from our renowned four-day Festival and our acclaimed BRAVO music education program.

Ojai Music Festiva volunteers

Volunteer opportunities range from ushering, administrative office work, concessions to housing Festival artists and production team. The Festival is fortunate to have a large community of volunteers.

Besides receiving benefits to volunteer that include lawn tickets, a festival commemorative t-shirt and invitations to events, volunteers get to enjoy the camaraderie of working together and meeting interesting music enthusiasts like Jodine Hammerand!

JODINE HAMMERAND: A Return to Ojai and the Music Festival!

What brought you to Ojai? 
My family was living in Los Angeles when my parents took my siblings and I to Ojai for the week of Spring Break. We all fell in love with Ojai and our family moved here in 1972.

L-R: Wendy Gray and Jodine Hammerand at the Festival’s volunteer event in March, 2024

When did you start your involvement in the Music Festival? 
I started at Nordhoff High School as a freshman. It was probably my junior year when I started volunteering for the Ojai Music Festival as an usher. I will never forget watching a run-through with the LA Philharmonic that was being conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas!

When did you make your way back to Ojai?
After retiring from Alaska Airlines, I ultimately chose to move back to Ojai right at the height of the pandemic. I was interested in volunteering again and finally was able to usher for the 2022 Ojai Music Festival, then again in 2023. It felt like a happy reunion!

What is a recent fond memory of the Festival?
I am a lover of all music genres, especially the Blues. I really enjoyed Rhiannon Giddens being the music director in 2023 with her banjo playing. She also introduced the pipa and the  kora, two great instruments rooted deep in history. ‘The roots of the present are deep in the past’ my high school history teacher used to always say! I attended the performance of Ghost Opera and enjoyed listening to the pipa with all the instruments. I ushered at the performance of Omar’s Journey and heard the kora played by Seckou Keita. I arrived before the concert as ushers do to prepare the Libbey Bowl. I was walking down the center aisle of seats when I saw Seckou practicing on stage. When he was finished, he looked my way, and I gave him a thumbs up indicating how beautiful he played. He smiled his big smile and that made me very happy, and I will never forget it. 

I look forward to volunteering for the Ojai Music Festival. It is a joy every year, no matter the style of music. In addition, I enjoy every year when the staff and volunteers gather together before the Festival, to listen to Ara Guzelimian with his knowledge of the musicians. He is an asset as artistic and executive director.

OJAINEXT: the next generation of audiences

Whether you’re a young professional, artist, or musician on a budget, an Ojai local moving back home, someone raising a music-appreciating family, or a student* trying to save for textbooks, we want to ensure you can get your fill of music adventure!

OJAINEXT is a community for the next generation of Festival audiences. Just fill out the form at the bottom of this page. Membership is completely free, all you have to do is sign up!

*Click here to learn more about student and family discounts

Raw Space with Alexi Kenney, a special event at the historic, Ojai Playhouse while it was under-construction, January 2023
Post-concert mixer after Creative Lab: Celebrating California Composers, November 2023

What perks will you get as an OJAINEXT Member?

Whether you’re a long-time classical music lover or simply curious about this yearly Ojai staple, look at our various perks to help welcome you to the Ojai Festival community.

  • Invitations to special events throughout the year
  • Discounts on select Festival concerts
  • Drink voucher for the Green Room in the Park
  • An invitation to the OJAINEXT member event during the Festival
  • Other additional and unexpected deals, invitations, and opportunities (per the schedule and programming of the Festival)
Camping in Ojai

Ojai has incredible hiking and camping opportunities. The town is surrounded by mountains and is neighbored by Los Padres National Forest.

We suggest checking out Camp ComfortLake Casitas Recreation Area, Dennison ParkRose Valley Camp Ground, and Wheeler Gorge

These campsites range from $20-76 a night with vehicle fees ranging from $2-20 a vehicle.

Things to do in Ojai

Whether you’re attending one concert or every concert, there is plenty to do in Ojai before and after a performance. Here are our top picks for the OJAINEXT segment of our audience!

Food and Drink: Topa Topa Brewing CompanySanders & Sons GelatoOjai Pizza CompanySakura Ojai | Papa LennonsOjai Beverage CompanyFarmer and the Cook | Yume Japanese Burger | Tortilla House

Shopping: Bart’s Books2nd Helpings Thrift StoreFig Curated LivingRAINSNutmeg’s Ojai House | Sespe Creek Collective | Noted | Serendipity Toys

Hikes: Ventura River PreserveOjai Meadows PreserveShelf RoadRose Valley FallsCozy Dell Trail

Check out our Explore Ojai page for even more recommendations.

If you are new to the Ojai Music Festival or new to classical music in general check out our First Timers page and our FAQ.

Feel free to call our box office at 805 646 2053 for more information on deals and discounts. You can also DM us on our Facebook and Instagram!

Ojai Music Festival announces 2025 Music Director

Claire Chase, 2025 Music Director

Download Press Release PDF Version

“Claire Chase is one of the boldest, most inventive and irresistibly joyous musicians I have ever known. She is such a generative force in all that she does, embracing composers, audiences, and entire communities with generosity. She is the perfect match for Ojai’s spirit of adventure, and I can’t wait to imagine the possibilities together for the 2025 Festival!” – Ara Guzelimian, Artistic and Executive Director

(April 10, 2024 – Ojai, California) – As the Ojai Music Festival anticipates the upcoming 78th Festival (June 6-9, 2024) with Music Director Mitsuko Uchida, Artistic and Executive Director Ara Guzelimian announces flutist Claire Chase as Music Director for the 2025 Festival.  Since the late 1940s, the Ojai Music Festival’s tradition has been to welcome a new Music Director each year to ensure vitality and diversity in programming across Festivals.  Initial details for Chase’s 2025 Festival (June 5 to 8, 2025) will be announced in June 2024. 

“When Ara called me with the invitation, I nearly dropped the phone! The Ojai Festival has been a kind of dreamland for me since I was a kid growing up in Southern California, and I have the deepest affection for the audiences at Ojai – I don’t know that a more curious, adventurous, and open-eared group of listeners exists anywhere in the world. I’m tremendously excited to work with Ara to craft experiences that I hope will animate, complicate, and celebrate the connections between musics of the past and the beating-heart present,” shares Claire Chase.

Previously, Chase performed at the Ojai Music Festival with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) in 2015 with that year’s Music Director Steven Schick, in 2016 with Music Director Peter Sellars, and in 2017 with Music Director Vijay Iyer. 

Claire Chase, described by The New York Times recently as “the North Star of her instrument’s ever-expanding universe,” is a musician, interdisciplinary artist, and educator. Passionately dedicated to the creation of new ecosystems for the music of our time, Chase has given the world premieres of hundreds of new works by a new generation of artists, and in 2013 launched the 24-year commissioning project Density 2036. Now in its eleventh year, Density 2036 reimagines the solo flute literature over a quarter-century through commissions, performances, recordings, education, and an accessible archive at density2036.org. Chase co-founded the International Contemporary Ensemble in 2001, was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2012, and in 2017 was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Chase is currently Professor of the Practice of Music at Harvard University’s Department of Music, a Creative Associate at The Juilliard School, and a Collaborative Partner with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony.  For complete biographical information on Claire Chase, visit OjaiFestival.org.

Details of the 2025 Ojai Festival programming and artists will be announced in June 2024.

ARA GUZELIMIAN, ARTISTIC AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR 

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.  He continues at Juilliard as Special Advisor.

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, 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.

OJAI MUSIC FESTIVAL 

The Ojai Music Festival represents an ideal of adventurous, open-minded, and openhearted programming in the most beautiful and welcoming of settings, with audiences and artists to match its aspirations. Now in its 78th 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 programming as well as robust educational offerings that serve thousands of public-school students and seniors. The organization’s apex is the world-renowned Festival, which takes place over four days 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. The intimate Festival weekend, considered a highlight of the international music summer season, welcomes up to 5,000 patrons and reaches exponentially more audiences worldwide through streaming and broadcasts of concerts and discussions throughout the year.

Since its founding in 1947, the Ojai Music Festival has presented expansive programming 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 Mitsuko Uchida, Rhiannon Giddens, 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.

EXPERIENCE THE 78TH OJAI MUSIC FESTIVAL, JUNE 6-9, 2024

The 78th Ojai Music Festival, June 6 to 9, 2024, welcomes as Music Director pianist Mitsuko Uchida, one of the most universally admired artists of our time. Mitsuko Uchida last performed at the 2004 Festival and was co-music director in 1998.

Uchida, who will perform each Festival evening in works by Schoenberg and Mozart, welcomes 2024 collaborators the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Brentano String Quartet, violinist Alexi Kenney, cellist Jay Campbell, harpist Julie Smith Phillips, soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon, percussionist Sae Hashimoto, accordionist Ljubinka Kulisic and bassist Rick Stotijn. 

Works By Kaija Saariaho are woven throughout the 2024 Festival, including Dreaming Chaconne, Fall, Six Japanese Gardens, and Lichtbogen, conducted by Saariaho’s daughter Aliisa Neige Barriere. Highlights of the 2024 Festival also include music of John Adams, Bartók, Biber, Cage, Debussy, Sofia Gubaidulina, Kurtág, Helmut Lachenmann, Missy Mazzoli, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Stravinsky, Jörg Widmann, and John Zorn.

In collaboration with Baryshnikov Arts, Shifting Ground features violinist Alexi Kenney and video projections by Xuan, juxtaposing Baroque works by Bach and Matteis, with recent music by Kaija Saariaho, Angélica Negrón, Paul Wiancko, and Salina Fisher.  The 2024 Festival integrates music from both the First and Second Viennese Schools, from Haydn and Mozart to Berg, Webern, and multiple works by Arnold Schoenberg in honor of the 150th Anniversary of his birth.

Single tickets and day passes to the 2024 Festival are available online at OjaiFestival.org or by calling (805) 646-2053. Follow Festival updates at OjaiFestival.org.

# # #

2024 Virtual Ojai Talks – Meet the Artists 4/30

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 2024 Festival artists, composers, innovators, and thinkers. Virtual Talks are free and open to the musically curious!


Meet the Artists
April 30, 2024, 5:30-6:30pm
Zoom

Before the Festival, get to know a few of our featured artists making their Ojai Festival debuts – soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon, accordionist Ljubinka Kulicic, and percussionist Sae Hashimoto – in conversation with Ara Guzelimian.

RSVP here >

Ojai Music Festival

VIRTUAL OJAI TALKS:
A EUROPEAN GRAND TOUR: GUBAIDULINA, LACHENMANN, AND SAARIAHO
 
WED APRIL 3
5:30 - 6:30PM
A European Grand Tour
April 3, 2024, 5:30-6:30pm
Zoom

Our music exploration continues with Ara Guzelimian’s personal introduction of three fascinating composers featured at this year’s Festival. Explore the lives and music of Sofia Gubaidulina, Helmut Lachenmann, and Kaija Saariaho, illustrated with music samples and selected videos. Join us as we prepare for another adventure in Ojai this June with pianist Mitsuko Uchida as music director.

(past event)

Click here to view the resources referenced in this talk.

Ojai Music Festival
Learning to Love Schoenberg
VIRTUAL OJAI TALKS: Ara Guzelimian
WED 02.21.24
5:30-6:30PM PT
Learning to Love Schoenberg
February 21, 2024, 5:30-6:30pm
Zoom

Arnold Schoenberg remains one of the most misunderstood and elusive of all composers. The stereotypical image is that of a fearsome modernist, his music shattering everything that preceded him. Ara feels differently, hearing Schoenberg’s most compelling works as a profound evolution, an outgrowth of the paths of Wagner and Mahler, among others. Join us for an insightful introduction to this towering figure, with music and even rare home movies of him in the company of Chaplin and Gershwin.

Click here to view the sources and resources referenced in this talk.


TUE NOV 7. 2023
5:30-6:30PM PT
Conversation with Ara Guzelimian
with guest host Gail Eichenthal
 
Conversations with Ara Guzelimian
November 7, 2023, 5:30-6:30pm
Zoom

It’s Ara’s turn! We’ve enjoyed our past Virtual Ojai Talks where Artistic and Executive Director Ara Guzelimian interviews guest artists and composers. Now we’ve turned the tables on him…Enjoy a conversation between Ara and host Gail Eichenthal, who are long-time friends, about returning to Ojai, working with Mitsuko Uchida, and what to expect for the 2024 Festival (June 6-9).

About Gail Eichenthal 
Gail Eichenthal is a veteran broadcast journalist and the chief engagement officer of Classical California.  

Gail’s ties to Ojai are deep: as a UCLA chorister, she sang with the LA Master Chorale at the Ojai Festival in the the mid-1970’s under Michael Tilson Thomas. She produced and hosted live Ojai Festival concert broadcasts on KUSC in the 1980s. And more recently, she helped inaugurate the Festival’s live webcasts. 

Gail began her association with KUSC as an intern. The internship turned into a job. Two years later, at 25, she became the first woman to host the national radio broadcasts of a major American orchestra as the “voice of the Los Angeles Philharmonic” for more than 20 years, during which she worked closely with Ara Guzeimian.  

From 1994 to 2005, Gail expanded her career into broadcast news and was an award-winning reporter and anchor at KNX, the CBS news affiliate in Los Angeles. Gail has written for the LA Times and many other publications.  


A European Grand Tour, Resources References

Ojai Music Festival
Virtual Ojai Talks
A European Grand Tour: Gubaidulina, Lachenmann, and Saariaho

Many thanks to all who attended the Virtual Ojai Talks on the music of Gubaidulina, Lachenmann, and Saariaho led by Artistic and Executive Director Ara Guzelimian on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. Here is the featured music and the resources that were discussed that we’d love to share with all! These are all readily accessible YouTube links.


Gubaidulina Interview

Schoenberg: String Quartet No. 2

Clip from Helmut Lachenman: My Way documentary

Interview with Helmut Lachenman

Lachenmann: Mouvement

Trailer for Echoes of the Universe: The Music of Kaija Saariaho documentary

Saariaho: Terrestre

Thank you for attending Hike + Hear!

To our adventurous friends,

Our deepest thanks for joining us on Saturday for our (Hike) & Hear event with the Ojai Music Festival and the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy. 

We were all heartened that despite the rain and gloomy weather, the afternoon was a wonderful gathering, filled with joyful conversation, sublime music by oboist/singer/composer Theodosia Roussos and percussionist Fiona Digney, and even a bit of ‘nature’ brought indoors by Tom Maloney of OVLC!

And a very special thanks to our generous hosts, Cathy Zoi and Robin Roy, for opening their home to all of us.

Both organizations are grateful for your friendship, commitment, and sense of adventure! We look forward to more opportunities in the coming weeks and months to see you again. Here are a few links of resources and events:


Advertising

OJAI, CA- June 11, 2015:  Music Director Steven Schick leads ICE in Varèse's "Déserts" at Libbey Bowl during the 2015 Ojai Music Festival.
OJAI, CA- June 11, 2015:  Music Director Steven Schick leads ICE in Varèse's "Déserts" at Libbey Bowl during the 2015 Ojai Music Festival.
OJAI, CA- June 11, 2015: Music Director Steven Schick leads ICE in Varese’s Deserts at Libbey Bowl during the 2015 Ojai Music Festival.

Advertising Opportunities with the Ojai Music Festival

“…a musical utopia where open-minded audiences welcome adventurous works presented against a backdrop of green hills, bird song, and Pixie tangerines.” (New York Times)

The Ojai Music Festival audience members and donors are highly educated, affluent and influential. An effective way to reach this desirable group is through advertising in the Festival’s program book.

The Program Book
Call us old fashion but our complimentary printed Festival program book has always had the unique quality of being used repeatedly by patrons throughout the four-day immersive experience. Advertising with us is an unbeatable opportunity to reach this loyal core of the music-loving and art-going community and leave a memorable impression. Our program books are also a wonderful keepsake — our patrons refer to it throughout the year!

This perfect-bound collector’s item includes program notes by Thomas May on all Libbey Bowl concerts, free concerts and events, artist and composer bios, in-depth Festival features on the Festival, donor listings, staff and volunteer rosters, maps, FAQ, and much more.

By supporting the Ojai Music Festival as an advertiser, you support Ojai’s signature music event and music education in our Ojai Valley schools.

PLUS — Advertisers are included in the free OMF Mobile App used by patrons throughout the weekend. 

Advertising in the 2024 Program Book
Download Order Form | Download Rates & Specs

Deadlines and Submission of Artwork
Space deadline: April 15, 2024
Artwork due: April 21, 2024

Demographics

demographics highq copy

Attendance
Attendance at the Festival is up to 5000 patrons and community members. Many reference their program books multiple times during the four-day Festival. Ojai Music Festival patrons save and share their books for years as treasured mementos. It is also distributed at key Ojai Valley businesses before the Festival.

Snapshot of Festival Patrons

  • Upwardly mobile consumers with important purchasing power
  • Established patrons who support music and arts programs 
  • Dual income families of $250,000 and above
  • Visits Ojai during the year outside of the Festival weekend
  • Travel more than three times a year
  • Highly-educated executives and professionals

Further Inquiries:
Contact Gina Gutierrez at [email protected] or 805 646 2181.

SCORE Composition Program Launches at Nordhoff High School

Score, music composition program, at Nordhoff High School

(January 16, 2024 – OJAI CA) — The Ojai Music Festival launches SCORE, a new initiative of the Festival’s BRAVO music education program that will provide the tools and guidance necessary for Nordhoff High School (NHS) music students to compose their own musical works. The 17-week course, which will be free to the students, will be led by NHS music teacher Bill Wagner and SCORE coordinator Emily Praetorius.

To participate in the enrichment class, NHS students will have previous course study through the NHS music department, along with a demonstrated interest in learning music composition. Registration for SCORE began in December, 2023.

“The Festival, through its BRAVO music education program, has been providing free school workshops, artist residencies, Music Van, and free Imagine concerts to elementary-age students for nearly 40 years in the Ojai Valley. By expanding with SCORE to the upper grades, we will be able to help high school students tap into their own musical creativity across genres with the expert guidance of the school’s own Bill Wagner and Ojai-based composer Emily Praetorius. I am so glad that we can continue to deepen our connection in our Ojai community on a year-round basis,” said Festival Artistic and Executive Director Ara Guzelimian.

In the class, students will learn to find their own compositional voices and processes by composing for themselves and their fellow classmates in a series of cumulative projects. Through each project, students will learn a new tool of the compositional process, from music notation and idea generation to notation software and audio recording. Listening sessions, composition lessons, and guest speakers will enhance the class’s exploration of musical composition and contemporary music in general. The course will culminate with a performance of the students’ works performed by NHS music students.

“We are very excited to be collaborating with the Ojai Music Festival to offer SCORE for Nordhoff students to begin to explore music from a composer’s viewpoint. The perspective they will gain through the process will be invaluable to their development as musicians. I’m looking forward to hearing their creative works take shape,” shares Wagner.


EMILY PRAETORIUS, SCORE COORDINATOR

Emily Praetorius, a former Ojai Music Festival Rothenberg Intern Fellow, is a composer from Ojai, CA. She recently received her DMA from Columbia University in 2023 where she studied composition with Georg Friedrich Haas and George Lewis. Her pieces have been performed by several New York City based ensembles such as Yarn/Wire, Mivos Quartet, TAK and Wet Ink Ensemble. Recent works include a solo viola work on violist Carrie Frey’s 2023 album Seagrass and a current collaboration with violin-viola duo andPlay. After 10 years of living in New York City where she studied, composed and co-owned Kuro Kirin Espresso & Coffee, she returned to her hometown of Ojai to live in the sunshine and go hiking every weekend.

BRAVO MUSIC EDUCATION PROGRAM IN THE SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITY

The Ojai Music Festival’s BRAVO program has been serving the Ojai Valley community for close to four decades. Over each year, BRAVO serves nearly 3,000 public school children with free music workshops, artist residencies, Music Van, and concerts. BRAVO also offers free workshops at local senior centers and includes talks and free community events during the Ojai Music Festival in June.

OJAI MUSIC FESTIVAL 
Since 1947, the Festival has remained 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.

The 2024 Ojai Music Festival is slated for June 6 to 9 with acclaimed pianist Mitsuko Uchida as Music Director, featuring the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon, violinist Alexi Kenny, cellist Jay Campbell, and the Brentano String Quartet. For information on BRAVO and the 2024 Festival, visit OjaiFestival.org.

From Ojai with Love: A Musical Valentine

From Ojai with Love
Photo by Nathan Wickstrum from the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy
Mitsuko Uchida

In celebration of the day, we take a journey in the company of Mitsuko Uchida. This is sampling of recordings from throughout her career, exploring her wide ranging interests from Mozart to Schoenberg – these are all recordings I love and would be so happy to have along with me on a desert island.

We begin with the most celebrated (and romantic!) of Mozart piano concerto slow movements and proceed on to some lesser-known Schubert miniatures, no less exquisite for their brevity. Schumann comes next in two celebrated movements, followed by a surprisingly apt tiny piece by Schoenberg as a prelude to visionary Debussy in a now-legendary recording of his Etudes. We then turn to perhaps the quirkiest of all Mozart miniatures, then conclude with the joyous but rarely played Concert Rondo in D, a fittingly spirited finale to this brief sampler. And all of it in eager anticipation of musical joys to come in Ojai this June!

Ara

Ara Guzelimian
Artistic and Executive Director

2024 Festival Schedule

2024 Festival with Mitsuko Uchida artwork
Ojai Music Festival 06.06-06.09.24, Mitsuko Uchida Music Director

Join us for a curated journey, where music is the adventure, with the characteristic Ojai mix of new and old, familiar and unfamiliar, in the company of remarkable artists who bring vitality, freshness, and a sense of discovery to all that they do. Scroll down to view the 2024 Schedule.

This symbol indicates that this is a Beyond the Bowl event, not located at Libbey Bowl. Due to the intimate setting of these events, they are not automatically included in Libbey Bowl Passes and require the purchase of an additional ticket.

ON SALE NOW:
Day passes and single tickets

3:00PM OJAI TALKS
Ojai Presbyterian Church

Two-part session with Music Director Mitsuko Uchida and featured artists, hosted by Ara Guzelimian and John Schaefer of WQXR New Sounds.

Automatically included in 4-Day Libbey Bowl Passes.

8:00PM OPENING CONCERT
Libbey Bowl

Lucy Fitz Gibbon, soprano
Mitsuko Uchida, piano
Brentano String Quartet

HAYDN   String Quartet in C, “Bird” Op. 33, No. 3
SCHOENBERG   Six Little Piano Pieces, Op. 19
MOZART   Fantasy in D minor, K. 397
SCHOENBERG   String Quartet No. 2, Op. 10


8:00AM OJAI DAWNS
Zalk Theater, Besant Hill School

Jay Campbell, cello
Sae Hashimoto, percussion  
Ljubinka Kulisic, accordion

KAIJA SAARIAHO   Dreaming Chaconne
HELMUT LACHENMANN Interieur I            
HELMUT LACHENMANN Toccatina           
SOFIA GUBAIDULINA In Croce

Ojai Dawns is a Festival Donor Circle Event. Learn more here >

10:00AM MORNING CONCERT
Libbey Bowl

Julie Smith Phillips, harp
Jay Campbell, cello
Sae Hashimoto, percussion
Rick Stotijn, double bass
Brentano String Quartet

KAIJA SAARIAHO   Fall            
HELMUT LACHENMANN   Pression
SOFIA GUBAIDULINA   Five Etudes        
BARTÓK   String Quartet No. 5

3:30PM SHIFTING GROUND
Greenberg Center, Ojai Valley School

Alexi Kenney, violin
Xuan, visual artist

A unique program for solo violin and video projections juxtaposing Baroque works by Bach and Matteis with recent music by Kaija Saariaho, Angélica Negrón, Paul Wiancko, and Salina Fisher. Produced in collaboration with the Baryshnikov Arts, New York.

This performance is an add-on, separate from a Libbey Bowl pass. Click here to purchase >

8:00PM EVENING CONCERT
Libbey Bowl

Mitsuko Uchida, piano and director
José Maria Blumenschein, concertmaster and leader
Mahler Chamber Orchestra

STRAVINSKY   Fanfare for a New Theater
WEBERN   Five Movements for Strings, Op. 5
SCHOENBERG  Chamber Symphony No. 1, Op. 9
MOZART   Piano Concerto in E flat, K. 482


8:00AM MORNING MEDITATION
Chaparral Auditorium, 414 E Ojai Ave

Jay Campbell, cello

Program to be announced.

Free and open to the public.

10:00AM MORNING CONCERT
Libbey Bowl

Ljubinka Kulisic, accordion
Rick Stotijn, double bass
Musicians of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra

JOHN ZORN Road Runner      
MISSY MAZZOLI   Dark with Excessive Bright
JOHN ADAMS   Shaker Loops

3:30PM SHIFTING GROUND
(repeat performance)
Greenberg Center, Ojai Valley School

Alexi Kenney, violin
Xuan, visual artist

A unique program for solo violin and video projections juxtaposing Baroque works by Bach and Matteis with recent music by Kaija Saariaho, Angélica Negrón, Paul Wiancko and Salina Fisher. Produced in collaboration with the Baryshnikov Arts, New York.

This performance is an add-on, separate from a Libbey Bowl pass. Click here >

8:00PM EVENING CONCERT
Libbey Bowl

Mitsuko Uchida, piano and director
Vicente Alberola, clarinet
Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Johannes Lörstad, leader in Debussy
José Maria Blumenschein, concertmaster and leader in Saariaho

DEBUSSY (arr. SACHS)   Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
KAIJA SAARIAHO Lichtbogen
ESA-PEKKA SALONEN   Elegy (from kínēma)
MOZART Piano Concerto in B flat, K. 595


8:00AM MORNING MEDITATION
Chaparral Auditorium, 414 E Ojai Ave

Ljubinka Kulisic, accordion

Music of John Cage

Free and open to the public.

10:00AM MORNING CONCERT
Libbey Bowl

Alexi Kenney, violin
Jay Campbell, cello
Ljubinka Kulisic, accordion
Sae Hashimoto, percussion
Brentano String Quartet

BIBER  Passacaglia for solo violin
KAIJA SAARIAHO  Six Japanese Gardens
HAYDN From The Seven Last Words of Christ
SOFIA GUBAIDULINA  In Croce

2:30PM KAFKA FRAGMENTS
Greenberg Activity Center

Lucy Fitz Gibbon, soprano
Alexi Kenney, violin

KURTÁG Kafka Fragments

Kurtág’s eloquent setting of fragments from Kafka’s diaries weaves together singer and violinist into a deeply personal dialogue, a reflection on life’s joys, trials and the “dances of time.”

This is a Donor Circle event. Learn more here >

4:00PM COMMUNITY EVENT
Libbey Park

Join us for a free concert in the park!

5:30PM FINALE
Libbey Bowl

Mitsuko Uchida, piano and director
José Maria Blumenschein, concertmaster and leader
Mahler Chamber Orchestra

HAYDN   Symphony No. 46 in B Major
JÖRG WIDMANN Chorale Quartet
MOZART Piano Concerto in G, K. 453

Programs and artists are subject to change.

Click here to download a one-page (double-sided) printable PDF of the 2024 schedule >

From Ara: A Year Filled with Memories

Dear Ojai Festival friends,

As the New Year approaches, it is only fitting to take a moment to reflect on the year that was at the Ojai Music Festival. Rhiannon Giddens was at the exhilarating center of this year’s Festival, illuminating everything she does with passion, formidable commitment, and heart. She is one of those artists who uses her gifts to make our understanding of the world broader and more whole.

And what a Festival it was, with discovery, adventure, and delight around every corner, from new music to old and everything in between, from Senegal to North Carolina, from Mexico to Iran, from Haydn to Squarepusher . . .

Photo by Jack Baran

Tan Dun’s pioneering Ghost Opera brought together the remarkable Wu Man, who was in on its creation, with a new generation of collaborators in the Attacca Quartet and dancer/choreographer PeiJu Chien Pott in a completely fresh re-thinking of the work. In late September, the production traveled East for performances at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park in New York, another in a long tradition of Ojai-originated projects having creative ripple effects across the performing arts world.

Back home in Ojai, we celebrated the first-ever statewide California Festival of new music with a November concert – an engrossing and hugely inventive program of music by Reena Esmail, Dylan Mattingly, M.A. Tiesenga, and Samuel Adams, showcasing the creativity of a new generation of California composers. We were mesmerized by the Hindustani vocals of Saili Oak and encountered the electronic hurdy-gurdy!

Looking back on the year, I am filled with gratitude on every level at the company we keep – the artists, the staff, the many volunteers, the endlessly open and curious audiences, our gracious and generous donors. Thank you for being part of this boundless musical adventure!

And there is much more to come around the corner.  We can happily anticipate the 2024 Festival with the profound artistry of Mitsuko Uchida, joined by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and a host of gifted young artists in a characteristically wide-ranging program from Mozart to Kaija Saariaho.

More details about the Festival to come in January. See you in 2024!

In the meantime, all the warmest good wishes for a healthy, happy, and most of all, peaceful New Year,

Ara Guzelimian

Artistic and Executive Director


The artwork, FESTIVAL, created by Christopher Noxon.
Christopher Noxon paints and writes in Ojai, California. Sullivan Goss Gallery in Santa Barbara featured his work in the 2023 exhibit “Betty Lane & Christopher Noxon: From One Generation to the Next.” His work is in the permanent collection of the Ojai Valley Museum and he’s shown at Gallery 825 in Los Angeles, the Santa Paula Art Museum and the Beatrice Woods Center for the Arts. His writing and illustrations have appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic and New York Times Magazine. ChristopherNoxonArt.com


Learning to Love Schoenberg

Ojai Music Festival
VIRTUAL OJAI TALKS: Ara Guzelimian
Learning to Love Schoenberg
WED 02.21.24
5:30-6:30PM PT

Many thanks to all who attended the Virtual Ojai Talks on the music of Schoenberg led by Artistic and Executive Director Ara Guzelimian. Here is the featured music and the resources that were discussed that we’d love to share with all!


The Music We Heard:

These are all readily accessible YouTube links. A companion playlist in either Apple Music or Spotify appears at the bottom, for those who prefer those sources for streaming. One note – the very beautiful Matthias Pintscher/Karajan Academy live performance of the Schoenberg Chamber Symphony No. 1 is only available on YouTube, so the streaming playlists include a different but also compelling performance led by Simon Rattle.


Schoenberg: Chamber Symphony No. 1, Op. 9

Matthias Pintscher conductor with the ensemble of the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic


Schoenberg: String Quartet No. 2

Barbara Hannigan and the Emerson String Quartet

Text to Litanei (third movement)
Text to Entrückung (fourth movement)


Brahms: Piano Pieces, Opus 119

Rudolf Serkin, piano


Schoenberg: Six Little Piano Pieces, Op. 19

Mitsuko Uchida, piano


Other Media Referenced:

Schoenberg: Mahler’s Funeral

Painting, musically represented in the Op. 19, No. 6 movement above

Salka Viertel: The Kindness of Strangers

A rich remembrance of the emigré community of artists in Los Angeles of the 1930s and 1940s

Allen Shawn: Arnold Schoenberg’s Journey

A complex but rewarding portrait of the composer and his work, if you are not daunted by extensive musical analysis


Here is the playlist:

Enjoy!

Fuel Your Musical Adventure

Celebrating Our Story

Celebrating Our Story

For the first time in our history, we’ve launched a comprehensive campaign to ensure that the Ojai experience you love can be sustained for future generations of musicians and audiences. The Festival is largely dependent on contributed income, which makes up 75% of our annual budget.   

With this campaign, we are looking to ensure the flourishing of this musical treasure for the future by commissioning new work, originating important artistic initiatives that have an impact beyond the Festival, as well as expanding our music education programs for students from pre-kindergarten to college. 

Look at what we have already accomplished with the campaign:

  • Re-imagined staging of Tan Dun’s Ghost Opera presented at the 2023 Ojai Festival. It was then produced at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park in New York in the fall of 2023.
  • Commissioned Dylan Mattingly’s Sunt Lacrimae Rerum for the 2021 Festival. It was recently performed at the LA Phil’s Green Umbrella as part of the California Festival.
  • Created a new BRAVO composition program called SCORE for Ojai public high school students.

Our generous Board of Directors has taken up the challenge with 100% participation by way of additional campaign gifts and planned giving. We invite each of you to take part in this next chapter of our story. Join us by renewing your annual donation, and consider making a special campaign donation. Every gift counts towards the goals of this Future Forward campaign.   

This is a moment to celebrate our shared story, your vital part in our legacy, and most importantly, the vibrant future to come. Join us in our next chapter and help bring our Future Forward.


A Small Expense with a Great Impact

Throughout the year, the Ojai Music Festival prioritizes community, artistic curiosity, and innovative programs, culminating with our treasured Festival in June. The Festival’s year-round programs are made possible by donations from our loyal audience members, like you!

Recurring gifts allow you to give at the level and timing that works best with both your budget and schedule. They simultaneously allow the Festival to rely on a consistent, year-round revenue stream. 

From Ara: Music Now and What’s Ahead

Mitsuko Uchida and Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Dear friends, 

I am writing this in the blissful quiet following Thanksgiving, a pause from the usually hectic days and a chance to reflect with gratitude. We are in a particularly troubled moment across the world, with much sorrow, animosity, and division seemingly everywhere. And yet, the enduring pleasures of life also assert themselves – the company of loved ones, a walk in the brisk autumn air, the smile of a child playing, and always, the boundless rewards of music. 

I have been heartened by multiple musical joys these past few weeks. We’ve had the pleasure of presenting a California Festival concert at the Ojai Valley School’s Greenberg Center, our first “off-season” concert of new music in Ojai, one received with great enthusiasm and cheer. We delighted in the company of four exuberant and always inventive younger composers – Reena Esmail, M.A. Tiesenga, Dylan Mattingly, and Samuel Adams.  

I then flew almost immediately to London, to spend a few days in the company of Mitsuko Uchida, our 2024 Festival Music Director. We had several rewarding visits together, putting the finishing touches together for next year. Mitsuko first came to Ojai as a guest artist at the 50th anniversary Festival in 1996. Those of us with long Festival memories will recall that as one of the hottest (literally!) festivals ever, with Mitsuko playing a hypnotically beautiful Schubert B-Flat Sonata and then capping the week with the Ravel Piano Concerto in G, with Pierre Boulez and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Mitsuko’s response to the overwhelming heat was to play the Schubert with even more beauty and greater concentration, creating an intense quiet of listening that defied the weather. It was one of those unforgettable experiences, where one sensed a collective joining together of audience and artist, living fully in every moment of the piece, where nothing else mattered. 

Mitsuko has always retained a special fondness for Ojai, and we are so fortunate to have her back. She is one of the most remarkable musicians of our time, someone who is constantly exploring and finding ever-deeper insights into everything she plays. Her lifelong passion for the Mozart piano concertos will be at the center of this year’s Festival, music that is constantly revealing new dimensions and humanity in her hands. She is joined by the musicians of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, her closest collaborators in recent years – a well-honed partnership of exuberance and discovery that continues to grow.  

Although Mitsuko is perhaps best known for her championing of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, she has had a close association with a number of today’s most vibrant composers in her role as an Artistic Director of the Marlboro Festival in Vermont. Each summer, she has personally invited a great musical thinker to be in residence at the celebrated chamber music festival, creating a fascinating intersection between tradition and innovation. We will happily benefit from these associations at Ojai next year with music by a number of these composers – Sofia Gubaidulina, Kaija Saariaho, Jörg Widmann, György Kurtág, and Helmut Lachenmann among them.

Mitsuko Uchida with Ara Guzelimian and Kaija Saariaho
L-R: Ara Guzelimian, Kaija Saariaho, and Mitsuko Uchida, July 2014, Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont.

The programming that is emerging from our conversations is completely true to Mitsuko Uchida – the eternal freshness of the Mozart piano concertos, new and recent music by the composers she values most, and a focus on the composers of the Second Viennese School. Next year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Arnold Schoenberg, a composer who is perpetually misunderstood. We will take a fresh listen to some of his most beautiful (yes, I did say beautiful!) works in the hands of musicians who believe deeply in the expressive power of this music. 

As we make the first preliminary announcement of the 2024 Festival, I hope you will take pleasure in the characteristic Ojai mix of the expected and unexpected, the new and the old, and always, the sense of discovery. In the coming months, we will have a chance to meet the artists, beginning with Mitsuko Uchida herself and do a deeper exploration of the music to be programmed.  

In closing, I want to linger again briefly in the spirit of the Thanksgiving just past by expressing my personal gratitude to each of you for your continued support of the Ojai Festival. We are fortunate to be in this music adventure together with you. 

Ara Guzelimian
Artistic and Executive Director 


Creative Lab concert launches during the California Festival

The Ojai Music Festival was delighted to participate in the California Festival, a statewide initiative organized by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, and San Francisco Symphony. This showcase of 100-plus California organizations, which runs from November 3 to 19, closely aligned with the Ojai Festival mission and history in celebrating new and adventurous music.

Our performance was a “maiden voyage” of presenting a non-summer concert on November 11 at the Greenberg Center, Ojai Valley School in collaboration with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. With a supportive and enthusiastic audience, the program presented smaller-scale recent works by Samuel Carl Adams, Reena Esmail, Dylan Mattingly, and M.A. Tiesenga, performed by pianist Conor Hanick, clarinetist Sérgio Coelho, vibraphone player Sidney Hopson, violinist Gallia Kastner, vocalist Saili Oak, multi-instrumentalist M.A. Tiesenga, and Zelter String Quartet. These same forward-looking composers were then featured at the Green Umbrella concert, at the Walt Disney Hall, on November 14.

Take a look at some of our favorite moments from our Creative Lab concert on November 11 in Ojai. Special thanks to the Ojai Valley School.

photos by © Timothy Teague


LA Phil’s Green Umbrella: Chaparral and Interstates

photos by © Nick Rutter

That’s a Wrap!

On behalf of the Ojai Festival Women’s Committee, thank you so much for another wonderful year of this fabulous tradition! Keep your eye on your inbox for a survey from us. We’d love to hear from you. Thank you for shopping at the Holiday Marketplace! We hope this is not the last you see of the incredible vendors. Please visit the link below to connect with them on their websites and social media! 

Mark your calendar for next year: November 9 and 10, 2024

The Ojai Holiday Home Tour and Marketplace is a benefit for the Ojai Music Festival and its BRAVO Music Education & Community Programs. By supporting this treasured tradition, you ensure that the Festival continues providing free music education in Ojai public elementary schools and presenting the internationally renowned 78th Festival, June 6-9, 2024. Your support for BRAVO is deeply appreciated.

2023 Festival Moments

Photos by Timothy Teague

Concert Photos


 

Offstage Moments

From Ara: Summer Reflections

Dear friends,

I hope this finds you enjoying the pleasures of summer. I have the good fortune to be at the Marlboro Music Festival as I write this, tucked away in a particularly idyllic corner of southern Vermont – which mercifully was spared the worst of the recent torrential rains elsewhere in the state.

I have had the luxury of time to reflect on the recent Festival and find myself immensely grateful for the company we keep, including each one of you who create such a unique and open-hearted community at each Festival.

The 2023 Ojai Festival is now a happy memory to be savored and cherished. We were so fortunate to be in the company of the wondrous Rhiannon Giddens and all the extraordinary artists she brought to create a particularly joyous Festival community. It is next to impossible to single out individual highlights in a Festival full of them. I will only dare mention a few — Rhiannon singing Paul Simon’s American Tune with an eloquence and a to-the-moment timeliness that brought tears to the eyes, the absolutely essential American story of Omar Ibn Said as told in Rhiannon and Michael Abels’ Omar’s Journey, the indelible musical and visual images created by Wu Man, PeiJu Chien-Pott and the Attacca Quartet in a new production of Tan Dun’s Ghost Opera, the encounter with the enormous creativity and fresh voices of the Iranian Female Composers Association, Kayhan Kalhor’s spellbinding artistry, the infectious joy of Seckou Keita, and Francesco Turrisi’s boundless musical imagination in creating the special Early Music program for a Sunday morning. OK, I’ll stop at that as my own list could go on for another 30 or more highlights. If you are so inspired, please write to me with your own list of highlights.

Here at Marlboro, I delight in the company of Mitsuko Uchida, a co-Artistic Director of the Marlboro Music Festival and our Music Director for the 2024 Ojai Festival. Mitsuko, one of the most eloquent and probing musicians of our time, is making a long awaited return next year, joined by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (who themselves are returning to Ojai since their 2018 visit with Patricia Kopatchinskaja). Her close collaboration with this immensely creative and spirited ensemble is central to her work in recent years, as they have embarked on a multi-year exploration of the Mozart piano concertos together. She explains the importance of their partnership in this video:

MCO & Mitsuko Uchida: A New Chapter

Mitsuko has long been a champion of and mentor to several generations of young musicians at the Marlboro Festival. We will have the good fortune of being joined in Ojai with some of the most gifted artists on the American musical scene — clarinetist Anthony McGill, Brentano String Quartet, soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon, and violinist Alexi Kenney — all of whom have rich Marlboro history. More about each of them in the months to come.

Prior to coming to Marlboro, I had the pleasure of serving on the jury of the Mahler Conducting Competition in Bamberg, Germany. Marina Mahler, the granddaughter of Gustav Mahler, graced the proceedings as patron of the competition. When I first met Marina some years ago, I started a painstaking description of where and what Ojai is — she interrupted me to tell me that she had attended Ojai Valley School during her most formative years! So, there you have it — a direct link between the legacy of Gustav Mahler and Ojai! We became fast friends with this knowledge of our Ojai ties. I also had the deep pleasure of serving on the jury alongside Barbara Hannigan (2019 Music Director), who continues to light up the musical world wherever she goes. While there, I discovered that Barbara had assembled a very personal playlist for Apple Music, which characteristically documents her wide-ranging imagination and generosity of spirit. She has curated a list of performances by favorite musicians who, in her words, “allow audiences into a ‘heart-to-heart’ connection with whatever music they perform.” In a lovely confluence of Ojai artists, her list includes Rhiannon Giddens!

Finally, a reflection of loss. Kaija Saariaho, who died at the age of 70 in early June, made an indelible impression with her music and her presence at the 2016 Ojai Festival with Peter Sellars. Kaija was a singular creative force in our musical world, writing with a voice that was intensely personal and affecting, a sound world unlike any other composer. She was also a cherished friend to so many of the Festival musicians over the years. We can only be grateful for having her and her music in our lives. To bid farewell, here are the final three movements of her choral work Nuits, Adieux (1991) in a recording released just this month:

Nuits, adieux (Version for 4 Voices) : VIII. Adieu III – IX. Adieu IV – X. Adieu V

We are most fortunate in the company we keep.
With thanks and warm greetings,





Ara Guzelimian
Artistic and Executive Director

BRAVO Summer Camps

Campers and instructors smiling for group photo all wearing matching tie-dye Bravo t-shirts

Sign your child up for a week of music, art, games, and storytelling with Ms. Laura. There is no previous musical experience required. BRAVO Music and Arts Camp is a productive way to expose your child to music for the first time or to develop an existing passion for music over the Summer. Session one has come to a close with 31 students, but it’s not too late to sign up for the second session!

Special thanks to our partners Ojai Parks and Recreation Department and BRAVO volunteers.


When: August 14-18, 8am-11am
Ages: 5-15
Fees: $125 + $25 materials fee; scholarships are available, all are welcome!

Register through the Ojai Rec Department or call 805 646 5581 ext. 390. For more questions, email Laura Walter here.

Campers showing off an arts and crafts project, paper flowers

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Meet our 2023 Interns

We are excited to share our stellar team of interns with you. These students represent the next generation of musicians and arts administrators. The Festival depends on them for critical support in a variety of management areas including production, stage management, front of house, operations, box office, marketing, and more. Our impressive roster of interns is ready to bring their passion and experience to the Ojai Music Festival team and make the 77th Ojai Music Festival a year to remember.

Hitesh Benny
Hitesh Benny is a student transferring to the University of California, San Diego to study Music and Economics. He is the Front of House Intern at this year’s Festival. Over the past two years, Hitesh has attained associate degrees in Music and Economics from Moorpark College. He has been a part of various ensembles including the Moorpark College Concert Choir, Symphony Orchestra, and the Come Together Ensemble. In the choir, he served as a student conductor, leading them in their Fall and Winter concerts. In the Symphony Orchestra, he also served as the percussion section leader and had transcriptions performed and recorded by the ensemble. Through the Come Together Ensemble, he premiered his compositions. Hitesh was fortunate to have been mentored by Richard Danielpour, the head of composition at UCLA. Hitesh has a steadfast dedication to helping small businesses in his community. Through these experiences, he earned various entrepreneurial and managerial lessons. He also remains committed to the musical community by serving as a volunteer at the Hear Now Festival, the Music Academy of the West Summer Festival, and the Ojai Music Festival.

Elizabeth (Liz) Callahan is a violinist who grew up in Ventura, California and began playing violin at the age of 10 at a children’s string ensemble at her church. Elizabeth has played violin in numerous ensembles including the Ojai Youth Symphony, Ventura High School Honors String Orchestra, and the Westmont College Orchestra. She thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to perform during the orchestra tour to Austria and Prague as Principal violinist and as a selected soloist. Elizabeth is so grateful to have studied classical violin with fantastic faculty members including Dr. Han Soo Kim and Professor Isaac Kay, and traditional Irish violin technique with Grammy- and Emmy- nominated Celtic violinist, Máiréad Nesbitt. Elizabeth has participated in Westmont College Choir and she has had the opportunity to be an Assistant Conductor for the College Choir and the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony while studying conducting with Dr. Daniel Gee. She has been actively involved in music education in Santa Barbara while being Personnel Manager for the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony. Elizabeth will graduate from Westmont College in May 2023 with a Bachelor of Music Education and will continue to pursue a career in music education.

Eliana Choi is a recent 2023 Westmont College graduate who majored in psychology and minored in kinesiology and music. She utilized her minor in music to become on of the box office interns again at the Ojai Music Festival. Eliana is back in the Ojai intern family because she had a fabulous time with the staff, performers, volunteers, and interns last year (#RunningAMOC2022). Eliana specifically cherished working on Festival mobile app and updating the Festival website while at the box office. In her free time, Eliana enjoys playing video games, working out, and practicing her acoustic guitar and violin. She will pursue a doctoral degree in occupational therapy at Keck Graduate Institute in late August. Eliana is open to answering any questions and hopes that everyone will enjoy their time at the Festival!

Mia Condon has worked as a Stage Manager for the past four years. Throughout her experience, she has sought out positions that allow her to experience new genres of live entertainment and learn new strategies which she can utilize in future endeavors. She has a background in vocal and instrumental music in multiple genres and has a deep love for music, especially that which has a connection to things greater than and deeper than the individuals creating it. She Is incredibly excited to have the opportunity to experience Ojai for the first time and looks forward to engaging with everyone involved! Currently, Mia attends CalArts in Santa Clarita, CA.

William Jae is a composer and pianist raised in Los Angeles, California. William’s music can be described as both chaotic and sublime. His openness to learn new kinds of music allowed him to push the limits of what he can do with his own music. Between 2019 to 2020, he was a fellow at the Nancy and Barry Sanders Composer Fellowship Program, where he studied with renowned composers such as Andrew Norman, Sarah Gibson, and Thomas Kotcheff. It was during this time that he first experienced the world of contemporary classical music. In 2019, his string trio composition, “Alabaster Wool”, premiered at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and was performed by members of the Lyris Quartet. When the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, he received the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artists Award and made an appearance at Blanket Fort 2 hosted by Peter Dugan at From The Top. He was also the semi-finalist in the 2020 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award that same year. William is currently a junior at the Eastman School of Music pursuing a dual degree in music composition and psychology at the University of Rochester. Outside of the classroom, he is the artistic director of the Eastman Chamber Orchestra. During his free time, William enjoys spending time with his friends and colleagues as well as exploring various film and video game genres.

Sophie Little is currently pursuing a BA in Theater Technology and a minor in Music Technology at Chapman University, strongly focusing on sound engineering and theater design. Furthering this passion, she hopes to apply her knowledge and love for music by designing and assisting with sound for music festivals and concerts in the future. In the past, Sophie has been involved in countless productions throughout high school and college, most notably being her involvement with various music festivals in her home state of Michigan. Most recently, Sophie worked as the Sound Engineer and Designer for Chapman’s student-run production of  It Shoulda Been You by Brian Hargrove. Sophie is very excited to join the Ojai Music Festival team as a sound intern and continue growing her love and knowledge of sound.

Niav Maher is a virtuosic soloist spanning several musical genres, combining personal sensitivity with insightful interpretation. She has been the recipient of many scholarships throughout her career at the Longy School of Music, New England Conservatory Prep, and Manhattan School of Music. Niav received the Michael B. Packer Scholarship of Excellence in Piano Studies at the Longy School of Music. From 2012-2019, Niav studied with Jonathan Bass at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School. In 2016, Niav was the first-prize winner of the NEC Preparatory Concerto Competition playing the Mendelssohn Concerto No.1 and went on to perform in Jordan Hall with the NEC YSO. She has participated on scholarship in NEC Prep tours through Germany, Italy, and Norway as a soloist, and orchestra member. In 2019, Niav received the Seth Kimmelman Scholarship given to a NEC Prep student who combines a commitment to the piano with intellectual curiosity. She then received the Piano Department award upon graduation.

Most recently, Niav was a winner of the Lillian Fuchs Chamber Music Competition at Manhattan School of Music. Niav holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Classical Piano Performance from Manhattan School of Music where she studied with Daniel Epstein on the Glen K. Twiford Piano Department Scholarship. At the recommendation of the faculty, the Provost of MSM selected Niav as the recipient of the Helen Cohn Award, which is given upon graduation to a pianist in recognition of outstanding work in chamber music. Niav will begin her Master of Music Degree this fall, studying with Daniel Shapiro at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Meet Diego Martinez, a talented musician, and audio engineer based in Chula Vista, California. Currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in music technology, Diego is dedicated to building a career in music composition and audio engineering. His coursework has given him a deep understanding of the technical aspects of music production, from recording and mixing to mastering and post-production. He is eager to apply his knowledge to real-world scenarios and is excited to learn from experienced professionals in the industry. As an accomplished artist, Diego has released several singles, collaborations, and three albums under his stage name, P-Wave. His hard work has paid off, as two of his albums have even received physical cassette releases – one independently, and the most recent under the popular indie music label, Stratford Ct.

Diego’s dedication to mastering his craft is evident in his constant pursuit of knowledge. He is always on the lookout for opportunities to learn and grow, attending conferences and workshops and seeking out mentorship from industry experts. In addition to his musical talents, Diego has honed his communication and networking skills, which have proven invaluable in his career. With his exceptional talent, dedication, and drive, Diego is sure to make significant contributions to any organization he is a part of, including the Ojai Music Festival sound department.

Mariah Divianne Musni is an undergraduate student pursuing Interdisciplinary Computing for the Arts and Music (ICAM) at the University of California, San Diego. Moving from the Philippines to the United States at 16, she sought new opportunities and personal growth. At UCSD, she  combines her love for technology and artistic expression. This program allows Mariah to explore the convergence of computation, art, and music, pushing the boundaries of creativity and innovation. Through immersive coursework, she develops technical skills while nurturing her artistic sensibilities to create transformative experiences. As a novice audio intern at KSDT, the campus radio station, Mariah gained valuable hands-on experience in setting up audio equipment for live events, ensuring seamless sound quality.

Mariah’s passion for the arts originated in the Philippines, where she actively participated in dance and choir competitions. These experiences honed her creativity, discipline, and admiration for the performing arts.With a diverse background, unwavering determination, and a passion for innovation, Mariah aims to make a profound impact in ICAM, Speculative Design, and beyond. Mariah is committed to shaping the future of interdisciplinary creativity, pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

As a Junior at the University of California Los Angeles, Dani Nollenberger is currently pursuing a major in Music History and Industry Studies. Passionate about music, Dani has a deep interest in both performing and writing music. In addition to their musical pursuits, Dani is also dedicated to bringing excellent live music experiences to others and sharing the joy of music with those around them. With an unwavering commitment to the world of music, Dani has refined her skills and is working towards a career in the music industry. Dani plans to apply her knowledge and passion to make a meaningful impact in the world of music and her community.

Margaret Rodenburg is a flutist and 2023 Bachelor of Music major graduating with Highest Honors from the University of California, Santa Barbara where she studied Flute Performance with Jill Felber. A native of Seattle WA, Margaret began playing flute at age 9, and has since found immense joy in the musical ensembles and communities throughout her life, including the Seattle Rock Orchestra, Seattle All-City Marching Band, Seattle Collaborative Orchestra, UCSB Wind Ensemble, UCSB Flute Choir, and UCSB Chamber program. While her musical journey began as an instrumentalist, Margaret has both volunteered in and taught private flute lessons to beginners in the greater Seattle and Santa Barbara areas and has worked in a variety of administrative positions in the UCSB Music Department. Throughout her time in undergrad, Margaret has recognized that her passion for playing music will continue to be bolstered by community ensembles and individual experimentation and that her desire for a long-term role in the live music industry is actually one backstage—she hopes to soon enter the industry in a managerial, administrative or organizational capacity.

Baritone and Arts Administration leader, Kevin Spooner, is pursuing a Master of Music in Vocal Performance at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Kevin received his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the Eastman School of Music and has performed a diverse breadth of roles in the operatic repertoire ranging from Mozart to Sondheim. During his time at Eastman, Kevin worked as an Admissions Ambassador, where he was responsible for guiding musicians and their families during their visit to ensure a comfortable and rewarding time at Eastman.

Passionate about non-profit organizations and presenting recitals, in 2018 Kevin organized and produced a recital featuring local musicians and himself to raise money for The Great Swamp Conservancy in Canastota, NY. Kevin is also performing a recital entitled Songs and Arias of Love the week before the Ojai Music Festival in his hometown of Oneida, NY.

During the 2022/2023 season, Kevin made his professional debut as Marchese D’Obigny in Verdi’s La Traviata with Piedmont Opera. Kevin also performed the role of Rodomonte in Joseph Haydn’s Orlando Paladino with the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute in February. Last summer, Kevin performed the role of Schaunard in Puccini’s La Bohème with Opera Steamboat and performed the role of Paul’s Father in Gregory Spears’ Paul’s Case with the Ad Astra Music Festival. Outside of the arts, Kevin enjoys running, tennis, golf, and reading Stephen King novels.

As a pianist, producer, and composer, Mateo Thacher is pursuing a dual degree in Economics and Music at Claremont McKenna College. Throughout college and high school, he has engaged in a number of musical interests including music production and live performances. A member of the Pomona College Choir, Mateo is working on an arrangement for his second original fashion show soundtrack. In the winter of 2018, he began making music with his hometown friend here in Ojai, California and continues to publish music under the name Krandank, which is accessible on all streaming platforms.

Aside from his creative endeavors, Mateo manages a team of student research analysts at the Roberts Environmental Center. We focus on consulting and providing research analytics for clients across all fields of sustainability and environmental education. He hopes to continue his interest in music, economics, and the environment in his career, seeking a life that blends his many passions. In his spare time, Mateo loves to surf, climb, work out, skate, and get together with friends and family.

Landon Wilson is a pianist and arts administrator based in New York City. He is the Artistic Associate of AMOC* (American Modern Opera Company) and studies at Manhattan School of Music as an undergraduate President’s Award recipient. Landon’s interests in creating interdisciplinary and socially-confrontational work have led him to develop THE RASA PROJECT, an artificially intelligent, generative piece responding to the climate crisis through music by John Cage, Reena Esmail, and inti figgis-vizueta. Uniting a creative team of musicians, software engineers, neuroscientists, and visual artists from Manhattan School of Music, Columbia University, Royal College of Art (London), and Tsinghua University (Beijing), THE RASA PROJECT will premiere in October 2023 at National Sawdust as part of their 2023-24 Emerging Artists Series.

With AMOC*, Landon has worked with venues such as The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, The 92nd Street Y, The Clark Art Institute, Tina Kim Gallery, and Baryshnikov Arts Center. In the 2022-23 season, he produced an ‘Up Close’ collaboration between AMOC* and Ensemble Connect at Carnegie Hall featuring the quiescent, evocative work of the Wandelweiser Collective.

Residing at International House New York, Landon received the Thea Petscheck Iervolino Foundation Award and is developing a lecture panel with Peter Sellars about finding hope for the future in a post-pandemic world. He returns to the Ojai Festival as the 2023 Steven Rothenberg Production Fellow after interning in Public Relations and Marketing last summer.