Ara Guzelimian Named Artistic Director of the Ojai Music Festival Beginning with the 75th Festival in 2021

Chad Smith will Provide Artistic Direction through the 2020 Festival with Music Director Matthias Pintscher

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(October 17, 2019 – Ojai, CA) – Ojai Music Festival Board Chairman Jerrold Eberhardt announced today the appointment of Ara Guzelimian as Ojai’s next Artistic Director with the 75th Festival, June 10 to 13, 2021. Mr. Guzelimian begins his initial three-year tenure with Ojai following the 2020 Festival under the artistic direction of Chad Smith. Mr. Smith, who was named as the Festival’s Artistic Di-rector in March 2018, announced his intention to step away from Ojai given his October 1, 2019 appointment as Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

“Ara Guzelimian’s remarkable artistic perspective, expertise, and relationships will be paramount as he guides the future direction of the Festival. Through his work with young musicians around the world, Ara truly has his finger on the pulse of music making today. My Board colleagues and I are absolutely thrilled that Ara has agreed to take the helm as Artistic Director,” said Jerrold Eberhardt. “When Tom Morris decided to conclude his defining 16-year tenure, the Board immediately approached Chad Smith with our full confidence that Chad was the right visionary to build on Tom’s artistic legacy. Two weeks ago, the LA Phil named Chad as their new CEO – a brilliant move for that organization and for the field of music. We accept and understand Chad’s desire to focus fully on the Philharmonic, and appreciate that he will remain Ojai’s Artistic Director through the June 2020 Festival.”

Ara Guzelimian commented, “The Ojai Festival represents an ideal of adventurous, open-minded, and open-hearted programming in the most beautiful and welcoming of settings with an audience to match its aspirations. To become Artistic Director at this moment, as the Festival approaches its 75th anniversary, is a deeply meaningful homecoming for me. I fell in love with Ojai in my teens – the place, the community, the spirit. I’ve enjoyed the warmest of friendships with my extraordinary predecessors – Lawrence Morton, Ernest Fleischmann, Tom Morris, and now, Chad Smith – and some of my most cherished musical experiences are rooted here. To return in this capacity brings me such joy. I look forward to working with the wonderful Board and staff to imagine a forward-facing festival very much true to the 2020s!”

Chad Smith said, “For nearly 75 years, the Ojai Music Festival has been a major platform for the world’s most probing, adventurous, and visionary musicians. It is, therefore, bittersweet to step away from this incredible opportunity after the 2020 Festival, but Ojai deserves the full creative energies of its Artistic Director and the LA Phil requires the singular focus of its CEO. That Ara’s personal journey allows him to assume the role of Artistic Director at Ojai, just as mine requires me to step away, is fortuitous. Ara is, quite simply, one of the great artistic minds in our field, and I look forward to supporting him and the Festival in the years to come from my position with the Philharmonic.”

Currently Provost and Dean of The Juilliard School, Ara Guzelimian had previously announced his in-tention to step down from that position in June 2020. At Juilliard, he will continue in an advisory role, and will teach, during the 2020/21 academic year. Mr. Guzelimian was Ojai’s Artistic Director from 1992 to 1997, working closely with Festival Music Directors Pierre Boulez, John Adams, Kent Nagano, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Emanuel Ax. Since 2004, he has served as the Festival’s Ojai Talks Director.

Next month, the Ojai Music Festival and Chad Smith will share details for the upcoming 2020 Festival – June 11 to 14, with Music Director Matthias Pintscher.

Ara Guzelimian
Ara Guzelimian is Provost and Dean of the Juilliard School in New York City having been appointed to the post in August 2006. At Juilliard, he works 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.

Prior to the Juilliard appointment, he was Senior Director and Artistic Advisor of Carnegie Hall from 1998 to 2006; in that post, he oversaw the artistic planning and programming for the opening of Zankel Hall in 2003. He was also host and producer of the acclaimed “Making Music” composer series at Carnegie Hall from 1999 to 2008. Mr. Guzelimian currently serves as Artistic Consultant for the Marlboro Music Festival and School in Vermont. He is also a member of the Music Visiting Committee of the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the Aga Khan Music Awards, and a Board member of the Amphion and Pacific Harmony Foundations.

He has given lectures and taught at the invitation of the Metropolitan Opera, the Salzburg Easter Festival, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Chicago Symphony, the National Center for the Performing Arts in Taipei and the Jerusalem Music Center. Previously, Ara Guzelimian held the position of Artistic Administrator of the Aspen Music Festival and School in Colora-do 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. As a writer and music critic, he has contributed to such publications as Musical America, Opera Quarterly, Opera News, Symphony magazine, The New York Times, the Record Geijutsu magazine (Tokyo), the program books of the Salzburg and the Helsinki Festivals, and the journal for the IRCAM center in Paris.

Mr. 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. The Chicago, Bos-ton, and London Symphony orchestras, conducted by Bernard Haitink, have performed Mr. Guzelim-ian’s performing edition of Mendelssohn’s incidental music to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In September 2003, Mr. Guzelimian 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
From its founding in 1947, the Ojai Music Festival has become a place for groundbreaking musical experiences, bringing together innovative artists and curious audiences in an intimate, idyllic setting 75 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The Festival presents broad-ranging programs in unusual ways with an eclectic mix of new and rarely performed music, as well as refreshing juxtapositions of musical styles. The Festival, that takes place in June, is an immersive experience with concerts, free community events, symposia, and gatherings. Considered a highlight of the international music summer season, Ojai has remained a leader in the classical music landscape for seven decades.

Through its signature structure of the Artistic Director appointing an annual Music Director, Ojai has presented a “who’s who” of music including 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, Jere-my Denk, Steven Schick, Peter Sellars, Vijay Iyer, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, and Barbara Hannigan. The Ojai Music Festival anticipates the 74th Festival, June 11 to 14, 2020, with conductor and composer Matthias Pintscher.

As it approaches its 75th anniversary, Ojai looks toward its future with Ara Guzelimian, whose tenure as Artistic Director will begin following the 2020 Festival.

74th Festival: June 11 to 14, 2020
The 74th Festival – June 11 to 14, 2020 – with Music Director Matthias Pintscher will highlight progressive and forward-thinking composers of our generation while paying homage to early classical roots. Featuring a vast array of composers from the past six centuries, the program will connect the traditional with the contemporary. Joining Mr. Pintscher for this adventurous musical exploration will be the Ensemble Intercontemporain in its Ojai Music Festival debut. This Paris-based world-renowned
ensemble of 31 full-time musicians is dedicated to performing and promoting contemporary chamber music, which was founded in 1972 by former Ojai Music Director Pierre Boulez, and is now led by Mr. Pintscher. For series passes to the 2020 Festival, visit OjaiFestival.org or call 805 646 2053.

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Press contacts:
Ojai Music Festival: Gina Gutierrez, ggutierrez@ojaifestival.org (805) 646-2094
National/International: Nikki Scandalios, nikki@scandaliospr.com (704) 340-4094

Ara Guzelimian photo by Rosalie O’Connor

Holiday Home Tour & Marketplace: The Ojai Creative Magic

We all know Ojai to be a magical place with wonderful creative forces at work in the natural beauty and the amazing talents of the various artists living in the valley. The tradition of the annual Holiday Home Tour and Marketplace brings to the spotlight the collaborative talents of designers, retailers, florists, and gardeners who will be unleashing their creative gifts on four of Ojai’s architectural show pieces. Each home will be dressed for the holidays but will stay true to the design of the home, honoring the life style of the people living in the homes as well as the homes’ history.

This year we are especially delighted to see the creative forces of Isabelle Dahlin and Louesa Roebuck. You know Isabella as the creative owner/designer of deKor & Co, the home store that epitomizes California living. Louesa, author of Foraged Flora, is famous for her natural findings of flora, fauna and twigs to achieve a native forest wonderland. They are the perfect combination for the El Sombrero’s rustic, natural Ojai appeal.

Carey Appel, homeowner, artist, and merchandising wonder, is joining forces with  gardener extraordinaire and florist designer, Carolyn Bennett. Can’t wait to see what their creative collaboration will bring to Carey’s 1906 French Normandy home, Foothill Farm. The synergy of talent and energy is sure to exceed your expectations.

We have a new force of talent and creativity coming on board with Pam and Rob Frame of Found 203 Studio. Finding Pam and Rob has been a wind fall of talent and possibilities for the contemporary design of the Wall House. They will bring a holiday expression that enhances the art, the lines and the open space of this amazing home. 

Returning to the scene in full regalia will be Ojai Blooms with the talents of Jennifer Wing and Adonda McGrath Brennan and their fabulous team of florist designers. Their enthusiasm and holiday visions for the Tuscan Ranch and it’s treasures of tile, murals, and ornate details has us all holding our breath to see the stunning results they create.  We are always in awe of their creations!

Even our Holiday Marketplace will be in its holiday finest with festive décor and wonderful mix of vendors for home, holiday and personal style. The Marketplace will be centrally located and within easy walking distant of restaurants with its new location at Libbey Park.  

All ticket sales and a portion of the Marketplace sales will support the Ojai Music Festival and the BRAVO music education program in the public schools. 

  • Laurel Crary, HHTM chair

2020 Composer Profile: Olga Neuwirth

“This remarkable creator – of orchestral pieces and chamber works as well as hybrids of film and performance art – draws on a plethora of influences, yet devises her own astonishing sound.” – The Guardian

Olga Neuwirth studied at the Academy of Music in Vienna and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. During her stay in the States she also attended an art college, where she studied painting and film. Her private teachers in composition included Adriana Hölszky, Tristan Murail and Luigi Nono. She first burst onto the international scene in 1991, at the age of 22, when two of her mini-operas were performed at the Wiener Festwochen. Ever since her works have been presented worldwide. 

Olga Neuwirth’s works are multi-layered and multi-sensory. Some pieces also draw on the full range of effects of both electronic and orchestral instruments as well as video, which she began integrating into some of her works in the late 1980’s. The listener is struck by the immediacy of her music, which is often dramatic and expressive as she is particularly interested in emotions and how they relate to the brain and memory.

The Ojai Music Festival debuted her World Premiere Incidendo / fluido at the 2002 Ojai Music Festival performed by pianist Marino Formenti. For Music Director Matthias Pintscher’s upcoming Festival, June 11 to 14, 2020, Neuwirth’s music will be showcased throughout the four days. 

 

 

Purchase 2020 series passes:

Ojai Festival Names New Board Leadership

OJAI MUSIC FESTIVAL NAMES NEW BOARD
CHAIR JERROLD EBERHARDT AND FY2020 SLATE OF OFFICERS

(September 19, 2019 OJAI, CA) – The Ojai Music Festival announced its FY2020 Slate of Officers for the Board of Directors this past weekend at the annual Board meeting with Jerrold Eberhardt as Board Chair succeeding David Nygren, who remains on the Board. Other Board officers are Barry Sanders, Vice-Chair Governance; Stephan Farber, Vice-Chair Finance and Treasurer; Michele Brustin, Vice- Chair Development; and Cathryn Krause, Secretary.

“I am deeply honored to continue to serve the Ojai Music Festival in this new capacity as Board chair, and I am humbled to succeed my dear friend David Nygren who served with distinction over the past five years. On behalf of my deeply dedicated Board colleagues, I want to thank David for his thoughtful, generous leadership,” commented Eberhardt. “The first Festival I attended was Eighth Blackbird’s in 2009. Since then, I have enjoyed magical weekends of remarkable music making in Ojai during Tom Morris’ defining tenure. Building on the Festival’s breathtaking artistic momentum, we look toward the future under the leadership of Chad Smith as Artistic Director. Chad, whose artistic genius is well known around the globe, is arguably the best in the business, and he is exactly the right visionary for the Ojai Music Festival today. Under Chad’s watch and as Ojai approaches its 75th anniversary in 2021, we are extremely optimistic about the future of this treasured Festival.”

Jerrold L. Eberhardt had a distinguished 40-year career at Smith Barney. He and his family moved from Chicago to Los Angeles in 1997 when he was named Senior Executive Vice President and Divisional Director for the Western Division, which included 11 States and was expanded to include Asia and Australia. He retired in 2009. Mr. Eberhardt has been a member of the Board of Directors of Dynasty Financial Partners, LLC since 2012. Dynasty is the premier provider of integrated wealth management solutions and technology for Independent Registered Investment Advisors.  

Throughout his business career, he was active in charitable and civic affairs in the Chicago community.  Prior to moving to Los Angeles, he was a trustee of the Ravinia Festival Association and served as vice chairman and a member of the executive committee. 

Mr. Eberhardt is former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, and currently serves as vice chairman and a member of the executive committee.  He is a member of the Board of the Music Academy of the West and serves on the executive committee. He also serves on the Board of the Music Center Foundation and is a past trustee of the Aspen Music Festival & School, having served on the Board for six years.  He is a member of The California Club and previously served on the Board of Directors and as the Chairman of the Finance Committee. Mr. Eberhardt graduated from the University of Illinois and received his MBA from the University of Cincinnati.

Ojai Music Festival Board of Directors
The FY2020 Board of Directors currently includes: Barry Sanders, attorney, author and civic leader (Los Angeles); Stephan Farber, founder/CEO of Sound Post Capital (Houston); Michele Brustin, civic leader (Santa Barbara); Cathryn Krause, co-founder of BST Solutions (Ojai); Sandy Buechley, business intelligence manager at Patagonia, Inc. (Ojai); NancyBell Coe, president (retired) of Music Academy of the West (Santa Barbara); James P. Drummy, principal at the law firm of Poindexter & Doutré Inc. (Los Angeles); Fred Fisher, founding architect partner of Fred Fisher & Partners (Ojai); David Nygren, founder of Nygren Consulting, LLC; David Oxtoby, president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Boston); Dr. Barry Schifrin, doctor (retired) (Los Angeles); Maurice Singer, founding principal at the Evergreen Advantage (Los Angeles/Santa Barbara); Dr. Bridget Tsao-Brockman, optometrist (Ojai); Merrill Williams, director of public relations of the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa (retired) (Ojai); and the Ojai Festival Women’s Committee president Tiese Quinn (Ojai).

Ojai Music Festival
From its founding in 1947, the Ojai Music Festival has become a place for groundbreaking musical experiences, bringing together innovative artists and curious audiences in an intimate, idyllic setting 75 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The Festival presents broad-ranging programs in unusual ways with an eclectic mix of new and rarely performed music, as well as refreshing juxtapositions of musical styles. The four-day festival is an immersive experience with concerts, free community events, symposia, and gatherings. Considered a highlight of the international music summer season, Ojai has remained a leader in the classical music landscape for seven decades.

Through its signature structure of the Artistic Director appointing an annual Music Director, Ojai has presented a “who’s who” of music including 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, Peter Sellars, Vijay Iyer, Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Barbara Hannigan.

The Ojai Music Festival approaches its 75th anniversary, and looks toward the future with Artistic Director Chad Smith whose first Festival will be in June 2020 with Music Director Matthias Pintscher.  Mr. Smith succeeds Thomas W. Morris whose defining tenure spanned 16 years. 

74th Ojai Music Festival with Matthias Pintscher
The 74th Festival – June 11 to 14, 2020 – with Music Director Matthias Pintscher will highlight progressive and forward-thinking composers of today’s generation while paying homage to early classical roots. Featuring a vast array of composers from the past six centuries, the program will connect the traditional with the contemporary. Joining Pintscher for this adventurous musical exploration will be the Ensemble Intercontemporain in their Ojai Music Festival debut. This Paris-based world-renowned ensemble of 31 full-time musicians is dedicated to performing and promoting contemporary chamber music, which was founded by past Music Director Pierre Boulez in 1972 and now led by Pintscher. For series passes to the 2020 Festival, visit OjaiFestival.org or call 805 646 2053.

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Contact:
Nikki Scandalios, nikki@scandaliospr.com, (704) 340-4094
Gina Gutierrez, ggutierrez@ojaifestival.org, (805) 646-2094

BRAVO Program is Back to School

The BRAVO Program is looking forward to an exciting year!
By Laura Walter, BRAVO Education Coordinator

It’s the start of the school year and our Education Through Music (ETM) weekly classes have begun in all public Ojai elementary schools for ages four to nine. ETM is based on folk songs and increases language fluency and the ability to sing in tune. In the age of the digital brain, we nurture and educate through having aesthetic experiences—joy and beauty. Teachers comment, “I notice an improvement in their listening skills, but more importantly their ability to take turns and be happy for their friends who are chosen. Students who were inhibited the first few times, now are excited to participate!”

Our BRAVO program is also out-and-about in the community — approaching quickly is the annual Ojai Day on October 19, where our volunteers will set up our ever-popular BRAVO Instrument Petting Zoo in Libbey Park. It’s always fun to see people of all ages try out the myriad of instruments from blowing a trumpet to banging on some boom-whackers.

Another place to see BRAVO in action is at the Holiday Home Tour and Marketplace on November 16 and 17. Local musicians serenade tour guests with strains of Mozart, Joni Mitchell, Top Ten Renaissance favorites, and James Taylor—what a variety! This year we will also have music for the Marketplace at Libbey Park. Be on the lookout for vocal quartets, fiddlers, easy listening, and classical oboe!

Take a musical trip to China or Indonesia in the spring by joining us at our Imagine concert! Building on last year’s vast success, we are looking forward to collaborating with Ojai Valley School and the Barbara Barnard Smith World Musics Foundation to present another world music concert for students from ten Ojai schools. We will once again add a late afternoon free community concert.

In conjunction with Music in the Schools month, Music Van will make its way to Ojai elementary schools with the help of a dedicated team of more than 50 volunteers. We introduce children to the instruments of the orchestra: brass, winds, percussion, and strings. Each child (and volunteer!) can try every instrument and the organized cacophony is surprisingly delightful! Mostly because of the smiles and giggles from all participants. Every year we hear from teachers that many students are inspired to choose an instrument and join the music program. Many children who struggle in school can find success in music. They have a chance to excel and find something they are passionate about. Working together and striving toward beauty are a vital part of educating our future citizens. Many thanks to Santa Barbara Symphony for use of their Music Van.

In addition to serving schoolchildren in the Ojai Valley, our Bridge Program is an inter-generational program that has third graders stepping up to interact with senior residents at the Gables of Ojai. Children, seniors, and caregivers spend time meeting each other, singing, skipping together (either on our feet, or just our hands), dancing, and finding new partners. The children are excited to meet new friends and find out about their lives. Many of the seniors remark afterward that they remember these songs from their childhood and didn’t know that children still sing them. Our time is filled with laughter, beauty, and wonder. At the end no one really wants to leave. There have been many tears of joy at these events.

The BRAVO program is made possible with the support of generous funders – California Arts Council, the Stauffer Foundation, the City of Ojai, and the Ojai Festival Women’s Committee.

For more information in volunteering or supporting our BRAVO program, please email info@ojafestival.org or call us at 805 646 2094 and ask for Laura Walter.

74th Ojai Music Festival

2020 Music Director Matthias Pintscher is already getting started with next year’s programming of the 74th Ojai Music Festival, June 11 to 14. We are so excited to share all of the exciting pieces and ensembles he is lining up. Listen to his vision for Ojai in the video below. 

The Festival will feature a fantastic array of contemporary works that connect back to the seminal music moments of our great tradition; moving forward with respect to what is behind us.  Featuring works by Pierre Boulez, Mozart, and Music Director Matthias Pintscher, 2020 will encompass a bridge of the classical contemporary relationship between Europe and the USA. 

Watch the video below to hear Artistic Director Chad Smith’s 2020 vision in his own words. 

 

2020 Artist Profile: Ensemble InterContemporain

In 1976, Pierre Boulez founded the Ensemble Intercontemporain with the support of Michel Guy (who was Minister of Culture at the time) and the collaboration and Nicholas Snowman. The Ensemble’s 31 soloists share a passion for 20th to 21st century music. They are employed on permanent contract, enabling them to fulfill the major aims of the Ensemble: performance, creation, and education for young musicians and the general public.

Under the artistic direction of Matthias Pintscher the musicians work in close collaboration with composers, exploring instrumental techniques and developing projects that interweave music, dance, theater, film, video, and visual arts. In collaboration with IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique), the Ensemble Intercontemporain is also active in the field of synthetic sound generation. New pieces are commissioned and performed on a regular basis with the support of the Fondation Meyer.

The Ensemble is renowned for its strong emphasis on music education: concerts for kids, creative workshops for students, training programs for future performers, conductors, and composers. Since 2004, the Ensemble soloists have been tutoring young instrumentalists, conductors and composers in the field of contemporary repertoire at the Lucerne Festival Academy, a several week educational project held by the Lucerne Festival.

Resident of the Philharmonie de Paris, the Ensemble performs and records in France and abroad, taking part in major festivals worldwide. The Ensemble is financed by the Ministry of Culture and Communication and receives additional support from the Paris City Council. New commissions by Ensemble Intercontemporain are supported by Fondation Meyer.

 

2019 Audience Survey

2019 Festival finale with Barbara Hannigan and LUDWIG. Photo by Annaliese van der Vegt

The Ojai Music Festival is long known for being a place for experimentation and discovery, and receiving feedback from our patrons is important to us. This year, we sent out an electronic audience survey to 998 emails of 2019 ticket buyers, and we had an overwhelming 41% response. For those who participated, we thank you for making the time to share your evaluations about your experience.

As we continue to comb through the results and comments, we would like to share some initial findings. You can also read 2019 press reviews and view the 2019 photo gallery.

Select memorable moments of patrons from the survey:

“The “Gershwin” belongs here… an absolute “slam dunk” rivaling anything I’ve seen anywhere… (Lady Gaga… watch your step!) but really, the most memorable “moment” was:  Barbara Hannigan.  I cannot recall ever experiencing any one person with more depth, comprehensiveness, vision and creativity that what I feel when I hear her sing, conduct or just talk about music.    Thank you so much for this year!”

“Finding out that I liked some of Zorn and a lot of Knussen. My time at Ojai each year is a time of musical discovery and a challenge to myself to be open and listening deep.”

“The Rake’s Progress, also meeting old and new friends at the Picnic suppers in the Park.”

“The energy throughout the weekend from the staff, volunteers and concertgoers was infectious.”

“Being reminded how wonderful it is to see friends and acquaintances over and over again, and the accessibility of even the most well-known of the artists.”

“Sun coming through later half of program and a chorus of birds. Vivier’s Lonely Child was a highly inspiring experience seen live.  Rake’s Progress.  I wept throughout the last third of it.”

 

2019 Festival Reviews

Ojai Music Festival. – “The Rake’s Progresss” 6/6/19 Libby Bowl by David Bazemore

The 2019 Ojai Music Festival with Music Director Barbara Hannigan brought a new experience to this year’s listeners, as she showcased her numerous skills as “a fearless femme fatale actress, dancer, athlete, sports psychologist, educator, cook and rising star conductor”. (Read the rest of this article here).  Relive the 2019 Festival anytime by watching our archived live streaming concerts

Feedback from our audience, artists, and members of the press is important to us. Read review excerpts below. We will continue to update these next few as reviews come in.

Download PDF of reviews here

“an ironwoman musical triathlon of exacting singing, vital conducting and inspiring mentoring” LA Times

“Hannigan thrust her arm to the sky in a gesture of pure triumph, all you could say was, “Wow!” SFCV

“Ojai Music Festival — a utopia where open-minded audiences welcome adventurous works presented against a backdrop of green hills, bird song and Pixie tangerines.”  NY Times

“a Coachella for classical and new-music fans.” LA Weekly

“Here was Ms. Hannigan in all her polymathic glory: the impresario who commissioned the piece; the conductor whose persuasive authority demonstrated that it was no vanity project; and the alluring singer, bright and magnetic, who wasn’t above ending on a literal high note.”  NY Times

“It is still the quirkiest major music festival in America.” LA Times

“Over its four movements, Schoenberg makes the transition from Wagnerian chromaticism into free-floating atonal space, with a soprano adding a text in the final two movements. Hannigan made it sound downright operatic, pushing her voice to expressionistic limits with a rapid flutter as the members of the JACK bore down.” – Musical America

“Suddenly, in the past few years, the jazz portion of the (contemporary music-geared Ojai Music Festival) story has been shifting and expanding in relevant ways… this year’s roster included jazz- related artists John Zorn, Tyshawn Sorey, and Mark-Anthony Turnage.” – All About jazz

“one of America’s most daring and contemporary-oriented festivals, well-known around internationally.” – Santa Barbara Independent 

“If music is a journey, then the Ojai Music Festivalis a serendipitous and often indirect one.” – Los Angeles Review of Books

In Hannigan’s sensitive hands, Vivier’s incantatory 22-minute score, which he called “a long song of solitude,” made touching emotional and narrative sense and conjured arresting timbres from the percussion instruments, including chimes and bass drum. – Classical Voice North America

LUDWIG’s Ojai Experience

“Once upon a time I have played in the Ojai Music Festival. It was like being in Paradise.’ 
– Marieke Stordiau, LUDWIG musician 

Many Ojai Music Festival artists who step onto the Libbey Bowl stage for the first time are instantly smitten with the enchanting intimate setting of shaded trees and a symphony of birds and crickets as accompanists, and equally so with the curious and enthusiastic audience members who are ready to listen with ears and minds wide open. 

Members of LUDWIG – the 2019 ensemble in residence – needless to say had the same experience. Take a look at their journey from Europe to California with photos by Annelies van der Vegt.

2019 Festival Photo Gallery

The 2019 Ojai Music Festival was a memorable four-day collective experience. Check out our gallery below to relive all the fun!

Photos by David Bazemore and Sierra Dudas

Rewatch Your Favorite Concerts

Although the 2019 Ojai Music Festival has come to a close, you can still relive every wonderful moment by rewatching your favorite concerts. 

Welcome to Ojai! An All-Access Guide to the Sights and Spots

Festival season is almost upon us! Artists, interns, production staff, and festival goers have begun to flood the gorgeous city of Ojai, eagerly anticipating all that the town has to offer. Here is our curated guide to the best restaurants, shops, and other hot spots to check out during your stay in Ojai. (Plus some other favorites outside of the valley to check out!)

 

Food & Drink

Agave Maria: Authentic Mexican cuisine with great patio seating. 

Bonnie Lu’s: Country-style diner serving up Americana favorites. 

Farmer & the Cook: Farm-fresh food with an emphasis on organic ingredients. 

Jim & Rob’s: Healthy and fresh burritos and burgers. 

Rainbow Bridge: Market featuring healthy grab-n-go options. 

Ranch House: A romantic spot serving farm-to-table cuisine. 

Retail

Gem Quest Jewelers: Jewelry and repair store with handmade designs. 

Serendipity Toys: One of the last old-school toy shops featuring retro and contemporary playthings from around the world. 

Sespe Creek: Voted Ventura County’s #1 cannabis dispensary. 

BookEnds Book Store: Selling books in a renovated former church. 

Cattywampus Crafts: An assortment of natural materials and craft supplies. 

Shangri-La Care: Cannabis dispensary voted 2018 Small Business of the Year. 

Barbara Bowman: Internationally inspired jewelry. 

Bart’s Books: World-renowned outdoor bookstore. 

photo by Ray Powers

Activities

Ojai Valley Trail Riding: Horse ranch featuring trail rides throughout the Enchanted Forest and Ventura River Valley. 

Old Creek Ranch: 850-acre cattle ranch featuring a winery and fruit orchards. 

Porch Gallery: Art gallery featuring contemporary artwork. 

Bamboo Creek Spa: Massage therapists trained in China. 

Brittany Davis Gallery: A classical gallery with a twist. 

Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza: Performing Arts Center with live music, comedy shows, movie nights, and dance performances.

Agora Foundation: Offering book seminars, panels, and more. 

Music Academy of West: Summer music conservatory offering numerous concert series, masterclasses, and film screenings. 

Pacific Opera Project: Offering affordable and accessible opera performances. 

UCSB Arts & Lectures: Hosting dance performances, concerts, movie screenings, and lectures in the Santa Barbara area. 

Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum: Arts Center performing classic theater. 

Canvas & Paper: Exhibition space for paintings and drawings. 

Human Arts Gallery: Representing over 130 American artists. 

Realty & Organizations

Joan Roberts: Former state director for the California Association of Realtors. 

Sharon MaHarry: President of the Ojai Valley Board of Realtors. 

The Artesian: Innovative senior living for those engaged in the community. 

The Gables: Compassionate assisted living facility. 

Blue Iguana Inn:  A bohemian boutique inn featuring lush gardens. 

Nora Davis: An accomplished Ojai real estate agent for more than 30 years. 

Michael Malone: A financial advisor with a love for volunteering. 

Patty Waltcher: Coldwell Banker Previews Specialist. 

Monica Ros School: Providing a magical education for Ojai’s children. 

Ojai Hospital Foundation: Investing in the health of Ojai residents. 

Ojai Valley School: A private college prep day and boarding school. 

Oak Grove School: A progressive boarding school in Ojai. 

Villanova Prep: A Catholic boarding school in Augustinian tradition. 

Thacher School: A college preparatory boarding school in Ojai. 

We hope you enjoy your stay In the beautiful town of Ojai. Don’t forget to come back for Ojai Day, a family-friendly extravaganza occurring Saturday October 19, and the 20th Annual Ojai Film Festival, occurring October 31 through November 10! 

 

2019 Live Stream Schedule

 

The Ojai Music Festival allows the world beyond Ojai’s Libbey Bowl to experience the music and ideas expressed at the Festival through state-of-the art live streaming access during the four-day event. In addition to the concerts, you can also watch our live stream interviews with hosts Steven Smith of National Sawdust and Thomas Kotcheff of Classical KUSC.
Please join us for the 2019 Ojai Music Festival live broadcast!

Thursday, June 6 2019

Start Time Event
7:00 pm Pre-Show with hosts Smith & Kotcheff
7:30 pm The Rake’s Progress

Friday, June 7 2019

Morning

Start Time Event
3:00 pm Pre-Show & Barbara Hannigan Interview
3:30 pm  The Music of John Zorn Part 1
4:30 pm Concert Recap & Interview with Peppie Wiersma of LUDWIG
5:00 pm The Music of John Zorn Part 2
5:55 pm Concert Recap & Ojai Talks with Barbara Hannigan

Evening

Start Time Event
7:00 pm Pre-Show & Interview with Bill Elliott
7:30 pm  Part 1: Debussy, Ravel, Messiaen, & Schoenberg
8:30 pm Concert Recap & Interview with Edo Frenkel
9:00 pm Part 2: Schoenberg, Debussy, Vivier
10:00 pm Concert Recap 

Saturday, June 8 2019

Morning

Start Time Event
3:00 pm Pre-Show & Interview with Elgan Lyr Thomas of EQ 
3:30 pm Part 1: Tribute to Oliver Knussen
4:20 pm Concert Recap & Interview with Aphrodite Patoulidou of EQ
4:50 pm Part 2: Rachmaninoff, Turnage
5:50 pm Concert Recap & Ojai Talks with Thomas W. Morris

Evening

Start Time Event
7:00 pm Concert Recap & Interview with Jay Campbell & Christopher Otto of JACK Quartet
7:30 pm Part 1: Zorn Jumalattaret
8:00 pm Concert Recap 
8:15 pm Part 2: Rites of Passage
9:00 pm Concert Recap & Interview with Stephan Farber
9:30 pm Part 3: Gerard Grisey
10:00 pm Concert Recap

Sunday, June 9 2019

Morning

Start Time Event
10:30 am Pre-Show & Interview with Chad Smith
11:00 am Part 1: Walton
11:45 am Concert Recap & Interview with Molly Sheridan
12:15 pm Part 2: Terry Riley
1:05 pm Concert Recap
1:15 pm Replay of Ojai Talks

Evening

Start Time Event
3:45 pm Pre-Show & Interview Thomas W. Morris
4:30 pm Part 1: Stravinsky
5:05 pm Concert Recap
5:25 pm Part 2: Hadyn, Gershwin
6:10 pm Festival Recap 

 

2019 Frequently Asked Questions

Ojai Music Festival – Ligeti 6/10/18 Libbey Bowl, Ojai

Which are the best seats?
Since the new Libbey Bowl is a small amphitheater, virtually all of the seats are relatively close to the stage with good sight lines. Lawn seats are also available for those who prefer to spread out a bit. Blankets and beach chairs no taller than 12″ are allowed on the lawn. Lawn patrons with taller chairs will be seated on the right side of the lawn so not to hinder the view of others.

Will my seats be in the shade?
That depends on the time of the day. A shade cloth is erected to cover a large portion of the audience section, but we always recommend bringing a hat and sunscreen. A jacket or wrap may be needed for evening concerts.

How can I learn more about the programs?
One hour before each concert, ticket buyers are encouraged to join us for free Concert Insights at the Libbey Park tennis courts. Musicologist Christopher Hailey and featured artists discuss the repertoire and the interesting connections of the music.

What do most people wear?
Comfortable casual wear is entirely appropriate. Since this is an outdoor facility and the weather is often very warm, we recommend a hat or visor and sunscreen. A heavy wrap, sweater or jacket may be desired for the evening concerts.

Can you accommodate persons with disabilities?
Handicapped seating and restroom facilities are available. A small parking lot behind the post office is reserved during the Festival for vehicles displaying ADA placards. Please call our box office to inquire about the seats at 805.646.2053.

What discounts do you offer?
Students can purchase lawn or reserved seats at a 30% discount; children under 5 can sit on the lawn for free. The Festival does not offer senior discounts. Groups of 8 or more receive a group discount on tickets to a single concert. Call our box office at 805 646 2053  for information.

Can I come in and pick my seats?
Seating is done by our box office on a first come, first served basis, with priority given to donors and series pass subscribers. Single ticket holders will be seated in the remaining available seats. When purchasing tickets online, you are able to select your own seat. Please contact the box office with special seating requests and assistance. If you’re in the area, drop by our box office at Libbey Park at 210 S. Signal Street – we’d love to meet you!

Will tickets be available at the Box Office on the day of the concert?
Perhaps, but since we usually have near capacity audiences, ordering early will ensure the best seating we currently have available.

Can I reserve my seats and pay for them when I pick them up?
We can only hold prepaid tickets at Will Call. Tickets can be purchased with your Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.

Will there be late seating?
Performances start at the time designated on your ticket. In deference to the comfort and listening pleasure of the audience, late-arriving patrons will not be seated while music is being performed. Late-comers are asked to wait quietly in the designated area until the first break in the program, when ushers will assist them to their seats. 

What is your refund policy?
All sales are final for tickets and special events. There are no refunds or exchanges. In common with other outdoor venues, there are no refunds in case of rain. However, if you turn your tickets back to us for resale we can issue a receipt to you for a tax-deductible donation in the amount of the value of the tickets.

When will I get my tickets?
Ticket mailings begin in May and continue until the week preceding the Festival. After that, tickets be held in will call for pick up prior to the concert.

How long do the concerts last?
Most of the concerts last about two hours and have an intermission of about 20 minutes.

What if I arrive late to a performance?
Late seating is based on the discretion of the House Manager. Please note that some concerts (noted in the program book) will have no late seating.

Will food and refreshments be available?
There will be vendors for food and beverages, as well as concessions for gifts, mementos and souvenirs. You may also bring your own picnic lunch and refreshments for the lawn or our Gathering Place in Libbey Park. There is a no alcohol policy in Libbey Park and Libbey Bowl.

May I bring my pet?
Animals or pets of any kind, with the exception of trained service dogs, are prohibited in Libbey Bowl during concerts. Patrons with disabilities are welcome to bring trained service animals. Service animals are dogs that meet the requirements of the American Disabilities Act. Service animals must remain on a leash or in a harness at all times and rest in the seating area of the individual with a disability excluding aisles or walkways. Please note that dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the American Disabilities Act.

What about parking?
Free parking is available on streets surrounding Libbey Bowl and Libbey Park and in various public lots within a two block radius. Allow time before concerts to find parking. Handicapped parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis for vehicles displaying a DMV handicapped parking hang tag or license plate. If you need special assistance, call our box office at 805.646.2053.

When should I get there to get the best lawn seats?
We open the Bowl one hour before the start of the concert. Subscribers get in first before single ticket buyers. People often begin lining up well before then. Come early, stake out your space on the lawn, and plan to attend the pre-concert lectures given 45 minutes prior to each concert. Occasionally, rehearsals may delay the opening of the gates. For information about the Lawn Experience, CLICK HERE. 

Can lawn buyers picnic on the lawn? 
Yes, please bring blankets to sit, relax and enjoy a meal! As far as lawn chairs, patrons who bring camp or deck chairs are placed usually on the right side of the lawn while lower beach chairs are placed on the left side as well as picnic blankets. Ushers will be available to direct patrons to the appropriate location on the lawn. 

Can I take pictures of the concert?
The use of cameras, audio or video recording devices are not allowed during a performance.

Please contact us if you have any other questions at 805 646 2053 or boxoffice@ojaifestival.org. Thank you! 

2020 Music Director Matthias Pintscher Shares Initial Programming

Incoming Artistic Director Chad Smith and Matthias Pintscher Announce
the 74th Festival, June 11 to 14, 2020

Download Press Release PDF Version

“It is a tremendous pleasure and incredible honor to be music director for the 2020 Ojai Festival, something I have dreamed about since moving to New York twelve years ago.  I feel a combination of joy and responsibility to showcase composers and works that create something like an INVISIBLE BRIDGE between the two continents in which I am living and working: Europe and the USA. I have realized that my role as musical communicator – as composer, conductor, educator, and festival director – is to actively strengthen the interactions and connections between the music of today and its heritage in the US and on the “old continent”. As a European living in New York and Paris, I want to explore this INVISIBLE BRIDGE as one of the key elements for my programming of the 2020 Ojai Festival: thoughtful, innovative, loving, provocative, and poetic. Music speaks most directly from human to human, and Ojai is a perfect place to showcase this. I am excited. See you in 2020. – Matthias Pintscher, 2020 Music Director 

(May 30, 2019 – Ojai, California) – As the Ojai Music Festival anticipates the upcoming 73rd Festival (June 6 to 9, 2019) with Music Director Barbara Hannigan, the Festival’s 2020 Music Director Matthias Pintscher and incoming Artistic Director Chad Smith share initial programming for the 74th Festival, June 11 to 14, 2020. 

Chad Smith begins his tenure as the Ojai Music Festival’s Artistic Director with the 2020 Festival in partnership with 2020 Music Director Matthias Pintscher. Mr. Smith succeeds Thomas W. Morris, who has shaped Ojai’s artistic direction for sixteen years and will be retiring from the Festival following the upcoming 73rd edition.

“For nearly 75 years, the Ojai Music Festival has been Southern California’s home for the most probing, adventurous, and visionary musicians, and I couldn’t be more excited to be joining this organization as its next Artistic Director. I first experienced the unique spirit of Ojai in 2001, when Esa-Pekka Salonen was the Festival’s Music Director. I was struck by the uncompromising programming, the incredibly devoted and informed audience, and the pure joy in the performances emanating from Libbey Bowl. In that weekend, in that first experience with Ojai, I came to understand the special nature of making music in this part of the world, and I was hooked. From my seat in Los Angeles, I have watched as Tom Morris has expanded the possibilities of what this Festival could be, making it more international, more inclusive, and ultimately more relevant year by year. Tom is one of the lions in our field, and I could not be more humbled, but also inspired, to take the reins from him. This Festival is poised for even greater things; I am thrilled to be a part of that future. To imagine the start of my tenure with Ojai, I can’t think of a more fitting partner than my good friend, conductor and composer Matthias Pintscher. We are excited to share initial plans for our 2020 Festival,” said Chad Smith, incoming Artistic Director.

Programming for the 2020 Festival will feature the music of Pierre Boulez, Chaya Czernowin, Helmut Lachenmann, Olga Neuwirth, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and several works by Pintscher, among many others. Ojai will welcome the Ensemble Intercontemporain, of which Mr. Pintscher is music director, as the 2020 Festival’s ensemble-in-residence. Founded by Pierre Boulez, the world-renowned Ensemble Intercontemporain and Pintscher collaborate closely with composers to explore instrumental techniques and develop projects which interweave music, dance, theater, film, and the visual arts. This will mark the Ensemble’s first appearance in Ojai. Additionally, members of IRCAM, the Paris-based Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music, will collaborate on several 2020 Festival performances. Programming details for Ojai 2020 will be announced in the fall.

Matthias Pintscher, 2020 Music Director
Matthias Pintscher is the Music Director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the world’s leading contemporary music ensemble founded by Pierre Boulez. In addition to a robust concert season in Paris, he toured extensively with them throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States this season including concerts in Berlin, Brussels, Russia, and the United States. Known equally as one of today’s foremost composers, Mr. Pintscher will conduct the premiere of his new work for baritone, chorus, and orchestra, performed by Georg Nigl and the Chorus and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks at their Musica Viva festival in February 2020.

In the 2019/20 season, Mr. Pintscher makes debuts with the symphony orchestras of Montreal, Baltimore, Houston, Pittsburgh, and with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at Interlochen. He also makes his debut at the Vienna State Opera conducting the premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s new opera Orlando, and returns to the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin to conduct performances of Beat Furrer’s Violetter Schnee, which he premiered in January 2019. Re-invitations this season include the Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and Chamber Orchestra of Europe. In summer 2020, Mr. Pintscher will serve as Music Director of the 74thOjai Music Festival.

Highlights of Mr. Pintscher’s 2018/19 season included serving as the Season Creative Chair for the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, as Artist-in-Residence at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and concluding a nine-year term as the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra’s Artist-in-Association. Last season, Mr. Pintscher made his debuts with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, and the Staatsoper Berlin, and returned to the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, the New York Philharmonic, the New World Symphony in Miami, and the Music Academy of the West. In Europe, he conducted the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the Edinburgh International Festival and returned to the Orchestre de Paris, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and Helsinki Philharmonic. Mr. Pintscher also conducted the premiere of his work Nur, a new concerto for piano and ensemble, performed by Daniel Barenboim and the Boulez Ensemble in January 2018. An enthusiastic supporter of and mentor to students and young musicians, Mr. Pintscher served as Principal Conductor of the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra from 2016-2018 and worked with the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic in their 2017/18 season, culminating in a concert at the Philharmonie.

Matthias Pintscher began his musical training in conducting, studying with Pierre Boulez and Peter Eötvös in his early twenties, during which time composing took a more prominent role in his life. He rapidly gained critical acclaim in both areas of activity, and continues to compose in addition to his conducting career. As a composer, Mr. Pintscher’s music is championed by some of today’s finest performing artists, orchestras, and conductors. His works have been performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the Orchestre de Paris, among many others. Bärenreiter is his exclusive publisher, and recordings of his compositions can be found on Kairos, EMI, Teldec, Wergo, and Winter & Winter. Mr. Pintscher has been on the composition faculty of The Juilliard School since 2014.

Ensemble Intercontemporain

Ensemble intercontemporain

In 1976, Pierre Boulez founded the Ensemble Intercontemporain with the support of Michel Guy (who was Minister of Culture at the time) and the collaboration and Nicholas Snowman. The Ensemble’s 31 soloists share a passion for 20th to 21st century music. They are employed on permanent contract, enabling them to fulfill the major aims of the Ensemble: performance, creation, and education for young musicians and the general public.    

Under the artistic direction of Matthias Pintscher the musicians work in close collaboration with composers, exploring instrumental techniques and developing projects that interweave music, dance, theater, film, video, and visual arts. In collaboration with IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique), the Ensemble Intercontemporain is also active in the field of synthetic sound generation. New pieces are commissioned and performed on a regular basis with the support of the Fondation Meyer.

The Ensemble is renowned for its strong emphasis on music education: concerts for kids, creative workshops for students, training programs for future performers, conductors, and composers.  Since 2004, the Ensemble soloists have been tutoring young instrumentalists, conductors and composers in the field of contemporary repertoire at the Lucerne Festival Academy, a several week educational project held by the Lucerne Festival.

Resident of the Philharmonie de Paris, the Ensemble performs and records in France and abroad, taking part in major festivals worldwide. The Ensemble is financed by the Ministry of Culture and Communication and receives additional support from the Paris City Council. New commissions by Ensemble Intercontemporain are supported by Fondation Meyer.

IRCAM, the Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music
IRCAM, the Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music directed by Frank Madlener, is one of the world’s largest public research centers dedicated to both musical expression and scientific research. This unique location where artistic sensibilities collide with scientific and technological innovation brings together over 160 collaborators.

IRCAM’s three principal activities – creation, research, transmission – are visible in IRCAM’s Parisian concert season, its productions throughout France and abroad, and in its two annual rendezvous: ManiFeste, which combines an international festival with a multidisciplinary academy, and the Vertigo forum, which presents technical mutations and their tangible effects on artistic creation.

Founded by Pierre Boulez, IRCAM is associated with the Centre Pompidou, under the tutelage of the French Ministry of Culture. The mixed STMS research lab (Sciences and Technologies for Music and Sound), housed by IRCAM, also benefits from the support of the CNRS and Sorbonne University.

Incoming Artistic Director Chad Smith_image by Cindy Pitou Burton

Chad Smith, Incoming Artistic Director
Chad Smith is the Chief Operating Officer for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. Mr. Smith joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association in 2002, serving as VP of artistic planning for over a decade before becoming COO in 2015. As COO, he is responsible for the artistic oversight and coordination of the orchestra’s programming, as well as the organization’s strategic planning, marketing, PR, production, orchestra operations, media, and educational initiatives.

During his tenure, Mr. Smith has implemented an expansive vision of what an orchestra can be through a deep commitment to living composers, the development of multi-disciplinary collaborations, and thematic festivals which have positioned the Philharmonic at the center of the city’s cultural discourse. Committed to making classical music more inclusive, he has overseen the launch of many of the organization’s defining educational programs, including YOLA, a program which has provided daily after-school music training to thousands of children in several of LA’s most underserved communities.

He currently serves as a trustee of the New England Conservatory of Music, as a member of Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Prize executive committee, and on the artistic advisory board for the Music Academy of the West. Mr. Smith began his career in 2000 at the New World Symphony, after receiving his B.M. (Vocal Performance) and B.A. (European History) in the NEC/Tufts dual degree program. He received his M.M. in 1998 in Vocal Performance from NEC.

The Ojai Music Festival
From its founding in 1947, the Ojai Music Festival has become a place for groundbreaking musical experiences, bringing together innovative artists and curious audiences in an intimate, idyllic setting 75 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The Festival presents broad-ranging programs in unusual ways with an eclectic mix of new and rarely performed music, as well as refreshing juxtapositions of musical styles. The four-day festival is an immersive experience with concerts, free community events, symposia, and gatherings. Considered a highlight of the international music summer season, Ojai has remained a leader in the classical music landscape for seven decades.

Through its signature structure of the Artistic Director appointing an annual Music Director, Ojai has presented a “who’s who” of music including 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, Peter Sellars, Vijay Iyer, and Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Following Barbara Hannigan’s 2019 Festival, Ojai welcomes Mathias Pintscher as its 2020 Music Director.

As the Ojai Music Festival approaches its 75th anniversary and looks toward the future with incoming Artistic Director Chad Smith, the innumerable contributions of outgoing Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris over his sixteen-year tenure will continue to be felt through the 2019 Festival and beyond.

Live video streaming of the Ojai Music Festival
The Ojai Music Festival continues to draw thousands of curious and engaged music enthusiasts from across the country. Ojai includes free access to the Festival experience through live and archived video streaming online at OjaiFestival.org. This year’s live streaming runs June 6 through June 9 and will include guest interviews throughout the webcasts. Hosting this year will be Director of Publications for National Sawdust and longtime journalist Steve Smith and Los Angeles-based composer and Classical KUSC host Thomas Kotcheff.

Series Passes for 2020 Ojai Music Festival
Advance 2020 series subscriptions will be available for purchase during the 2019 Festival and online at OjaiFestival.org.

Single Tickets for 2019 Ojai Music Festival with Music Director Barbara Hannigan
2019 Festival single tickets are available and may be purchased online at OjaiFestival.org or by calling (805) 646-2053. 2019 Ojai Music Festival ticket prices range from $45 to $150 for reserved seating and lawn tickets are $20. Student discounts are available.

A Grand Finale: Barbara Hannigan

This year’s closing concert highlights that music, to thrive, must always be about the joyous urgency of now. With a series of contrasting pieces, festival director Barbara Hannigan celebrates the “synthesis of dark and light: chiaroscuro,” as she puts it.

Haydn’s Symphony No. 49, composed in 1768, demonstrates the process in which old and new huddle together at the threshold of change. The orchestration and structure are conventional and yet the content reflects the unprecedented emotional turbulence of Haydn’s Sturm und Drang period: dynamic extremes, dramatic melodic leaps, and unexpected accents and silences. Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, a ballet interspersed with songs featuring stock characters, echoes Baroque composer Pergolesi and creates new perspectives for the present.

George Gershwin’s Girl Crazy, inspired by jazz, Tin Pan alley, and Broadway theater, premiered in 1930 and featured an all-star cast that included Ethel Merman and Ginger Rogers, and a pit orchestra teeming with luminaries. Featuring Barbara Hannigan as both conductor and soprano, Bill Elliott’s Girl Crazy Suite enfolds the show’s hits in a series of droll arrangements that extend from gauzy impressionism to brassy Broadway swagger, bringing the dramatic finale of this year’s festival to a fitting close.

2019 Festival Program Notes

The 73rd Ojai Music Festival, June 6 to 9, is on the horizon. Get a head start by reading the 2019 Festival program notes by musicologist and program book annotator Christopher Hailey. Download the PDF via the link.

Download PDF here
Download Rake’s Progress libretto 

Celebrating Oliver Knussen

Saturday Morning, June 8th Preview

This Two-part concert opens with a tribute to the late Oliver Knussen (2005 Ojai Music Director), a composer of infinite wit, imagination, and refinement, qualities readily in evidence in this wide-ranging selection of chamber works. In the dramatic scene, Twice Through the Heart, Mark-Anthony Turnage (who studied with Knussen), filters his fascination with contemporary social issues through jazz and classical idioms. Rachmaninoff’s idiom is lushly Romantic. Here, though, LUDWIG presents his orchestral tone poem, The Isle of the Dead, in an arrangement for chamber ensemble. 

This is a concert Olly Knussen would have loved. He was a champion of new music, including that of his student and close friend Mark-Anthony Turnage, but he also loved the delectable harmonies and rich orchestral textures of such late Romantics as Sergei Rachmaninoff. 

The works on this tribute are all relatively short but chronological. Masks, the rare early piece that survived Knussen’s critical scrutiny, is heard here with its ad libitum glass chimes. It has joined Debussy’s Syrinx and Varèse’s Density 21.5 as one of the classics of the solo flute literature. Knussen described the next three works that make up a triptych as “diary-like expressions” that were at the same time explorations of new harmonic spaces.

Autumnal, written in memory of Benjamin Britten, has two movements – Nocturne and Serenade – named after two of Britten’s own song cycles.

In Sonja’s Lullaby, written for Knussen’s infant daughter (now an accomplished singer specializing in new music), the lowest registers of the piano anchor a gentle rocking motion and widely spaced sonorities and filigree in the voices above.

Cantata for oboe and string quartet, the longest movement of the set, is more episodic, a quality that reminded Knussen of 18th-century solo cantatas in their alternation of recitatives and self-contained numbers. There are moments of high drama before an introspective coda recalls the work’s opening.

Eccentric Melody, written for Elliott Carter’s 90th birthday, is a compact, powerful work that explores the cello’s full expressive range.

Ophelia’s Last Dance is fashioned from one of the many fragments in Knussen’s compositional workshop (this one dating from 1974). The melody continued to haunt him and in 2009-10 he brought it together with several other “‘homeless’ dance fragments” to produce a piece “related more by personal history and by mood than anything more concrete.” Study for “Metamorphosis” – another early work – was revised just before Knussen’s death and dedicated to the memory of the composer Alan Stout.

Who is John Zorn?

The Ojai Music Festival kicks off Friday morning, June 7 with the music of composer John Zorn, the prolific saxophonist whose creative force has spawned album after album across several decades of work, samples of which can be heard in the links below.

Friday’s chamber works by John Zorn with Stephen Gosling and the JACK Quartet include HexentarotGhosts, and The Aristos for piano trio, The Unseen, and The Alchemist for string quartet. 

About the composer – John Zorn is an American composer, arranger, record producer, saxophonist, and multi-instrumentalist with hundreds of album credits as performer, composer, and producer across a variety of genres including jazz, rock, hardcore, classical, surf, metal, soundtrack, ambient, and music improvisation. He incorporates diverse styles in his compositions, which he identifies as avant-garde or experimental. Zorn was described by Down Beat magazine as “one of our most important composers.”

Debussy, Schoenberg, & Vivier

Prepare yourself for a dream beyond time as Barbara Hannigan leads Vivier’s powerfully enigmatic Lonely Child to end a thrilling, picturesque evening featuring Debussy’s Syrinx and Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, Friday June 7th at 7:30PM

The myth of Syrinx is the story of a chaste nymph transformed into river reeds to escape Pan’s pursuit. Pan, in turn, creates from these reeds the pipes with which he laments his loss. Debussy’s piece for solo flute, scarcely three minutes long, serves as the prelude to another work of transformation: Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night). 

Considered at that time to be offensive to the modesty of chamber music, the steamy program Verklärte Nacht (drawn from Richard Dehmel’s poem of the same name) is a work of one single movement filled with chromatic harmonies and dense textures. Schoenberg’s music closely follows a woman’s tortured confession to her lover that she is carrying the child of another man. In the radiant conclusion, the man assures his partner that the stranger’s child will be his own, transfigured by their love.

Vivier has described Lonely Child as “a long song of solitude” composed “without using chords, harmony, or counterpoint,” a homophonic texture that becomes one single, “intervalized” melody: “Thus, there are no longer any chords, and the entire orchestra is then transformed into a timbre. The roughness and the intensity of this timbre depend on the base interval. Musically speaking, there was only one thing I needed to control, which automatically, somehow, would create the rest of the music, that is great beams of color!”

Ravel, Messiaen, Debussy, & Schoenberg

The Ojai Music Festival celebrates works by Debussy, Messiaen, and Schoenberg in Part One of our Friday evening concert on June 7. Prepare yourself for a journey through shadowy forests, across oceans, soaring through the wind, basking in the light of the moon, breathing in the air of another planet. 

Poetic imagery, painting, and nature served to stimulate Debussy’s imagination, as did his encounter with non-Western music. In Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut (And the moon descends on the temple that was), one hears in its suspended stillness elements of the music of Bali.

Ravel’s Une barque sur l’océan (A boat on the ocean), the third of his five-movement Miroirs, is a study of motion, captured in surging arpeggiated currents.

Un reflet dans le vent (A reflection in the wind) is the last of Messiaen’s eight Préludes, all of which bear the hallmarks of his distinctive harmonic and rhythmic language. Their descriptive titles suggest influences from Debussy and crisp textures from Ravel. 

Schoenberg’s Second String Quartet is relatively short, its textures and formal layout clear and transparent. The impassioned first movement is an abbreviated sonata form; the second, a fidgety scherzo. The third movement delivers an unprecedented shock: the commanding voice of soprano Barbara Hannigan.

Barbara Hannigan talks “Rites of Passage” and Gérard Grisey

Soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan brings singers from her newly launched Equilibrium Mentoring Initiative to perform at the 73rd Ojai Music Festival, June 6 to 9, at Ojai’s Libbey Bowl. One of the curated programs on June 8 will be “Rites of Passage” – folk songs performed by the EQ artists who will share music from their native countries.

Ojai Music Festival Seeks Housing Hosts and Volunteers – June 6-9, 2019

The Ojai Music Festival welcomes Ojai Valley residents to get involved in the upcoming Ojai Music Festival slated for June 6 to 9, 2019 with Grammy-winning soprano Barbara Hannigan as music director. The Festival is seeking guest housing for musicians, production crew, and interns that include guest cottages, private rooms, and homes. The Festival also includes volunteer opportunities in various positions in the following areas: ushering, venue set up, special events, and merchandise sales. Volunteers receive special perks for their generous donation of time and talent.

The 73rd Ojai Music Festival, June 6-9, 2019, celebrates and explores the creative breadth of Music Director Barbara Hannigan, as conductor, singer, and mentor. Joining Hannigan will be the US debut of her mentoring initiative for young professional artists, Equilibrium (EQ), and the US debut of the orchestral collective from Amsterdam, LUDWIG, with whom Hannigan made her Grammy Award-winning conducting debut CD “Crazy Girl Crazy” in 2017. Returning to Ojai will be 2015 Music Director Steven Schick, who will both perform and conduct, and the JACK Quartet performing works by John Zorn, Tyshawn Sorey, and Arnold Schoenberg.

Program highlight include the staged production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress with Hannigan conducting and members of EQ as the cast; Hannigan as singer in Gérard Grisey’s Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil, John Zorn’s Jumalattaret, and Girl Crazy Suite, a special arrangement by Bill Elliott of songs from the Gershwin musical; Hannigan conducting Vivier’s Lonely Child, Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht and Stravinsky’s complete ballet Pulcinella. In addition, the Festival will give a concert in memoriam for 2005 Music Director Oliver Knussen. 

For more information on housing hosts or volunteering for the Ojai Music Festival, please call 805 646-2094 or email info@ojaifestival.org, or download application here.