74th Ojai Festival T-Shirts on sale now

The Ojai Music Festival is often cited as a creative laboratory for artists and audiences, and our famously engaged and adventurous patrons are key to each Festival experience. After the cancellation of the 74th Festival, we appreciated the wonderful messages of support from our patrons. Now, we will honor the unrealized Festival, June 11 to 14, 2020, with virtual offerings on our website, OjaiFestival.org. In addition to joining us online for these events, purchase a commemorative shirt to add to your collection! We are beyond grateful to each and every person who comprises our Festival family. Thank you for your support. 

Click Here to Purchase: https://www.customink.com/fundraising/74th-ojai-music-festival

Patrons Bring Added Assurance

We, like all of our communities, are grappling with a very different way forward these days.  After cancelling the 2020 Ojai Music Festival, we were not able to share “building a musical bridge between Europe and America” – the vision of composerconductor and 2020 Music Director, Matthias Pintscher.  In reaching out to all of you and to our wonderful artists with the cancellation news, we were greeted by kindness and by the solidarity that binds us together in raising up music to the world.  Here are some generous words of support that we received:

“We will miss out on the potentially Life Changing experiences that happen almost every year.” 

 

“Over the past few weeks, there has been a depressing wave of cancellations, but this one hurt the most. The Ojai Music Festival is always my favorite event of the year.”  

 

“The effort that it takes for all of you to make this week happen every year behind the scenes is just unimaginable. My heart goes out to each and everyone of you….Please know that your devotion to the cause of bringing the arts to all of us is recognized and appreciated.” 

 

“These are definitely extraordinary times.  In the past 46 years, my husband & I missed only one festival due to an accident.  Every year, the festival is such a special experience for us & we will miss it greatly this year.”

 

To honor each of our patrons and the artists who share in this work, we have created weekly online offerings from our archives of past Festivals called Tune in Tuesdays And just as each of you misses the chance to connect at the Festival, so do our Ojai Valley studentswho now relish coming together in Song and Play with Laura Walter, virtually, each Thursday. 

“Thank you, Laura. Your smile and those cute, funny songs make the kids so happy during these lonely days. We love and miss you. Your music classes make my week!” 

While we cannot be together in Ojai, in Libbey Bowl, or in our classrooms with Laura, we can continue to bring you these memories and moments, until it is safe for us all.  In this liminal space we invite you to consider making a gift to support this work, this music, this community.  Together, we will rise above this time, to gather again in celebration of transcendent music in 2021, for the 75th Ojai Music Festival. 

A Message on the Cancellation of the 2020 Festival

 

Dear Friends,

I hope you are staying well during this challenging time. This letter is an extremely difficult one to share, but I am writing to let you know that we have made the heartbreaking decision to cancel the 74th Ojai Music Festival, June 11 to 14, 2020, brilliantly imagined by Music Director Matthias Pintscher in collaboration with 2020 Artistic Director Chad Smith.

On behalf of my Board colleagues, CEO Jamie Bennett, and the artistic and administrative teams, we are deeply saddened that during this unprecedented uncertainty, this decision is not just a necessary and right step, it is the only step. As we were monitoring the COVID-19 crisis over these last several weeks, we considered the unpredictability of travel as well as the safety and comfort of our artists and patrons. It has also become clear that the institution cannot shoulder the projected financial burden due to the forecasted drop in Festival revenue and increase in Festival expenses.  This unfortunate immediate cancellation is necessitated by our ultimate goal to ensure that the Ojai Music Festival continues to inspire audiences and artists for generations to come.

Chad Smith shared his thoughts with us, “I’m gutted that this extraordinary festival will go silent this June for the first time in its history. Matthias’ vision for his Festival embodied Ojai’s commitment to adventurous music making and to introducing virtuosic artists to our community.  On behalf of all of us, we share a common feeling of profound disappointment about this necessary cancellation.  Ojai’s next Artistic Director, my friend Ara Guzelimian is already hard at work with 2021 Music Director John Adams. Difficult as this is now, I know the Festival will emerge from this challenging moment, and I am eager to see you all in Ojai in June 2021 when we will celebrate 75 years of the world’s most adventurous music-making in this uniquely idyllic place.”

We have communicated our decision to our collaborators, including artists and the production team. We will ensure that the many volunteers whose contributions are incalculable – from ushers to those who provide housing – are contacted directly in the coming days. Our administrative team will reach out to Ojai business partners who are a critical part of the fabric of our Festival experience each year.

To date and to reduce the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the Ojai Music Festival postponed a scheduled March 22 event in Los Angeles. We also suspended our BRAVO education residencies in the schools due to the Ojai Unified School District closures.  Following the shelter in place order as per Governor Newsom’s office, staff is now working from home.

The Ojai Music Festival is often cited as a creative laboratory for artists and audiences, and our famously engaged and adventurous patrons are key to each Festival experience. For those who have purchased series tickets to the 2020 Festival, we ask you to consider a tax-deductible donation of the value of your tickets to the Ojai Music Festival, which will empower us to continue to keep the Festival moving forward. Alternatively, you may use the value of 2020 tickets toward 2021 Festival ticket purchases, or we will issue refunds. Please call anyone of our staff members (see contact numbers below) for assistance. We expect some volume of calls, and thank you for your patience as we navigate this challenging time.

You are essential to the success of this jewel that is the Ojai Music Festival. Thank you and know that your Ojai family is thinking of you during this difficult time. We have begun to implement efforts to stay more connected with our Festival community, including sharing Festival concert archives released on our Facebook channel and website. For families, we are creating digital content through our BRAVO music education program. We will keep you posted as we offer additional online content.

We are beyond grateful to each and every person who comprises our Festival family – those who join with us onsite in Ojai and those who access our Festival concert broadcasts. Planning for the 2021 Festival is well underway, and we will keep you posted as Ara Guzelimian and John Adams’ programming takes shape. We look forward to reuniting with you at the 75th Ojai Music Festival in June 2021. Until then, please stay well.

With deep gratitude,

 

Jerry Eberhardt 
Chairman of the Board

STAFF CONTACT LIST:
Jamie Bennett: 323.481.2750 jbennett@ojaifestival.org 
Gina Gutierrez: 805.646.2181 ggutierrez@ojaifestival.org
Nick Svorinich: 805.646.2053 nsvorinich@ojaifestival.org 
Anna Wagner: 805.646.3178 awagner@ojaifestival.org 

Song and Play Thursday with Laura Walter

Click on tabs below this video to view weekly music lessons.

Introduction

The Festival’s BRAVO music education and community proudly presents Song & Play Thursday, led by Laura Walter, the Festival’s education coordinator.

Based on the nationally well-regarded curriculum of Education Through Music, the short videos will provide children and families a language based music program in which song, movement and interactive play promote emotional, social, cognitive and musical development. Each week, the videos and curriculum notes will be available for free on the Festival’s website.

These song experience games are designed to improve listening skills, memory, and critical thinking. Singing releases endorphins. Play increases intelligence. These video sessions are an extension of what the Ojai Music Festival’s BRAVO program offers in all of the Ojai classrooms with Transitional Kindergarten through 3rd grade during the school year.

BENEFITS OF SONG & PLAY

  • Develop eye contact
  • Enrich functional vocabulary and language skills
  • Interpret the written symbols in music helps with reading skills
  • Activities are designed to be so fun that children are not only excited to get a turn, but equally excited when someone else gets a turn
  • Work our memory and our visual and movement centers
  • Connects brain centers — imagination, sequencing, and spatial memory

Ours is a program based on play, defined as the psychological state of flow or creativity. We get absorbed in what we are doing, and can’t wait to try it again. Our failures are seen as part of the fun. We sing partner songs and in canon, creating beautiful sounds ourselves. The children always ask if we can do that again! Community is so important for emotional growth, and these activities, help us stay connected.

Special Thanks to

Meet Ms. Laura!

My name is Laura Walter and I am the Bravo Coordinator for the Ojai Music Festival. We are excited about our new, online videos. We’ll explore some secret songs, solfegge using hand signs, rhythmic patterns, and ideas for you to play with your own family. These song experience games of Education Through Music improve listening skills, memory, and critical thinking. Singing releases endorphins. Play increases intelligence.

These video sessions are an extension of what I have played in all of the Ojai classrooms with Transitional Kindergarten through 3rd grade. We use a lot of eye contact. Giggling happens. And then it’s so interesting; our singing becomes stronger!

We move a lot. Our learning is active. We sing folk songs, which enrich functional vocabulary and language skills. Interpreting the written symbols in music helps children with reading skills.

Community is so important for emotional growth. When we make music together, we improve self-regulation. Activities are designed to be so fun that children are not only excited to get a turn, but equally excited when someone else gets a turn!

When we puzzle over a secret song, our brains are looking for an auditory match, working our memory and our visual and movement centers. You will notice how good it feels to try to hear a secret song, after you know the answer. That’s because the activity connects brain centers—imagination, sequencing and spatial memory.

Ours is a program based on play, defined as the psychological state of flow or creativity. We get absorbed in what we are doing, and can’t wait to try it again. Our failures are seen as part of the fun. We sing partner songs and in canon, creating beautiful sounds ourselves. The children always ask if we can do that again!

Lesson 1, 4/16/20

Study the rhyming structure of this song and then make up your own. For instance, notice the underlined rhyming words below:
There’s a penny in my hand
It will travel through the land 
Is it here, is it there?
It will travel everywhere.

To keep this rhyming scheme you might sing:
There’s a penny on this pier
It will travel without fear
Is it slim, can it swim?
It will travel on a whim

If you email your own verses to us, I will sing them!
Send your verses to: Lwalter@ojaifestival.org

These are some great student verses of Kitty Casket that we have sung and played in class. I appreciate the rhyming ideas! In class we looked at the difference between rhyming (end of the words sounding alike) and alliteration (words starting with like sounds). These are critical tools in fluency of reading. 

Kitty Casket—the game. Pure delight! See how many you can get to join in!

Special Thanks To

Lesson 2, 4/23/20

We start with connecting and gathering our attention. The secret song represents the rhythm to a song the children have sung and played many times. By having the rhythm prompt, and then adding clues, we are causing the auditory system to look for a match in our memory. Penny is such a great song for playfulness, and being okay with not getting everything correct, which is so important for life success. Grab a penny and play! Feel free to print the rhythm page and follow, or add the words.

 

 

 

This childhood staple by Mozart is great fun to sing and play. Notice the clues that I give are concrete and words that they know; words that will spark a picture in their minds. This increases memory retrieval skills. When we play in the classroom, all eyes are closed while one child hides the star, leaving just one part visible. We must keep hope alive! They then choose a classmate to go look for it while we sing the song. They must be back by the end of the song. This skill of predicting when the song will end, (while being busy looking for it), is vital to reading fluency. They then pick a friend to go with them. This continues until the star is found. Some days the whole class has gone to look and they all have to be back by the end of the song. The song informs their behavior in this way, and they are completely self-monitoring without need of adults telling them what to do. The failure to find the star is never seen as a failure by the child, but rather as further effort, approached through play, and adding their friends. It’s really wonderful to see.

 

 

 

Local 3rd graders have been learning this cup song, and pairing it with the song of Uncle Joe. We have played the game of Uncle Joe for 4 months or so before I bring the cups out. The game is so enjoyable in itself, that to add the cups definitely has a *wow* factor!

 

 

 

Want to see a group of children engaged and happy to play cooperatively? Want to see the importance of movement in learning? Want to hear a group of 6 year-olds all singing in tune? Here they are! Every one of them has a sense of belonging and purpose in this class. Playing I Wrote a Letter encourages them to grow the social skill of being happy for someone else to get a turn. This is directly responsible for the strength of their singing, and their eventual synchronization of sound without any specific instruction about singing together from the teacher. 
“I wrote a letter to my love and on the way I lost it.
A little doggie picked it up and put it in his pocket.
Oh, he won’t bite me and he won’t bite you, he’ll bite the one who’s got it.
So drop it, so drop it, it must be dropped by now.”

 

Lesson 3, 4/30/20

Children often know this song from singing around the campfire. The notes of the scale have corresponding hand signs: do, re, mi, fa, so, la and ti. These hand signs were developed by Sarah Glover in the 1700’s in England to help her choir members learn to read music. John Curwen popularized them, and Kodaly also integrated them into his teaching method. Often when we sing the songs, we use the hand signs to indicate the notes. We are learning about pitch relationships.

 

If you have family members at home, have them sit in a circle and if you want more, use some stuffed animals also! You can jump or skip together. This game has been around for generations. It’s a hoot to have a whole group skipping together. It gets the whole class excited. Because the song chooses their partner (when we sing the word “partner”), the students are always surprised with who they get. We are making our social circle bigger. When we sing this at the Gables of Ojai Senior Living, the residents remember this from their own childhoods, saying, “We are so happy that children still sing this song.” The proprioceptive experience gained from skipping with a partner aids in brain development, and crossing the midline aids in the bi-hemispheric learning of the brain.

 

This song is often the first experience children have playing on an instrument. We approach this folk song through a story. Why did people not make signs to advertise what they were selling? How did people sweeten their food 1,000 years ago? What was the importance of singing in the streets? We also add the hand signs for the music notes.

 

In our classrooms, we use children to stand in for the sun, the moon, and the chimney pot. We challenge ourselves to skip around them. Sometimes they are sneaky and change positions. We also try to get back to our spot by the end of the song; the “boom”. As our actions and movements line up with the beginning and ending of the song, we are practicing the reading skill of paying attention to the points of enclosure. Actions and sounds coincide and lead us to meaning.

Lesson 4, 5/7/20

This week we take a look at learning to read notes, singing our names to study rhythm, and looking at some children’s maps. We also include a video showing the engagement of children from Day 1.

Our first music class of the year. This is how I meet the children, by finding out their names and asking for their ideas. Listen to the enthusiasm of their singing right from the first day! Notice the kindness used as guidance for self-control.

 

Knowing each other’s names is one of the most honoring actions that we can take. We sing about our names! We study the rhythm and accents of the names. This is a musical skill, as well as a reading skill. Having a strong auditory system is important for reading, music, and listening.

 

Once we have played the game and gotten our bodies moving and involved, we take a look at the Tracks for Reading which includes different verses. The melody stays the same. This helps immensely in reading, because the beginning reader can still follow along on the map. New words overlay the same tune, making it familiar. The grammar also retains the same structure and helps with comprehension. It’s a wonderful way to boost reading skills! These books can be found online at the Richards Institute of Education and Research.

We really enjoy making our own maps of the songs. The children create their own abstract representation of the song. We notice patterns together. We practice drawing in the air first. Any pattern is correct because it is that person’s version of the song. This toggling back and forth between abstract and concrete is not only healthy for the brain, the students are delighted and completely absorbed in doing it. Singing the song is concrete, drawing in the air is abstract, putting it on paper makes it concrete with abstract ideas, singing it from their map makes it concrete again, following someone else’s map is abstract until it is concrete again. This is the process of reading music, which is, after all, an abstract representation of sound.

 

We love matching our note of the day to the scale above and trying to find the note’s name. We pretend it’s an amazing secret, which cracks us all up while everyone wants to make a guess, so they whisper it!

Lesson 5, 5/14/20

This week we take a look at play and imagination and how music adds to that. We make up some verses with rhymes. And we put the call out for pretend haircuts!
 
Sally Tracks for Reading
Having a robust auditory system is so important for reading, and communication. We study the rhyme structure and make up our own verses. We keep changing key, or moving the starting pitch for the songs, and then our voices adjust. It’s ear training with no stress! Just joy. The book can be ordered from the Richards Institute of Education and Research.
 
Letter Rhythm
Playing this game is one of our favorites. We sit in a circle and one child drops a letter while we hide our eyes. The chosen child gets up and chases the letter dropper. What this song game does for children is pretty incredible—we start to enjoy another’s turn just as much as getting one ourselves. Here we learn empathy through play. We often turn to a rhythmic representation of the song (find here), and discover the different sounds by adding body movements for distinct rhythmic notes.
 

Haircut Stuffies

To the brain, intelligence is the same as imagination, which is the same as play. We can make pretend scissors with our own body, or as a group. Once the ideas get flowing, the children don’t want to stop. Play keeps internal motivation going. Notice the use of expansive vocabulary. If you send us a video of your child giving a pretend haircut, we would love it!
 
Note of the Day–E
Today we can match our note, or figure it out using our “shortcut”—the standard Every Good Boy Does Fine for the notes on lines, and F-A-C-E for the notes on the spaces.    

Lesson 6, 5/21/20

Today we look at the importance of memory in learning, and the importance of play in building intelligence.

Secret song Haircut + Rhythm Page

After the students have sung and played this game, so much that it is internalized and accessed automatically, we present it as a secret song. We don’t want to ask the brain to do this too soon, but only after lots of play and sensory experience. Then the secret part of puzzling over it is enjoyable, and do-able. The brain starts searching its memory banks for a match. When the memory is engaged, learning is happening. We easily translate the song into its rhythms. Since we have the melody, we can now learn the solfegge syllables (do, re, mi, etc.) as well. Going back and forth between words, rhythm, and solfegge keeps the brain hopping and the kids love doing this!

Haircut Videos

In music, we want to build 3 habits in children: cooperation, participation, and the habit of singing. Here are some at-home examples of families playing Johnny Get Your Haircut.

Bluebird

We have birds and windows all over the place. We can have windows made out of our legs, and birds trying to navigate through and under. This sensory experience of the song is stored in more brain areas for easier retrieval. We want our learning to be multi-modal: auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and tactile. A robust memory aids in the development of intelligence.

Note of the Day—C

The challenge grows as we rely on our shortcut and don’t have the “scale” up for reference anymore!         

Lesson 7, 5/28/20

There are many different methods of symbolizing sound. The process of interpreting symbols, semiotic function, is important for reading, math, and music. This week we also notice how we build resiliency—the balance between challenge and skill, always with an eye towards pro-social behaviors of inclusivity, kindness, taking turns, and the opportunity to be moved by shared experience instead of external rewards.

Video 4:53 One Little Elephant

Here we have elephants balancing on a spider web. We symbolize the song by representing elephants ourselves. When the children join me, it’s pretty exciting! We build the spider web together, and then gather our elephants by asking the person closest to us at the end of the song to join. Socially, this promotes children choosing new friends and being inclusive. We also have to stay on the web and balance. Spatial awareness lives mostly in the right brain hemisphere. Keeping track of the sequence and number of elephants lives mostly in the left. By playing and moving, we are integrating brain function. And then, of course, the math gets so complex, and the students love this part! The joy of resiliency!

Bluebird Form and Map

It is quite enjoyable to match up a written symbol with a corresponding sound. Noticing patterns is what the brain loves to do! Here we take a look at the beat and the various ways to explore that. We can have a slow, medium, or fast beat while the tempo of the song stays the same. These form books are available through the Richards Institute of Education and Research.

Frog 

When I have the room set up for Frog’s in the Meadow, the children walk in and instantly know what song game we are going to play. I hear squeals of delight! One child becomes the frog and does the hiding while everyone sings. I change the starting pitches often, which provides ear training without stress. Their voices automatically adjust to singing in tune this way. In older grades we have up to 5 frogs hiding at once. Finding the frogs relies on deductive reasoning and memory. As guesses are made, we get to keep track of where there are no frogs. The play here is many-faceted. The brain is wired to explore playing with object permanence in both sound (music) and vision (art). Having a shared puzzle, trying to find the frogs, increases bonding, attachment, and belonging.

Secret Song Letter

Another way to play with the symbols of a song is to put some notes into our hands and sing the solfege, but the rest of the words in English. This great challenge is enjoyable because it is almost achievable—this is the aspect of play called perceived competency; I think I can get it if I try one more time. We then have internal motivation and participation that comes from inside the person. No rewards are used other than the experience itself. We are symbolizing the sound in two distinct languages by toggling back and forth quickly!

Note of the Day

One reason music education is so important to the brain is that learning to read music adds a layer of abstract symbolization. In learning to read the printed word in a language, the brain is required to connect what it sees with a sound it has heard before. And in order to have meaning, this sound must represent something concrete that has been experienced (the letters, c, a , t, how they sound when combined, and what a cat is). In learning to read music, we see the note “D”, we know what it is called and perhaps can play it on an instrument, but it doesn’t represent a concrete thing besides the sounding of itself. It gains meaning when combined with notes that surround it, making a melody.

 

Staying in Touch with Festival Alumni

Though we are united in Ojai for a short time each June, Festival artists, interns, and the production team remain family through the years.  Join us as we explore and celebrate current projects by Ojai alumni. We’ll be updating each week for you to enjoy and share with others. 

UPCOMING EVENTS 
Festival alum Steven Schick, Claire Chase, Maya Beiser, Vijay Iyer, and George Lewis participate in the upcoming Bang on a Can Marathon on Sunday, May 3. Click for details >

VIJAY IYER 

Catch the video of 2017 Music Director Vijay Iyer’s performance for the San Jose Jazz’s “Live from Home” series. 

CLAIRE CHASE/ICE 

IONE and Claire Chase (2016, 2015 alum) led a global performance of The World-Wide Tuning Meditation by Pauline Oliveros: a sonic gathering with a legacy of bringing communities together through meditative singing. Hosted by International Contemporary Ensemble.

JENNIFER KOH 

In response to the coronavirus pandemic and the financial hardship it has placed on many in the arts community, violinist Jennifer Koh (2017 Festival alum) launches Alone Together, an online commissioning project that brings composers together in support of the many freelancers among them. Twenty-one composers, most of whom have salaried positions or other forms of institutional support to carry them through this challenging time, have each agreed to donate a new, 30-second micro-work for solo violin, while also recommending a fellow freelance composer to write their own 30-second solo violin work on paid commission from the artist-driven nonprofit ARCO Collaborative.

JULIA BULLOCK

Soprano Julia Bullock, who performed at the 2011 and 2016 Festivals and will return in 2022 with music director AMOC, and her husband, conductor Christian Reif shared this video of the beautiful song “One by One” by Connie Converse.

BARBARA HANNIGAN and EQUILIBRIUM YOUNG ARTISTS 

2019 Music Director Barbara Hannigan and her Equilibrium Young Artists present musical offerings on their new YouTube channel, EQ4U

 

Announcing New Music Directors and 75th Anniversary Celebrations

Ojai Music Festival announces 75th anniversary celebrations beginning with the appointment of John Adams as 2021 Music Director (June 10–13, 2021) and culminating with American Modern Opera Company (AMOC) as Music Director for the 2022 Festival (June 9–12, 2022)

(OJAI, California, March 2, 2020) – Ojai Music Festival and Artistic Director designate Ara Guzelimian announced today the appointment of composer/conductor John Adams as the 2021 Music Director for the 75th Festival (June 10–13, 2021), followed by American Modern Opera Company (AMOC) as Music Director for the 76th Festival in 2022, culminating the Festival’s 75th Anniversary year.

Mr. Guzelimian’s tenure follows that of current Artistic Director Chad Smith, who was appointed CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in October 2019. Mr. Smith planned the upcoming 2020 Festival with Music Director Matthias Pintscher (June 11–14, 2020) and the Ensemble intercontemporain, featuring music of Olga Neuwirth, Steve Reich, Pierre Boulez, and Matthias Pintscher among many others. Mitsuko Uchida, who was previously announced to lead the 2021 Festival, has asked to postpone her appointment because of scheduling conflicts and will return as Music Director in a future Festival.

For more than seven decades, the Ojai Music Festival has flourished as a creative laboratory by combining a boundless sense of adventure, an expansive musical curiosity, and an atmosphere of relaxed but focused informality. Each year a different Music Director is given the freedom and the resources to imagine four days of musical brainstorming. Ojai’s signature blend of an enchanted setting and an audience voracious in its appetite for challenge and discovery has inspired a distinguished series of musical innovators – from Boulez, Copland, and Stravinsky in its formative years to Barbara Hannigan, Vijay Iyer, and Patricia Kopatchinskaja in recent times – to push artistic boundaries. In announcing the appointments of John Adams and AMOC, the Festival now charts a course for its next chapters under the leadership of Artistic Director Ara Guzelimian.

“I am utterly delighted to begin my time at Ojai in the company of artists who continue to advance the forward-looking perspective that has defined Ojai for so long,” said Mr. Guzelimian, who begins his tenure with Ojai following the 2020 Festival. “John Adams’ work as a composer, conductor and tireless advocate for new music has made him a central figure in the musical life of our time. With his characteristic eagerness and curiosity, we have begun conversations about the many young composers he admires and wants to champion at Ojai in 2021.”

“AMOC, the 2022 Music Director, is not exactly an opera company but a remarkable collective of composers, singers, stage directors, choreographers, dancers, and instrumentalists who are among the brightest and freshest artistic voices to emerge in the last few years. We will make our first Ojai acquaintance with numerous members of AMOC as well as welcome back such Festival artists as Julia Bullock, Davóne Tines, and Jay Campbell. We are in for a great adventure,” added Mr. Guzelimian. “But first things first. I am excited about the more immediate 2020 Ojai Music Festival created by Music Director Matthias Pintscher and Artistic Director Chad Smith. I know that these wonderful artistic thinkers have conjured an exceptional musical journey, both true to the spirit of the Festival and also expanding its possibilities.”

As Music Director of the Ojai Music Festival, Mr. Adams will follow violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja (2018), soprano/conductor Barbara Hannigan (2019), and Matthias Pintscher (2020). Prior to this 2021 collaboration, Mr. Adams served as Ojai’s Music Director in 1993. Initial details for Mr. Adams’ 2021 Festival will be announced in June 2020. Ojai’s 2022 Music Director will be American Modern Opera Company (AMOC). As described by The Boston Globe, AMOC is “a creative incubator par excellence . . . where the boundaries between disciplines go to die.” A collective of some of the most creative, forward-thinking artists, AMOC is led by its Artistic Directors composer/conductor Matthew Aucoin and director/choreographer Zack Winokur collaborating with Core Ensemble members Jonny Allen (percussion), Paul Appleby (tenor), Doug Balliett (double bass/composer), Julia Bullock (soprano), Jay Campbell (cello), Anthony Roth Costanzo (countertenor), Miranda Cuckson (violin/viola), Julia Eichten (dancer/choreographer), Emi Ferguson (flute), Keir GoGwilt (violin/writer), Conor Hanick (piano), Coleman Itzkoff (cello), Or Schraiber (dancer/choreographer), Bobbi Jene Smith (dancer/choreographer), and Davóne Tines (bass-baritone). Julia Bullock, Davóne Tines, and Jay Campbell are making a welcome return to Ojai, having participated memorably in past Festivals. Prior to AMOC, Ojai has welcomed only two ensembles as Music Director: Emerson String Quartet in 2002 and Eighth Blackbird in 2009.

John Adams, 2021 Music Director
AMOC, 2022 Music Director
Ara Guzelimian, Artistic Director designate

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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 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

Download PDF version 

(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

Stay Connected and Reminisce with our Archives

Ojai has been a creative laboratory for today’s pathbreaking artists
featuring refreshing new works to open our hearts and minds. 

Dear Friends, 

As all of us are hunkered down during these challenging times, we invite you to stay connected through the music that inspires, challenges and delights us in Ojai. Here are a few concerts archived of Ojai Music Festival performances featuring the likes of Julia Bullock, Claire Chase, and Patricia Kopatchinskaja.

You can access more concerts on our YouTube channel, too. Click here >

Happy viewing!
The Ojai Music Festival staff  

Josephine Baker: A Portrait – World Premiere
Arrangements and new music by Tyshawn Sorey
ICE
Julia Bullock, soprano
Tyshawn Sorey, piano and drums

Density 2036
EDGARD VARÉSE: Density 21.5 Claire Chase, flute
SUZANNE FARRIN: The Stimulus of Loss for glissando headjoint and recorded ondes martenot Claire Chase, flute
TYSHAWN SOREY: Bertha’s Lair Claire Chase, contrabass flute | Tyshawn Sorey, drums
VIJAY IYER: Flute Goals (Five Empty Chambers) for tape Claire Chase, improvised flute
PAUCHI SASAKI: Gama XV Claire Chase, bass flute/vocals/speaker dress | Pauchi Sasaki, violin/electronics/vocals/speaker dress
MARCOS BALTER: Pan (excerpt) Claire Chase, flute | International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)
 
Charles Ives: Unanswered Question
Franz Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 45
Farewell (arr. Angel Hernandez-Lovera)
John Cage: Once Upon a Time from Living Room Music Johann Sebastian Bach: Es ist genug György Kurtag: The Answered Unanswered Question Ludwig van Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61 Patricia Kopatchinskaja, violin | Maria Ursprung, stage director | Mahler Chamber Orchestra
 
 

Ojai Music Festival shares Five Subscriber Experiences

At the Ojai Music Festival, we value our patron’s experiences. This New Year we are kicking off an exclusive feature of five questions with five dedicated subscribers.

Bonnie Wright

First, tell us a little about yourself – what do you do? Do you play an instrument? I present the Fresh Sound concert series and have been doing this for 22 years.  Its all contemporary music not matter what the genre.  And, all musicians from out of town.  My goal is to bring music to San Diego that they wouldn’t otherwise get to hear.  Here’s the link to the website:http://www.freshsoundmusic.com

How many Festivals have you attended?

Im not quite sure – probably 2008 and will continue to do so until I drop-dead. 

How did you first hear about Ojai Music Festival?

 I don’t remember that either.  But since I am in the music-world, I’m guessing that somehow I got on your mailing list or heard about it from one of my friends.  OR,  Maybe in 2008 because Steve Reich was involved in and I’ve been a huge admirer of his since “Music for 18 Musicians” was out in the world in 1976.

How would you describe your Ojai experience?

 Delightful in every way.  The town, the restaurants, my Inn where I stay every year,  Libby Bowl, the friends I connect with while there and, of course, the music. And, Gina Gutierrez has become a friend over the years. She is wonderful,  efficient  and happily I get my same seat every year (P112)   It feels like it’s become my second home.    

What is the most surprising thing you learned or experienced at the Festival?  

Hmmm,  I always learn more about the music especially from Christopher Hailey and Ara Guzelimian.  


What is your favorite Ojai hangout between concerts – places to eat, visit, see?   

Osteria Monte Grappa where I/we can sit outside and enjoy.  Also, the Festival Place for members. 

Any recommendations for a Festival first-timer?  

GO . . .   Be sure to go to everything – Dawn concerts,  any and all talks, suppers in the Park and All the concerts. A good friend is coming there for the first time and he got a seat right next to me.  Yippee.  I will show him around.  

Glenn and Ida Mercer


(Pictured Above: John Adams, Glenn Mercer, and Ida Mercer) 

First, tell us a little about yourself – what do you do? Do you play an instrument?

Glenn: self-employed in the field of automotive research

Ida: professional musician (cellist) who performs (solo, chamber music, orchestral), teaches (Cleveland Music School Settlement), and manages (Executive Director, Cleveland Cello Society)

How many Festivals have you attended?

Six

How did you first hear about Ojai Music Festival?

A friend told us about it.

How would you describe your Ojai experience?

Off the charts, in every way.  The music selection is fantastic, the performances almost always absolute top tier, the setting (Ojai itself and the individual venues) wonderful, the staff supremely competent (this is a VERY well-run festival), and the audience so supportive. It is almost otherworldly (where else do we hear listeners in their 70s or 80s griping that the program “isn’t modern enough this year!”).

“This past year (2019) we brought our adult son Ian along, as he is very interested in new composed music, as are we.  (Ian works in operations at The Cleveland Orchestra.)  He was especially taken with the precision and commitment of the JACK Quartet morning performances, and the power of the Grisey “Quatre Chants…”  And he has been a fan of Barbara Hannigan for a very long time.  He, as will we, will be back in 2020, for Matthias Pintscher and the Ensemble Intercontemporain.”

What is the most surprising thing you learned or experienced at the Festival?

Musicians are approachable here.  As a small community forms around the Festival for its brief term of existence, anyone and everyone walks through the park, and can be met and talked to.  Almost anywhere else, featured artists are hustled off by their handlers to a hotel room, or just glimpsed briefly at the stage door.  Here, the musicians are available out in the open as it were, and seem delighted to interact with the audience.

What is your favorite Ojai hangout between concerts – places to eat, visit, see?

Believe it or not, we cannot answer this question in a satisfactory way, and it is not because the town does not offer numerous wonderful spots.  This is because one reason we come back is for the full immersion: we go to EVERY concert you make available.  As a result, we don’t hang out anywhere, but just go home and sleep, until the next event!  That being said, we daily raid Rainbow Bridge for snacks and meals to go.

 Any recommendations for a Festival first-timer?

Seriously consider the 4-day series pass.  If you’re going to hear music of this quality, why not go for it and treat yourself to a year’s worth of excellence, in just four days!  If you are a fan of modern composed music, you cannot touch this Festival for abundance.

 

Lucy McKnight

Last week, Perry and Tricia La Marca gave us their feedback into the Ojai Music Festival advising all of us to “dive in and embrace the experience.”  

This Week, Lucy McKnight gives us her insight into her festival experience.

First, tell us a little about yourself – what do you do? Do you play an instrument? How many Festivals have you attended? 

I am a composer and singer and a senior at USC Thornton School of Music. I have attended eight Ojai Music Festivals since I was 12 years old.

How did you first hear about Ojai Music Festival?

My parents brought me because I love music and because, at that time, just my older sibling was composing. Now we both compose, and our younger brother composes and arranges jazz music. The Ojai Music Festival has been a huge part of my–and my siblings’–education and growth as listeners, performers, and composers.

How would you describe your Ojai experience?

We dive in and swim around in it. I love the early morning concerts at Besant Hill School, and the large-scale John Luther Adams pieces that involve walking around Libbey Park. I love the satisfying exhaustion of days filled to the brim with music. 

What is the most surprising thing you learned or experienced at the Festival?  

You can fall asleep two feet from Steven Schick and Claire Chase and Sarah Rothenberg! I know because I have done it while they were performing For Phillip Guston, an incredible 4.5 hour long piece by Morton Feldman. It started at 5 am and I lay down with my siblings on the blankets and pillows provided on the floor and drifted gently in and out of sleep. Asleep or awake, it was one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard.

What is your favorite Ojai hangout between concerts – places to eat, visit, see? 

Bonnie Lu’s diner on Ojai Avenue where they have chicken-fried steak for breakfast! The Ojai Meadows Preserve is a nice place to walk and listen to the birds. Renting bikes at The Mob Shop or Bicycles of Ojai and going on the bike trails down toward Ventura – I try to do that every year.

Any recommendations for a Festival first-timer?

Go to everything. Talk to the people next to you during intermission. Buy or bring a seat cushion, a broad-brimmed serious sun hat and lots of sunscreen. Settle in and open your ears.

Perry & Tricia La Marca

Tricia & Perry La Marca

First, tell us a little about yourself – what do you do? Do you play an instrument? How many Festivals have you attended?

Perry is a film/TVcomposer and pianist. Tricia has an undergraduate degree in Music and is a former music teacher and current businesswoman. We both attended the Festival in 2019 and 2018.

Question:
How did you first hear about Ojai Music Festival?

We learned of the Festival and its programming from friends/colleagues during their respective University years.

Question:
How would you describe your Ojai experience?

Amazing; sublime; wonderful. In addition to thoroughly enjoying the performances and lectures by world class talent as well as the opportunity to experience esoteric and rarely performed pieces, we were genuinely touched by the community and new friends made. 

Question:
What is the most surprising thing you learned or experienced at the Festival?

I think we were surprised to find such a diverse and down to earth group of Festival regulars. The Ojai family is very different than what you typically experience at classical music events.

Question:
What is your favorite Ojai hangout between concerts – places to eat, visit, see?

We love to eat at Azu and Osteria Monte Grappa. We also love to sample the vinegars and olive oils at Carolina Gramm.

Question:
Any recommendations for a Festival first-timer?

Dive in and embrace the experience.  It’s a lot to see, but you’ll regret it if you miss something. Also, do the pre-concert Suppers in the Park!  It’s a great way to meet festival newcomers and regulars.  

Join us as a subscriber for the 2020 Ojai Music Festival with Music Director Matthias Pintscher!

Ara Guzelimian, Ojai Talks Director & Artistic Director Designate

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.  Mr. Guzelimian who was Artistic Director for Ojai Music Festival from 1992 to 1997, will return as Ojai’s Artistic Director for the 2021 Festival. 

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 Colorado and he was long associated with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the beginning of his career, first as producer for the Orchestra’s national radio broadcasts and, subsequently, as Artistic Administrator. 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, Boston, and London Symphony orchestras, conducted by Bernard Haitink, have performed Mr. Guzelimian’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 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. 

 

Ensemble intercontemporain

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!