Chad Smith Named Artistic Director of the Ojai Music Festival

CHAD SMITH NAMED ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THE OJAI MUSIC FESTIVAL

Download a PDF Version of the Announcement Here

“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 the 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.” – Chad Smith

(March 21, 2018 – Ojai, CA) – Today, the Ojai Music Festival announces the appointment of Chad Smith as its next Artistic Director. Mr. Smith begins his initial three-year tenure with the 2020 Festival, in partnership with Ojai’s 2020 Music Director Matthias Pintscher. Mr. Smith’s collaboration with the Ojai Music Festival will be concurrent with his post as Chief Operating Officer of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He will join the ranks of such distinguished predecessors as Lawrence Morton, Ara Guzelimian, and Ernest Fleischmann. He succeeds Thomas W. Morris who will have shaped Ojai’s artistic direction for sixteen years when he retires from the Festival following the 73rd Festival in 2019.

Festival Board Chair David Nygren said, “I am honored to welcome Chad Smith to the Ojai family. Chad’s depth of experience and artistic sensibilities are in perfect alignment with where the Festival is today as we approach our 75th anniversary celebration in 2021 and 2022, and as we look toward the future. I have complete confidence that Chad will build on the momentum that Tom has set in motion over these last fifteen years. This seamless transition in artistic leadership will enable Ojai to continue to meet the demands of our supremely curious audiences, to build on the Ojai aesthetic of discovery, adventure, and engagement, to foster an environment where great artists can experiment, and perhaps enter a new stage in their own artistic development. The rich heritage of this glorious Festival and sublimely beautiful place have a way of melding with great musical personalities, leaving behind lasting impressions. Chad and Tom are collaboratively planning already for a seamless transition as we anticipate the Festival’s milestone anniversary.”

Thomas W. Morris commented, “I am thrilled that Chad Smith will succeed me as Artistic Director of the Ojai Music Festival. I have known Chad for many years, and have always been impressed with his distinctive creativity in programming, his insatiable curiosity in the broadest range of music, and his deep relationships with artists. The Ojai Music Festival stands as a pillar of musical creativity and adventure, and I can think of no one better than Chad to follow this tradition through and well beyond Ojai’s 75th anniversary.”

Chad Smith
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 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.

About 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, and Vijay Iyer. Following Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Ojai will welcome Music Director Barbara Hannigan (2019), Mathias Pintscher (2020) and Mitsuko Uchida (2021).
As the Ojai Music Festival approaches its 75th anniversary and looks toward the future with Chad Smith, the innumerable contributions by Thomas W. Morris will continue to be realized through the 2019 Festival and beyond. Under Mr. Morris’ creative watch, the Festival continues to push boundaries and scope; explore each music director’s individual perspective, creativity, and artistic communities; invite an ever-broadening roster of artists; and build connections across musical communities with through-curated programming for each Festival. Over the years, Mr. Morris has also expanded the Festival’s reach beyond Ojai with ongoing partnerships with Cal Performances in Berkeley and this year, the Aldeburgh Festival in England, as well as through live and archival video streaming of performances, available on the Festival’s website.

2018 Ojai Music Festival, June 7-10
The 72nd Ojai Music Festival, June 7-10, 2018, will present the dynamic violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja as music director. Praised for her “mesmerizing artistry” (The Strad) and “savage energy” (The Washington Post), Ms. Kopatchinskaja’s unbounded musical creativity will be in full force as a soloist, collaborator, and new music advocate. Joining her will be close artistic collaborators making their Festival debuts, including the Berlin-based Mahler Chamber Orchestra in its first extended United States residency, JACK Quartet, composer/pianist Michael Hersch, pianist Markus Hinterhäuser, pianist/harpsichordist Anthony Romaniuk, composer/sound designer Jorge Sanchez-Chiong, and Kopatchinskaja’s parents, Viktor and Emilia Kopatchinsky. Major 2018 Festival projects include two staged concerts conceived by Ms. Kopatchinskaja. The first is Bye Bye Beethoven, a musical commentary that challenges the clichés and conventions of classical music. Her second concert, Dies Irae, is her own provocative view on the inevitable consequences of global warming. Receiving its world premiere will be a dramatic narrative by American composer Michael Hersch, I hope we get a chance to visit soon, after texts of Rebecca Elson, Mary Harris O’Reilly and Christopher Middleton. For more information on programs and tickets, visit OjaiFestival.org

Thomas W. Morris Announces Retirement as Artistic Director of the Ojai Music Festival

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

Thomas W. Morris announces retirement as Artistic Director of the Ojai Music Festival
Following the 2019 Festival with Music Director Barbara Hannigan, Mr. Morris will conclude his distinguished 16-year tenure as the Festival’s Artistic Director

(Ojai November 17, 2017) – Thomas W. Morris has announced his decision to retire as the Ojai Music Festival’s Artistic Director following the 73rd Festival in 2019, after shaping Ojai’s artistic direction for sixteen years.

Under the creative watch of Mr. Morris, the Ojai Music Festival has been called “a finely calibrated ruckus each spring” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker). Mr. Morris expanded the Festival’s programming boundaries and scope, exploring each music director’s individual perspective, creativity, and artistic communities. Mr. Morris has offered adventurous through-curated programming for each Festival and between Festivals, and audiences have come to anticipate a four-day immersive musical, intellectual, and creative adventure. The Ojai Music Festival, under Mr. Morris, has also expanded its reach beyond Ojai with ongoing partnerships with Cal Performances in Berkeley and the Aldeburgh Festival in England, as well as through live and archival video streaming of performances, which are available on the Festival’s website.

Over the years, Mr. Morris has invited an ever-broadening roster of artists, building connections across musical communities. Music Directors of the Ojai Music Festival who have partnered with Mr. Morris since the start of his tenure in 2004 are Kent Nagano, Oliver Knussen, Robert Spano, David Robertson, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Eighth Blackbird, George Benjamin, Dawn Upshaw, Leif Ove Andsnes, Mark Morris, Jeremy Denk, Steven Schick, Peter Sellars, Vijay Iyer, as well as Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Barbara Hannigan in upcoming Festivals. The Festival has welcomed close collaborators, including John Luther Adams, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Claire Chase, George Crumb, Caroline Shaw, Roomful of Teeth, The Bad Plus, Aruna Sairam, Trimpin, George Lewis, Calder Quartet, Mark Morris Dance Group, Tyshawn Sorey, and Kaija Saariaho, among others.  Programming highlights featured in Ojai during Mr. Morris’ tenure include site-specific works and premieres by John Luther Adams – Sila and Inuksuit, world premieres including The Classical Style by Steven Stucky and Jeremy Denk and Slide by Rinde Eckert performed by Eighth Blackbird, and most recently, the world premiere of Trouble by Vijay Iyer, performed by Jennifer Koh.

Mr. Morris continues to expand the footprint of the Ojai Music Festival, most notably with Ojai at Berkeley, the partnership with Cal Performances that is now in its eighth year, and the recently announced partnership with the Aldeburgh Festival in England, based in the acclaimed Maltings Concert Hall and in the town of Snape near Aldeburgh. These partnerships with accompanying co-productions and co-commissions allow the Ojai Music Festival, the Aldeburgh Festival, and Cal Performances to present more complex and creative artistic projects than could be conceived by each partner separately. The Aldeburgh relationship launches in June 2018. 

“Each year, I find new possibilities to meet the demands of our supremely curious audiences. As Ojai has quite a legacy, my job has been to build on the Ojai aesthetic of discovery, adventure and engagement, creating an environment where great artists can experiment, and perhaps enter a new stage in their own artistic development. The rich heritage of this glorious Festival and sublimely beautiful place have a way of melding with great musical personalities, leaving behind lasting impressions,” commented Mr. Morris. “The Festival is an irresistible, exhilarating challenge and my work here has been enormous fun. The decision to finish my work here was a difficult one, but I’m confident it is the right one for Ojai and for me. The timing allows the Festival to find a successor in time to play a central role in all the artistic and institutional planning well through the 75th celebration in 2021 and 2022. For me, sixteen wonderful years in Ojai have led me into previously unanticipated artistic realms. I love the music, the place and the people. Working alongside Ojai’s extraordinary family of artists has been an honor and a privilege.”

Chairman of the Board David Nygren said, “Words are simply insufficient in expressing our deep gratitude for Tom’s innumerable contributions not only to the Festival, but to the entire field. Tom’s delight in the creative process is infectious and with each Festival, he has brought us – audiences and artists alike – along on intensive and transformational artistic journeys. He has fearlessly pushed boundaries of genre and community, and has designed through-curated Festivals rich with adventurous programming, frequent surprises, and lively discussion. In his retirement from Ojai, we will be celebrating his unrivaled creative genius and an entire career of superior artistic expression that has mesmerized hundreds of thousands of people. The Festival is recipient of a lifetime of Tom’s work, connections, creativity, and expressive discipline. Tom’s successor will inherit a brilliant platform on which he or she will continue to build, but for now we hope you will join us as we salute Tom during the upcoming Festivals with music directors Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Barbara Hannigan.” 

Mr. Morris shared his decision with the Festival’s Board of Directors at a recent Board meeting. The Board has begun forming a search committee to secure Mr. Morris’ successor, who will become the Festival’s sixth Artistic Director in its 72nd year history. 

Thomas W. Morris
Thomas W. Morris was appointed Artistic Director of the Ojai Music Festival starting with the 2004 Festival. As Artistic Director, he is responsible for artistic planning and each year appoints a music director with whom shapes the Festival’s programming. Over Mr. Morris’ tenure, audiences have increased, the scope and density of the Festival has expanded, the collaborative partnership Ojai at Berkeley with Cal Performances at UC Berkeley has started, and a compre-hensive program of video streaming of all concerts has been instituted. Mr. Morris is recognized as one of the most innovative leaders in the orchestra industry and served as the long-time chief executive of both The Cleveland Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He is currently active nationally and internationally as a consultant, lecturer, teacher, and writer. Mr. Morris was a founding director of Spring for Music and served as the project’s artistic director. He is currently vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Interlochen Center for the Arts, and he is also an accomplished percussionist.

About 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 unique structure of the Artistic Director appointing an annual Music Director, Ojai has presented a “who’s who” of music including Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, Olivier Messiaen, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kent Nagano, Pierre Boulez, John Adams, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Spano, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, David Robertson, Eighth Blackbird, George Benjamin, Dawn Upshaw, Leif Ove Andsnes, Mark Morris, Jeremy Denk, Steven Schick, Peter Sellars, and Vijay Iyer.  Following Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Ojai will welcome Music Director Barbara Hannigan (2019).

The 72nd Ojai Music Festival, June 7-10, 2018, will present the dynamic violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja as music director. Praised for her “savage energy” (The Washington Post) and “mesmerizing artistry” (The Strad), Kopatchinskaja’s unbounded musical creativity will be in full force, showcasing her as a soloist, collaborator, and new music advocate. Joining her will be her close artistic collaborators, all of whom are making their Festival debuts: the Berlin-based Mahler Chamber Orchestra in its first extended United States residency, JACK Quartet, composer/pianist Michael Hersch, pianist Markus Hinterhäuser, pianist/harpsichordist Anthony Romaniuk, pianist Amy Yang, composer/sound designer Jorge Sanchez-Chiong, and Kopatchinskaja’s parents, Viktor and Emilia Kopatchinski. For more information on programs and series passes, visit the 2018 Festival Schedule

 

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A Guide For First-Timers

Meet the Mahler Chamber Orchestra

On a recent visit to Berlin, Musicologist Christopher Hailey visited the offices of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.  Below, he recounts his conversation with Annette zu Castell, first violinist and founding member; Maggie Coe, Director of Artistic Planning; and Elaine Yeung, Communications Manager.

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Berlin is perhaps Europe’s most resolutely international city, a magnet for enterprising and innovative spirits drawn to its bracing climate and to the forthright, sharp-witted character of its populace. It is therefore no surprise that this bustling city is the headquarters of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, one of the finest, most innovative ensembles performing today. But Berlin is a home base rather than a home, because this orchestra – which describes itself as a “nomadic collective” – is a movable feast. It was founded in 1997 by members of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, who wanted to continue to make music together after reaching that orchestra’s age limit. Annette Castell remembers, “Our goal was to maintain that level of excitement, discovery and excellence we had experienced in the Youth Orchestra under Claudio Abbado” (who remained a valued collaborator and made the MCO the core of his Lucerne Festival Orchestra). 

Today the MCO has roughly 45 members from 20 countries who join each other for concerts in a variety of international cities each year. “Creative collaboration lies at the heart of our philosophy and activities,” Annette continues. “That includes finding the right partners,”

Maggie interjects, “Partners – conductors, soloists, presenters – who share the orchestra’s values and enthusiasm.”

“We don’t rehearse in Berlin,” Annette continues, “unless we’re performing here. Rather we meet at each venue, generally for two days of rehearsals followed by concerts on tour.”

The orchestra’s repertory is broad, from the classical canon to world premieres, chamber and orchestral fare to opera. So what is the defining characteristic of the orchestra, of its sound, I ask? And like a shot Annette answers: “Our flexibility! And by that I mean: a responsiveness that grows out of the capacity to work together as a chamber ensemble, to be aware of what everyone else is doing.”

“Not to mention the constant need to adjust to different venues, to a variety of acoustic spaces,” Maggie adds, “this gives the MCO its distinctive personality.”

Annette again: “It was Claudio Abbado who stressed this kind of flexibility, of listening actively and taking individual responsibility.”

To this day, Abbado’s philosophy is still very present in the MCO’s music making: it frequently performs conductor-less concerts, often in programs combining orchestral repertory with chamber music. Some of the orchestra’s major projects have also been play/direct programs, featuring the soloist leading from his/her instrument. When the orchestra once found itself without a conductor for a performance of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, it was precisely this spirit that led the musicians to perform the piece on their own, under the leadership of their concertmaster and without a conductor. 

Rising to new challenges is part of the orchestra’s DNA, what keeps it vibrant. That includes developing close working relationships with, among others, several former Ojai Music Directors: Daniel Harding (1997) was the group’s Music Director for many years before becoming its Conductor Laureate and Mitsuko Uchida (1998) is one of the orchestra’s current artistic partners.

Annette explains, “The idea of having multi-year artistic partners began with our work with [2012 Ojai Music Director] Leif Ove Andsnes. We did a project called Beethoven Journey, involving recordings and performances of all five piano concertos and were surprised, devoting four years to the concertos, to see the way we and Leif Ove evolved, developed together – it was always fascinating to the end.  She adds, “CDs and DVDs are important documents of our work, but the live musical experience is the most important.”

Maggie now: “One outgrowth of the Beethoven Journey was working with deaf and hearing-impaired students through Feel the Music, to introduce them to the world of music to demonstrate other ways in which communication functions apart from hearing.”

 “It relates to the fact that Beethoven himself also lost his hearing Annette points out, “and it shows how musical communication also happens on the visual, visceral and emotional level.”

Elaine adds, “MCO musicians are also keen to share their experience with the next generation of musicians, especially through the MCO Academy – this initiative encompasses coaching, mentoring sessions, workshops and an annual orchestra project involving students from partner institutions from five countries.”

“The MCO’s current collaboration with Patricia Kopatchinskaja grew out of initial encounters which we really enjoyed,” Maggie recalls. “We only enter into long-term partnerships when we’ve worked with an artist and found a special connection. The chemistry has to be right.”

The chemistry was obviously right with Patricia who in 2016 invited the orchestra to join her in Hamburg for a project she called Bye Bye Beethoven (which we’ll hear this year in Ojai). “Patricia was questioning the whole nature of the concert experience,” Annette recalls, “and that was the kind of thinking we enjoy. We share the need to feel challenged, to really learn something new from each project, to engage in artistic dialogue.” 

The MCO is a self-sustaining, resolutely democratic organization governed collectively by its five-member orchestra board and the Berlin-based management team. “It’s a real community,” Elaine insists. “The Members are involved in a variety of tasks in addition to music making: from programming to talking to sponsors and doing interviews to photo and video documentation, and all the players are involved in key decisions.” This included, of course, the decision to participate in this year’s Ojai Festival, with its follow-up concerts in Berkeley and Aldeburgh.

Once that decision was set, Maggie and violist Delphine Tissot were dispatched to the 2017 Ojai Festival to scout the venue and the audience, reporting back to the orchestra during their summer residency in Lucerne. “What we found,” Maggie says, “was the perfect match for our kind of music making. An idyllic venue, a very attentive, interested, and welcoming audience, and an openness to new experiences.”

There will be challenges, of course: performing outdoors, in and around the Ojai Valley, tackling an extraordinary range of repertory (about half of it new, including world premieres), and the concentrated intensity of so many concerts, for both the orchestra and individual players, over a nearly month-long period. “But challenges such as these,” Annette insists, “brought us together in the first place and keep our music making fresh and alive.”

“And in 2018,” Maggie continues, “we celebrate our 21st year.”

Elaine adds: “In this vein, we are constantly asking ourselves: what does it mean to be an orchestra of the 21st century? How do we stay relevant and connected to each other? What are our responsibilities, and what do we want to achieve?”

“So the orchestra will celebrate, as is only appropriate, by doing something it has never done before,” concludes Annette – “though without me! My husband [American first violinist Tim Summers] gets to go but our son is still in school and I’ll be here in Berlin.”

So those bright-eyed youth orchestra members of 1997 now have families of their own, but they have lost none of their youthful passion for the musical exploration that brought them together – a passion that now brings them to Ojai.

 

For more on the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, its members and its activities, visit their witty, informative – (and award-winning) – website: http://www.mahlerchamber.com

BRAVO Starts the Year Off Right

The Bravo Program is so very grateful to the Ojai Women’s Fund for all of their support on behalf of the children of the Ojai Valley. This grant will further our goal of having weekly music classes for all kindergarten, first, second, and third graders, now including Sunset Elementary.

In human development we know that imagination, intelligence, and play are the same thing. They strengthen the brain. In music class, the teachers come with us and they get to play. It is an important opportunity for them to observe their children as we create the habit of singing, participation, and cooperation.

Recently we played Bombalalom, which is a word from Brazil meaning “our place of peace and happiness”. We sang the song with the words, and the solfeggio hand signs (do, re, mi, etc.). Sometimes we find a partner and put our hands together with them while we sing. We look into each other’s eyes. Joy sprouts forth! The children raise their hands and offer their own places of peace that have meaning to them. Some children say, “My treehouse”, “In my bed with a book”, “Being with my class”, “On my grandma’s lap”. Then one child raised his hand, and I asked where his Bombabalom place was. He shared very softly, his eyes gazing up to the ceiling, “The whole earth”. An entire class of 6 year-old children sighed, and nodded, and smiled.

Laura Walter
Education Coordinator

Join the Music Festival Family

Patricia Kopatchinskaja on Interpretation

Watch 2018 Music Director, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, explain her vision for the Festival. Audiences can expect innovative staged concerts, premieres of new work, and important works of the past – works that will be given new life. 

Ojai Music Festival Internship Program

Each year, the Ojai Music Festival Arts Management Internship Program welcomes a dozen college students and recent graduates to go behind the scenes of a renowned summer music festival. Interns work closely with the staff and production team, providing critical support and gaining invaluable hands-on experience and skills for their future careers. Each intern receives during their 2-3 week internship:

  • An immersive experience in the world of a festival and inside knowledge into the many different pieces that come together for a successful weekend of concerts
  • Training for their areas of responsibility from staff and leaders in the field
  • Free and discounted tickets to Festival concerts (depending on work schedule and availability)
  • Housing and/or homestay in the beautiful Ojai Valley and most meals during the Festival
  • Stipend

Click here to download the 2019 Internship Application

The 2018 Festival Interns

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“As an intern for the Ojai Music Festival, you become a messenger for the organization’s purpose: to dare the audience to be innovative listeners of new music. The office staff and other interns become your mentors and family for the duration of your internship experience. Working with like-minded people creates the perfect atmosphere for discussion and pushes you to be your best creative self.” – Emily Persinko, San Diego State University, Ojai Alum 2016-2018

The Festival invites students from all fields of study to apply. The program is ideally suited for curious, motivated individuals who are interested in the diversity of possible careers in the arts, events, and the nonprofit world. Festival interns have gone on to have successful careers in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors – those who have gone on to work in the arts have done so at organizations across the country, including the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Pacific Symphony, Early Music Guild of Seattle, and Voices of Change, as well as forged new paths as entrepreneurial performing artists and composers. Read more about the 2018 interns here

Steven Rothenberg Internship Fellow
In 2011, Ojai Valley residents Ila and Fred Rothenberg provided the Festival with a new fund to help support the internship program, which is dedicated to in memory of their son, Steven Rothenberg. Past Rothenberg Fellows are Jamie Leidwinger (2018), Fiona Digney (2017), Luke Martin (2016), Rebecca Shasberger (2015), Lauren Eales (2014), Emily Praetorius (2013), Alissa Strople (2012), and Ryan Strand (2011). 

Festival interns have come from colleges and universities throughout the country, including:

Internship Requirements
Applicants must be 18 or over. Knowledge of classical music is suggested, but is not a requirement. Interns commit to 2-3 weeks in Ojai and must be available during the Festival week. Please indicate on your application if you have special schedule requirements.

How to Apply – Deadline for the Ojai Music Festival (June 6-9, 2019) is March 1, 2019

  • Complete the internship application, including the four essay questions, and return along with a cover letter and resume.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation. Letters from college faculty should include how the applicant would benefit from the Internship, and how the Internship would strengthen the applicant’s specific college and career goals. Letters from college faculty must be on school letterhead. These letters may be sent with the application or to the office directly. 

Ojai Music Festival Internship Program
PO Box 185
Ojai, CA 93024
Attn: Andy Radford
info@ojaifestival.org


Internship Opportunities
Each of the Festival’s internship opportunities places interns in a specific area of responsibility, enabling them to gain specialized experience. However, the multilayered nature of the Festival means that often interns will assist in many different areas, as projects require. Read the brief descriptions below to see what might best interest you and indicate your interests in order of preference when you apply. The “good fit for” is not at all a requirement, just a suggestion.

Administration
Administration interns work with the Office Manager to provide a critical central point of contact for artists, staff, and vendors. They maintain office communications and coordinate/complete projects essential to all areas of the Festival. A good fit for: interns looking to gain experience in administration, customer service, and office management.

“We were able to work closely with caring staff and interact with world-renowned artists in a laidback but professional atmosphere, all while learning how to preserve a once-in-a-lifetime musical experience for patrons. This internship provided a priceless firsthand look into the world of arts administration, a field which I now feel equipped to explore.” – Sarah Voshall, CalArts, Ojai Alum 2018 

Audio/Sound
The audio/sound intern works with the production team and the sound designer for the Libbey Bowl concerts. A good fit for: interns interested in gaining experience on sound design and logistics.

Development and Special Events 
Development and special events interns work with the Director of Development to produce the various social and donor events throughout the Festival. They manage RSVP lists, coordinate and schedule vendors, create materials, and assist with other fundraising projects. A good fit for: interns interested in gaining experience in special events coordination and fundraising.

“Interning with the Ojai Music Festival pushes you to be a dynamic participant—to be able to work in a broad range of disciplines, no matter the concentration of your assigned position. Because of this mobility, you also have opportunities to work and connect with your fellow interns, the artists, and staff who bring relevance and innovation to the music presented in Ojai. The people you work with not only demonstrate the immense talent that goes into running such a festival, but establish relationships that teach and inspire.”Glenna Adkins, Sarah Lawrence College, Ojai Alum 2018 

Front-of-House/Education (Audience Engagement)
Education interns work with the education events producer to produce the informative pre-concert lectures and talks that occur throughout the Festival weekend. In addition, they will work with the audience experience manager in providing a wonderful and safe experience for all our patrons. A good fit for: interns interested in gaining experience in event coordination and gaining experience in patron interaction.

Live Stream
Live stream interns work with our live stream crew which videotapes performances and interviews and live streams all of them during the Festival. Live stream interns are also responsible for editing the live feed into archival video for the Festival and for YouTube. Knowledge of Photoshop, Google Docs, I-Movie, and Final Cut Pro. A good fit for: interns interested gaining experience in video editing and live film work. 

Stage 
Stage intern works and assists Festival stage managers in various performance venues. A good fit: interns interested in gaining experience in stage management.

“As an intern at the Ojai Music Festival, I was immediately ushered into the entire community of staff, fellow interns, and performers. The energy of intense dedication combined with constant warmth and openness opened me up to ask questions, think creatively, and share the inclusive and daring ideas perpetually growing at the Festival.”Molly Tucker, Oberlin, Ojai Alum 2018

Patron Services/Box Office
Patron services interns work in the box office, serving as a guide to the Festival experience for ticket buyers, donors, and community members. A good fit for: interns interested in gaining customer service and hospitality experience.

Production Internship
The production intern is also each year’s Rothenberg Fellow. The production intern works with the Festival Producer to coordinate artists and their needs throughout the Festival. They also work on stage and with the Stage Manager to help produce the Festival’s concerts, manage rehearsals and performances, stage changes, and coordinate between lighting and sound engineers. A good fit for: interns interested in gaining experience in concert production.

As the public relations and marketing intern, I engaged with staff, fellow interns, artists, and guest contributors to share the Festival’s collaborative spirit with our partners and audience. I loved working alongside friendly and knowledgeable staff, and it was exciting to work in a position constantly evolving according to the needs of the festival. I felt incredibly rewarded and invigorated being surrounded by such dedicated humans.” – Jamie Leidwinger, Peabody Conservatory, Ojai Alum 2017-2018

Public Relations and Marketing
Marketing interns work with the Director of Marketing & Communications and other marketing team members in communicating with and coordinating press in the days leading up to and during the Festival. They also assist with the Festival’s social media presence during the Festival and creating and distributing marketing materials. A good fit for: interns interested in gaining experience in public relations, marketing, and social media.

Retail/Concessions
Retail interns work with the Retail Manager and the Marketing Director to sell and manage merchandise. They complete pre- and post-inventories, determine signage and décor needs, and provide a warm customer experience during the Festival. A good fit for: interns interested in gaining experience in customer service and retail management.

Click here to download the 2019 Internship Application

2018 Music Director Patricia Kopatchinskaja discuss the life changing quality of Michael Hersch’s music. The Ojai Music Festival will present the world premiere I Hope We Get A Chance To Visit Soon by Mr. Hersch at the evening concert on Friday, June 8.

Michael Hersch’s solo and chamber works have appeared around the globe. We are honored to welcome Mr. Hersch for his Ojai Festival debut as a composer and performer during the 2018 Festival. 

I Hope We Get A Chance To Visit Soon is commissioned by the Ojai Music Festival, Cal Performances, Aldeburgh Festival, and PNReview.

2018 Festival Line-Up is Announced

“Ojai is special. There is no fight with new music, no fear — just curiosity and hunger for fresh music of today. The Ojai audiences are completely open minded, and it’s a wonderful possibility to do music that I truly enjoy and find powerfully relevant in our present world. Ojai is magic,” Patricia Kopatchinskaja, 2018 Music Director.

“When I first met Patricia Kopatchinskaja, I knew she was a natural to be Music Director of the Festival. She is, quite simply, a force of nature. Her unstoppable energy, blazing virtuosity, and relentless curiosity are irresistible. The 2018 Festival will showcase her wildly diverse artistic talents as a violinist, a collaborator, a director, an advocate, and as a creative force. Patricia sees music in the context of today’s social and political issues so the 2018 Festival is one that will surely offer confrontation, questioning, and healing. The 2018 Festival aims to capture Patricia’s infectious energy and virtuosity,” Thomas W. Morris, Artistic Director.

The 72nd Ojai Music Festival, June 7-10, 2018, presents Music Director Patricia Kopatchinskaja’s unbounded musical creativity and perspective in the context of today’s social and political climate. 

The 2018 Ojai Music Festival welcomes the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO) in its first extended United States residency. Founded in 1997, the Berlin-based MCO defines itself as a free and international ensemble, dedicated to creating and sharing exceptional experiences in classical music. With members spanning 20 different countries, the MCO works as a nomadic collective of passionate musicians uniting for specific projects in Europe and across the world. The MCO forms the basis of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and maintains long and fruitful artistic relationships with major artists, including Ms. Kopatchinskaja and Mitsuko Uchida, Ojai’s 2021 Music Director. In Ojai, MCO will display its versatility and virtuosity as an orchestral ensemble, in smaller chamber iterations, and also in superb solo performances from individual members.

The JACK Quartet also makes its Ojai debut at the 2018 Festival. Deemed “superheroes of the new music world” (Boston Globe), JACK is dedicated to the performance, commissioning, and spread of new string quartet music. Comprising violinists Christopher Otto and Austin Wulliman, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Jay Campbell, the group collaborates with composers of our day, including John Luther Adams, Chaya Czernowin, Simon Steen-Andersen, Caroline Shaw, Helmut Lachenmann, Steve Reich, Matthias Pintscher, and John Zorn. Upcoming and recent premieres include works by Derek Bermel, Cenk Ergün, Roger Reynolds, Toby Twining, and Georg Friedrich Haas. At the 2018 Festival, JACK will perform works by Georg Frederick Haas, Horatio Radulescu, Morton Feldman, George Crumb and Jorge Sanchez-Chiong.

Major projects will include two semi-staged concerts conceived and directed by Ms. Kopatchinskaja. The first, which opens the Festival on Thursday night, is Bye Bye Beethoven. Kopatchinskaja describes the concert as a commentary on “the irrelevance of the classic concert routine for our present life.”  This program features a mash-up of music by Charles Ives, John Cage, Joseph Haydn, György Kurtág, Johann Sebastian Bach, and the Beethoven Violin Concerto. This marks the US premiere of Bye Bye Beethoven, which was premiered at the Hamburg International Music Festival and subsequently staged in Berlin. This production marked the fourth collaboration between Ms. Kopatchinskaja and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.  Bye Bye Beethoven involves musicians in both conventional and unconventional roles, encounters with different musical genres – including a collaboration with sound designer Jorge Sanchez-Chiong – and discourse among sound, space and imagery.

The second semi-staged concert conceived and directed by Ms. Kopatchinskaja is her own provocative commentary on the consequences of global warming. Titled Dies Irae, the program is an aesthetic reflection of a time rife with global warming, wars over resources, and refugee crises. Musical selections include Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, George Crumb, Michael Hersch, Byzantine chant, Giacinto Scelsi, and Galina Ustvolskaya’s remarkable Dies Irae for eight double basses, piano, and wooden box. The evening performance on Saturday, June 9, 2018 marks its American premiere.

A new piece by American composer Michael Hersch – described by him as a dramatic cantata for two sopranos and eight instrumentalists – will receive its world premiere at the 2018 Ojai Music Festival, with subsequent performances at Cal Performances’ Ojai at Berkeley and at Great Britain’s venerable Aldeburgh Festival. The Friday, June 8, 2018 premiere follows works by Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach, Jorge Sanchez-Chiong, and piano music by Bull, Byrd, Purcell as well as improvisations. Mr. Hersch, who wrote a violin concerto for Ms. Kopatchinskaja two years ago, is considered one of the most gifted composers of his generation and is a formidable pianist.  He currently serves on the composition faculty at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.

Featured on Friday afternoon (June 8) will be the music of Russian composer Galina Ustvolskaya, described by Alex Ross as “one of the century’s grand originals.” Kopatchinskaja has long been a passionate advocate of Ustvolskaya’s music and will perform with pianist Markus Hinterhäuser her Duet and Sonata. Hinterhäuser, who is also the Intendant of the Salzburg Festival, will perform all six of her piano sonatas. Ustvolskaya’s powerful Dies irae will be featured in the Saturday evening concert of the same title.

Additional programming highlights include Kurtag’s Kafka Fragments; Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat on the occasion of its centennial; major chamber and piano music by Galina Ustvolskaya; as well as Roumanian and Moldavian folk music performed by Ms. Kopatchinskaja and her parents, Viktor and Emilia Kopatchinski on cimbalom and violin. The Festival closes with the Ligeti Violin Concerto performed by Patricia Kopatchinskaja.

Free Community Concerts
The 2018 Festival continues to build on its commitment to reach broader audiences with several opportunities for all to experience Ojai offerings. On Thursday June 7, following the three-part Ojai Talks dialogues, the Festival commences the first in a series of six free pop-up concerts in the Gazebo of Libbey Park, featuring performances of most of Luciano Berio’s Sequenzas for solo instruments by members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.  Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Jorge Sanchez-Chiong, electronics, will also perform Luigi Nono’s La lontanaza nostalgica utopia future in a free concert Thursday evening in Libbey Park, preceding the Festival’s first main Libbey Bowl concert of Ms. Kopatchinskaja’s semi-staged concert Bye Bye Beethoven.  Additionally, Ms. Kopatchinskaja has programmed two free concerts just for children. Children of all ages will convene in the Ojai Art Center listen to works by Berio, Biber, Cage, Holliger, Arthur Honegger, and Ferdinand the Bull by Alan Ridout for solo violin and speaker. These concerts for children are presented in association with the Festival’s BRAVO education program for schools and community. 

Ojai Talks
The 2018 Festival begins with Ojai Talks hosted by Ara Guzelimian, former Festival Artistic Director and current Dean and Provost of The Julliard School. On Thursday, June 7, a three-part series of discussions will begin with an exploration of Patricia Kopatchinskaja’s musical preferences and inspirations. The Ojai Music Festival’s march toward its 75th anniversary frames the second Ojai Talks, with reflections on its storied legacy, contextualization of its place on the world stage, and hints of what evolutions may impact the Festival in the future. The third part of the discussion series will speak to the reinvention of musical groups, with panelists from the JACK Quartet and from the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. 

Additional on-site and on-line dialogue during the 2018 Festival includes Concert Insights, the preconcert talks at the LIbbey Bowl Tennis Courts with Festival artists hosted by resident musicologist Christoper Hailey. Preconcert interviews are broadcast through the Festival’s free live streaming program, hosted by content-expert individuals from across the nation. 

Additional details for Ms. Kopatchinskaja’s 2018 Festival will be announced in the spring. 

New Partnership with the Aldeburgh Festival
Following the 2018 Festival in Ojai with Music Director Patricia Kopatchinskaja and the following week’s Ojai at Berkeley presented in collaboration with Cal Performances, a new partnership with Aldeburgh will take place at the end of the Aldeburgh Festival (June 21 – 24) based at the acclaimed Maltings Concert Hall and in the town of Snape near Aldeburgh in England. The collaboration with Aldeburgh follows the formation of Ojai at Berkeley as a partnership of co-productions and co-commissions that affords the Ojai Music Festival, the Aldeburgh Festival, and Cal Performances the ability to present more complex and creative artistic projects than could be conceived by each partner separately. The Aldeburgh relationship launches in June 2018, for an initial four-year period.

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

2018 Festival series passes are available now and may be purchased online at OjaiFestival.org or by calling (805) 646-2053.

Congrats to Tyshawn Sorey: 2017 MacArthur Fellow Recipient

 

Congratulations to our friend and collaborator Tyshawn Sorey on his appointment as a MacArthur Fellow. Tyshawn’s astonishing creativity has been so evident in Ojai for the last two Festivals – 2016 with Peter Sellars and Julia Bullock, and in 2017 with Vijay Iyer (Sellars and Iyer are themselves MacArthur Fellows). Ojai is an incubator for artists and music, and we can all be proud to see these so honored and recognized with this exciting award. Wonderful and well-deserved news, Tyshawn.” – Thomas W. Morris

The MacArthur Foundation recently announced their Class of 2017 recipients popularly referred to as a “genius grant.” This esteemed list included two-time Festival alum Tyshawn Sorey.  A release from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation cited Sorey for “assimilating and transforming ideas from a broad spectrum of musical idioms and defying distinctions between genres, composition, and improvisation in a singular expression of contemporary music.”

The Foundation website summarizes Tyshawn’s work: 

A virtuosic percussionist and drum set player who is fluent in piano and trombone, Sorey is an ever-curious explorer of the nature of sound and rhythm, ensemble behavior, and the physicality of live performance. He erodes distinctions among musical genres as well as the line between composition and improvisation and incorporates sophisticated rhythmic and harmonic phrasing, highly prescribed improvisational sound worlds, and real-time experimentation with sound, among many other structural elements. At the same time, he possesses a refined sense of restraint and balance that allows him to maintain his own unique voice while bringing a vast array of musical settings to life. He explores various World and Eastern musical and philosophical concepts on his albums Koan (2009) and Alloy (2014), employing musical languages that range from slowly developing tonally and pantonally based music to free atonal pieces that contain irregular rhythms, lyrical phrasing, and distinctive pacing. Inner Spectrum of Variables (2015) features an extended composition in six movements that merges the harmonic and melodic vocabularies of Western classical, American, and Ethiopian creative expressions, free improvisation, and twentieth-century avant-garde musical traditions. In his song cycle Perle Noire: Meditations for Josephine (2016), Sorey reimagines the legendary Josephine Baker’s works; his original recreations of songs sung by Baker reflect both the context of her contributions to the civil rights movement and contemporary incidences of racial injustice. Sorey challenges expectations of jazz piano trio performance on Verisimilitude (2017), a set of five abstract, enigmatic, and austere pieces in which the delineation between spontaneous and formal composition is even more obscured.

In addition to his own work as a composer, conductor, and ensemble leader, Sorey’s prowess as a percussionist and drum set player is well known, and he continues to be in high demand as a sideman for popular creative artists. With his genre-free approach to making music and continuous experimentation, Sorey is rapidly emerging as a singular talent in contemporary musical composition and performance.

The Ojai Music Festival congratulates Tyshawn for joining the ranks of these creative and forward-thinking individuals. Read more here >

BRAVO Starts the New School Year

Ojai Valley schools are back in session and the BRAVO program is also in full swing!  And thanks to the California Arts Council and generous donations from local organizations, all primary school grades will have full time music for the first time in several decades through our Education Through Music (ETM) classes.

In addition to programs in the classrooms, BRAVO will be out and about in the community. The Instrument Petting Zoo will once again make an appearance at Ojai Day on Saturday, October 21, 10am-5pm.  Come visit us and try an instrument! Artist-in-Residence visits to the Continuing Care Center of Ojai Community Hospital, The Gables, and ARC-Ojai Enrichment Center will also continue throughout the year.

The Imagine Concert in February will inspire fourth through sixth grade students to join the magic of music-making. Then in the spring, the Music Van will make its annual appearance at the schools in February and March.

Many thanks to the BRAVO committee:
Sandra Shapiro, Co-Chair
Merrill Williams, Co-Chair
Joann Yabrof, Secretary
Lynne Doherty
Lavonne Theriault
Patsy Glenn
Audrey McPherson
Kathy Broesamle
Gina Gutierrez
Laura Walter
Lillian Tally

Save-the-date: The Festival Women’s Committee is looking forward to hosting the annual Holiday Home Tour and Marketplace November 11 and 12 with proceeds benefiting BRAVO.

Visit Our Online Merch Booth!

Celebrating Bernice Jeffrey

I made my gift to the Festival’s Endowment Fund in gratitude for the years of music that Jeff and I experienced at the Festival, as an encouragement to maintain the creative spirit of the Festival, promote new works and artists, and in support of the Festival’s program and concerts which we hope will continue long into the future.

  • Bernice Jeffrey, January 2017

We dedicated the 2017 Festival to the unwavering support Bernice and Jeff have given to the Festival. As career-long UCLA Professors, both understand the importance of philanthropy in support of non-profit excellence. They never missed a year of being among the Festival’s most generous donors. This year, in addition to her annual support for the Festival, Bernice has made a new and pivotal donation: an endowment gift of one million dollars. And, as she had hoped, her gift became inspirational for others. Upon hearing of this donation, our Board Chair, David Nygren, made a very generous bequest to this endowment of his own. These gifts and bequests to the endowment are core to insuring that the work of the Festival will continue, and the margin for musical excellence will be maintained. 

To honor Bernice and Jeff, we have placed, under the oaks in the lawn area, an historic bench from the Libbey Bowl with the same seat numbers, G 45 and G 47, where Bernice and Jeff sat together for more than five decades. 

Their loyalty and their philanthropy are an inspiration to all. Bernice hopes that when you look at the bench you will be moved to join her in supporting the Festival with a current donation, and also consider a bequest or donation to the endowment of your own…. ensuring that you and others will experience the Ojai Music Festival for years to come.

  • Jamie Bennett, President 

2017 Photos

2017 Festival Reviews

The 2017 Ojai Music Festival with Music Director Vijay Iyer embodied the spirit of the Festival with an openness to discovery and stretching musical boundaries. This year as Vijay expressed the 71st edition was an opportunity to bring various communities together. Relive the 2017 Festival anytime by watching our archived live streaming concerts on our You Tube channel. View photos here

Feedback from our audience, artists, and members of the press is important to us. Read review excerpts, which we will continue to update as press reviews come in, or download the PDF version here.

 

[Vijay Iyer] made a festival with a history of daring and risk-taking become more vital and daring than ever. – San Diego Union-Tribune

 

The compelling feature was in what appeared to be Iyer’s own quest to find examples of how to take the next step and make the music your own.

For that he brought some of the great masters of day, with special and illuminating attention on Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Music. Friday night, Iyer presented the West Coast premiere of George Lewis’ brilliant 2015 opera, “Afterword,” written to commemorate the 50th anniversary of AACM” – Los Angeles Times

Over the weekend, we heard Iyer in multiple settings. He showed his ever-deepening attributes as a composer, most notably in the impressive world premiere of his engaging Violin Concerto, “Trouble,” for style-flexible virtuoso Jennifer Koh (whose late-night solo concert “Bach And Beyond,” melding Bach, Berio and others, was a bold highlight of the weekend). – DownBeat magazine

 

Proving once again that for the truly fearless, nothing is impossible, the 2017 Ojai Music Festival effectively erased the boundaries between jazz, classical, traditional Indian music, and more over the course of four sound-packed days in and around Libbey Bowl. – Santa Barbara Independent 

 

Improvisation and invention from two continents staked out new ground somewhere in between. Was it jazz? Maybe. But as a whole, this year’s gathering in Ojai thrived under its long-held, suitably broad umbrella of “music festival,” and an excellent, engrossing one at that. Ultimately, those are the only labels that matter. – Los Angeles Times

New Partnership with the Aldeburgh Festival Launches June 2018

Following 72nd Festival in Ojai with Music Director Patricia Kopatchinskaja

Ojai at Berkeley continues for 8th season June 15-17, 2018

It’s like a dream to be able to play over the course of only a few days and hear my most beloved musical pieces of our time, and to share with the audience members of the most vibrant and progressive festival on the American continent – OJAI. These pieces changed my life – I hope they will find a very special place also in your souls. I am delighted we can share some of these programs with Berkeley and with Aldeburgh.”  Patricia Kopatchinskaja, 2018 Music Director. 

(OJAI CA – June 9) – As the Ojai Music Festival anticipates the 71st Festival (June 8-11, 2017) with Music Director Vijay Iyer, the Festival is proud to announce a new partnership with the renowned Aldeburgh Festival at Snape Maltings. Following the 2018 Festival in Ojai with Music Director Patricia Kopatchinskaja and the following week’s Ojai at Berkeley presented in collaboration with Cal Performances, the new partnership will take place during the Aldeburgh Festival (June 8th – 24th) based at the acclaimed Snape Maltings Concert Hall.

Ojai Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris said, “The Aldeburgh Festival has long been a beacon of music festivals – sharing Ojai’s commitment to adventure, innovation, and creativity. It is an enormous pleasure to announce our new partnership for co-productions and co-commissions with Snape Maltings, joining with our eight-year partnership with Cal Performances in Berkeley. Roger Wright, Chief Executive of Snape Maltings which runs the Aldeburgh Festival, is a long time friend and colleague, and his enthusiasm for new music, creative programming, and many of the same artists we enjoy in Ojai made the partnership inevitable.”

“I am delighted at the prospect of this new partnership between the Aldeburgh Festival and Ojai, and to join in the creation of new work and innovative programming for which both our Festivals are acclaimed. It will be a pleasure to work with Tom Morris, an inspirational colleague, and to continue to develop distinctive programming and build new audiences for significant new work,” said Chief Executive of Snape Maltings, Roger Wright.

“Ojai is more than a musical gathering — it is a festival of distinctive artistic ideas,” commented Matías Tarnopolsky, Executive and Artistic Director of Cal Performances, home of Ojai at Berkeley.  “That’s the essential reason Cal Performances chose to create a now longstanding partnership with the Ojai Music Festival to bring the focused and concise best of each year’s programs to Berkeley. Aldeburgh Festival, a jewel among Britain’s summer festivals, is Ojai’s peer in intellectual stature and in its superb setting, and the perfect onward journey from Ojai at Berkeley.  Cal Performances is proud to join hands with Aldeburgh Festival and the Ojai Music Festival in expanding Ojai’s musical horizons.”

The collaboration with Snape Maltings follows the formation of Ojai at Berkeley as a partnership of co-productions and co-commissions that affords the Ojai Music Festival, the Aldeburgh Festival, and Cal Performances the ability to present more complex and creative artistic projects than could be conceived by each partner separately. The relationship launches in June 2018, for an initial four-year period.

The 2018 Ojai Music Festival
The 2018 Ojai Music Festival welcomes the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in its first extended United States residency. The Mahler Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1997 based on the shared vision of being a free and international ensemble, dedicated to creating and sharing exceptional experiences in classical music. With 45 members spanning 20 different countries at its core, the MCO works as a nomadic collective of passionate musicians uniting for specific tours in Europe and across the world.  Based in Berlin, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra forms the basis of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and has long and fruitful artistic relationships with major artists, including Ms. Kopatchinskaja and Mitsuko Uchida, Ojai’s 2021 Music Director. In Ojai, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra will be featured both as an orchestral ensemble, and showcased the solo and chamber music artistry of its members.

Major 2018 Ojai Festival projects include two staged concerts designed by Ms. Kopatchinskaja. The first is Bye Bye Beethoven, which she describes as a commentary on “the irrelevance of the classic concert routine for our present life.”  This staged program features a mash-up of music by Charles Ives, John Cage, Joseph Haydn, Gyorgy Kurtag, Johann Sebastian Bach, and the Beethoven Violin Concerto.  Ms. Kopatchinskaja’s second semi-staged concert is her own provocative commentary on the inevitable consequences of global warming on the planet.  Titled Dies Irae, the program includes music by Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, Michael Hersch, Byzantine chant, Giacinto Scelsi, and Galina Ustvolskaya’s remarkable Dies Irae for eight double basses, piano, and wooden box.

American composer Michael Hersch will premiere at the 2018 Ojai Music Festival a new piece, described by him as a dramatic cantata for two sopranos and eight instrumentalists. It will then be performed at Cal Performances’ Ojai at Berkeley and at the Aldeburgh Festival. Mr. Hersch, who wrote a violin concerto for Ms. Kopatchinskaja two years ago, is considered one of the most gifted composers of his generation and is a formidable pianist. He currently serves on the composition faculty at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. This new work is a co-commission by the Ojai Music Festival, Cal Performances Berkeley, the Aldeburgh Festival, and PNReview, the prominent British poetry magazine at which Mr. Hersch is artist-in-residence.  

Additional programming highlights include Kurtag’s Kafka Fragments; Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat on the occasion of its centennial; major chamber and piano music by Galina Ustvolskaya; as well as Rumanian and Moldavian folk music performed by Ms. Kopatchinskaja and her parents, Viktor and Emilia Kopatchinski on cimbalom and violin. The Festival closes with the Ligeti Violin Concerto performed by Patricia Kopatchinskaja.

Additional details for Ms. Kopatchinskaja’s 2018 Festival will be announced in the fall. For up-to-date Festival information, artist biographies and photos, and access to concert, etc., visit website Ojaifestivals.org

Advance 2018 series subscriptions will be available for purchase during the 2017 Festival and online immediately following on June 12 at OjaiFestival.org

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

Aldeburgh Festival
Aldeburgh Festival was founded in 1948 by composer Benjamin Britten, and is centered in a collection of renovated mid-nineteenth century malthouses in England’s East Anglia, northwest of London along the coast in the village of Snape, a few miles inland from the town of Aldeburgh. Celebrating its 70th Festival in 2017, the two-week Aldeburgh Festival emphasizes the presentation of new and distinctive repertoire and performances and features the music of Britten. Music theatre and opera form part of the program, as does the presentation of a visual arts program.  The Festival is run by Snape Maltings, which is a unique creative campus running a year-round residency and performance program including the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, Aldeburgh Residencies, Aldeburgh Young Musicians, the Jerwood Opera Writing Programme and the Snape Proms.

# # #

2017 Festival Live Stream Concerts

Enjoy archived concerts and interviews from our 2017 Ojai Music Festival, June 8-11, with Music Director Vijay Iyer and friends.

Special thanks to Lynn Bremer and California Internet for making our live stream possible.

THURSDAY, JUNE 8
Start Time Event
7:45 PM Live from the Libbey Bowl
7:50 PM Steve Smith & Thomas Kotcheff: Welcome!
8:00 PM Evening Concert
VIJAY IYER: Emergence, Trouble, A Cosmic Rhythm
FRIDAY, JUNE 9

9:00 AM Daybreak Concert
JEN SHYU: Seven Solo Rites

Start Time Event
12:50 PM Steve Smith & Thomas Kotcheff: Welcome to Day 2!
1:00 PM Afternoon Concert Part I
CLAIRE CHASE: Density 2036
 2:30 PM  Afternoon Concert Part II
TYSHAWN SOREY: The Inner Spectrum of Variables
6:55 PM Steve Smith & Thomas Kotcheff
7:00 PM Ojai Talks III
“The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians: Ongoing Impact,” moderated by Ara Guzeliman
7:45 PM Steve Smith & Thomas Kotcheff
8:00 PM Evening Concert 
GEORGE LEWIS: “Afterword”
10:30 PM Late Night Concert
JENNIFER KOH: “Bach and Beyond”
SATURDAY, JUNE 10
Start Time  Event
9:00 AM Daybreak Concert
NICOLE MITCHELL: Engraved in The Wind
12:50 PM Steve Smith & Thomas Kotcheff: Welcome to Day 3!
1:00 PM Afternoon Concert Part I
BRENTANO QUARTET 
2:30 PM Afternoon Concert Part II
TYSHAWN SOREY: Conduction
7:30 PM Thomas Kotcheff Interview with Rudresh Mahanthappa
7:45 PM Steve Smith & Thomas Kotcheff
8:00 PM Evening Concert
ICE with STEVEN SCHICK: “Le Sacre du Printemps” (Stravinsky, Arr. Cliff Colnot)
VIJAY IYER and PRASHANT BHARGAVA: “Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi”
10:30 PM Late Night Concert
BRENTANO QUARTET: “Art of the Fugue”
VIJAY IYER: “Time, Place, Action”
COURTNEY BRYAN: “Yet Unheard”
SUNDAY, JUNE 11
START TIME EVENT
10:00 AM Free Community Concert
THE TRIO: Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis & Roscoe Mitchell
12:50 PM Steve Smith & Alan Chapman: Welcome to Day 4!
1:00 PM Afternoon Concert
Zakir Hussain; Vijay Iyer; Rudresh Mahanthappa; Aruna Sairam
5:00 PM Alan Chapman & Artistic Director Thomas Morris
5:30 PM Evening Concert
VIJAY IYER SEXTET
5:20 PM Steve Smith & Alan Chapman
5:30 PM Evening Concert
VIJAY IYER SEXTET
7:30 PM Steve Smith & Alan Chapman

     

What’s in Libbey Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sharing Ojai: Insider Tips for Festival Goers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Azu of Ojai

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

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

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

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

The Ojai Vineyard on Montgomery Street

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

PRAY/MEDITATE / CHILLAX

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

 

Meditation Mount spectacular view

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

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

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

Rains Department Store in downtown Ojai

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

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

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

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

  • Leslie A. Westbrook 

2017 Ojai Music Festival Program Notes

A Message from the Music Director

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

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

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

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

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

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

VIJAY IYER

Click here to read the 2017 Ojai Music Festival Program Notes

Welcome to Ojaipedia

Ojaipedia Entry #1

 

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

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

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

Emergence

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

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

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

Listen below:

Trouble

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

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

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

A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke

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

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

Click here to buy tickets to this concert

**Disclaimer**

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