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2020 Music Director Matthias Pintscher Shares Initial Programming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ensemble Intercontemporain

Ensemble intercontemporain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Incoming Artistic Director Chad Smith_image by Cindy Pitou Burton

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

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

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

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

Through its signature structure of the Artistic Director appointing an annual Music Director, Ojai has presented a “who’s who” of music including Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kent Nagano, Pierre Boulez, John Adams, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Spano, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, David Robertson, Eighth Blackbird, George Benjamin, Dawn Upshaw, Leif Ove Andsnes, Mark Morris, Jeremy Denk, Steven Schick, Peter Sellars, Vijay Iyer, and Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Following Barbara Hannigan’s 2019 Festival, Ojai welcomes Mathias Pintscher as its 2020 Music Director.

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

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

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

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

2019 Music Director Barbara Hannigan and Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris Announce Final Programs for 73rd Ojai Music Festival 


The 2019 Festival celebrates Barbara Hannigan as conductor, singer, and mentor; welcomes resident ensemble LUDWIG and members of Hannigan’s Equilibrium (EQ) mentoring initiative in their US debuts, and presents pianist Stephen Gosling and pianist/conductor Edo Frenkel in their Ojai debuts; and includes the return of JACK Quartet and conductor/percussionist Steven Schick
Featured will be works by composers central to the Festival’s history and future including John Luther Adams, James Dillon, Gerard Grisey, Clara Iannotta, Oliver Knussen, Catherine Lamb, Olivier Messiaen, Terry Riley, Arnold Schoenberg, Tyshawn Sorey, Igor Stravinsky, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Claude Vivier, Sir William Walton, and John Zorn. Highlights will include:
  • Fully-staged production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress with Barbara Hannigan conducting, director/designer Linus Fellbom, and members of EQ as the cast 
  • Hannigan sings Gérard Grisey’s Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil, Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 2 for soprano and string quartet, John Zorn’s Jumalattaret, Girl Crazy Suite, a special arrangement by Bill Elliott of music from Gershwin’s Broadway musical Girl Crazy; and narrates Walton’s whimsical Façade: An Entertainment 
  • Hannigan conducts Vivier’s Lonely Child, Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht and Stravinsky’s complete ballet Pulcinella
  • Chamber works by John Zorn with Stephen Gosling and the JACK Quartet including Hexentarot, Ghosts, and The Aristos for piano trio, plus The Unseen and The Alchemist for string quartet, and Ouroboros for two celli
  • Concert in memoriam to 2005 Music Director Oliver Knussen 
  • Steven Schick performs John Luther Adams’ The Mathematics of Resonant Bodies in the Libbey Park Gazebo, free for the community 
  • US premieres of string quartet by Catherine Lamb and dead wasps in the jam-jar (iii) by Clara Ianotta, and West Coast premiere of Tyshawn Sorey’s Everything Changes, Nothing Changes
Second year of partnership with Great Britain’s Aldeburgh Festival continues June 19-21, 2019
After shaping the Ojai Music Festival’s artistic direction for 16 years, the 2019 Festival marks the conclusion of Thomas W. Morris’ defining tenure

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(OJAI CA – March 20, 2019) – The 73rd Ojai Music Festival, June 6-9, 2019, celebrates and explores the creative breadth of Music Director Barbara Hannigan, as conductor, singer, and mentor. Joining Ms. Hannigan will be the US debut of Equilibrium (EQ), her mentoring initiative for young professional artists, as well as the US debut of LUDWIG, the orchestral collective from Amsterdam, with whom Ms. Hannigan made her Grammy Award-winning conducting debut CD Crazy Girl Crazy in 2017.

In the words of 2019 Music Director Barbara Hannigan:
“What does the Ojai Music Festival mean to me? Possibility. Embrace. Challenge. Electricity. Resonance. The Ojai Festival is an atelier where we are invited to gather, as audience and performers, where we are in communion with one another, witnessing the act of live performance. Storytelling, dramaturgy, heart to heart exchange are at the center of my programming choices. This Festival will be a synthesis of dark and light – chiaroscuro – and brings the human voice to the forefront of many events, exploring the various ways composers have been inspired to express themselves through the interplay of text and music. 

The Ojai Festival is a more than a playground: It is a circus tent, a jungle gym, an obstacle course, a field of dreams. There are risks being taken, and we open ourselves with curiosity, to possibilities of sound, of flying and falling, of being overwhelmed. Performers always have a degree of courage, but the same must be said of the loyal, curious and inspiring audiences of the Ojai Festival. I simply can’t wait.”

The 2019 Festival marks the 16th and final year under the artistic direction of Thomas W. Morris. As the Ojai Music Festival approaches its 75th anniversary and looks toward the future, the innumerable contributions by Mr. Morris will continue to be realized through the 2019 Festival and beyond. Under his creative watch, the Festival pushed boundaries and scope; explored each music director’s individual perspective, creativity, and artistic communities; invited an ever-broadening roster of artists; expanded into an immersive experience over four days; introduced live and archival video streaming of concerts and talks; and built connections across musical communities with through-curated programming for each Festival.  

Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris said: 
“One of the most rewarding parts of my Artistic Director responsibilities has been selecting the annual Music Director – an ever-evolving process informed by the extraordinary resilience and receptivity of the Ojai Music Festival and its audience, as well as the astonishing wealth of artistic talent that exists. The world of music is so different than it was 16 years ago with the artistic possibilities exploding, the breadth and depth of creative talent expanding, artificial boundaries between genres disappearing, and the audiences’ appetite for more intense and distinctive musical experiences increasing. It is those forces that have propelled the sequence of Music Director appointments over the years – from a singer, to a pianist, to a choreographer, to a pianist/author, to a percussionist/conductor, to a stage director, to an improviser/composer, to a violinist, and now to a singer/conductor/mentor. I would be less than honest to admit that this was a sequence well thought out in advance; in fact, the process was organic – an evolving adventure as each Music Director opened up new possibilities for the next in the context of an ever-changing environment. In many ways, the Ojai Music Festival is a self-reinforcing and regenerative flywheel of creativity. 

I am thrilled that Barbara Hannigan is my creative partner in 2019, my last after 16 glorious and stimulating years. Barbara, a dear friend and a great artist, is a beacon of extraordinary creativity through her incredible artistry and ceaseless curiosity and commitment to the future. She represents everything an artist of the future must be. A renowned soprano, conductor and musician, she demonstrates the values that define the next generation of great artistic leaders with her new Equilibrium mentoring initiative for young artists. It will be a festival of provocative new sounds, imaginative productions, palatable energy, and outright fun – what I see as a fitting capstone to what has been an invigorating, stimulating, and daunting adventure for me over these years.”

Launching the Festival concert lineup on Thursday, June 6 will be Ms. Hannigan’s work from the podium, Stravinsky’s neoclassic opera, The Rake’s Progress, a Faustian fable for our time addressing the subjects of love, laziness, and greed. Anne Truelove was one of the first operatic roles Ms. Hannigan ever sang, and the opera holds a special place in her heart. Ms. Hannigan conducts this fully-staged performance featuring members of her Equilibrium mentoring initiative as the cast and the Los Robles Master Chorale in their Ojai debut. The production, directed by Linus Fellbom, is a co-production with the Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden, the Klara Festival in Belgium, the Munich Philharmonic in Germany, plus the Aldeburgh Festival in England. The Rake’s Progress is new to Ojai with the exception of performances in 1956, 1962 and 1968 of selected scenes from the opera, and has been rarely performed in Southern California. During the Festival, Ms. Hannigan also conducts works by Arnold Schoenberg, Igor Stravinsky, and Claude Vivier.

As a singer, Ms. Hannigan will perform Gérard Grisey’s masterpiece, Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil (Four Songs for Crossing the Threshold), a 45-minute song cycle for soprano and 16 instruments that explores the passage from life into death. Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil, completed just days before Grisey’s death, will be conducted by Ojai’s 2015 Music Director Steven Schick. Ms. Hannigan will perform in Arnold Schoenberg’s sensual String Quartet No. 2 for soprano and string quartet with the JACK Quartet. Ms. Hannigan will serve as both singer and conductor in Girl Crazy Suite, a touching and infectious arrangement by Tony-Award-winning Bill Elliott, that is part of Hannigan’s 2017 Grammy-winning album Crazy Girl Crazy, which will close the Festival on Sunday, June 9. Also featured will be Ms. Hannigan and pianist Stephen Gosling performing John Zorn’s Jumalattaret, an extraordinary quest for soprano and piano inspired by the goddesses of Finland’s Kalevala saga. 

In January 2017, Ms. Hannigan launched the Equilibrium (EQ) initiative to mentor 21 young professional musicians in the first substantial phase of their careers. EQ includes intensive workshop retreats that focus on developing and strengthening the skills needed for sustaining a fulfilling career, as well as offering performance opportunities with Ms. Hannigan and others. EQ artists are selected from an international field of applicants for their talent, musicianship, passion, drive, curiosity, discipline, versatility, and creativity. Seven of these young artists will form the cast of The Rake’s Progress, as well as perform additional music by Igor Stravinsky, Claude Vivier, and Mark-Anthony Turnage. On Saturday, June 8, the singers will participate in a special program of folk songs from their diverse native countries entitled, Rites of Passage.

LUDWIG, the celebrated collective from Amsterdam, with whom Ms. Hannigan works closely and collaborated on the recent Grammy and Juno Award-winning album Crazy Girl Crazy (Alpha Classics), makes its Ojai and US debut with the 2019 Festival. Formed in 2012, LUDWIG distinguishes itself artistically and in terms of its range and flexibility. Varying in size from a single soloist to a full-scale symphonic orchestra, LUDWIG carefully crafts its diverse programming. In 2015, LUDWIG received The Art of Impact grant for their pioneering research project Ludwig and the Brain, which, in cooperation with leading scientists, explores innovative ways music can have positive effects on health and education. 

The JACK Quartet, which made its Ojai debut at the 2018 Festival, returns performing Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 2 with Ms. Hannigan as soprano, Tyshawn Sorey’s Everything Changes, Nothing Changes, and a two-part concert of works by John Zorn, including three piano trios with Stephen Gosling, and two quartets: The Unseen and The Alchemist, and Ouroboros for 2 celli with cellist Alexa Ciciretti. 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 and was named the 2018 Ensemble of the Year by Musical America.

JACK will introduce Ojai audiences to two new composers. First, Clara Iannotta’s dead wasps in the jam-jar (iii) will receive its US premiere on Friday, June 7 alongside Mr. Sorey’s West Coast premiere of Everything Changes, Nothing Changes. Ms. Iannotta’s recent work is  described as a “meditative investigation of surface and what lies beneath it — where the depths are revealed to be more profound  than could have been imagined.”  On Sunday, June 9 Catherine Lamb’s string quartet will also receive its US premiere in Ojai.  Ms. Lamb’s music challenges listeners to discover new modes of sonic perception.

Oliver Knussen, who passed away at the early age of 66 on July 8, 2018, was Ojai’s Music Director in 2005, and worked extensively with Barbara Hannigan in the 1990s. In tribute, the Festival will offer a program of Mr. Knussen’s music including ensemble and piano pieces. Thomas W. Morris said on his passing, “Olly, as he was known to everyone, was a giant musician – figuratively and literally –  a bear of a man with the gentlest and kindest disposition of anyone I have ever known.  I was always amazed about the breadth of his openness and curiosity for music, and he simply knew and loved more music than anyone I knew. His music was meticulously crafted, finely etched, and deeply inspired. He is profoundly missed professionally and personally.”

Additional featured music will include Terry Riley’s seminal In C, receiving its second Ojai Festival performance featuring 2019 Festival artists, plus Sir William Walton’s entertainment, Façade, a concoction for speaker and six instruments on humorous poems by Edith Sitwell, narrated by Barbara Hannigan and a surprise guest.

Free Community Concerts 
The Festival continues to build on its commitment to reach broader audiences with several opportunities for the community to experience Festival offerings. Over the first three afternoons of the 2019 Festival, percussionist Steven Schick will perform the eight movements of John Luther Adams’ The Mathematics of Resonant Bodies. Works by John Luther Adams have been performed for Ojai audiences and have included Sila, Inuksuit (co-commissioned by the Ojai Music Festival), and recently Everything That Rises performed at the 2018 Festival.  

Ojai Films 
For the first time since 2014, the Festival welcomes the return of Ojai Films, a series of two screenings during the weekend at the Ojai Presbyterian Church, while the Ojai Playhouse continues its reconstruction. On Friday, June 7 the Festival will include Zorn II, a portrait of composer/instrumentalist John Zorn. Produced and directed by Mathieu Amalric, the film captures the energy of Zorn’s music, focused musicianship and his constellation of musicians rehearsing, performing, and searching.

On Saturday, June 8, the Festival will present the US premiere of Taking Risks, a documentary produced by Accentus Music on the birth of Equilibrium, which follows its inception through all stages of the casting and production, culminating in the world premiere of the semi-staged production of The Rake’s Progress (to be performed in Ojai on June 6) in Sweden in December 2018. Also shown will be two short films on Barbara Hannigan by Mathieu Amalric. About the first, Music is Music, Mr. Amalric said, “For Crazy Girl Crazy, Barbara Hannigan and Didier Martin (Alpha) had a concept album with maybe a film included with it. Again lucky, I had the chance to try to grasp the interior process of Barbara’s first album as a singer and conductor. The other film, C’est presque au bout du monde, is “the mystery of the birth and care of the voice” – the warm up.

Ojai Talks 
The 2019 Festival begins with Ojai Talks hosted by Ara Guzelimian, former Festival Artistic Director and current Dean and Provost of The Juilliard School. On Thursday, June 6, a three-part series of discussions will begin with an exploration of Barbara Hannigan’s Equilibrium (EQ) initiative, with Ms. Hannigan and EQ artists. In part two, Mr. Guzelimian will interview Thomas W. Morris on his 16-year tenure as Ojai’s Artistic Director, and the third part of the discussion series will speak to the reinvention of musical groups, with members of LUDWIG.  

Additional on-site and online dialogue during the 2019 Festival includes Concert Insights, the preconcert talks at the Libbey Bowl Tennis Courts with Festival artists led by resident musicologist Christopher Hailey. Pre-concert interviews with artists are broadcast through the Festival’s free live streaming program, hosted by content-expert individuals.  

For up-to-date Festival information and artist biographies visit the Ojai Music Festival website at OjaiFestival.org.

Partnership with the Aldeburgh Festival, June 19-21, 2019 
The new partnership with Aldeburgh was launched following the 2018 Festival in Ojai with Music Director Patricia Kopatchinskaja. The collaboration showcases select Ojai Music Festival concerts during the Aldeburgh Festival at the acclaimed Maltings in Snape near Aldeburgh, England. The partnership features co-productions and co-commissions affording both the Ojai Music Festival and Aldeburgh Festival the ability to present more complex and creative artistic projects than could be conceived by each partner separately.  Launched in June 2018 for an initial four-year period, the 2019 edition takes place June 19-21.

Ojai at Berkeley Concludes 
Ojai at Berkeley, the robust eight-year partnership between the Ojai Music Festival and Cal Performances, began in 2011 and allowed such collaborations as The Classical Style by Steven Stucky and Jeremy Denk, Josephine Baker Portrait by Tyshawn Sorey and Julia Bullock, and Afterword the Opera by George Lewis to be performed. With leadership transitions at both institutions, it has been decided to conclude the venture. The final installation of Ojai at Berkeley took place in June 2018.

Barbara Hannigan, 2019 Music Director
Nova Scotian musician Barbara Hannigan divides her time between singing on the world’s major stages and conducting leading orchestras. The Berlin Philharmonic, Münchner Philharmoniker, Gothenburg Symphony, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and the Toronto Symphony are among the orchestras with which she holds close relationships. Ms. Hannigan has worked with the most prominent conductors, including Simon Rattle, Kent Nagano, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Andris Nelsons, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Kirill Petrenko, David Zinman, Vladimir Jurowski, Antonio Pappano, Alan Gilbert, and Reinbert de Leeuw. Her commitment to the music of our time has led to an extensive collaboration with composers including Boulez, Dutilleux, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Sciarrino, Barry, Dusapin, and Abrahamsen. She has recently been appointed as Principal Guest Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden, following Kent Nagano’s tenure in that position.

Unforgettable operatic appearances include the title role in Lulu in Krszysztof Warlikowski’s staging at Brussels’ La Monnaie, and more recently at Hamburg Staatsoper conducted by Kent Nagano and directed by Christoph Marthaler; the title role of Pelléas et Mélisande in Katie Mitchell’s staging at the 2016 Festival d’Aix-en-Province conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen and in Krszysztof Warlikowski’s more recent production at the Ruhrtriennale in Germany; and Marie in Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten at the Bayerische Staatsoper—a hugely acclaimed presentation directed by Andreas Kriegenberg and conducted by Kirill Petrenko, for which she won the Faust Award in Germany. She made her Opéra National de Paris debut in 2015 with La voix humaine again in a Warlikowski production and returned in April 2018 to reprise the role. She created the role of Ophelia in Brett Dean’s Hamlet at the Glyndebourne Festival in summer 2017 and created the lead soprano roles in both of George Benjamin’s full scale operas: Written on Skin, and Lessons in Love and Violence.

In 2017, Ms. Hannigan released Crazy Girl Crazy, her first album as both singer and conductor, with Holland’s LUDWIG orchestra as the orchestral force, on Alpha Classics. The album features works by Berio, Berg, and a specially commissioned Gershwin arrangement by Bill Elliott, as well as a bonus DVD by Mathieu Amalric. The album has received numerous awards worldwide including the Grammy and Juno awards for best classical vocal album.

Ms. Hannigan’s previous recordings have garnered awards from Gramophone, Edison, Victoires de la Musique and the Royal Philharmonic Society. Other awards include Singer of the Year (Opernwelt, 2013), Musical Personality of the Year (Syndicat de la Presse Francaise, 2012), Ehrenpreise (Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik 2018), and Rolf Schock Prize for Musical Arts (2018), and she was appointed to the Order of Canada (2016).

In 2017 Ms. Hannigan created Equilibrium, an international mentoring initiative for young professional musicians, and chose 21 participants from a total of 350 applicants from 39 countries to participate in Equilibrium’s first season (2018-19), which will have over 20 performances with four partner orchestras in works including Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, Mozart’s Requiem, and Stravinsky’s Pulcinella.

Thomas W. Morris, Artistic Director 
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 he shapes the Festival’s programming. During Mr. Morris’ tenure, the scope and density of the Festival has expanded, the collaborative partnership Ojai at Berkeley with Cal Performances at UC Berkeley launched, a partnership with England’s Aldeburgh Festival was initiated in 2018, and a comprehensive program of video streaming of all concerts was instituted. Mr. Morris is recognized as one of the most innovative leaders in the orchestra industry and served as the longtime chief executive of both The Cleveland Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He is active nationally and internationally as a consultant, lecturer, teacher, and writer. Mr. Morris was a founding director of Spring for Music in NYC and served as the project’s artistic director. He served 10 years on the board of trustees of Interlochen Center for the Arts, most recently as vice chair, and he is also an accomplished percussionist. In November 2018, Mr. Morris announced his decision to retire as the Festival’s Artistic Director following the 2019 Festival with Music Director Barbara Hannigan, after shaping Ojai’s artistic direction for 16 years.

About the Ojai Music Festival 
From its founding in 1947, the Ojai Music Festival has created a place for groundbreaking musical experiences, bringing together innovative artists and curious audiences in an intimate, idyllic setting 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The Festival presents broad-ranging programs in unusual ways with an eclectic mix of rarely performed music, refreshing juxtapositions of musical styles, and works by today’s composers. 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, the Festival remains 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, Vijay Iyer, Barbara Hannigan (2019), and Matthias Pintscher (2020).

As the Ojai Music Festival approaches its 75th anniversary and looks toward the future, Thomas W. Morris concludes his remarkable 16-year tenure as Artistic Director following the 73rd Festival in 2019. With the appointment of Chad Smith as the next Artistic Director, Ojai’s artistic momentum is clearly poised to continue. Mr. Smith will succeed Mr. Morris as Artistic Director with the 74th Festival (June 11-14, 2020).

Remote Access to the Ojai Music Festival 
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 Festival and later archived at OjaiFestival.org

Single Tickets for 2019 Ojai Music Festival 
2019 single tickets are available and may be purchased online at OjaiFestival.org or by calling (805) 646-2053. Ojai Music Festival single tickets range from $150 to $45 for reserved seating or $20 for lawn tickets. Student and group discounts are also available by calling the box office for more information.

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2019 Applications for the Arts Management Intern Program Now Available

(OJAI, CA) – The Ojai Music Festival’s arts management internship program is now accepting applications for the 73rd Ojai Music Festival slated for June 6 to 9, 2019 with soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan as music director.  Entering its 12th year, the Festival’s sought-after program provides hands-on experiences to college students as they are immersed in areas of production, administration, operations, special events, merchandising, live streaming, marketing, public relations, and patron services.

Students from varying fields and walks of life enjoy access to different opportunities which give them new skill sets and experiences that they take with them throughout their careers. The internship program also provides them to interact with leaders in the music industry and create lasting friendships with other students. 

Applicants must be 18 or over and enrolled in a two or four year accredited college. The Festival provides housing for the duration of the internship as well as a stipend.  Applications are due by March 1, 2019.  Download the application here.

About the Ojai Music Festival
From its founding in 1947, the Ojai Music Festival has created a place for groundbreaking musical experiences, bringing together innovative artists and curious audiences in an intimate, idyllic setting 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The Festival presents broad-ranging programs in unusual ways with an eclectic mix of rarely performed music, refreshing juxtapositions of musical styles, and works by today’s composers. 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, Vijay Iyer, Barbara Hannigan (2019), and Matthias Pintscher (2020).

The 73rd Ojai Music Festival, June 6 to 9, 2019, will celebrate and explore the creative breadth of Music Director Barbara Hannigan, as conductor, singer, and mentor. Joining Ms. Hannigan will be the US debuts of her mentoring initiative for young professional artists, Equilibrium (EQ), and the orchestral collective from Amsterdam, LUDWIG, with whom Ms. Hannigan made her Grammy Award-winning conducting debut CD “Crazy Girl Crazy” in 2017.

The 2019 Festival program will feature works by composers central to Ojai’s history and future, including John Luther Adams, Gerard Grisey, Oliver Knussen, Catherine Lamb, Olivier Messiaen, Terry Riley, Arnold Schoenberg, Tyshawn Sorey, Igor Stravinsky, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Claude Vivier, and John Zorn. Highlights will include the staged production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress with Ms. Hannigan conducting and members of EQ as the cast; Ms. Hannigan performing in Gérard Grisey’s Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil; the Ojai premiere of John Zorn’s Jumalattaret and Girl Crazy Suite, a special arrangement by Bill Elliott of songs from the Gershwin musical.

For more information regarding the internship program for the Ojai Music Festival, please call the main office at 805 646 2094 or email info@ojaifestival.org.  For more information on the Ojai Music Festival, visit OjaiFestival.org.

 

 

Ojai Music Festival Announces Initial 2019 Festival Program with Music Director Barbara Hannigan

The 73rd Festival celebrates Hannigan as conductor, singer, and mentor; welcomes resident ensemble LUDWIG and members of Hannigan’s Equilibrium (EQ) mentoring initiative in their US debuts, and pianist Stephen Gosling and pianist/conductor Edo Frenkel in their Ojai debuts; and  the return of JACK Quartet and conductor/percussionist Steven Schick

Works by composers central to Ojai’s history and future are featured, including John Luther Adams, James Dillon, Gerard Grisey, Oliver Knussen, Catherine Lamb, Olivier Messiaen, Terry Riley, Marc Sabat, Arnold Schoenberg, Tyshawn Sorey, Igor Stravinsky, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Claude Vivier, and John Zorn, with highlights:

  • Semi-staged production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress with Hannigan conducting, director/designer Linus Fellbom, and members of EQ as the cast
  • Hannigan performs as singer in Gérard Grisey’s Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil, Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 2 for soprano & string quartet, the US premiere of John Zorn’s Jumalattaret,Girl Crazy Suite, a special arrangement by Bill Elliott of songs from the Gershwin musical;and as narrator in William Walton’s whimsical Façade: An Entertainment
  • Hannigan conducts Vivier’s Lonely Child, Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht and Stravinsky’s complete ballet Pulcinella
  • Chamber works by John Zorn with Stephen Gosling and the JACK Quartet include Hexentarot, Ghosts,and The Aristosfor piano trio, The Unseen, and The Alchemist for string quartet
  • Concert in memoriam to 2005 Music Director Oliver Knussen 
  • John Luther Adam’s The Mathematics of Resonant Bodies performed by Steven Schick in the Libbey Park Gazebo, free for the community 

Second year of partnership with Great Britain’s Aldeburgh Festival in Snape continues June 19-21, 2019

After shaping Ojai’s artistic direction for sixteen years, the 2019 Festival marks the conclusion of Thomas W. Morris’ defining tenure

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(OJAI CA – November 13, 2018) – The 73rd Ojai Music Festival, June 6-9, 2019, celebrates and explores the creative breadth of Music Director Barbara Hannigan, as conductor, singer, and mentor. Joining Ms. Hannigan will be the US debut of her mentoring initiative for young professional artists, Equilibrium (EQ), as well as the US debut of the orchestral collective from Amsterdam, LUDWIG, with whom Ms. Hannigan made her Grammy Award-winning conducting debut CD “Crazy Girl Crazy” in 2017.

2019 Music Director Barbara Hannigan shared,

“What does the Ojai Music Festival mean to me? Possibility. Embrace. Challenge. Electricity. Resonance. The Ojai Festival is an atelier where we are invited to gather, as audience and performers, where we are in communion with one another, witnessing the act of live performance. Storytelling, dramaturgy, heart to heart exchange are at the center of my programming choices. This Festival will be a synthesis of dark and light – chiaroscuro – and brings the human voice to the forefront of many events, exploring the various ways composers have been inspired to express themselves through the interplay of text and music. 

 

The Ojai Festival is a more than a playground: it is a circus tent, a jungle gym, an obstacle course, a field of dreams. There are risks being taken, and we open ourselves with curiosity, to possibilities of sound, of flying and falling, of being overwhelmed. Performers always have a degree of courage, but the same must be said of the loyal, curious and inspiring audiences of the Ojai Festival. I simply can’t wait.”

The 2019 Festival marks the sixteenth and final year under the artistic direction of Thomas W. Morris. As the Ojai Music Festival approaches its 75th anniversary and looks toward the future, the innumerable contributions by Mr. Morris will continue to be realized through the 2019 Festival and beyond. Under his creative watch, the Festival pushed boundaries and scope; explored each music director’s individual perspective, creativity, and artistic communities; invited an ever-broadening roster of artists; expanded in scope into an immersion experience over four days; introduced live and archival video streaming of concerts and talks; and built connections across musical communities with through-curated programming for each Festival.  

Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris said,

“One of the most rewarding parts of my artistic director responsibilities has been selecting the annual music director – an ever-evolving process informed by the extraordinary resilience and receptivity of the Ojai Music Festival and its audience, as well as the astonishing wealth of artistic talent that exists. The world of music is so different than it was sixteen years ago with the artistic possibilities exploding, the breadth and depth of creative talent expanding, artificial boundaries between genres disappearing, and the appetite for audiences for more intense and distinctive musical experiences increasing. It is those forces that have propelled the sequence of music director appointments over the years – from a singer, to a pianist, to a choreographer, to a pianist/author, to a percussionist/conductor, to a stage director, to an improviser/composer, to a violinist, and to a singer/conductor/mentor. I would be less than honest to admit that this was a sequence well thought out in advance; in fact, the process was organic – an evolving adventure as each music director opened up new possibilities for the next in the context of an ever-changing environment. In many ways, Ojai is an ever self-reinforcing and regenerative flywheel of creativity. 

 

I am thrilled that Barbara Hannigan is my creative partner in 2019, my last after sixteen glorious and stimulating years. Barbara, a dear friend and a great artist, is a beacon of extraordinary creativity through her incredible artistry and ceaseless curiosity and commitment to the future. She represents everything an artist of the future must be. A renowned soprano, conductor and musician, she demonstrates the values that define the next generation of great artistic leaders with her new Equilibrium mentoring initiative for young artists. It will be a festival of provocative new sounds, imaginative productions, palatable energy, and outright fun – what I see as a fitting capstone to what has been an invigorating, stimulating, and daunting adventure for me over these years.”
 

Launching the Festival concert line-up on Thursday, June 6 will be Ms. Hannigan’s work from the podium, Stravinsky’s neoclassic opera, The Rake’s Progress, a Faustian fable for our time addressing the subjects of love, laziness, and greed. Anne Truelove was one of the first operatic roles Ms. Hannigan ever sang, and the opera holds a special place in her heart. Ms. Hannigan conducts this semi-staged performance featuring members of her Equilibrium mentoring initiative as the cast and the Los Robles Master Chorale in their Ojai debut. The production, directed by Linus Fellbom, is a co-production with the Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden, the Klara Festival in Brussels, the Munich Philharmonic in Germany, plus the Aldeburgh Festival. The Rake’s Progress is new to Ojai with the exception of a performance in 1962 of one scene from the opera, and has been very rarely performed in Southern California.During the Festival, Ms. Hannigan also conducts works by Arnold Schoenberg, Igor Stravinsky, and Claude Vivier.

As a singer, Ms. Hannigan will perform Gérard Grisey’s masterpiece, Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil,a 45-minute song cycle for soprano and 16 instruments which explores the passage from life into death. Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil, completed just days before Grisey’s death, will be conducted by Ojai’s 2015 Music Director Steven Schick. Ms. Hannigan will perform in Arnold Schoenberg’s sensual String Quartet No. 2 for soprano & string quartet with the JACK Quartet. Ms. Hannigan will serve as both singer and conductor in Girl Crazy Suite, a touching and infectious arrangement by Tony-award winning Bill Elliott, which is part of Hannigan’s 2017 Grammy-winning album Crazy Girl Crazy, that will close the Festival on Sunday, June 9. Also featured will be Ms. Hannigan and pianist Stephen Gosling performing the US premiere of John Zorn’s Jumalattaret, an extraordinary quest for soprano and piano inspired by the goddesses of Finland’s Kalevala saga. 

In January 2017, Ms. Hannigan launched the Equilibrium (EQ) initiative to mentor 21 young professional musicians in the first substantial phase of their careers. EQ includes intensive workshop retreats, which focus on developing and strengthening the skills needed for sustaining a fulfilling career, as well as offering performance opportunities with Ms. Hannigan and others. EQ artists are selected from an international field of applicants for their talent, musicianship, passion, drive, curiosity, discipline, versatility, and creativity. Seven of these young artists will form the cast of The Rake’s Progress, as well as perform additional music by Igor Stravinsky, Claude Vivier, Mark-Anthony Turnage. On Saturday, June 8, the singers will participate in a special program of folk songs from their diverse native countries entitled, Rites of Passage.

LUDWIG, the celebrated collective from Amsterdam, with whom Ms. Hannigan works closely and collaborated with on the recent Grammy and Juno award-winning album Crazy Girl Crazy(Alpha Classics), makes its Ojai and US debut with the 2019 Festival. Formed in 2012, LUDWIG distinguishes itself artistically and in terms of its range and flexibility. Varying in size from a single soloist to a full-scale symphonic orchestra, LUDWIG carefully crafts its diverse programming. In 2015, LUDWIG received The Art of Impact grant for their pioneering research project Ludwig and the Brain, which, in cooperation with leading scientists, explores innovative ways music can have positive effects on health and education. 

The JACK Quartet, which made its Ojai debut at the 2018 Festival, returns performing Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 2 with Ms. Hannigan as soprano, Marc Sabat’s Euler Lattice Spirals Scenery, Tyshawn Sorey’s Everything Changes, Nothing Changes, Catherine Lamb’s String Quartet, and a two-part concert of works by John Zorn, including three piano trios with Stephen Gosling, and two quartets The Unseenand The Alchemist. 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 and was recently named the 2018 Ensemble of the Year by Musical America.

Oliver Knussen, who passed away at the early age of 66 on July 8, 2018, was Ojai’s Music Director in 2005, and worked extensively with Barbara Hannigan in the 1990s. In tribute, the Festival will offer a program of Mr. Knussen’s music including ensemble and piano pieces. Thomas W. Morris said on his passing, “Olly, as he was known to everyone, was a giant musician – figuratively and literally –  a bear of a man with the gentlest and kindest disposition of anyone I have ever known.  I was always amazed about the breadth of his openness and curiosity for music, and he simply knew and loved more music than anyone I knew. His music was meticulously crafted, finely etched, and deeply inspired. He is profoundly missed professionally and personally.”

Additional featured music includes Terry Riley’s seminal In C, receiving its second Ojai Festival performance and featuring 2019 Festival artists and William Walton’s entertainment, Façade, a concoction for speaker and six instruments on humorous poems by Edith Sitwell, will be narrated by Barbara Hannigan and surprise guests.

Free Community Concerts 
The Festival continues to build on its commitment to reach broader audiences with several opportunities for the community to experience Festival offerings. Over the course of the first three afternoons of the 2019 Festival, percussionist Steven Schick will perform the eight movements of John Luther Adams’ The Mathematics of Resonant Bodies. Works by John Luther Adams have been performed for Ojai audiences and have included Sila, Inuksuit (co-commissioned by the Ojai Music Festival), and recently Everything that Rises performed at the 2018 Festival.  

Ojai Films 
For the first time since 2014, the Ojai Music Festival welcomes the return of Ojai Films, a series of two screenings during the weekend at the Ojai Presbyterian Church, while the Ojai Playhouse continues its reconstruction. On Friday, June 7 the Festival will include, I’m a creative animal: A Portrait of Barbara Hannigan produced in 2014 by SRF and directed by Barbara Seiler. On Saturday, June 8, the Festival will present the US premiere of Taking Risks, a documentary produced by Accentus Music on the birth of Equilibrium which follows its inception through all stages of the casting and production, and culminating in the world premiere of the semi-staged production of The Rake’s Progress (which is performed in Ojai June 6) in Gothenburg in December 2018.

Ojai Talks 
The 2019 Festival begins with Ojai Talks hosted by Ara Guzelimian, former Festival Artistic Director and current Dean and Provost of The Juilliard School. On Thursday, June 6, a three-part series of discussions will begin with an exploration of Barbara Hannigan’s Equilibrium (EQ) initiative, with Ms. Hannigan and EQ artists. Mr. Guzelimian will interview Thomas W. Morris on his sixteen-year tenure as Ojai’s Artistic Director for the second part, and the third part of the discussion series will speak to the reinvention of musical groups, with members of LUDWIG.  

Additional on-site and online dialogue during the 2019 Festival includes Concert Insights, the pre-concert talks at the Libbey Bowl Tennis Courts with Festival artists led by resident musicologist Christopher Hailey. Pre-concert interviews with artists are broadcast through the Festival’s free live streaming program, hosted by content-expert individuals.  

Further details for Ms. Hannigan’s 2019 Festival will be announced in the spring. For up-to-date Festival information, artist biographies, and photos, visit the Ojai Music Festival website at OjaiFestival.org.

Partnership with the Aldeburgh Festival, June 19-21, 2019 
The new partnership with Aldeburgh was launched following the 2018 Festival in Ojai with Music Director Patricia Kopatchinskaja. The collaboration showcases select Ojai Music Festival concerts during the Aldeburgh Festival at the acclaimed Maltings in Snape near Aldeburgh, England. The partnership features co-productions and co-commissions affording both the Ojai Music Festival and Aldeburgh Festival the ability to present more complex and creative artistic projects than could be conceived by each partner separately.  Launched in June 2018 for an initial four-year period, the 2019 edition takes place June 19-21.

Ojai at Berkeley Concludes 
Ojai at Berkeley, the robust eight-year partnership between the Ojai Music Festival and Cal Performances, began in 2011 and allowed such collaborations as The Classical Style by Steven Stucky and Jeremy Denk, Josephine Baker Portrait by Tyshawn Sorey and Julia Bullock, and George Lewis’ Afterword the Opera to be performed. With the leadership transitions at both institutions, it has been decided to conclude the venture. The final installation of Ojai at Berkeley took place in June 2018 following the Ojai Music Festival with Music Director Patricia Kopatchinskaja.

Barbara Hannigan, 2019 Music Director
Nova Scotian musician Barbara Hannigan divides her time between singing on the world’s major stages and conducting leading orchestras. The Berlin Philharmonic, Münchner Philharmoniker, Gothenburg Symphony, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and the Toronto Symphony are among the orchestras with whom she holds close relationships. Ms. Hannigan has worked with the most prominent conductors, including Simon Rattle, Kent Nagano, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Andris Nelsons, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Kirill Petrenko, David Zinman, Vladimir Jurowski, Antonio Pappano, Alan Gilbert, and Reinbert de Leeuw. Her commitment to the music of our time has led to an extensive collaboration with composers including Boulez, Dutilleux, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Sciarrino, Barry, Dusapin, and Abrahamsen. She has recently been appointed as Principal Guest Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden, following Kent Nagano’s tenure in that position.

Unforgettable operatic appearances include the title role in Lulu in Krszysztof Warlikowski’s staging at Brussels’ La Monnaie, and more recently at Hamburg Staatsoper conducted by Kent Nagano and directed by Christoph Marthaler; the title role of Pelléas et Mélisandein Katie Mitchell’s staging at the 2016 Festival d’Aix-en-Province conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen and in Krszysztof Warlikowski’s more recent production at the Ruhrtriennale in Germany; and Marie in Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten at the Bayerische Staatsoper—a hugely acclaimed presentation directed by Andreas Kriegenberg and conducted by Kirill Petrenko, for which she won the Faust Award in Germany. She made her Opéra National de Paris debut in 2015 with La voix humaine again in a Warlikowski production and returned in April 2018 to reprise the role. She created the role of Ophelia in Brett Dean’s Hamletat the Glyndebourne Festival in summer 2017 and created the lead soprano roles in both of George Benjamin’s full scale operas: Written on Skin, and Lessons in Love and Violence.

In 2017, Ms. Hannigan released her first album as both singer and conductor, with Holland’s LUDWIG orchestra as the orchestral force, on Alpha Classics, entitled Crazy Girl Crazy. The album features works by Berio, Berg, and a specially commissioned Gershwin arrangement by Bill Elliott, as well as a bonus dvd by Mathieu Amalric. The album has received numerous awards worldwide including the Grammy and Juno awards for best classical vocal album.

Ms. Hannigan’s previous recordings have garnered awards from Gramophone, Edison, Victoires de la Musique and the Royal Philharmonic Society. Other awards include Singer of the Year (Opernwelt, 2013), Musical Personality of the Year (Syndicat de la Presse Francaise, 2012), Ehrenpreise (Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik 2018), and Rolf Schock Prize for Musical Arts (2018), and she was recently appointed as a member to the Order of Canada (2016).

In 2017 Ms. Hannigan created Equilibrium, an international mentoring initiative for young professional musicians, and chose 21 participants from a total of 350 applicants from 39 countries to participate in Equilibrium’s first season (2018/19), which will have over 20 performances with four partner orchestras in works including Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, Mozart’s Requiem, and Stravinsky’s Pulcinella.

Thomas W. Morris, Artistic Director 
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 he shapes the Festival’s programming. During Mr. Morris’ tenure, the scope and density of the Festival has expanded, the collaborative partnership Ojai at Berkeley with Cal Performances at UC Berkeley launched, a partnership with England’s Aldeburgh Festival was initiated in 2018, and a comprehensive program of video streaming of all concerts was instituted. Mr. Morris is recognized as one of the most innovative leaders in the orchestra industry and served as the longtime 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 in NYC and served as the project’s artistic director. He served ten years on the board of trustees of Interlochen Center for the Arts, most recently as Vice Chair, and he is also an accomplished percussionist. In November 2018, Mr. Morris announced his decision to retire as the Festival’s Artistic Director following the 2019 Festival with Music Director Barbara Hannigan, after shaping Ojai’s artistic direction for sixteen years.

About the Ojai Music Festival 
From its founding in 1947, the Ojai Music Festival has created a place for groundbreaking musical experiences, bringing together innovative artists and curious audiences in an intimate, idyllic setting 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The Festival presents broad-ranging programs in unusual ways with an eclectic mix of rarely performed music, refreshing juxtapositions of musical styles, and works by today’s composers. 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, Vijay Iyer, Barbara Hannigan (2019), and Matthias Pintscher (2020).

As the Ojai Music Festival approaches its 75th anniversary and looks toward the future, Thomas W. Morris concludes his remarkable 16-year tenure as Artistic Director following the 73rd Festival in 2019. With the appointment of Chad Smith as the next Artistic Director, Ojai’s artistic momentum is clearly poised to continue. Mr. Smith will succeed Mr. Morris as Artistic Director with the 2020 Festival (June 11-14).

Remote Access to the Ojai Music Festival 
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 Festival and later archived at OjaiFestival.org

Series Passes for the 2019 Ojai Music Festival 
2019 Festival series passes are available and may be purchased online at OjaiFestival.org or by calling (805) 646-2053. Ojai Music Festival series passes range from $165 to $925 for reserved seating and lawn series passes start at $75. Single concert tickets will be available in spring 2019.

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2019 Festival with Barbara Hannigan Initial Program Highlights

 

 

 

 2019 Music Director Barbara Hannigan Shares Initial Programming for 73rd Ojai Music Festival

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(OJAI CA – June 4, 2018) – As the Ojai Music Festival anticipates the 72nd Festival (June 7-10, 2018) with Music Director Patricia Kopatchinskaja, the Festival’s 2019 Music Director Barbara Hannigan and Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris share initial programming for the 73rd Festival, June 6-9, 2019. The 2019 Ojai Music Festival celebrates and explores the creative artistic force of Barbara Hannigan, as conductor, singer, and mentor.

Following the 2019 Ojai Music Festival, Ojai at Berkeley continues for the ninth season June 13-15 and the Festival’s partnership with the Aldeburgh Festival for the second season June 19-21. The 2019 Festival marks the sixteenth and final year under the artistic direction of Thomas W. Morris. Chad Smith succeeds Mr. Morris as Artistic Director with the 2020 Festival.

“Barbara Hannigan is an inspiration for what a great artist should be. She is world renowned as a soprano, having sung at all the great opera houses and concert stages. She is a pioneer of the new, having championed the works of countless composers of our time including George Benjamin, Hans Abrahamsen, Gerald Barry, Unsuk Chin, Pierre Boulez, Gyorgy Ligeti, and Henri Dutilleux. She is a passionate conductor, known for her unique programming and interpretations. Through Equilibrium, her recently announced mentoring initiative for younger artists, she is committed to the next generation of musicians. Most importantly she is an entrepreneur, leading by example, unafraid of creating new paths, an advocate for issues of our time and space, and a supernova in the musical universe. Ojai will showcase all of those aspects of this remarkable artist next June, including the American debut of the incredible musicians’ collective from Amsterdam, Ludwig, with whom Barbara has a close relationship,” said Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris. 

“I am buzzing with energy and excitement around the 2019 Ojai Music Festival. Together with Tom Morris, a longtime inspiration and friend, it has been a joy to imagine and explore beautiful collaborations and combinations of repertoire and musicians. As the 2019 Festival nears, these dreams are approaching reality! This Festival will be a synthesis of dark and light: chiaroscuro. The music we will present resonates deeply with me, and the dramatic storytelling is equally strong, as you’ll see and hear in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, and other vocal works by Schoenberg, Grisey, Turnage, and Vivier. I am still pinching myself that this magical gathering exists and am thrilled to join the enormous energy that the Festival has generated for over 70 years,” shared Barbara Hannigan.

During the 2019 Festival, Barbara Hannigan will conduct works by Aaron Copland, Arnold Schoenberg, Igor Stravinsky, and Claude Vivier. A highlight of her work from the podium will be Stravinsky’s neoclassic opera, The Rake’s Progress, a Faustian fable for our time addressing the subjects of love, laziness, and greed. Anne Truelove was one of the first operatic roles Ms. Hannigan ever sang, and the opera holds a special place in her heart. Ms. Hannigan conducts this semi-staged complete performance that features members of her Equilibrium mentoring initiative as the cast. The production, directed by Linus Fellbom, is a co-production with the Gothenberg Symphony in Sweden, the Klara Festival in Brussels, the Munich Philharmonic in Germany, plus Cal Performances and the Aldeburgh Festival.

As a singer, Ms. Hannigan will perform Gérard Grisey’s haunting masterpiece, Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil, a 45-minute song cycle for soprano and 16 instruments which explores the passage from live into death. Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil, which was completed just days before Grisey’s death, will be conducted by Ojai’s 2015 Music Director Steven Schick. Ms. Hannigan will perform in Arnold Schoenberg’s sensual String Quartet No. 2 for soprano & string quartet in F sharp minor, Op. 10. In her own arrangement with Bill Elliot of selections from George Gershwin’s Girl Crazy, Ms. Hannigan will serve as both singer and conductor.

LUDWIG, the celebrated new music collective from Amsterdam, with whom Ms. Hannigan works closely and collaborated with on the recent Grammy and Juno award-winning album Crazy Girl Crazy (Alpha Classics), makes its Ojai and US premiere with the 2019 Festival.

Seven of Ms. Hannigan’s Equilibrium young artists will be in residence with her in Ojai. In January 2017, Ms. Hannigan launched the Equilibrium (EQ) initiative to mentor 21 young professional musicians in the first substantial phase of their careers. EQ includes intensive workshop retreats, which focus on developing and strengthening the skills needed for sustaining a fulfilling career, as well as offering performance opportunities with Ms. Hannigan and others. EQ artists are selected from an international field of applicants for their talent, musicianship, passion, drive, curiosity, discipline, versatility, and creativity. At the 2019 Festival, these young artists will form the cast of The Rake’s Progress, and will perform additional music by Igor Stravinsky, Claude Vivier, Mark Anthony Turnage, and others.

Other music to be featured during the Festival including Terry Riley’s seminal In C, receiving its second Ojai Music Festival performance and featuring 2019 Festival artists. William Walton’s entertainment, Façade, a concoction for speaker and six instruments on humorous poems by Edith Sitwell, will be narrated by Barbara Hannigan and surprise guests. Music of American composer John Zorn will also be featured during the Festival.

Additional details of the 2019 Festival will be announced in the fall. For up-to-date Festival information, artist biographies and photos, visit the Ojai Music Festival website at OjaiFestival.org.

Barbara Hannigan, 2019 Music Director

Nova Scotian musician Barbara Hannigan divides her time between singing on the world’s major stages and conducting leading orchestras. The Berlin Philharmonic, Münchner Philharmoniker, Gothenburg Symphony, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and the Toronto Symphony are among the orchestras with whom she holds close relationships. Barbara has worked with the most prominent conductors, including Simon Rattle, Kent Nagano, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Andris Nelsons, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Kirill Petrenko, David Zinman, Vladimir Jurowski, Antonio Pappano, Alan Gilbert, and Reinbert de Leeuw. Her commitment to the music of our time has led to an extensive collaboration with composers including Boulez, Dutilleux, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Sciarrino, Barry, Dusapin, and Abrahamsen. 

Unforgettable operatic appearances include the title role in a “chameleonic and compelling” (Gramophone) Lulu in Krszysztof Warlikowski’s staging at La Monnaie, and more recently Lulu at Hamburg Staatsoper conducted by Kent Nagano and directed by Christoph Marthaler; the title role of Pelléas et Mélisande in Katie Mitchell’s staging at the 2016 Festival d’Aix-en-Province conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen and in Krszysztof Warlikowski’s more recent production at the Ruhrtriennale in Germany; and a fearless interpretation of Marie as a flame in the darkness in Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten at the Bayerische Staatsoper—a hugely acclaimed presentation directed by Andreas Kriegenberg and conducted by Kirill Petrenko, for which she won the Faust Award in Germany. She made her Opéra national de Paris debut in 2015 with La Voix humaine again in a Warlikowski production and returned in April 2018 to reprise the role. She created the role of Ophelia in Brett Dean’s Hamlet at the Glyndebourne Festival in summer 2017 and created the role of Agnes in George Benjamin’s Written on Skin, a production which has garnered rave reviews worldwide, with most recent performances at New York’s Lincoln Center (2015) and London’s Royal Opera House (2017); and had the world premiere of  Benjamin’s new opera also at London’s Royal Opera House.

Recently appointed as Principal Guest Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden, Ms. Hannigan made her conducting debut in 2011 at the Chatelet in Paris, and her path since that time has been a constant creative development, having created special programs for the Toronto Symphony, Danish National and Swedish Radio symphony orchestras, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and Münchner Philharmoniker, as well as the orchestra of the Munich Staatsoper.

In 2017, Ms. Hannigan released her first album as both singer and conductor, with Holland’s LUDWIG orchestra as the orchestral force, on Alpha Classics, entitled Crazy Girl Crazy. The album features works by Berio, Berg, and a specially commissioned Gershwin arrangement by Bill Elliott, as well as a bonus dvd by Mathieu Amalric. The album has won both the Grammy and Juno awards for best classical vocal album.

Ms. Hannigan’s other recordings have garnered awards from Gramophone, Edison, Victoires de la Musique and the Royal Philharmonic Society. Other awards include Singer of the Year (Opernwelt, 2013), Musical Personality of the Year (Syndicat de la Presse Francaise, 2012), Ehrenpreise (Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik 2018), and Rolf Schock Prize for Musical Arts (2018).

Recently appointed as a member to the Order of Canada (2016), Ms. Hannigan’s life as an artist has been the subject of several documentaries: Accentus Music’s acclaimed documentary I’m a creative animal, produced at Lucerne Festival 2014 where she was Artiste Etoile, Dutch television’s Canadees Podiumdier (NTR 2014), as well as three films by Mathieu Amalric: C’est presque au bout du monde, Lulu Variations, and Music is Music.

In 2017 Ms. Hannigan created Equilibrium, an international mentoring initiative for young professional musicians, and chose 21 participants from a total of 350 applicants from 39 countries to participate in Equilibrium’s first season (2018/19), which will have over 20 performances with four partner orchestras in works including Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, Mozart’s Requiem, and Stravinsky’s Pulcinella.

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, and Kopatchinskaja’s parents, Viktor and Emilia. Major 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.

Live video streaming of the Ojai Music Festival 
The Ojai Music Festival continues to draw thousands of curious and engaged music enthusiasts from across the country. As tickets remain in high demand, Ojai includes free access to the Festival experience through live and archived video streaming at OjaiFestival.org. This year’s live streaming will begin on Thursday, June 7 and run through June 10. The live streaming includes guest interviews throughout the webcast. Hosting this year will be Director of Publications for National Sawdust and longtime journalist Steve Smith, and LA-based composer/musician Thomas Kotcheff.

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 20 – 23) 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. The 2019 edition of this partnership will take place June 19-21.

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, 2018 in Berkeley, CA, following the Ojai Music Festival. For more information, visit CalPerformances.org. Following the 2019 Ojai Music Festival, Ojai at Berkeley will take place June 13-15.

Thomas W. Morris, Artistic Director 
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. During 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, a new partnership with England’s Aldeburgh Festival will be initiated this year, and a comprehensive 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 longtime 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. In November 2018, Mr. Morris announced his decision to retire as the Festival’s Artistic Director following the 2019 Festival with Music Director Barbara Hannigan, after shaping Ojai’s artistic direction for sixteen years.

About the Ojai Music Festival 
From its founding in 1947, the Ojai Music Festival has created a place for groundbreaking musical experiences, bringing together innovative artists and curious audiences in an intimate, idyllic setting 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The Festival presents broad-ranging programs in unusual ways with an eclectic mix of rarely performed music, refreshing juxtapositions of musical styles, and works by today’s composers. 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), Matthias Pintscher (2020), and Mitsuko Uchida (2021).

As the Ojai Music Festival approaches its 75th anniversary and looks toward the future with recently appointed Artistic Director Chad Smith, who will take the helm in 2020, 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. 

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

2018 Festival Tickets
2018 Festival single tickets are available and may be purchased online at OjaiFestival.org or by calling (805) 646-2053. Ticket prices range from $45 to $150 for reserved seating and lawn tickets are $20. Student and group discounts are available.

Directions to Ojai and Libbey Bowl, information about lodging, concierge services for visitors, and information on other Ojai activities are available on the Festival website. Follow Festival updates at OjaiFestival.org, Facebook (Facebook.com/ojaifestival), and Twitter (@ojaifestivals).

 

 

 

Barbara Hannigan, 2019 Music Director

Nova Scotian musician Barbara Hannigan divides her time between singing on the world’s major stages and conducting leading orchestras. The Berlin Philharmonic, Münchner Philharmoniker, Gothenburg Symphony, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and the Toronto Symphony are among the orchestras with whom she holds close relationships. Barbara has worked with the most prominent conductors, including Simon Rattle, Kent Nagano, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Andris Nelsons, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Kirill Petrenko, David Zinman, Vladimir Jurowski, Antonio Pappano, Alan Gilbert, and Reinbert de Leeuw. Her commitment to the music of our time has led to an extensive collaboration with composers including Boulez, Dutilleux, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Sciarrino, Barry, Dusapin, and Abrahamsen. 

Unforgettable operatic appearances include the title role in a “chameleonic and compelling” (Gramophone) Lulu in Krszysztof Warlikowski’s staging at La Monnaie, and more recently Lulu at Hamburg Staatsoper conducted by Kent Nagano and directed by Christoph Marthaler; the title role of Pelléas et Mélisande in Katie Mitchell’s staging at the 2016 Festival d’Aix-en-Province conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen and in Krszysztof Warlikowski’s more recent production at the Ruhrtriennale in Germany; and a fearless interpretation of Marie as a flame in the darkness in Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten at the Bayerische Staatsoper—a hugely acclaimed presentation directed by Andreas Kriegenberg and conducted by Kirill Petrenko, for which she won the Faust Award in Germany. She made her Opéra national de Paris debut in 2015 with La Voix humaine again in a Warlikowski production and returned in April 2018 to reprise the role. She created the role of Ophelia in Brett Dean’s Hamlet at the Glyndebourne Festival in summer 2017 and created the role of Agnes in George Benjamin’s Written on Skin, a production which has garnered rave reviews worldwide, with most recent performances at New York’s Lincoln Center (2015) and London’s Royal Opera House (2017); and had the world premiere of  Benjamin’s new opera also at London’s Royal Opera House.

Recently appointed as Principal Guest Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden, Ms. Hannigan made her conducting debut in 2011 at the Chatelet in Paris, and her path since that time has been a constant creative development, having created special programs for the Toronto Symphony, Danish National and Swedish Radio symphony orchestras, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and Münchner Philharmoniker, as well as the orchestra of the Munich Staatsoper.

In 2017, Ms. Hannigan released her first album as both singer and conductor, with Holland’s LUDWIG orchestra as the orchestral force, on Alpha Classics, entitled Crazy Girl Crazy. The album features works by Berio, Berg, and a specially commissioned Gershwin arrangement by Bill Elliott, as well as a bonus dvd by Mathieu Amalric. The album has won both the Grammy and Juno awards for best classical vocal album.

Ms. Hannigan’s other recordings have garnered awards from Gramophone, Edison, Victoires de la Musique and the Royal Philharmonic Society. Other awards include Singer of the Year (Opernwelt, 2013), Musical Personality of the Year (Syndicat de la Presse Francaise, 2012), Ehrenpreise (Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik 2018), and Rolf Schock Prize for Musical Arts (2018).

Recently appointed as a member to the Order of Canada (2016), Ms. Hannigan’s life as an artist has been the subject of several documentaries: Accentus Music’s acclaimed documentary I’m a creative animal, produced at Lucerne Festival 2014 where she was Artiste Etoile, Dutch television’s Canadees Podiumdier (NTR 2014), as well as three films by Mathieu Amalric: C’est presque au bout du monde, Lulu Variations, and Music is Music.

In 2017 Ms. Hannigan created Equilibrium, an international mentoring initiative for young professional musicians, and chose 21 participants from a total of 350 applicants from 39 countries to participate in Equilibrium’s first season (2018/19), which will have over 20 performances with four partner orchestras in works including Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, Mozart’s Requiem, and Stravinsky’s Pulcinella.

 

2018 Festival Updated Announcement

72nd Ojai Music Festival: June 7-10, 2018
Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Music Director

 

Download PDF Version of Release

The 2018 Festival presents many dimensions of Kopatchinskaja:

· Violinist in works by Luigi Nono, Beethoven, Tigran Mansurian, and Ligeti
· Collaborator with soprano Ah Young Hong in Kurtag’s Kafka Fragments, Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Cello with JACK Quartet cellist Jay Campbell, and with her parents in an exploration of Moldavan folk music
· Advocate for music by Michael Hersch and Galina Ustvolskaya

Highlights of the 2018 Festival:
· Two semi-staged concerts conceived and directed by Kopatchinskaja
· The world premiere of a commissioned work by Michael Hersch
· Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat on the occasion of its centennial
· Free music events including Luciano Berio’s Sequenzas for solo instruments, two concerts for children devised and performed by Kopatchinskaja, and John Luther Adams’ new string quartet “everything that rises” as a tribute to Ojai Valley renewal following the Thomas Fire

Joining Patricia Kopatchinskaja are close artistic collaborators, all of whom are making their Festival debuts: 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, and Kopatchinskaja’s parents, Viktor and Emilia Kopatchinsky

The new partnership with Great Britain’s Aldeburgh Festival launches June 20-23, 2018

Cal Performances’ Ojai at Berkeley is June 15-17, 2018

“Ojai is special. There is no fight with new music. There is 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.

(OJAI CA – UPDATE May 24, 2018) – The 72nd Ojai Music Festival, June 7-10, 2018, presents Music Director Patricia Kopatchinskaja’s unbounded musical creativity in the context of today’s social and political climate. The Ojai, Ventura, and Santa Barbara areas continue to replenish from the devastation of the Thomas Fire. The Topa Topa Mountains surrounding the Ojai Valley have already given rise to new growth, and the Festival honors this renewal with new works, debuts, and free community concerts.

“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 tal-ents 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,” said Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris.

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 collec-tive 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.  At the 2018 Festival, JACK will perform works by Georg Frederick Haas, Horatio Radulescu, Morton Feldman, George Crumb, and John Luther Adams.

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. Ms. 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 and discourse among sound, space and imagery.

The second semi-staged concert conceived and directed by Ms. Kopatchinskaja is a 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, and Galina Ustvolskaya’s remarkable Dies irae for eight double basses, piano, and wooden box. The evening performance on Saturday, June 9 marks its American premiere.

A new work, I hope we get a chance to visit soon by American composer Michael Hersch – described by him as a dramatic narrative 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. Performing in the premiere will be sopranos Ah Young Hong and Kiera Duffy, alto saxophone player Gary Lou-ie, and members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra conducted by Tito Munoz. Set to poetry and text by Rebecca Elson, Mary Harris O’Reilly, and Christopher Middleton, the new work is com-missioned by the Ojai Music Festival, Cal Performances Berkeley, Aldeburgh Festival, and PN Review. Mr. Hersch, who wrote a violin concerto for Ms. Kopatchinskaja two years ago, is con-sidered one of the most gifted composers of his generation. He currently serves on the composi-tion faculty at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. The Friday, June 8 premiere follows works by Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach, and music by Purcell, Bartok, Shostakovich, and George Crumb performed by Anthony Romaniuk, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, and JACK Quartet.

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 her Duet and So-nata with pianist Markus Hinterhäuser. 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 Romanian and Moldavan folk music performed by Ms. Kopatchinskaja and her parents, Viktor and Emilia Kopatchinsky 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 five free concerts in the Gazebo of Libbey Park, featuring performances of Luciano Berio’s Sequenzas for solo instruments performed by members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. On Saturday morning (June 9), Viktor Koptachinsky will perform in works for cimbalon at the Gazebo hosted by his daughter Patricia and Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris. Ms. Kopatchinskaja and Scott Worthington, electronics (who replaces Jorge Chiong-Sanchez), will perform Luigi Nono’s La lontanaza nostalgica utopia futura in a free concert on Thursday evening in Libbey Park, preceding the Festival’s first main Libbey Bowl concert of Ms. Kopatchinskaja’s semi-staged concert Bye Bye Beethoven.

New to the schedule is on Friday evening (June 8), the JACK Quartet will perform John Luther Adams’ Everything that Rises, a work commissioned by the quartet, in a free community concert in tribute to the Ojai Valley renewal following December’s devastating wild fires. 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, followed by a discussion with composer Michael Hersch and soprano Ah Young Hong.  The third part of the series will speak to the reinvention of musical groups with  the JACK Quartet. 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, and live stream interviews between concerts.

For up-to-date Festival information, artist biographies and photos, and access to concerts, etc., visit the Ojai Music Festival website at OjaiFestival.org.

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 20 – 23) based at the acclaimed Maltings Concert Hall and in the town of Snape near Aldeburgh in England. The col-laboration 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 Berke-ley 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.

Patricia Kopatchinskaja, 2018 Music Director
Ms. Kopatchinskaja’s (Ko pat chin sky yah) 2017/18 season commenced with the world premi-ere of her new project Dies Irae at the Lucerne Festival where she was ‘artiste étoile’. The second staged program which follows the success of Bye Bye Beethoven with Mahler Chamber Orchestra in 2016, is conceptualized using a theme from the Latin Requiem Mass and features music from composers such as Scelsi, Biber and Ustwolskaja. The North American premiere will take place at the Ojai Festival in June 2018 where she is Music Director.

Ms. Kopatchinskaja’s was awarded the prestigious Swiss Grand Award for Music in September 2017 and continues to move from strength to strength adding a Grammy award to her list of ac-colades in the 17/18 Season. The Violinist was presented with the award for Best Chamber Mu-sic/Small Ensemble Performance for her disc Death and the Maiden, recorded with the St Paul Chamber Orchestra and released on Alpha Classics.

Concert highlights in 17/18 include; performances of Stravinsky’s concerto with Currentzis and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich and the same repertoire with Gimeno and the Rotterdam Phil-harmonic Orchestra. She has played with Mahler Chamber Orchestra under Payare and will perform with Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI and Geneva Camerata for Berg’s violin concerto.

Chamber music is immensely important to Ms. Kopatchinskaja and she performs regularly with artists such as Markus Hinterhäuser, Anthony Romaniuk and Jay Campbell. With pianist, Polina Leschenko she has recorded and released ‘Deux’ for Alpha Classics. Together the duo reimagi-nes the sonatas of Ravel, Poulenc, Bartok and Dohnányi.

Thomas W. Morris, Artistic Director
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. During Mr. Morris’ tenure, audi-ences 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, a new partner-ship with England’s Aldeburgh Festival will be initiated this year, and a comprehensive 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 na-tionally and internationally as a consultant, lecturer, teacher, and writer. Mr. Morris was a found-ing 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 accom-plished percussionist. In November, Mr. Morris announced his decision to retire as the Festival’s Artistic Director following the 2019 Festival with Music Director Barbara Hannigan, after shaping Ojai’s artistic direction for sixteen years.

About the Ojai Music Festival
From its founding in 1947, the Ojai Music Festival has created a place for groundbreaking musi-cal experiences, bringing together innovative artists and curious audiences in an intimate, idyllic setting 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The Festival presents broad-ranging programs in unu-sual ways with an eclectic mix of rarely performed music, refreshing juxtapositions of musical styles, and works by today’s composers. The four-day festival is an immersive experience with concerts, free community events, symposia, and gatherings. Considered a highlight of the inter-national 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), Matthias Pintscher (2020) and Mitsuko Uchida (2021).

As the Ojai Music Festival approaches its 75th anniversary and looks toward the future with re-cently appointed Artistic Director Chad Smith, who will take the helm in 2020, the innumerable contributions by Thomas W. Morris will continue to be realized through the 2019 Festival and be-yond. 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.

Remote Access to the Ojai Music Festival
The Ojai Music Festival continues to draw thousands of curious and engaged music enthusiasts from across the country. As tickets remain in high demand, Ojai includes free access to the Fes-tival experience through live and archived video streaming at OjaiFestival.org. The live streaming includes guest interviews throughout the web cast. Hosting this year will be director of publications at National Sawdust and longtime journalist Steve Smith and LA-based composer/musician and host of Underscore.FM podcast Thomas Kotcheff.

Tickets for the 2018 Ojai Music Festival
2018 Festival single tickets are available and may be purchased online at OjaiFestival.org or by calling (805) 646-2053. 2018 Ojai Music Festival single tickets range from $45 to $150 for re-served seating and lawn tickets for $20.

OJAI MUSIC FESTIVAL SCHEDULE
June 7-10, 2018

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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Matthias Pintscher Named 2020 Music Director

 

MATTHIAS PINTSCHER NAMED 2020 MUSIC DIRECTOR

MUSIC DIRECTORS THROUGH 75TH ANNIVERSARY FESTIVAL INCLUDE

Patricia Kopatchinskaja: 72nd Festival, June 7 to 10, 2018
Barbara Hannigan: 73rd Festival, June 6 to 9, 2019
Matthias Pintscher: 74th Festival, June 11 to 14, 2020
Mitsuko Uchida: 75th Festival, June 10 to 13, 2021

 

Download PDF Version of Press Release

(OJAI CA) — Ojai Music Festival Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris announced updated Festival Music Director appointments today. Composer/conductor Matthias Pintscher will take the helm as 2020 Music Director for the 74th Festival (June 11 – 14, 2020). Mr. Pintscher is one of the most prominent composers of our time and has an extraordinarily active conducting career. He serves currently as Music Director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris and as Principal Conductor of the Lucerne Festival Academy. He is active as a teacher both at the Lucerne Festival Academy and at the Juilliard School in New York. His teachers and mentors include two Ojai alumni, Peter Eötvös and Pierre Boulez. As Music Director of the Ojai Music Festival, Mr. Pintscher will follow violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja (2018) and soprano/conductor Barbara Hannigan (2019), and precedes pianist Mitsuko Uchida (2021).

“I have known Matthias since the 1990s both as a composer and conductor, and have always been impressed with his amazing creativity, unbounded energy and endless curiosity”, said Thomas W. Morris. “He is in high demand as a composer with recent works being commissioned by the Lucerne Festival, Chicago Symphony, London Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra, and his conducting career is exploding with regular guest engagements with the world’s greatest orchestras, including this week’s debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Matthias is another natural to be music director of Ojai, and I am confident he will preside over a festival that is engrossing, wide ranging, and full of surprise – consistent with the arc of our artistic planning towards and through the 75th anniversary in 2021 and 2022.”

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

Initial details for Mr. Pintscher’s 2020 Festival will be announced in June 2019. For complete biographical information on upcoming Ojai Music Festival Music Directors, visit OjaiFestival.org.

Matthias Pinscher, 2020 Music Director
Matthias Pintscher is the Music Director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain and became Principal Conductor of the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra at the start of the 16/17 season. He is currently in his eighth year as Artist-in-Association with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
In the 17/18 season, Mr. Pintscher makes several significant debuts including with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony, Finnish Radio Symphony, and the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon. Pintscher and the Ensemble Intercontemporain bring an ambitious presentation of Pierre Boulez’s Répons to the Park Avenue Armory in New York and perform a number of concerts on tour in London (Royal Festival Hall), Vienna (Konzerthaus), and Cologne (Philharmonie). In addition, they will be joined by alumni of the Lucerne Festival in a special multi-media Messiaen project which will be performed in four cities. Return guest engagements this season include the Los Angeles Philharmonic in both a subscription week and at the Hollywood Bowl, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (where he premieres Salvatore Sciarrino’s new piano concerto with Jonathan Biss), Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra conducting Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. An enthusiastic supporter of and mentor to students and young musicians, Pintscher will also work with the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic, culminating in a concert at the Philharmonie.

In the 16/17 season, Pintscher was featured as the inaugural composer-in-residence and artist-in-focus at Hamburg’s new Elbphilharmonie concert hall which opened in January 2017. He took the Ensemble Intercontemporain on tour to Asia and celebrated the orchestra’s 40th anniversary. Other highlights included guest appearances with The Cleveland Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, and Bayerische Rundfunk, among others. Last season also saw the premiere of Pintscher’s new compositions un despertar, his second cello concerto, performed by Alisa Weilerstein and the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of François-Xavier Roth; and Shirim for baritone and orchestra, with Danish singer Bo Skovhus and the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra led by Christophe Eschenbach.

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

Update on the Thomas Fire
The Ojai Music Festival is deeply grateful for the outpouring of concern and support from our worldwide community after the Thomas Fire raged in the Ojai, Ventura, and Santa Barbara areas. As one of California’s largest wildfires on record, the fire has had a devastating impact on hundreds of thousands of acres and on all those in its path. Thanks to the heroic efforts by firefighters, the overall natural beauty including the town of Ojai, Libbey Bowl, other Festival venues, and area hotels and restaurants were spared, allowing the Festival to proceed as planned. Over time, the Topa Topa Mountains surrounding the Ojai Valley will give rise to new life, and the Festival looks to honor this renewal of hope during the upcoming 2018 Festival with Music Director Patricia Kopatchinskaja.

This Year’s Ojai Music Festival (June 7-10, 2018)
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), Ms. 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 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 Ms. Kopatchinskaja’s parents, Viktor and Emilia Kopatchinski. For more information on programs and series passes, visit OjaiFestival.org.

Patricia Kopatchinskaja, 2018 Music Director
Violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja’s versatility shows itself in her diverse repertoire, ranging from baroque and classical often played on gut strings, to new commissions and re-interpretations of modern masterworks. Kopatchinskaja’s 2017/18 season commences with the world premiere of her new project Dies Irae at the Lucerne Festival where she was ‘artiste étoile’. Dies Irae is her second staged program following the success of Bye Bye Beethoven with Mahler Chamber Orchestra in 2016, and uses the theme from the Latin Requiem Mass as a starting point for her new concept featuring music from Gregorian Chant and Early Baroque to Giacinto Scelsi and Galina Ustwolskaja. The North American premiere will take place at the Ojai Festival in June 2018.

Thomas W. Morris, Artistic Director
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. During 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, a new partnership with England’s Aldeburgh Festival will be initiated this year, and a comprehensive 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. In November, Mr. Morris announced his decision to retire as the Festival’s Artistic Director following the 2019 Festival with Music Director Barbara Hannigan, after shaping Ojai’s artistic direction for sixteen years.

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 chosen a “who’s who” for the post, 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 in 2018, Ojai will welcome Music Director Barbara Hannigan (2019).

Series Passes for the 2018 Ojai Music Festival (June 7-10)
2018 Festival series passes are available and may be purchased online at OjaiFestival.org or by calling (805) 646-2053. 2018 Ojai Music Festival series passes range from $165 to $925 for reserved seating, and lawn series passes start at $75. Single concert tickets will be available in spring 2018.
Directions to Ojai and Libbey Bowl, as well as information about lodging, concierge services for visitors, and other Ojai activities, are available on the Festival website. Follow Festival updates at OjaiFestival.org, Facebook (Facebook.com/ojaifestival), and Twitter (@ojaifestivals).

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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.

# # #

Ojai’s 2017 Music Director Vijay Iyer and Q2 Music Host Helga Davis will highlight the upcoming Festival, along with Jennifer Koh, George Lewis, Wadada Leo Smith, and Tyshawn Sorey      

For tickets to the April 13, 7:00pm event, visit TheGreeneSpace.org or watch a live video stream of the event at Q2Music.org 

“I’m honored, as Music Director of the 2017 Ojai Music Festival, to convene this gathering of some of the most brilliant and important music-makers that I know. Our evening of music and conversation at The Greene Space offers a glimpse of the scope of this four-day event in Southern California, with a few of the incredible artists who will be on hand: George Lewis, whose opera Afterword will have its west coast premiere at the Festival; composer-trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, a collaborator and mentor of mine, will join me in duets from our project A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke; the dazzling violinist Jennifer Koh will perform some of the ancient and cutting-edge solo music from her sprawling repertoire; and multi-instrumentalist-composer Tyshawn Sorey will offer some of his latest creations.”  – Vijay Iyer, 2017 Music Director

(OJAI, CA – March 29, 2017) — In advance of the upcoming 2017 Ojai Music Festival (June 8-11), the Festival and media partner WQXR’s Q2 Music present an evening of discussion and performance on April 13, at 7pm, at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space in New York as part of their three-year partnership.

Q2’s Helga Davis will host Ojai Music Director Vijay Iyer to discuss and explore the upcoming 2017 Festival. Joining Mr. Iyer in performance and conversation will be violinist Jennifer Koh, composer/trombonist George Lewis, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, and composer/percussionist Tyshawn Sorey.

Helga Davis, also a 2017 Ojai Music Festival artist in Courtney Bryan’s Yet Unheard, will focus the April 13 evening around the intersection of music composed and improvised. The Association for the Advancement of Creative Music (AACM) has engaged this dichotomy since its inception, and the AACM serves as an underlying thread in the April 13 event as well as the upcoming Ojai Music Festival. The evening will feature solo performances by Vijay Iyer and duets by Mr. Iyer and Tyshawn Sorey, as well as Mr. Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith in excerpts from their acclaimed release A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke. Rounding out the evening, Jennifer Koh will perform Esa-Pekka Salonen’s chaconne for solo violin Lachen verlernt (Laughing Unlearnt). Composer George Lewis will join the artists in discussion with Ms. Davis.

This marks the second year of Ojai Music Festival events presented by Q2 Music at The Greene Space. Last spring’s event featured Ojai’s 2016 Music Director Peter Sellars, guitarist of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) Dan Lippel, soprano Julia Bullock, and vocalist/pianist Leila Adu. The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space’s mission is to galvanize conversations around the life, arts, and politics of New York and our world.

Tickets, April 13 at 7pm
Tickets for the event are $20 and can be purchased at TheGreeneSpace.org where the event will be webcast live.

Ojai Music Festival and WQXR’s Q2 Partnership 
Launched in 2015, additional highlights of the 2017 partnership with WQXR’s Q2 Music feature immersive access to select new music concerts at Q2Music.org beginning May 1, 2017, as well as a three-part series of special programs showcasing performances from the 2016 Festival, hosted by Ojai’s 2016 Music Director Peter Sellars. Q2 Music audiences can also access performances from prior Festivals with hosts Mark Morris (2013 Music Director) and Steven Schick (2015 Music Director). Imagined as a multiyear collaboration, the Festival and Q2 Music aim to celebrate a shared artistic aesthetic, build audiences and connect respective communities.

About Q2 Music 
Q2 Music is WQXR’s online platform dedicated to contemporary classical composers, innovative ensembles and musical discovery. Its programming includes immersive festivals, insightful commentary from hosts such as composer Phil Kline and vocalist Helga Davis, full-length album streams, live webcasts and exclusive concert audio from local and national venues, and special events in front of live audiences at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WQXR in downtown New York City. Q2 Music produces Meet the Composer with host Nadia Sirota, a Peabody Award-winning interview podcast which mines the brains of today’s leading composers, as well as LPR Live, a podcast which shares dynamic new-music performances from Greenwich Village’s Le Poisson Rouge. Q2 Music is streamed live 24/7 at WQXR.org/Q2Music and is also available via the free WQXR App.

Ojai Music Festival, June 8-11, 2017

Of the upcoming Ojai Music Festival, Vijay Iyer commented, “When I was invited to take on the role of Music Director for the 2017 Ojai Music Festival, it was a shocking but validating proposition. As an artist, I like to insert myself into situations where some might not necessarily imagine I belong. I have many different affinities musically, and also very real associations across different musical communities, generations, geographic locations, and traditions that speak to me and through me. Our 2017 Festival feels like a good opportunity to update the idea of what music is today. I know the hallowed history of this Festival and I’ve seen different versions of what it can be. I’m just glad that Tom Morris invited me to intervene, and to bring my people with me. I’m going to learn so much over those few days in June, and I believe everyone there will discover a great deal – not just about music, but about themselves.” 

For complete 2017 Ojai Music Festival information, please see the Festival calendar at OjaiFestival.org. Experience the Festival in Ojai (June 8-11) or remotely via Ojai Live webcast (June 8-11); or visit Ojai at Berkeley (June 15-17).

Ojai Music Festival Tickets 
Festival single tickets \ may be purchased online at OjaiFestival.org or by calling (805) 646-2053. Tickets range from $40 to $150 for reserved seating and are $15 for lawn tickets. Student and group discounts are also available.

Directions to Ojai and performance venues, as well as information regarding lodging, a concierge service, and other Ojai activities, are also available on the Ojai Music Festival web site.

Ojai Live webcast of 2017 Festival 
Ojai Live begins on Thursday, June 8 with the evening concert at Libbey Bowl. The dynamic multi-camera live webcast brings the Ojai Music Festival to audiences around the world with live broadcasts of performances and interview segments. Watch Ojai Live at OjaiFestival.org.

Ojai at Berkeley 
Marking the seventh 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 follows the 2017 Ojai Music Festival and will take place from June 15-17 in Berkeley, CA. For more information visit CalPerformances.org.

Vijay Iyer, 2017 Ojai Music Festival Music Director 
Composer-pianist Vijay Iyer is the Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts at Harvard University. He was named Downbeat Magazine’s Jazz Artist of the Year for 2012, 2015, and 2016, and he received a 2016 US Artists Fellowship, 2013 MacArthur Fellowship, a 2012 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, and a 2011 Grammy nomination. He has released twenty-one albums, including A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke (ECM, 2016) in duo with legendary composer-trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, named “Best New Music” by Pitchfork; Break Stuff (ECM, 2015) with the Vijay Iyer Trio, winner of the German Record Critics’ Award for Album of the Year; the live score to the film RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi (ECM, 2014) by filmmaker Prashant Bhargava; and Holding it Down: The Veterans’ Dreams Project (Pi Recordings, 2013), his third politically searing collaboration with poet-performer Mike Ladd, named Album of the Year in the Los Angeles Times.

Mr. Iyer’s compositions have been commissioned and premiered by Bang on a Can All-Stars, The Silk Road Ensemble, Ethel, Brentano Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Imani Winds, American Composers Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra Leopoldinum, Matt Haimowitz, and Jennifer Koh. Mr. Iyer serves as Director of the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music.

About the Ojai Music Festival 
From its founding in 1947, the Ojai Music Festival has created a place for groundbreaking musical experiences, bringing together innovative artists and curious audiences in an intimate, idyllic setting 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The Festival presents broad-ranging programs in unusual ways with an eclectic mix of rarely performed music, refreshing juxtapositions of musical styles, and works by today’s composers. 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, and Peter Sellars.

The Festival, which enters its 71st year in 2017, is a nonprofit organization based in Ojai, California. David Nygren serves as the board chairman, Jamie Bennett is the president, and Thomas W. Morris serves as Artistic Director.

Ojai Music Festival and 2017 Music Director Vijay Iyer Announce the 71st Festival Program June 8-11, 2017

Vijay Iyer is joined by a community of artistic collaborators, including returning Ojai family members 2015 Music Director Steven Schick, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam, flutist Claire Chase, and composer/percussionist Tyshawn Sorey 

Iyer introduces Ojai to master musicians from various backgrounds and communities: Brentano Quartet; violinist Jennifer Koh; vocalist/composer Jen Shyu; Vijay Iyer Trio; Vijay Iyer Sextet; Tyshawn Sorey Double Trio; tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain; saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa; trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith; and The Trio featuring Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis, and Roscoe Mitchell

Highlights of the 2017 Festival include the world premiere of Vijay Iyer’s Violin Concerto, written for and performed by Jennifer Koh; the American premiere of Iyer’s Emergence for trio and ensemble; RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi with music by Iyer and film by Prashant Bhargava; the West Coast premiere of the opera Afterword by George Lewis; and Yet Unheard (world premiere of chamber version) by Courtney Bryan

Cal PerformancesOjai at Berkeley is slated for June 15-17, 2017 following the Ojai Music Festival

download pdf version 
download 2017 schedule 

(November 16, 2016– Ojai, California) – The Ojai Music Festival, June 8-11, 2017, with Music Director Vijay Iyer celebrates diverse communities of music, artists, and collaborations in a weekend of stimulation and reflection.

Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris stated, “Vijay Iyer is usually described as a composer, a pianist, an improviser, a collaborator, and a teacher. What really distinguishes him, however, is not just what he does but who he is and what he stands for. Vijay believes a life in the arts is a life of service in imagining, building, and enacting community that transcends heritage, nation, and creed. The 2017 Festival reflects these beliefs in the range of collaborators joining us – from Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam to percussionist/composer Tyshawn Sorey, to the virtuosic ensemble ICE, to trumpet legend Wadada Leo Smith; in the breadth of roles Vijay will play – from composer, to performer, to collaborator, to intellectual guide; and in the historical and social perspectives represented by the music and artists – from how so much of the Festival’s foundation is based on the groundbreaking Association for the Advancement of Creative Music (AACM), to young composer Courtney Bryan’s powerful tribute to Sandra Bland, a vivid testimony to music’s ability to bring communities together in healing.”

Vijay Iyer commented, “When I was invited to take on the role of Music Director for the 2017 Ojai Music Festival, it was a shocking but validating proposition. As an artist, I like to insert myself into situations where some might not necessarily imagine I belong. I have many different affinities musically, and also very real associations across different musical communities, generations, geographic locations, and traditions that speak to me and through me. Our 2017 Festival feels like a good opportunity to update the idea of what music is today. I know the hallowed history of this Festival and I’ve seen different versions of what it can be. I’m just glad that Tom Morris invited me to intervene, and to bring my people with me. I’m going to learn so much over those few days in June, and I believe everyone there will discover a great deal – not just about music, but about themselves.” 

Watch Vijay Iyer Discuss the 2017 Festival

Much of the four-day Festival programming revolves around the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), an organization founded in Chicago in 1965 by a group of African-American experimentalists. Musicians of the AACM were not only committed to an adventurous synthesis of music making strategies – contemporary and ancient, familiar and faraway – but their very being was framed out of the Civil Rights struggles of that era. The New York Times, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the AACM a year ago said, “The AACM has been one of the country’s great engines of experimental art, producing work with an irreducible breadth of scope and style.”  Some of the original founding AACM members, including Wadada Leo Smith, Muhal Richard Abrams, and Roscoe Mitchell will be featured 2017 Ojai artists, as will composer/trombonist George Lewis, whose book A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music tells the definitive history of the AACM. Lewis’ opera Afterword, which is receiving its West Coast premiere, is based on the history of the organization.

The 2017 Festival begins on Thursday, June 8 showcasing the talents of Vijay Iyer. The program features two recent works by Mr. Iyer, the American premiere of Emergence, performed by ICE and the Vijay Iyer Trio conducted by Steven Schick; and the world premiere of his Violin Concerto, a co-commission by the Ojai Music Festival, Cal Performances in Berkeley, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The Violin Concerto was composed for and will be performed by violinist Jennifer Koh. The evening closes with a duo comprising Mr. Iyer and the celebrated trumpet player and a founder of the AACM, Wadada Leo Smith. Described by Mr. Iyer as his “hero, friend, and teacher,” Mr. Smith collaborates with the pianist on music that is “spellbinding and traverses musical identities.”

The two-part Friday afternoon concert on June 9 features flutist Claire Chase performing a selection from her recent Density 2036 project, a 22-year program conceived by Ms. Chase in 2014 to commission an entirely new body of repertory for solo flute each year until the 100th anniversary of Edgard Varèse groundbreaking 1936 flute solo. Following Density 2036 will be a rare performance by Tyshawn Sorey’s Double Trio in a program called “The Inner Spectrum of Variables.” Mr. Sorey made his Ojai debut last year composing music for and performing in the Josephine Baker Portrait. 

Friday evening’s concert features the West Coast premiere of George Lewis’ opera Afterword, for a small ensemble and three singers, performed by ICE with soprano Joelle Lamarre, contralto Gwendolyn Brown, and tenor JuIian Otis, all of whom sang in the 2016 American premiere of the work in Chicago, and with Steven Schick conducting. A 2002 MacArthur Fellow, George Lewis is a composer, theorist, musicologist, and virtuoso trombonist with an endowed chair at Columbia University. His A Will to Adorn was performed during the 2015 Ojai Music Festival. Mr. Lewis is the author of A Power Stronger than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music, a prizewinning, comprehensive cultural history of this influential organization and its members. The opera Afterword draws from the book’s own afterword, consisting of transcribed dialogues and testimonials about the AACM’s founding in 1965. Afterword will be semi-staged and directed by Sean Griffin.

Saturday afternoon’s two-part concert on June 10 begins with a program by the Brentano Quartet. In addition to performing the entire two-century range of standard quartet repertoire, the Brentano Quartet has a strong interest in both old and new music. The concert features music by György Kurtág and Mozart, as well as Vijay Iyer’s Mozart Effects, written for the quartet. Following this will be Conduction® led by Tyshawn Sorey, who is widely considered to be among the most important young artists at the intersection between composed and improvised music. Conduction®, is a gestural language invented by the acclaimed cornetist and composer Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris. As defined by the composer, “Conduction® is the practice of conveying and interpreting a lexicon of directives to construct or modify sonic arrangement or composition; a structure-content exchange between composer/conductor and instrumentalists that provides the immediate possibility of initiating or altering harmony, melody, rhythm, tempo, progression, articulation, phrasing, or form through the manipulation of pitch, dynamics (volume/intensity/density), timbre, duration, silence, and organization in real-time. Conduction® is a 60-minute piece of new music for an ensemble of 20 players being composed in real time – none of the performers nor conductor have a note of music in front of them.”

The Saturday evening centerpiece is RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi, commissioned five years ago by Carolina Performing Arts at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to celebrate the centennial of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps. RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi is a vivid and mesmerizing multimedia collaboration by Mr. Iyer and filmmaker Prashant Bhargava (who passed away in 2015 at the age of 42), exploring another sort of rite of spring, the Hindu festival of Holi, famous for its revelry of color in celebration of the love between the divine Krishna and Radha. In northern India, Mr. Bhargava filmed ravishing hi-definition images of an eight-day Holi festival, later editing the footage into a finished 37-minute film with Stravinsky’s Sacre musical structure as the basis for its film structure. Mr. Iyer composed a new score as the musical complement to Mr. Bhargava’s visual ballet, drawing at times on the rhythms and chants of the Holi festival. The result is one of Mr. Iyer’s warmest, most colorful creations to date, as rich melodically as it is texturally. The work is for an ensemble of 13 players that will be performed by ICE and conducted by Steven Schick, who will accompany the projected film live on the Libbey Bowl stage. The first half of the concert will be the West Coast premiere of a new version of Le Sacre du printemps arranged by composer Cliff Colnot for the same instrumental forces.

The final day of the Festival on Sunday, June 11 is a mini-festival of improvisation. It begins in the early morning with a free concert of living legends that will be one of the historical highlights at Ojai – The Trio featuring octogenarian pianist Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis on trombone and laptop, and Roscoe Mitchell on assorted woodwinds. Mr. Abrams and Mr. Mitchell were among the founders of the AACM. The afternoon concert presents Vijay Iyer and his close collaborator for more than twenty years, the award-winning saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, joining forces with two living giants of Indian classical music: celebrated Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam and tabla maestro and world music pioneer Zakir Hussain. This day realizes one of Vijay Iyer’s dreams for the 2017 Festival, to create a new musical fabric with these remarkable artists together in Ojai. The Festival closes with Vijay Iyer and his all-star sextet including bassist Stephan Crump, Tyshawn Sorey on drums, alto saxophonist Steve Lehman, Graham Haynes on cornet and flugelhorn, and tenor saxophonist Mark Shim, an ensemble The New York Times has said, “addresses original music with a gripping sense of purpose.”

In addition to the main concert lineup there will be two Daybreak concerts both starting at 9am at Zalk Theatre at Besant Hill School in the upper Ojai for Ojai Music Festival members. On Friday, June 9 the performance features Jen Shyu, experimental vocalist, composer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, and Fulbright scholar, who will perform her own work, Solo Rites: Seven Breaths. Saturday, June 10 features Nicole Mitchell, flutist, composer, bandleader, and educator. Ms. Mitchell’s music celebrates African American culture while reaching across genres and integrating new ideas with moments in the legacy of jazz, gospel, experimentalism, pop, and African percussion. She formerly served as the first woman president of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).

Free Community Concerts

Ojai continues to build on its commitment to reach an ever-broader audience, and the 2017 Festival offers two free Late Night concerts in the Libbey Bowl, in addition to the Sunday morning concert. Friday evening at 10:30pm features a recital by Jennifer Koh, entitled “Bach and Beyond” in which Ms. Koh will perform works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Missy Mazzoli, Luciano Berio, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Saturday night at 10:30pm brings Vijay Iyer together with the Brentano Quartet to perform his Time, Place, Action. The Brentano Quartet opens the concert with selections from Bach’s Art of the Fugue, and the concert closes with the American premiere of a new version of Yet Unheard by the versatile composer and pianist Courtney Bryan. Written for chorus, orchestra, and the vocalist Helga Davis, Yet Unheard sets a new text by poet Sharan Strange memorializing Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old African American woman who died in police custody in Waller County, Texas, on July 13, 2015. Her death was classified as a suicide, though protests dispute the cause of death and allege racial violence. Focusing on bridging the sacred and the secular, Ms. Bryan’s recent compositions explore human emotions through sound, confronting the challenge of notating the feeling of improvisation. 

Ojai Talks

The 2017 Festival begins with Ojai Talks hosted by Ara Guzelimian, former Festival Artistic Director and current Dean and Provost of The Juilliard School. On Thursday June 8 the first part session topic is “The Art of Improvisation” with Vijay Iyer. The second part of the Talks features a panel to discuss “Music as Community” with Mr. Iyer and other prominent guests. On Friday evening, June 9 the Ojai Talks will be held prior to the 8pm concert of George Lewis’ Afterword on the Libbey Bowl stage. The session will feature a discussion on the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) with special guests. Additional details will be announced at a later date.

Ojai at Berkeley

Marking the seventh 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 follows the 2017 Ojai Music Festival and will take place from June 15-17 in Berkeley, CA. For more information visit CalPerformances.org.

Vijay Iyer, Music Director

Composer-pianist Vijay Iyer is the Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts at Harvard University. He was named Downbeat Magazine’s Jazz Artist of the Year for 2012, 2015, and 2016, and he received a 2016 US Artists Fellowship, 2013 MacArthur Fellowship, a 2012 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, and a 2011 Grammy nomination. He has released twenty-one albums, including A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke (ECM, 2016) in duo with legendary composer-trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, named “Best New Music” by Pitchfork; Break Stuff (ECM, 2015) with the Vijay Iyer Trio, winner of the German Record Critics’ Award for Album of the Year; the live score to the film RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi (ECM, 2014) by filmmaker Prashant Bhargava; and Holding it Down: The Veterans’ Dreams Project (Pi Recordings, 2013), his third politically searing collaboration with poet-performer Mike Ladd, named Album of the Year in the Los Angeles Times.

Mr. Iyer’s compositions have been commissioned and premiered by Bang on a Can All-Stars, The Silk Road Ensemble, Ethel, Brentano Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Imani Winds, American Composers Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra Leopoldinum, Matt Haimowitz, and Jennifer Koh. Mr. Iyer serves as Director of the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music.

Thomas W. Morris, Artistic Director

Thomas W. Morris was appointed Artistic Director of the Ojai Music Festival starting with the 2004 Festival. 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. As Artistic Director, Morris is responsible for artistic planning and each year appoints a music director with whom he collaborates on shaping the Festival’s programming. During his decade-long tenure, audiences have increased and the scope of the Festival has expanded, most recently to include a collaborative partnership, Ojai at Berkeley, with Cal Performances at UC Berkeley. Morris was a founding director of Spring for Music at New York’s Carnegie Hall and served as the project’s artistic director. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Interlochen Center for the Arts. He is also an accomplished percussionist.

About the Ojai Music Festival

From its founding in 1947, the Ojai Music Festival has created a place for groundbreaking musical experiences, bringing together innovative artists and curious audiences in an intimate, idyllic setting 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The Festival presents broad-ranging programs in unusual ways with an eclectic mix of rarely performed music, refreshing juxtapositions of musical styles, and works by today’s composers. 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, and Peter Sellars.

The Festival, which enters its 71st year in 2017, is a nonprofit organization based in Ojai, California. The Board Chairman is David Nygren and President is Jamie Bennett.

Remote Access to the Ojai Music Festival

The Ojai Music Festival continues to draw thousands of curious and engaged music enthusiasts from across the country. As tickets remain in high demand, Ojai includes free access to the Festival experience through live and archived video streaming at OjaiFestival.org. Festival concert archives can also be heard on media partner Q2 Music’s website at WQXR.org. 

Series Passes for 2017 Ojai Music Festival

2017 Festival series passes are available and may be purchased online at OjaiFestival.org or by calling (805) 646-2053. 2017 Ojai Music Festival series passes range from $140 to $860 for reserved seating and lawn series passes start at $60. Single concert tickets will be available in spring 2017.

Directions to Ojai and Libbey Bowl, as well as information about lodging, concierge services for visitors, and other Ojai activities, are available on the Festival website. Follow Festival updates at OjaiFestival.org, Facebook (Facebook.com/ojaifestival), and Twitter (@ojaifestivals).

# # #

OPENINGS FOR THE ARTS MANAGEMENT INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

Application deadline: March 1, 2017
Download application form

bonding-2

(Ojai, CA) —  Applications are now being accepted to participate in the Ojai Music Festival’s arts management internship program coinciding with the 71st Ojai Music Festival slated for June 8-11, 2017 with Music Director Vijay Iyer.  Entering its tenth year, the Festival’s three-week program provides hands-on experiences to college students.

Ojai’s arts management internship program offers select students direct experience as they are immersed in areas of administration, operations, special events, merchandising, production, marketing, public relations, and patron services.

Students from varying fields and walks of life enjoy access to different opportunities which give them new skill sets and experiences that they take with them throughout their careers. The internship program also provides them to interact with leaders in the music industry and create lasting friendships with other students. 

Applicants must be 18 or over and enrolled in a two or four year accredited college. The Festival provides housing for the duration of the internship as well as a stipend. Applications are due by March 1, 2017. 

The 71st Ojai Music Festival, June 8-11, 2017, will celebrate diverse communities of music, artists, and collaborations in a weekend of stimulation and reflection curated by this year’s Music Director Vijay Iyer. A genre-transcending composer, pianist, improviser, and musical thinker, Iyer’s programming vision will make connections across genres to help audiences discover how composers, performers, and improvisers make music together.

Joining him will be a community of artistic collaborators, including returning Ojai family members 2015 Music Director Steven Schick, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam, flutist Claire Chase, and composer/percussionist Tyshawn Sorey. Master musicians from various backgrounds making their Ojai debuts include Brentano Quartet; violinist Jennifer Koh; Vijay Iyer Trio; Vijay Iyer Sextet; tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain; saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa; trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith; and The Trio featuring Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis, and Roscoe Mitchell.

The 2017 Festival will also feature the world premiere of Vijay Iyer’s Violin Concerto, the American premiere of Iyer’s Emergence; Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi with music by Iyer and film by Prashant Bhargava; the West Coast premiere of the opera Afterword by George Lewis; and Yet Unheard (world premiere of chamber version) by Courtney Bryan.

For more information regarding the internship program for the Ojai Music Festival, please call the main office at 805 646 2094 or email info@ojaifestival.org.  For more information on the 70th Ojai Music Festival, visit OjaiFestival.org.

 

 

Music Directors

1947 Thor Johnson
1948 Thor Johnson and Edward Rebner
1949 Thor Johnson
1950 Thor Johnson
1951 William Steinberg
1952 Thor Johnson
1953 Thor Johnson
1954 Robert Craft
1955 Robert Craft, Igor Stravinsky
1956 Robert Craft, Igor Stravinsky
1957 Aaron Copland, Ingolf Dahl
1958 Aaron Copland
1959 Robert Craft
1960 Henri Temianka
1961 Lukas Foss
1962 Lukas Foss
1963 Lukas Foss
1964 Ingolf Dahl
1965 Ingolf Dahl
1966 Ingolf Dahl
1967 Pierre Boulez
1968 Robert LaMarchina, Lawrence Foster, and Michael Tilson Thomas
1969 Michael Zearott, Stefan Minde,
and Michael Tilson Thomas
1970 Pierre Boulez
1971 Gerhard Samuel
1972 Michael Zearott
1973 Michael Tilson Thomas
1974 Michael Tilson Thomas
1975 Michael Tilson Thomas
1976 Aaron Copland
1977 Michael Tilson Thomas
1978 Calvin Simmons
1979 Lukas Foss
1980 Lukas Foss
1981 Daniel Lewis
1982 Robert Craft
1983 Daniel Lewis
1984 Pierre Boulez
1985 Kent Nagano
1986 Kent Nagano and Stephen Mosko
1987 Lukas Foss
1988 Nicholas McGegan, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, and Diane Wittry
1989 Pierre Boulez
1990 Stephen Mosko
1991 John Harbison, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
1992 Pierre Boulez
1993 John Adams
1994 Michael Tilson Thomas
1995 Kent Nagano
1996 Pierre Boulez
1997 Emanuel Ax, Daniel Harding
1998 Mitsuko Uchida, David Zinman
1999 Esa-Pekka Salonen
2000 Sir Simon Rattle
2001 Esa-Pekka Salonen
2002 Emerson String Quartet
2003 Pierre Boulez
2004 Kent Nagano
2005 Oliver Knussen
2006 Robert Spano
2007 Pierre-Laurent Aimard
2008 David Robertson
2009 Eighth blackbird
2010 George Benjamin
2011 Dawn Upshaw
2012 Leif Ove Andsnes
2013 Mark Morris
2014 Jeremy Denk
2015 Steven Schick
2016 Peter Sellars
2017 Vijay Iyer
2018 Patricia Kopatchinskaja
2019 Barbara Hannigan

Festival Milestones

1947 May 4 – First concert features French baritone Martial Singher with Paul Ulanowsky in a recital covering repertoire from Rameau to Ravel at Ojai’s Nordhoff Auditorium.

1948 Lawrence Morton becomes first program annotator and begins his association with the Festival; Igor Stravinky’s Histoire du soldat (A Solider’s Tale) is billed as the premiere of the final version of his work.

1949 Ojai Festivals, Ltd. is officially launched as a non-profit organization.

1952 The Festival holds first outdoor concert at the Libbey Bowl.

1953 Lukas Foss makes his first Ojai appearance as conductor.

1954 Lawrence Morton becomes first Artistic Director.

1955 Igor Stravinsky conducts his own works at the Festival.

1956 Stravinsky conducts his own Les Noces for Ojai audiences; permanent benches are added to the Libbey Bowl doubling the seating capacity to 750.

1957 Aaron Copland makes Ojai debut.

1960 For the first time, all Festival concerts are held at the Libbey Bowl.

1962 Jazz flutist Eric Dolphy performs Density 21.5 for solo flute by Edgard Varèse; the Festival includes a four-day prelude of discussions lectures/concerts with Luciano Berio, Milton Babbitt, Gunther Schuller, and Lukas Foss.

1963 Foss experiments with music from Don Giovanni using three orchestras to create a kind of stereophonic surround sound at the Bowl; Mauricio Kagel is guest composer/conductor.

1964 Ingolf Dahl (USC faculty composer) is Music Director and Ojai becomes a northern “outpost” for the USC music department.

1965 19-year-old pianist Michael Tilson Thomas is featured in concert; Harold Shapero’s Serenade in D for String Orchestra and Ramiro Cortes’ Concerto for Violin and Strings are premiered.

1966 Ojai celebrates its 20th anniversary; David Raskin, film composer and friend of Lawrence Morton, writes five special fanfares for the Festival.

1967 Lawrence Morton returns as Artistic Director; Pierre Boulez makes his Ojai debut in his fifth American appearance; Boulez delays the start time of a performance to allow the Santa Paula Railroad “Orange” train to pass.

1968 Pianist James Levine makes a guest appearance; Ingolf Dahl is Music Director once again and the Debut Orchestra of the Young Musicians Foundation is in residence.

1969 The trio of Michael Tilson Thomas, Michael Zearott, and Stefan Minde lead the Festival as co-Music Directors.

1970 Boulez returns for his second visit to Ojai and includes the first American performance of his Domaines; the Los Angeles Philharmonic makes its Ojai debut.

1971 Ojai celebrates its 25th anniversary; Gerhard Samuel makes first appearance as conductor and Artistic Director; Lou Harrison’s Chinese Classical Music Ensemble presents a morning concert of Chinese music.

1972 Ethnic music is highlighted under the baton of Michael Zearott including Mariachi music from Jalisco, Mexico, drum music from West Africa, and the Balinese group, Gamelan Angklung.

1973 Michael Tilson Thomas is Music Director for the next three seasons; Tilson Thomas brings minimalism to Ojai with Steve Reich’s Four Organs with Percussion plus John Cage’s Three Dances for Two Amplified Prepared Pianos, both in their West Coast premieres; annual jazz concerts begin in Ojai.

1975 Charles Wuorinen’s A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky, a joint Ojai Festival/Buffalo Philharmonic commission, is given its world premiere.

1976 Copland returns to Ojai as does Lawrence Morton as Artistic Director.

1978 Young African-American conductor Calvin Simmons (assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic) takes the baton as Music Director; Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex is performed.

1980 Sequoia Quartet, UC San Diego-based SONOR and the Los Angeles Ballet perform.

1981 USC Symphony’s director Daniel Lewis is the Festival Music Director; the program includes the West Coast premiere of Benjamin Britten’s Our Hunting Fathers with tenor Jonathan Mack and the U.S. premiere of Clementi’s Symphony No. 4.

1982 The Festival presents a Stravinsky Centennial with Robert Craft as Music Director featuring all or part of nearly 40 compositions by the master in his honor.

1983 The Kronos Quartet and The Musicians of Swanne Alley make their Ojai debuts; Ravi Shankar returns.

1985 Under the recommendation of Pierre Boulez, young conductor Kent Nagano makes his first Ojai appearance as Music Director; The music of Olivier Messiaen is highlighted and attends his first Ojai Festival; Messiaen’s wife Yvonne Loriod performs in a piano recital.

1986 Due to the success of his first Ojai Festival, Nagano is invited to return as Music Director; Composer-conductor-percussionist Stephen “Lucky” Mosko conducts Saturday evening’s concert, which includes the West Coast premiere of John Adams’ The Chairman Dances.

1987 Lukas Foss comes back to Ojai; the Festival is dedicated to Lawrence Morton who passes away earlier in the year.

1988 Peter Maxwell-Davies is composer-in-residence; Nicholas McGegan is Music Director along with his Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, which was also in residence this season.

1989 The Festival highlights the work of composer György Ligeti; Boulez is Music Director.

1990 Stephen “Lucky” Mosko returns but this time as Music Director and Elliott Carter is the composer-in-residence; for the first time in Festival history there is no music from the past or music by any European composers.

1992 Boulez as Music Director brings famed director Peter Sellars to Ojai; Sellars stages Stravinsky’s Histoire du soldat in its fifth incarnation in Ojai; however, he re-stages the work using inner-city actors in the cast and the back of a flatbed pick-up truck as part of the setting; Ara Guzelimian is named Artistic Director.

1993 John Adams makes his first Ojai appearance as Music Director highlighting the work of Cage, Reich and Gorecki.

1994 For his seventh Festival, Michael Tilson Thomas journeys back to Ojai as Music Director along with his New World Symphony.

1996 The 50th Anniversary of the Ojai Music Festival is led by Pierre Boulez; pianist Mitsuko Uchida makes her first appearance at the Festival.

1997 Pianist Emanuel Ax is Music Director; Daniel Harding is principal conductor; Artistic Director Ara Guzelimian bids farewell to Festival.

1998 Ernest Fleischmann begins his tenure as the Festival’s third Artistic Director; Mitsuko Uchida is Music Director; David Zinman is principal conductor.

1999 Esa-Pekka Salonen makes his Ojai debut and creates a program dedicated to Finnish music. Composer-in-residence is Magnus Lindberg.

2000 Sir Simon Rattle makes his Ojai debut as Music Director; the Festival features the U.S. premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Kai and the West Coast premiere of Thomas Adès’ Asyla.

2002 Marking the first time for a group, the Emerson String Quartet is Music Director. 2003 Pierre Boulez returns as Music Director with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

2004 Kent Nagano returns, this time with his Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, which makes its Ojai debut; Thomas W. Morris begins his tenure as the Festival’s fourth Artistic Director; the Festival presents the world premiere of Korean composer Unsuk Chin’s SNAGS & SNARLS.

2005 British composer/conductor Oliver Knussen is Music Director; The Cleveland Orchestra with Music Director Franz Welser-Most; British composer Jonathan Cole’s Testament is given its world premiere and is a joint commission by the Sue Knussen Commissioning Fund, London Sinfonietta and the Festival.

2006 The 60th anniversary of the Ojai Music Festival is led by Robert Spano as Music Director and featured composer is Osvaldo Golijov; Golijov’s revised concert version of Ainadamar is given its West Coast premiere

2007 French pianist, Pierre Laurent Aimard, makes his Festival debut as Music Director along with Hungarian composer/conductor Peter Eötvös. The program includes two US premieres by Eötvös– Sonata per Sei and Chinese Opera.

2008 Conductor David Robertson marks his first Festival as music director. Composer Steve Reich returns after a 35-year absence with his music at the centerpiece of the Festival. Dawn Upshaw returns for her third visit to Ojai. French composer Francois Narboni enjoys the U.S. premiere of his work El Gran Masturbador and Michael Jarrell’s Cassandre makes its West Coast premiere.

2009 Chamber ensemble eighth blackbird debuts as the Festival’s second ensemble to be Music Director. The program includes the co-commissioned premiere of Slide composed by Rinde Eckert and Steven Mackey.

2010 British composer and Messiaen student, George Benjamin, makes his Festival debut. Program includes works of Benjamin, including the West Coast premiere of Into the Little Hill. Also featured is the music of Frank Zappa, the German orchestra Ensemble Modern, and a selection of Indian Ragas

2011 Dawn Upshaw returns for her fourth appearance, this time as music director celebrating the opening of the new Libbey Bowl. World premieres include the staged production of George Crumb’s The Winds of Destiny directed by Peter Sellars and composer Maria Schneider’s Winter Morning Walks performed by Upshaw. The Festival launches Ojai At Berkeley, which brings three Ojai concerts to Cal Performances at UC Berkeley.

2012 The Festival presented the West Coast premiere of John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit at Libbey Park performed by 48 musicians and the American premiere of Bent Sørensen’s Piano Concerto No. 2, “La Mattina,” performed by Music Director Leif Ove Andsnes

2013 Mark Morris, the first dancer/choreographer to serve as Music Director presents a program celebrating on iconic American composers Lou Harrison, Henry Cowell and John Cage

2014 MacArthur Fellow and pianist Jeremy Denk takes on the helm as Music Director. The Festival features the world premiere of the comic opera, The Classical Style: An Opera (of sorts) with music by Pulitzer-Prize winning composer Steven Stucky and a libretto by Jeremy Denk.

2015 The Festival celebrates the 90th birthday of Pierre Boulez with the West Coast premiere of A Pierre Dream; Steven Schick is music director, the first time a percussionist is named in this role; Ojai presents two west coast premieres by Pulitzer Prize winner John Luther Adams: Sila: The Breath of the World and Become River

2016 Celebrated theatre/opera director Peter Sellars returns as music director and leads the Festival in its milestone 70th year with the US premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s Passion de Simone (chamber version), world premiere of Caroline Shaw’s This might also be a form of dreaming and the world premiere of Josephine Baker: A Portrait featuring Julia Bullock and Tyshawn Sorey

2017  MacArthur prize winner/Downbeat Magazine musician of the year Vijay Iyer makes his Festival debut and brings a diverse community of new artists to Ojai; George Lewis’s Afterword, an opera – a celebration of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM)

2018  Violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja leads Ojai as Music Director featuring premieres and news works, including her own stage conceptualizations of Bye Bye Beethoven and Dies Irae

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Press Quotes

“Ojai Music Festival has been raising a finely calibrated ruckus each spring since 1947…. To attend Ojai is to enter a happily topsy-turvy world where longtime patrons are as avid for new music as they are for classic repertory.”
The New Yorker

“There’s nothing quite like Ojai. The festival is to the music world what the town is to the rest of Southern California: a lovably eccentric jewel, a tiny explosion of beauty, weirdness and overkill. The art is rigorous, but the vibe is relaxed, smiling and uncrowded — part weekend getaway, part laboratory.”
– New York Times

“The Ojai faithful – an audience prized for its open minds and congeniality – proved ever faithful.”
Los Angeles Times

“Ojai has earned its reputation as one of the most important events on the annual American cultural calendar.”
Gramophone

“There is nothing dutiful about the approach of either the performers or the audience, but a truly festive spirit in the way they come together for this annual long weekend. Few other audiences are as open-minded or curious as those who gather on the benches or lawns of Libbey Bowl in Ojai’s park.
Sunday Telegraph

“If the music wafting on this valley’s breezes tells us anything, it’s that history lives at Ojai.”
Wall Street Journal

“No walls, no floor, no ceiling, no acoustic paneling. Just grass, trees, birds, bees, and earnest music making … Ojai isn’t quite a fantasy island in the South Pacific, but its surreal, atmospheric beauty isn’t far removed … Who would have though that this quiet unassuming city … would, for one weekend a year, become a mecca for today’s contemporary music intelligentsia and maintain a loyal following in the process?”
Symphony Magazine

“It’s [The Festival] the rubbing-together of the primitive and the sophisticated that lends Ojai its charm. The outdoor setting removes the preciousness from serious musical endeavour without compromising standards, while its intimacy seals the performer-audience relationship…”
Financial Times

“… legendary in new-music circles. Here in the foothills 85 miles north of Los Angeles, Stravinsky, Copland, Boulez, Messiaen, Lukas Foss, Tilson Thomas, John Adams, Salonen, Mitsuko Uchida, Emanuel Ax, and the Emerson String Quartet have all found a brief musical haven.”
Gramophone

“…it’s the interaction of extraordinary composers, conductors and performers that gives Ojai its symbiotic essence and makes it a small but mighty festival.”
Ventura County Star

“…compact but wide-ranging… [one of] the summer’s best performing arts festivals.”
Travel & Leisure Magazine

“…this extraordinary weekend, its triumphant proclamation of the mingled roles of music and the human spirit.”
LA Weekly

“In this case, it was not Vienna, nor Berlin, but the small festival of Ojai that – as far as the interpretation of great symphonic works is concerned – could be seen as the hub of the musical world.”
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“The annual Ojai Festival is a miniature, less expensive California version of Salzburg — an out-of-the-way place where passionate musicians, critics and fans can gather, schmooze and pontificate, and in between listen to some world-class music.”
Andante

“No arm’s-length tolerance of new music here. Upscale locals, Los Angeles intelligentsia and out-of-towners crowd Libbey Bowl’s near-primitive outdoor facilities for four days and devour music normal audiences might greet with bewilderment.”
New York Times

“It’s close to nirvana”
Orange County Register

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Artist Quotes

“I like this small community, and I like the fact that this is a very compact festival.”
Pierre Boulez

“Ojai is very different, of course. It’s really predicated upon the notion of a very intelligent, musically aware audience that is interested in hearing unusual works.”
John Adams

“I love the town, and I admire what the festival has stood for since its inception. It has always been a very adventurous festival, one that has encouraged new artists and very interesting elements of the avant-garde. At the same time, it has focused on the qualities of the recognized masterpieces of the musical civilization. I don’t mean that to sound ponderous. Everything about Ojai is so relaxed and natural. That’s one of the great charms of being there.”
Michael Tilson Thomas

“Looking back over Ojai history, the Festivals has a history of giving people a chance before they become really recognized for their talents. Stravinsky, Boulez, Tilson Thomas. It is an important pivotal point for a lot of artists…And there is the unusual mingling with people. Real people. The absence of slickness. No pretense. No feigning or pretending. That is refreshing”
Kent Nagano

“Ojai’s marvelous and improbably large fan-base reacted to everything that we threw at them with visible fascination, audible excitement and a spirit of adventure that I’ve not seen elsewhere!”
eighth blackbird

”Reports over the years had lead me to believe I would enjoy Ojai – but not to the degree I experienced last week. What an extraordinary place, what a wonderful venue to perform, what a remarkable audience…added to that, the beauty of the valley, the glory of the light, the stars and the birdsong…”
George Benjamin

“The first time I visited, in 2001, I had no idea of the beauties to be found in this eclectic small town that has played host to some of music’s greatest luminaries. There is a very special spirit of collaboration here, fostered in part by the gorgeous natural setting and also by the friendly engagement of everyone involved. Singing the music of John Adams, Luciano Berio, and Osvaldo Golijov in three Ojai Festivals over the past decade has been a true highlight for me.”
Dawn Upshaw

“Ojai is like a dream. For me personally, it was a great reality where my two cultures met. I couldn’t believe that I was staying right there on famous Ventura beach, the heart and soul of California surfing. And there up the hill in Ojai was the heart and soul of American great music-making.”
Richard Tognetti (Australian Chamber Orchestra)

“I’m incredibly grateful to the town of Ojai and the place, and all the ridiculous amount of people here who help make this mildly insane weekend of music possible.”
Jeremy Denk

“Ojai’s marvelous and improbably large fan-base reacted to everything that we threw at them with visible fascination, audible excitement and a spirit of adventure that I’ve not seen elsewhere!”
eighth blackbird

“…Ojai has the best audience in the world.”
Leif Ove Andsnes

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Festival History

In the Ojai Spirit
A look at the eclectic history of the Ojai Music Festival

For more than six decades the Ojai Music Festival has been a laboratory for the special chemistry that results from combining insatiable curiosity with unbounded creativity. The formula is simple: Each year a music director is given the freedom and resources to imagine four days of musical brainstorming. Some have approached their task with caution, fearing that Ojai might be like other places. But, of course, it’s not. More often this unique blend of enchanted setting and an audience voracious in its appetite for challenge and discovery has inspired a distinguished series of conductors, performers, composers to push at boundaries and stretch limits.

At its inception in 1947, under the guidance of Festival founder John Bauer and conductor Thor Johnson, the Festival featured a balance of classics and more contemporary fare. By the time Lawrence Morton took over as Artistic Director in 1954 the emphasis had shifted to New Music and Ojai soon became the showcase as well as a home-away-from-home for such 20th century giants as Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, Elliott Carter, Aaron Copland, Lou Harrison, and Olivier Messiaen, not to mention two Southern California “locals”: Arnold Schoenberg and Igor Stravinsky. It was Morton who established the tradition of rotating Music Directors and with this innovation each year’s Festival became the reflection of a succession of larger-than-life personalities, including Robert Craft (joined in 1955 and 1956 by Stravinsky), Copland, Ingolf Dahl, the late Lukas Foss, Boulez, Peter Maxwell-Davies, as well as such rising stars as Michael Tilson Thomas, Calvin Simmons, Kent Nagano, John Adams, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, and David Robertson. Through the years Ojai’s Music Directors have invited distinguished soloists, first-rate chamber ensembles, and world-class orchestras to join them in exploring the intersection between New Music and everything from jazz and improvisation to electronics and computers; dance, theater, and experimental staging to social and political issues, not to mention repertory that might go back to the Middle Ages or reach across the globe.

Looking back, it would be difficult to identify any overarching aesthetic premise, though from year to year there has been no shortage of agendas. Rather, the thread running through these past decades has been this Festival’s consistency in promoting creativity and innovation. Here in Ojai hallowed masterpieces and in-your-face experiments can be uneasy bedfellows sharing a berth that is a pedestal of repose for one, a trampoline for the other. And that rumble you hear? It is the steady grumbling from an audience whose outspoken views on any and every subject are the entitlement of its loyalty. Its passion is the true barometer of the health of this Festival. No smugness here; no indifference, either. This is a place for enthusiasms, often excessive, and opinions, sometimes vociferous, and a hunger for shared discovery that reaffirms, year after year, why music matters in the first place.

-Christopher Hailey

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General Facts

LOCATION
• Ojai Valley population: 7,862
• Libbey Bowl: 964 seats and 375 lawn

FINANCIALS
• Operating Budget: $2 million 
• Revenue sources: 75% donations, grants and sponsors; 25% ticket 

LEADERSHIP
• Board members: 18
• Board of Governors: 28

AUDIENCE
• 50% subscribers are donors 
• 59% of ticket buyers return every year
• Number of Donors: 311
• Tickets sold: 5,800
• Attendance at free community events: 2,000 
• Digital audience: 93,492

GEOGRAPHIC BASE
• 43% Los Angeles 
• 34% Ojai, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties
• 15% Other California (San Diego, Orange County, Northern California)
• 8% Out of State

BRAVO MUSIC EDUCATION
• Public school students served in the Ojai Valley and area Ventura schools: 2,800
• Repeat experiences with students: 32,250
• Free workshops in public schools: 1,075
• 51% students classified as economically disadvantaged
• Schools and senior centers served: 18
• Artists-in-residence: 7
• Arts management interns: 15

*as of October 1, 2018

 

Press Photos: Barbara Hannigan, 2019 Music Director

Barbara-Hannigan

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Photo Credit: Musacchio Ianniello Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

Press Photos: Libbey Park (2014)

Hudson Shad performs at the 68th Ojai Music Festival at Libbey Park Gazebo on June 13, 2014 in Ojai, California.

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Photo Credit: Timothy Norris

Press Photos: OMF Evening (2011)

Layout 1

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Photo Credit: Timothy Norris