(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.
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.
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.
The Ojai Music Festival and Board Chair David Nygren announces the appointment of two new members of its Board of Directors, as well as the full slate of officers for the 2018-19 season voted in at the September annual meeting. Joining the 18-member Board of Directors is Stephan Farber and Judith Hale Norris.
Stephan Farber is a private wealth advisor working closely with multi-generation families who encounter distinctive challenges in managing and stewarding their wealth. Farber works with leading collectors of musical instruments and art. He has particular depth in wealth transfer strategies and tax-sensitive philanthropic initiatives. Prior to his career in banking, he worked for many years in the music industry with a wide range of artists including Philip Glass, David Bowie, and The Rolling Stones. A string instrument enthusiast, Stephan collects and plays pre-war Gibson mandolins and serves on the board of Arco Collaborative, established by internationally renowned violinist Jennifer Koh. He received his M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and B.A. from Oberlin College. Currently, he lives with his family in Houston, Texas.
Judith Hale Norris is the President of the Ojai Festival Women’s Committee. She also serves on the Board of the Ojai Education Foundation, the Steering Committee of the Ojai Women’s Fund, and as Co-Chair of the Council of Distinguished Advisers, Straus Institute of Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law. She recently retired as an Adjunct Professor and Associate Director of the Investor Advocacy Clinic at Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law. Prior to her appointment in 2010 as Associate Director of the Investor Advocacy Clinic, she served as Vice President and Director for the Western Region of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Dispute Resolution with regional headquarters in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Before joining FINRA in 1986, She served as Chief Staff Counsel for the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (DC) and for the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (Boston). She also served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts and as a trial and appellate attorney for the U. S. Department of Justice in Washington, D. C. Norris received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maine and her Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law. She received her Mediator Certificate from the Institute of Conflict Management.
The 2018-19 Board Officers are David Nygren, chairman; Barry Sanders, vice-chair strategic planning; David Oxtoby, vice-chair governance; Cathryn Krause, secretary; and Jerrold Eberhardt, treasurer.
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 social 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.
73rd Ojai Music Festival
The Festival’s 73rd installment – June 6-9, 2019 – celebrates and explores the creative artistic force of Music Director Barbara Hannigan as conductor, singer, and mentor. The four-day immersive experience will be a synthesis of dark and light: chiaroscuro with music curated by Hannigan that resonates deeply with her interests and collaborations. Music will include Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress and other vocal works by Schoenberg, Grisey, Turnage, and Vivier. The Festival will also feature the American debut of LUDWIG orchestra and members of Hannigan’s new Equilibrium mentoring initiative.
Series Passes for 2019 Ojai Music Festival
Advance 2019 series subscriptions are available for purchase at OjaiFestival.org or by calling (805) 646-2053. Ticket prices range from $165 to $925 for reserved seating and lawn series start at $75.
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 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.
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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 Performances’ Ojai at Berkeley is slated for June 15-17, 2017 following the Ojai Music Festival
(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.”
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.
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).
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