Ojai Music Festival

Photographers: Robert Millard; and Axel Koester.
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Summary Info Festival StoryFestival EventsOther SourcesPractical Info

Country and Region United StatesCalifornia
Type of Festival Music
Location of Festival Ojai, California USA
Festival Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Ojai Music Festival
P. O. Box 185
Ojai, CA 93024 USA
Physical address:
Ojai Music Festival
201 South Signal Street
Ojai, CA 93023 USA
Phone: (01) 805-646-2094
Fax: (01) 805-646-6037
Email: info@ojaifestival.org

Festival Description

The Ojai Music Festival is an internationally recognized festival and major cultural resource in California. It is known for its innovative programming, masterful interpretations of the classical repertoire and its idlyllic setting. The Festival continues to attract the world's leading and emering artists as well as engaged audience members, all of whom enjoy the intimacy and personal atmosphere found in this one-of-a-kind experience. The Festival has lived up to the founders' expectations by becoming an internationally regarded festival that reaches out to the community in many ways, such as with its award-winning music education program that serves the Ojai Valley with free activities, concerts and workshops.

Festival Dates June 6 - 9, 2013
Festival Links http://www.ojaifestival.org/

Festival Story:

The Ojai Music Festival in California’s Ojai Valley enjoys a worldwide reputation for providing artists with the freedom to present music they are passionate about in a place so idyllic that filmmaker Frank Capra transformed the area into Shangri-La for his 1937 film Lost Horizon. Concerts take place at the outdoor Libbey Bowl, once marked sacred by the ancient Chumash Indians, where inspiration and creativity still flourish. From its founding in 1947, a healthy spirit of eclecticism and musical daring produced concerts that were fun and inspiring. That spirit was reinforced in 1954 with the appointment of Lawrence Morton as the Festival artistic director. A man of broad musical tastes, Mr. Morton was a visionary whose constant curiosity and unwavering integrity shaped the festival’s future direction. Under his leadership, the Ojai Music Festival developed an enduring concept whereby the artistic director engages a different music director each year, around whose musical ideas that year’s Festival is built.

Thomas W. Morris, the Festival’s current artistic director, began his tenure at Ojai in 2004. Among the Festival’s diverse music directors have been such renowned musical personalities as Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, Lukas Foss, Ingolf Dahl, Pierre Boulez, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kent Nagano, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, John Harbison, John Adams, Emanuel Ax, Mitsuko Uchida, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sir Simon Rattle, Oliver Knussen, Robert Spano, and in 2007, Pierre-Laurent Aimard. The Ojai Music Festival is located in California’s Ojai Valley, 75 miles northwest of Los Angeles.


Festival Events:

Programming 2013:
  • Ojai 2013 programming focuses on music Mark Morris champions and loves, including the music of Lou Harrison, John Cage, Henry Cowell, Charles Ives, and John Luther Adams. Joining Mr. Morris in Ojai will be his Mark Morris Dance Group and the MMDG Music Ensemble, as well as long-time collaborators including jazz artist Ethan Iverson and his jazz trio The Bad Plus (recognized by Rolling Stone magazine as “about as badass as highbrow can get”), pianist/organist Colin Fowler, the American String Quartet, percussion ensemble red fish blue fish, and the UC Berkeley Gamelan Sari Raras. The 2013 Festival, in keeping with the growing trends of recent years, will include Libbey Bowl concerts, additional events, late night and sunrise concerts, films, and talks.
    • Thursday, June 6 — features a concert by The Bad Plus, featuring its own highly original version of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, a rescoring of the explosive masterpiece for piano, bass and drums. This will be followed by a participatory event as Mark Morris leads Festival patrons in social dancing at the Ojai Arts Center.
    • Friday, June 7 — Mr. Morris will present his extraordinary Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) in a two-part evening of dance to the music of Samuel Barber, Igor Stravinsky, Lou Harrison, Henry Cowell, and Charles Ives. The program closes with Mark Morris’ celebrated choreography Grand Duo to Lou Harrison’s Grand Duo for Violin and Piano. This influential work was hailed by The Guardian as “…truly one of the masterpieces of the late 20th century.”
    • Saturday, June 8 — Terry Riley’s In C, often cited as the first minimalist composition, comprises the Saturday morning concert. Saturday evening features the MMDG Music Ensemble conducted by Joshua Gersen, conducting assistant to Michael Tilson Thomas at the New World Symphony, performing Lou Harrison’s Suite for Symphonic Strings, and John Luther Adams’ For Lou Harrison, a haunting work for string quartet, two pianos and strings.
    • Sunday, June 9 ≈ Sunday morning’s American program includes the sole String Quartet by Ruth Crawford Seeger, one of the greatest, yet least prolific American composers, a selection of songs by Seeger, Henry Cowell, Lou Harrison, and John Cage, ending in an arrangement that includes audience participation of Charles Ruggles’ great hymn, Exaltation, his final work written as a memorial to his wife. Mark Morris will conduct and the audience will be invited to join in as the congregation. The final concert on Sunday will also be in two parts, with the first featuring organ music by Olivier Messiaen and Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Organ and Percussion Orchestra with organist Colin Fowler and red fish blue fish. The second part of the concert will include two works by Henry Cowell – his Heroic Dance, written for Martha Graham, and his transfixing cantata Atlantis. The Festival closes with the short Fugue for Percussion by Lou Harrison, one of his most fiendishly difficult pieces, and finally Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Piano and Gamelan. The organ and piano soloist will be Colin Fowler performing with the UC Berkeley Gamelan Sari Raras.
    • Additional events — Events will be sprinkled throughout the Festival including percussion music by Harrison and Cage, Gamelan concerts of music by Harrison, John Cage’s Four Walls for piano and soprano, Mark Morris leading a live-band karaoke late night event, and three films. In addition, there will be two morning performances of John Luther Adams’ works – A Strange and Sacred Noise (the work featured in the documentary film shown at the 2012 Festival) written for four spatial percussionists and songbirdsongs for three piccolos, tape and two percussion. Both performances of Adams’ gorgeously evocative works are open to the community and will be held in outdoor spaces in the Ojai Valley.


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Practical Info:

  • The Libbey Bowl, an outdoor area surrounded by lush greenery is where Concerts will take place.
  • Other events will be held at the Ojai Art Center, the Ojai Playhouse, and the Matilija Junior High School Auditorium, the site of the original Festival concerts in 1947.
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