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Ojai Music Festival

Ojai, CA            

For more than 70 years, the Ojai Music Festival has brought audiences together to experience an intentionally curated music Festival that explores the boundaries of classical music. Each Festival’s narrative thread is guided by a different music director, who offers a distinctive style and point of view for our audience so that no festival is anything like any other.

Music directors are selected by and collaborated with by the Festival’s artistic director. Music directors are more than just conductors or solo artists but represent the best and most creative musical thinkers of our time, who are given the opportunity of crafting the entity of a four-day festival of the music they believe in with artists they champion. The Ojai Music Festival has presented as Music Director and guests some of the world’s most important composers and performers including Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez, Kent Nagano, John Adams, John Luther Adams, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Spano, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, eighth blackbird, the Calder Quartet, International Contemporary Ensemble, Dawn Upshaw, Leif Ove Andsnes, Jeremy Denk, Stephen Schick, Peter Sellars, Vijay Iyer, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and Patricia Kopatchinskaja.

 The vision of the four-day Ojai Music Festival is to present “transcendent and immersive musical experiences that spark joy, challenge the mind, and ignite the spirit”, which is achieved by “enabling creative artists and inquisitive audiences to engage with one another around adventurous programming, and to reach out beyond the Festival and the Ojai community throughout the year to connect creatively with broader audiences.”

 The 2019 Ojai Music Festival welcomes soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan as its 73rd Music Director. Barbara Hannigan is known worldwide as a soprano, conductor and mentor of vital expressive force directed by exceptional knowledge, creativity and energy, all of which are embodied in the 2019 Ojai Music Festival she has created. This year’s Ensemble-in-Residence will be Amsterdam’s acclaimed musical collective, LUDWIG. This extraordinary ensemble has been a frequent partner of Barbara Hannigan, with whom they have toured, and also with whom Ms. Hannigan made her first CD as a conductor, a disc called Crazy Girl Crazy, which won a GRAMMY© Award.

 Highlights of the 2019 Festival will include a fully-staged performance of 1956 Ojai Music Director Igor Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress; a tribute to the late British composer and 2005 Festival Director Oliver Knussen; Gerard Grisey’s Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil; and music by Claude Vivier, Arnold Schönberg, Claude Debussy, Mark Anthony Turnage, William Walton, John Zorn, Terry Riley, Catherine Lamb and Tyshawn Sorey.

 To serve the broader community, the Ojai Music Festival is also the largest provider of music education in the Ojai Valley. Our BRAVO education and community outreach programs bring a range of free, high-quality musical experiences to approximately 2,000 students and seniors throughout the year.

 Major press outlets have described the Ojai Music Festival this way:

  “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 Music Festival has been raising a finely calibrated ruckus each spring since 1947.”

– Alex Ross, The New Yorker Magazine

Saturday, June 9, 2018 Concert: Looking Inward Part II (Dies Irae)

The second semi-staged concert conceived Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Dies Irae, an aesthetic reflection of a time rife with global warming, wars over resources, and refugee crises.


Patricia Kopatchinskaja, violin| Anthony Romaniuk, piano and harpsichord | JACK Quartet | Mahler Chamber Orchestra | Tito Munoz, conductor | Maria Urpsprung, Stage Director

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Thursday, June 8, 2017 Concert with Vijay Iyer, Jennifer Koh, Wadada Leo Smith

VIJAY IYER: Emergence for trio and orchestra (American Premiere)
Vijay Iyer, piano|Stephan Crump, bass|Tyshawn Sorey, drums|International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)|Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble|Steven Schick, conductor

VIJAY IYER: Trouble for violin and chamber orchestra (World Premiere)
Jennifer Koh, violin| ICE| Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble|Steven Schick Conductor

VIJAY IYER and WADADA LEO SMITH: A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke
Vijay Iyer, piano, Fender Rhodes piano, electronics|Wadada Leo Smith, trumpet

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Saturday June 11, 2016 Music Dawns Concert with Calder Quartet, Davone Tines

Davone Tines’ beautiful performance of CAROLINE SHAW: By and By
Calder Quartet | Davone Tines, baritone

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