11-17 Ojai Music Festival

Led by Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris, the Ojai Music Festival has an unmatched musical legacy and international reputation for artistic excellence, adventurous programs, and creative artistic camaraderie. From its founding in 1947, a healthy spirit of eclecticism and musical daring flourished, and the Ojai Music Festival remains a world champion of contemporary programming that is both challenging and surprising.

Each year, the Festival welcomes a new music director who creates his/her own artistic programming with an emphasis on contemporary music. The 2010 Festival featured composer/conductor George Benjamin, and the 2011 Festival (June 9 – 12, 2011) featured American soprano and Ojai Music Festival alumna Dawn Upshaw. Next year, the Festival takes place June 7-10, 2012 and features pianist Leif Ove Andsnes as music director. All concerts take place at the outdoor Libbey Bowl, on a site held sacred by the Chumash Indians, where inspiration and creativity still flourish. Considered a highlight of the summer classical music season, the Ojai Music Festival is a four-day series of concerts, symposia, and auxiliary events set in the idyllic Ojai Valley, known as California’s Shangri-la.

Highlights

June 9 – 12, 2011

Together with Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris, Dawn Upshaw engaged several key artistic collaborators: the Australian Chamber Orchestra; jazz composer/conductor Maria Schneider; and stage director Peter Sellars.

A highlight of the 65th season included the sold-out concert featuring the world premiere staging of George Crumb’s The Winds of Destiny (American Songbook IV) directed by Mr. Sellars. Written in 2004, The Winds of Destiny is a work for soprano and percussion quartet performed on a variety of traditional and exotic instruments, and amplified piano. Mr. Sellars new staged version framed The Winds of Destiny through the eyes of a female American veteran returning from the war in Afghanistan played by Dawn Upshaw. The Winds of Destiny was a co-production by the Ojai Music Festival and Cal Performances at UC Berkeley.

In addition, the Festival presented the world premiere of Maria Schneider’s Winter Morning Walks performed by Ms. Upshaw and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Schneider also led her own 18-piece big band in a concert Sunday morning, June 12.

Upcoming 66th Festival

June 7-10, 2012

This upcoming season, June 7 to 10, will once again further the Festival’s commitment to artistic innovation with Leif Ove Andsnes as music director.

Renowned as a pianist, Leif Ove Andsnes has had a rich experience curating festivals, most recently in New York’s Carnegie Hall, where Norway’s Risør Chamber Music Festival, for which Mr. Andsnes served as co-artistic director for nearly two decades, was in residence. For the 2012 Ojai Music Festival (June 7-10), Mr. Andsnes and Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris are shaping a program that fully reflects Mr. Andsnes’ artistic collaborations, the range of repertoire he loves, as well as a unique programming style that has infused his own festival in Risør. The 2012 Ojai Music Festival will include seven programs, each distinctive in their extreme eclecticism, both in repertoire and in the combinations of artists and performing forces. Joining Mr. Andsnes will be his long-time artistic colleagues – the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotjin, frequent piano partner Marc-Andre Hamelin, conductor/composer Reinbert DeLeeuw, virtuosic clarinetist Martin Frøst, and award-winning actress Barbara Sukowa, who mesmerized Ojai audiences in 2008 with the west coast premiere of Michael Jarrell’s Cassandre. Additional programming details for the 2012 Ojai Music Festival will be announced in the fall.

Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris revealed the artists who will serve in the coming years as Festival music directors, including choreographer Mark Morris (2013) and pianist Jeremy Denk (2014).

Full program details for the 66th Ojai Music Festival can be found at www.OjaiFestival.org.

Music

Cage: Third Construction
Messiaen: Vingt Regards sur l’enfant Jésus: 4 and 8 (Eric Huebner)
Purcell: Fantasias for viols, excerpt
Ligeti: Chamber Concerto
Messiaen: Oiseaux exotiques (Ensemble Modern with Ueli Wiget, piano)
Indian Ragas
George Benjamin: Viola! Viola! (Megumi Kasakawa and Patrick Juedt)
Louis Andriessen: Workers Union

You can listen to the entire program here:

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Artists

Tom Morris, Artistic Director - Thomas W. Morris was appointed artistic director of the Ojai Music Festival in 2004. Mr. Morris is recognized as one of the most innovative leaders in the orchestra industry and held the position of executive director of The Cleveland Orchestra from 1987 to 2004. In 1985, Mr. Morris became president of Thomas W. Morris & Company, an international musical consulting and production company that has worked with such institutions as Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, De Nederlandse Opera, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. Also an accomplished percussionist, Mr. Morris has performed frequently with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops, and currently performs in the Blossom Festival Band. Mr. Morris is a native of Rochester, New York. He studied at the Eastman School of Music and holds a B.A. degree from Princeton University and an MBA from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce. More

George Benjamin, 2010 Music Director - Born in 1960, George Benjamin started to play the piano at the age of seven, and began composing almost immediately. In 1976 he entered the Paris Conservatoire to study composition with Olivier Messiaen and piano with Yvonne Loriod, after which he worked with Alexander Goehr at King’s College Cambridge. His first orchestral work, Ringed by the Flat Horizon, was performed at the BBC Proms when he was only 20; since then his works have continued to be played across the world. His most recent work, Duet for piano and orchestra, was the Roche commission for the 2008 Lucerne Festival, where he was composer in residence, and was premiered there by Pierre-Laurent Aimard and the Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Moest. Since 2001 he has been the Henry Purcell Professor of Composition at King‘s College, London. More

Dawn Upshaw, 2011 Music Director – Joining a rare natural warmth with a fierce commitment to the transforming communicative power of music, Dawn Upshaw has achieved worldwide celebrity as a singer of opera and concert repertoire ranging from the sacred works of Bach to the freshest sounds of today. Her ability to reach to the heart of music and text has earned her both the devotion of an exceptionally diverse audience, and the awards and distinctions accorded to only the most distinguished of artists. In 2007, she was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation, the first vocal artist to be awarded the five-year “genius” prize, and in 2008 she was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. A four-time Grammy Award winner, Upshaw is featured on more than 50 recordings, including the million-selling Symphony No. 3 by Henryk Gorecki. More

Greg Beyer, Percussion – Called “a fine percussionist” in The New York Times, soloist Greg Beyer specializes in repertoire that places non-western instruments into the context of contemporary musical thought. Of primary importance to him is his project, Arcomusical – an endeavor involving ethnomusicological research on the berimbau and other related musical bows, and active composition and commission of new works for these ancient instruments. For his own compositions in this regard, Beyer has garnered awards from both ASCAP and SEAMUS. As a chamber musician, Beyer has performed and/or recorded with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Speculum Musicae, So Percussion, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, NewBand, Sequitur, Absolute Ensemble, and the S.E.M. Ensemble.  More

Javad Ali Butah, Tabla – A disciple of world-renowned tabla master Pandit Anindo Chatterjee, Javad’s thorough approach to the instrument reflects his training at the hands of one of the finest tabla artists alive today. Javad has had the honor of accompanying world-renowned artists such as Ustad Sultan Khan, Sri Alam Khan, and Sri Shakir Khan. He has played in such venues worldwide as the Peter Norton Symphony Space in New York, Yale University, Columbia University, The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad, India. His playing, noteworthy for its clarity and fine sound quality, represents a virtuosic tradition alive in a new generation. More

Nathan Davis, Percussion – Inspired by natural processes and acoustic phenomena, composer and percussionist Nathan Davis makes music that elucidates essential characters of instruments and the fragile athleticism of playing them. Nathan’s music has been programmed at Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, Roulette, and at Darmstadt, Helsinki Musica Nova, and other festivals in North America, Poland, China, and Cuba. Recordings of his music include his electroacoustic percussion cd Memory Spaces, flutist Claire Chase’s debut Aliento, and a forthcoming monograph longplay from ICE, recorded at the state-of-the-art EMPAC center. Nathan is the percussionist for the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and he plays original and commissioned works with cellist Ha-Yang Kim in the duo Odd Appetite. More

eighth blackbird – Hailed as “friendly, unpretentious, idealistic, and highly skilled” by the New Yorker, eighth blackbird is widely lauded for its unusual performing style – often playing from memory with theatrical flair – and for its efforts to make new music accessible to wider audiences. Since its founding in 1996, the sextet has actively commissioned and recorded new works; recent commissions include a concerto from Jennifer Higdon and pieces from Steve Reich, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Steven Mackey, David Lang, Stephen Hartke, and Bruno Mantovani. The group’s CD strange imaginary animals won two Grammy Awards in 2008, including one for Best Chamber Music Performance. More

Ensemble Modern - Founded in 1980 and situated in Frankfurt am Main since 1985, the Ensemble Modern (EM) is one of the world’s leading ensembles of New Music. Currently, the EM is comprised of 18 soloists from Argentina, Bulgaria, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Poland, and Switzerland, all of whom provide the ensemble with its rich cultural background. The Ensemble Modern is famous for its special working and organizational form, which is unlike any other in the world. All the members are responsible for jointly selecting and dealing with projects, co-productions and financial matters. Its unique and distinctive programme consists of music theatre, dance and video projects, chamber music, ensemble and orchestral concerts. More

Eric Huebner, Piano – Pianist Eric Huebner has drawn worldwide acclaim for his performances of new and traditional music. His playing has been described as “full of grace and light” by critic Paul Griffiths and he was referred to as “the new superstar” of the 2008 Ojai Festival by critic Alan Rich. As a frequent guest pianist with the New York Philharmonic, Mr. Huebner has been featured in performances of Stravinsky’s Petroushka and Firebird suites, in addition to symphonies by Ives and Martinu. He is also a member of Contact – the Philharmonic’s recently formed new music ensemble. In addition to a career as soloist and chamber musician, Mr. Huebner is an active freelancer in the New York City area. More

Patrick Juedt, Viola – Patrick Juedt is an acclaimed viola performer and teacher. He is a member of the Ensemble Phoenix Basel and since 2006 has worked in close co-operation with the Ensemble Modern. Mr. Juedt’s international engagements include the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival, the Lucerne Festival, Summer Festival Hamm, and Ars Musica Brussels. He studies at the University of Music and Theater Hannover and at the University of Music Basel with Professor Hatto Beyerle, and studies chamber music with Walter Levin and with members of the Amadeus and Vermeer quartets. Since 2006, Mr. Juedt has taught viola, chamber music, and interpretation of contemporary music at the University of Arts, Bern. More

Megumi Kasakawa, Viola – Megumi Kasakawa is a Japanese violist who has participated in the Open Chamber Music Festival of Prussia Cove in England and Japan’s Viola Space. In addition, she was awarded Geneva Conservatory’s Albert Lullin Prize as well the Verbier Academy’s special prize for viola, which is sponsored by the Fondation Henri-Louis de la Grange. Ms. Kasakawa graduated in 2005 from Soai University in Osaka, Japan, and received her Soloist Diploma with distinction at the Geneva Conservatory as a student of Nobuko Imai. More

Aashish Khan, Sarode – Aashish Khan was initiated into North Indian Classical Music at the age of five by his grandfather, the legendary Acharya Baba Allauddin Khan. Mr. Khan gave his first public performance at the age of 13, with his grandfather on the All India Radio National Program. Since then, he has performed throughout India and the world, both with his father and as a soloist in his own right. Mr. Khan is a prolific composer, and has written music for ballets, movies, and the stage. Mr. Khan received the “Best Sarode Player” award from the All India Critics Association of India in 1996, and was recognized with the Sangeet Natak Akademi award, India’s highest recognition of performing arts, in 2004. He teaches North Indian Music at the California Institute of the Arts and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2006.  More

Todd Meehan, Percussion – Todd Meehan currently serves as Assistant Professor of Percussion at the Baylor University School of Music. He is an active solo, orchestral, and chamber musician and has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. Mr. Meehan’s solo and chamber music endeavors are focused on the creation and performance of new music. Mr. Meehan received his Bachelor of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and his Master of Music degree from Yale University. More

Doug Perkins, Percussion – Doug Perkins specializes in new works for percussion as a chamber musician and soloist. Doug currently teaches at Dartmouth College where he teaches percussion and directs the Contemporary Music Lab and the concert series The Way to Go Out. He is the additionally the Director of the Chosen Vale International Percussion Seminar at the Center for Advanced Musical Studies. Doug received his Bachelor’s degree from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Masters and Artist Diploma degrees from Yale University, and his Doctorate from Stony Brook University. More

Quartet New Generation -

Susanne Fröhlich
Andrea Guttmann
Hannah Pape
Heide Schwarz

QNG mesmerizes its audiences through innovative programming that juxtaposes contemporary and early music. The quartet’s unique, high-energy mode of performance inspires new works and creates a dynamic and exciting forum for exploring the music of our time. Performing on upwards of 30 different recorders of varying sizes and shapes during the course of a typical performance, the Quartet transports the listener into new sonic worlds, confirming the recorder’s viability as a modern classical instrument. Taking advantage of the large recorder family and its flexibility, QNG is constantly searching for new possibilities of sound and expression. More

John Stephens, Sitar – John Stephens is a sitar player who is committed to the tradition of North Indian Classical music. Formerly a jazz guitar player, composer, and a graduate of Berklee College of Music, his artistic direction transformed when he began his training with Pandit Amar Nath Mishra during several extended trips to Varanasi, India. Stephens currently resides in Valencia, CA where he is earning his master’s degree in North Indian music at the California Institute of the Arts while intensively studying sitar, sarod, tabla and vocal music with Ustad Aashish Khan and Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri. More

Tin Hat Trio -

Carla Kihlstedt — Violin, Voice
Mark Orton — Guitar, Dobro
Ben Goldberg — Clarinets
Rob Reich — Accordion, Piano

The music of Tin Hat is born of age-old friendships and deep musical connections. It is subtle, introspective and generous. It has the uncanny ability to be both melancholy and joyful, both sprightly and sinister. We’ve chosen to dig our heels in and embrace the limitations of our old acoustic instruments, letting the rich tone of 150-year-old wood speak for itself… and the accordion, of course, which always speaks for itself. Collectively, our writing focuses on crafting evocative melodies, subtle textures and elegant arrangements. Though we never pitch our tent in any musical camp for very long, our atmospheric sound sways gracefully between the worlds of folk, classical, Americana and countless others. More

Ueli Wiget, Piano – Born in Winterthur in 1957, Ueli Wiget received first piano lessons from Klaus Wolters at the age of 10. He gained further experience at the Budapest Liszt Academy, and won the first Swiss Young Musicians Contest. Since 1986, Mr. Wiget has been a pianist for the Ensemble Modern. His solo career has included performances at music festivals across Europe, including Berlin, Vienna, Salzburg, Venice, Rome, London, and Paris. Mr. Wiget has collaborated with several orchestras, the Munich Philharmonic, BBC London, and Philharmonique Radio France, As a chamber musician he performs on a regular basis with the Vermeer and the Carmina Quartets.  More