Concerts, community events, films, and talks for the 67th Festival will celebrate collaborations with the Mark Morris Dance Group, MMDG Music Ensemble, The Bad Plus, the American String Quartet, Pianist/Organist Colin Fowler, and UC Berkeley Gamelan Sari Raras
Featured are works by American musical icons, including Lou Harrison, John Luther Adams, John Cage, Henry Cowell, Charles Ives, as well as the West Coast premiere of Mark Morris’ dance Jenn and Spencer to Cowell’s Suite for Violin and Piano
The Libbey Bowl stage remains at heart of Festival performances while additional concerts and events expand the Festival campus and showcase the stunning Ojai Valley, from a toy piano concert at the Libbey Park playground to John Luther Adams’ songbirdsongs at Meditation Mount and Strange and Sacred Noise at Besant Hill School in Upper Ojai
Ojai Music Festival’s new free online university launches in May, providing deeper insight into the 2013 Festival with courses taught by Festival artists; live video streaming of Festival Concerts will be available at OjaiFestival.org during the Festival Weekend
Festival Passes for the 2013 Festival on sale at OjaiFestival.org
Ojai Music Festival’s multi-year partnership with Cal Performances Ojai North! takes place June 12-15 at UC Berkeley and includes the world premiere dance of Rite of Spring, performed by MMDG
“Unconventional, thought-provoking and surprising, the Ojai Music Festival remains at the vanguard of expanding musical boundaries with great artists, stimulating music, and an engaged audience, all in one of the most sublimely enchanting settings imaginable. The Festival’s unflinching commitment to creativity is embraced by the loyalty and support of our community of artists and patrons —all active participants in the boundless possibilities of music–making, discussion and joyous exploration.”
Thomas W. Morris, Artistic Director
“The Ojai Festival is a wonderful open forum for me to put forth an aspect of my love of music. I’m presenting American music and dance featuring American musicians and dancers. There will be many intermissionless concerts and films and talks and parties in different sites around town: thrilling, raucous, serene, contemplative, serendipitous, and surprising. I’m delighted and honored to be your guide to this unique festival. As Lou Harrison put it: ‘music is a song and a dance.’” Mark Morris, Music Director
OJAI, CA – March 25, 2013: The 67th Ojai Music Festival, June 6-9, 2013, will explore the musical interests and celebrate artistic collaborations of this year’s music director, noted American choreographer Mark Morris, whose programming focuses on American artists and American music. With an extensive series of concerts and events, the 2013 Festival marks a convergence of exceptional artists, adventurous repertoire, one of the most remarkable audiences for music anywhere, and the idyllic setting of Ojai in a four-day immersion experience of almost continual music-making, discussion and community.
Mark Morris – the first dancer/choreographer to serve as Music Director of the Ojai Music Festival – has received numerous awards in recognition of his contributions to the arts, including a MacArthur Fellowship and the prestigious Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society. Celebrated not only as a dancer and choreographer, Mr. Morris’ extensive work in directing opera has included partnerships with The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Gotham Chamber Opera, English National Opera, The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and Cal Performances at UC Berkeley.
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 several long-time collaborators including 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 Gamelan Sari Raras.
The 2013 Festival, in keeping with the growing trends of recent Festival years, will include Libbey Bowl concerts, community events, late night and sunrise concerts, films, and talks. The Festival begins Thursday night (June 6), with a concert by The Bad Plus, featuring its own highly original version of Stravinsky’s 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.
Mr. Morris will present on Friday night (June 7) his extraordinary Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) in a two-concert 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 work 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.” The evening will also include the West Coast Premiere of Jenn and Spencer to Cowell’s Suite for Violin and Piano, which will receive its World Premiere on April 3 in New York.
Terry Riley’s In C, often cited as the first minimalist composition, comprises the Saturday morning concert (June 8). 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 morning’s program (June 9) features a selection of songs by Henry Cowell and Charles Ives with soprano Yulia Van Doren, mezzo soprano Jamie Van Eyck, and bass/baritone Douglas Williams. The concert ends with Carl 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 choir. The repertoire for the final two evening concerts on Sunday includes organ works by Leo Sowerby, William Bolcom, Charles Ives, and Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Organ and Percussion Orchestra, performed by Colin Fowler and red fish blue fish. The second concert ends with 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 Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Piano and Javanese Gamelan performed by Colin Fowler and Gamelan Sari Raras.
Additional concerts will be spread off-site at various locations throughout the Festival. On Saturday morning (June 8), John Luther Adams’ Strange and Sacred Noise (the work featured in the documentary film shown at the 2012 Festival) written for four spatial percussionists will be performed at the Besant Hill School campus in breathtaking Upper Ojai, and Adams’ songbirdsongs for three piccolos, tape and two percussion will take place at Meditation Mount. Gamelan concerts, featuring the Gamelan Sari Raras, will highlight several works by Lou Harrison and will be held at the Libbey Park Gazebo. Between the two Friday evening concerts (June 7), the Libbey Park playground will be the setting for works by Erik Satie and John Cage, including his Suite for Toy Piano, performed by pianist Yegor Shevtsov of the MMDG Music Ensemble. These performances will be free and open to the public.
The Festival continues into the late evenings with two Ojai Late Nights, both celebrating the works of John Cage. On Friday evening (June 7), John Cage’s Four Walls for Piano and Soprano, written in 1944 for Merce Cunningham, will be performed by Ethan Iverson and Yulia Van Doren. On Saturday, June 8, red fish blue fish performs six classic Cage pieces — Six, Double Music, Six Version B, Credo in US, Inlets, and Third Construction. Following the Saturday Ojai Late Night, Mark Morris and The Bad Plus will lead a karaoke-style event for Festival patrons.
An Ojai tradition, the Ojai Talks series, moderated by former Festival Artistic Director and Dean of the Julliard School Ara Guzelimian, encourages audiences to become immersed in Festival programming and ideas. The series begins with a conversation with Mark Morris on the subject “Choreographer as Musician.” Additional Ojai Talks include a discussion with John Luther Adams and an exploration of Lou Harrison, his music, influences and legacy, with Lou Harrison: A World of Music producer/director Eva Soltes and Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times classical music critic.
This year’s selection of Ojai Films includes Falling Down Stairs on Thursday, June 6. Directed by Barbara Willis Sweete, this documentary follows renowned cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma embarking on an intense year-long collaboration with Mark Morris, which culminates in a spectacular performance of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 3. On Saturday, June 8, there will be two films: first, Lou Harrison: A World of Music, a documentary that offers a rare glimpse into the intimate personal struggles and artistic courage of the legendary American composer, writer and activist Lou Harrison, and second, the silent film Salomé, an avant-garde adaption of the Oscar Wilde play starring Alla Nazimova, which will be presented with live musical accompaniment by The Bad Plus. Each morning, throughout the weekend, members of the Mark Morris Dance Group will lead free community movement and dance classes in the Libbey Park. On Saturday afternoon, patrons can learn some of Morris’ choreography in Dance with MMDG at the Ojai Arts Center.
The Ojai Music Festival continues to expand its community engagement endeavors through technology. During the 2012 Festival, concerts were streamed on the Festival website and later archived online. This experimental endeavor has now accumulated more than 9,000 views since the end of the Festival, and streaming plans for the 2013 Festival will be expanded to include intermission interviews and discussions of the music with special guests and musicians. Another project, Ojai U, the Festival’s online university, is set to launch in May 2013 as a free program, open to the public. The three-class course will provide in-depth information on 2013 Festival programming and encourage interaction between the participants and course instructors, who will include various Festival artists.
Following the 2013 Festival in Ojai, Ojai North! takes place from June 12-15 in Berkeley, CA. The 2013 Ojai North! includes the world premiere of Mark Morris’ dance to the Rite of Spring, performed by MMDG and accompanied by The Bad Plus. Established in 2011, the Ojai Music Festival’s multi-year partnership with Cal Performances makes possible annual reprises of Ojai concerts in Berkeley, as well as co-commissions and co-productions. More than a sharing of resources, Ojai North! represents a joining of artistic ideals and aspirations. The combined efforts of Ojai’s legacy of artistic innovation and Cal Performances’ tradition of groundbreaking productions creates a joint force that allows artists to achieve more than could even be imagined by each organization separately. For complete Ojai North! programming information, please visit www.calperformances.org.
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 that embrace the music of our time and provides intellectual context and education around Festival programming, creating an immersion experience of adventurous inspiration and vibrant collaboration. Considered a highlight of the summer classical music season, Ojai has remained a leader in the classical music landscape, provoking thought during the Festival and long after about why music matters.
The Ojai Music Festival attracts the world’s greatest musical artists. Through its unique structure of appointing an annual Music Director by the Artistic 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 and Jeremy Denk.
Thomas W. Morris, Artistic Director
Thomas W. Morris was appointed artistic director of the Ojai Music Festival starting with the 2004 Festival, a relationship that has been extended through 2017. Mr. Morris is recognized as one of the most innovative leaders in the orchestra industry and served as the long-time chief executive leader of both The Cleveland Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Morris is currently active nationally and internationally as a consultant, lecturer, teacher, and writer.
As artistic director of the 67-year old Ojai Festival, Mr. Morris is responsible for artistic planning, and each year appoints a music director with whom Mr. Morris 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 an innovative partnership with Cal Performances in Berkeley, Ojai North!
Mr. Morris is a founding director of Spring for Music, and serves as the project’s artistic director. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Curtis Institute of Music and as chair of its Board of Overseers, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Interlochen Center for the Arts. He is also an accomplished percussionist.
Mark Morris, Music Director
Mark Morris was born on August 29, 1956, in Seattle, Washington, where he studied with Verla Flowers and Perry Brunson. In the early years of his career, he performed with the companies of Lar Lubovitch, Hannah Kahn, Laura Dean, Eliot Feld, and the Koleda Balkan Dance Ensemble. He formed the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) in 1980, and has since created more than 140 works for the company. From 1988 to 1991, he was Director of Dance at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, the national opera house of Belgium. In 1990, he founded the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Much in demand as a ballet choreographer, Morris has created eighteen ballets since 1986 and his work is in the repertory of companies worldwide. Noted for musicality, he has been described as “undeviating in his devotion to music” (The New Yorker). He began conducting performances for MMDG in 2006 and has since conducted at The International Festival of Arts and Ideas, Lincoln Center, and Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). He also works extensively in opera, directing and choreographing productions for the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, English National Opera and The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, among others. In 1991, he was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation and has received eleven honorary doctorates to date. He has taught at the University of Washington, Princeton University and Tanglewood Music Center. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and has served as an Advisory Board Member for the Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative. In recent years, he has received the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement (2007), the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society (2010), the Benjamin Franklin Laureate Prize for Creativity (2012) and Cal Performances Award of Distinction in the Performing Arts (2013). Morris opened the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, New York in 2001 to provide a home for his company, rehearsal space for the dance community, outreach programs for local children and seniors, and a school offering dance classes to students of all ages and abilities.
Festival Passes, locations and Information
There are a variety of Festival passes for patrons to choose from to fit their schedules and musical interests. Series passes range from $120 to $720 in the reserved section and $50-$90 for the lawn area. Individual concert passes range from $50-$120 in the reserved section and $15 on the lawn. Passes are available for sale at OjaiFestival.org or by calling (805) 646-2053. Reservations are required for the Ojai Late Nights, Ojai Sunrise concerts, and the Ojai Films at OjaiFestival.org.
Ojai Music Festival main concerts are held at Libbey Bowl, 210 South Signal Street. Other off-site locations are Ojai Valley Community Church at 907 El Centro Street, Ojai Playhouse at 145 E Ojai Avenue, Meditation Mount at 10340 Reeves Road, Besant Hill School at 8585 Santa Paula Ojai Road, and Ojai Arts Center at 113 S Montgomery Street.
Lodging information and directions, as well as complimentary concierge services for visitors and other Ojai activities, are also available on the Ojai Festival website.
Follow Festival updates on the web at http://www.OjaiFestival.org and Facebook or Twitter.