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Ojai Music Festival Opens Tonight in Libbey Bowl

June 11, 2009

dates_artists_logo Ojai Music Festival 2009 ProgramMy whole life I have been hearing and reading about the Ojai Music Festival which takes place every June practically in my backyard (OK, Ojai is about a 20 minute drive away) in one of my favorite places, under the oaks and sycamores of Libbey Bowl, an outdoor amphitheater. The Festival opens tonight and features the musicians in this YouTube:

The Ojai has been around for over 60 years, and over that time has gained a reputation for fostering “a healthy spirit of eclecticism in its adventurous programming, gaining a world wide reputation for attracting artists who are given artistic freedom as they perform exceptional pieces of classical music.

Established in 1947 by music aficionado John Bauer, the Ojai Music Festival spirit “was reinforced in 1954 with the appointment of Lawrence Morton as the Festival Artistic Director. A man of broad musical tastes, Morton was a visionary whose constant curiosity and unwavering integrity shaped the Festival’s future direction. Under his leadership, the Ojai Festival developed an enduring concept whereby the artistic director engages a different Festival music director each year around whom that year’s Festival is built.

Being the starving artist that I am currently and have been for most of my adult life, friends have encouraged me to volunteer; since I have lots of house managing and event experience, I know I could help out in many ways–and score free tickets to some of the concerts. But one thing and another has kept me from following through on that possibility.

This year, the musical director is eighth blackbird and I AM GOING! Tomorrow night I have been invited to attend as a member of the blogging press! Yes, that’s me, Art Predator, a member of the blogging press! (You do remember my posts from MacWorld right? I was officially press there, too.) I’ll have my laptop in one hand and hopefully a glass of wine in the other as I live blog the concert and evaluate the impact of the music on my wine tasting a la the recent Wine Blogging Wednesday prompt from Gonzo Gastronomy.

According to an article by David Mermelstein in last Sunday’s LA Times,

Eighth blackbird’s assumption of the prestigious post — previously held by Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, Pierre Boulez and Esa-Pekka Salonen — marks a milestone in the sextet’s 13-year history, conferring on it an elevated status among new-music groups. The appointment also signals a generational shift in the festival, since the ensemble’s members were all born in the 1970s.

In that article, Festival Artistic Director Tom Morris says,

“I felt it was very important that if we were going to have a group like eighth blackbird be music director, the whole festival ought to fit what they do and not just in terms of artists and sequence of pieces,” said Morris. “The whole feeling ought to be unusual and reflect their spirit and what they represent. And as we talked and talked and talked about this, what emerged was this idea of treating the entire festival like a large ensemble.”

And I get to attend this concert by eighth blackbird!

Friday, June 12
8:00 pm

Libbey Bowl

RINDE ECKERT, singer/actor
STEVEN MACKEY, electric guitar
TIN HAT, contemporary ensemble

Selections by Tin Hat
Steven Mackey: Slide*

The world premiere of Slide is the centerpiece of the 2009 Festival and a labor of love for eighth blackbird. The sextet will be joined by collaborators Rinde Eckert and Steven Mackey for an audacious yet accessible night of concert theater, described as a poignant tale of love, human frailty, the desire for control, and eventually the tragic consequences once we have attained it. The central metaphor of the work is a slide from a fabled experiment, which defines every element in this complex drama set with music, movement, and theater.

The first half will feature the Ojai debut of the freewheeling chamber ensemble Tin Hat who will focus on new arrangements of 20th century chamber music icons such as Ives, Nancarrow, and Bartók along with their original material, known for skirting the lines between chamber music and jazz.

Doesn’t that sound awesome??? I even believe I am even invited to the exclusive after party in order to talk with the musicians and other folks and all that fun stuff! Even that! Respect for bloggers! That’s what I’m talking about! (Can you believe it? Can you tell I’m excited?)

Friday, June 12
Immediately following the evening concert

Ojai Art Center Courtyard (113 S. Montgomery St.)
Across the bridge from Libbey Park

Share your enthusiasm with friends during this annual reunion with Festival artists, fantastic food, and lively conversation.

Special Guests
Thomas W. Morris, Artistic Director
eighth blackbird, Music Director
Steve Mackey
Rinde Eckert

Generously sponsored by
Santa Barbara Bank and Trust

Catered by Lorraine Lim Catering
Wine provided by Casa Barranca
Ale Tasting provided by Ojai Beverage Company

I gotta give a shout-out to Code Poet Robert Peake who hooked me up. Thanks Robert! See you at the concert! Save me a seat!

The Ojai Music Festival Program follows.
Thursday, June 11
8:00 pm
Libbey Bowl

MATTHEW DUVALL, percussion
DOUG PERKINS, percussion
GREG BEYER, percussion
TODD MEEHAN, percussion

Thierry de Mey: Musique de Tables
John Luther Adams: Dark Waves
Takemitsu: Rain Tree
George Crumb: Music for a Summer Evening


Friday, June 12
1:00 pm – 4:30 pm


ARA GUZELIMIAN, symposium director


Friday, June 12
8:00 pm

Libbey Bowl

RINDE ECKERT, singer/actor
STEVEN MACKEY, electric guitar
TIN HAT, contemporary ensemble

Selections by Tin Hat
Steven Mackey: Slide*


Saturday, June 13
11:00 am
Libbey Bowl


Ives: Piano Sonata No. 1
Bach: Goldberg Variations


Saturday, June 13
2:00 pm
Ojai Theatre


TIM MUNRO, flute

Saturday, June 13
8:00 pm
Libbey Bowl

MARK DeCHIAZZA, director

David M. Gordon: Quasi Sinfonia
Schoenberg: Pierrot Lunaire


Saturday, June 13
11:00 pm
Ojai Theatre


QNG, recorder collective


Sunday, June 14
11:00 am
Libbey Bowl


Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians


Sunday, June 14
4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Libbey Bowl

TIN HAT, contemporary ensemble
QNG, recorder collective
STEVEN MACKEY, electric guitar
CARLA KIHLSTEDT, violin and singer
TRIMPIN, sound sculptor


PART I – 4:00 pm
Steve Reich: Double Sextet
Stravinsky: Songs
Lee Hyla:
We Speak Etruscan
Victor Ekimovskij: Kites Flying
Taverner: In Nomine
Pete Rose: Tall P

PART II – 5:30pm
Stephen Hartke: Meanwhile
Steven Mackey: Heavy Light
Lisa Bielawa: Kafka Songs
John Cage: Construction No. 3

PART III – 7:00pm
David Rakowski: Selected Piano Etudes
Oh Them Rats is Mean in My Kitchen
Nathan Davis/Trimpin: Sounder
Louis Andriessen: Workers Union

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2009 4:13 pm

    Wow, and you get to go…sheesh…

    By the way I checked out eighth blackbird on Youtube, very nice.

  2. June 12, 2009 7:59 pm

    Sounds brilliant!!! I am so excited for you (and green with envy of course!) Have a wonderful time.

  3. June 14, 2009 4:28 pm

    Yes, I was very fortunate! I hope you get a chance to check out the post where I talk about the show!

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