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The Ojai Music Festival with Music Director Vijay Iyer

by on Jun.11, 2017, under News

For many decades, the Ojai Music festival has been presenting music to a well seasoned community of listeners. One of the most vital elements of experiencing sound is not so much hearing but, listening is key. So many take music and artists for granted and fill venues, stadiums and amphitheaters with an energy that says, “I want to hear THIS”. From my short few days with the Ojai Music Experience, I witnessed such exuberant openness. Ready to hear and experience a world of work, familiar or unfamiliar to the ear did not matter. Openness, the ability to seek, discover new sounds, tones, cultures and be ready to let these vibrations sink into your being and embrace them is a truly respectful the art.

I’m sure each artist who performed has felt this overwhelming generous canvas on which to perform and in actuality, that generosity created a more richer, rewarding experience for the artist and the audience, an energy of one! Vijay Iyer has just been extraordinary in amassing this global community of culturally diverse, like minded creatives who not only share and perform their compositions but, enrich lives allowing people to hear instruments, music and expand consciousness. When hear you something different, you learn something new about life and you experience a new awakening inside yourself as well. As adults, it’s almost impossible to experience that childlike wonder once again. This festival, with these artists in particular, laid the pathway for new journeys and old dreams!

I missed the first day of performance which included opening afternoon talks with Vijay, Wadada Leo Smith and Steve Schick. Hearing from the artist is so instrumental in learning and understanding their being, their path, their personality, and the secret that makes them thrive. All of this blossoms inside the music and you begin to travel along the lines of their story while being spectator to a soundtrack that provides new prospectives to yours! I also missed the sound of my dear friend Wadada who gave his last breath to dehydration while on stage.

 

Ojai Music Festival took great care of him, got him checked out and made sure he rested well the next day. You have to take notice of the kind of loving soul that gives their everything to the audience ,not just for the sake of the music but, for the spirit of the moment. In music and in life there are moments, these are the special times that we relish as they happen and look back on as they are etched into the fabric of our being. That is the passion Wadada plays with, the relentless way in which he lives his life and all based on love and compassion for humanity. If you were there, you were the recipient of that overwhelming benevolence.

 

An early morning start, leading the pathways and piercing the veil of typical Friday morning Los Angeles traffic, I arrive. Yes a day late but, in quite enough time to inhale the sounds and capture the Day Break concert of the Seven Breaths of the mighty Jen Shyu. An artist that can not quite be described in any of the boxes where mere humans find their comfort. The only way to indulge this fine delicatessen is to silence your mind, bathe in the sound and story and as the darkness turns to light, become a spectator in your immobile shell and let your your active conscious be whisked away by operatic jazz dramatics painted by dance and song. As you enter, the screen above shows footage of a Timorese woman singing and villagers dancing. We are soul watchers as we peek into the past voyeuristically treading upon ancient sound that suddenly comes to life in this dimension. Vietnamese, Chinese, Taiwanese, intrigue at its finest always prevails through the pinnacle of cultural experiences all wrapped in one! Art on high meets truth, past, present and future and you can now consider yourself closer to enlightenment. Just the true natural harmonies of Mandarin language has its genuine Bolero properties and Jen layers and intertwines each plane with seven languages cultivating a unique palette visual sonics derived from real life global journeys back in time. Watch, live, learn and listen to the stories. Language is no barrier to our many senses and through the sonics, you will discover that humanity is the answer. You start with the question and the journey always leads back to the answers within.
Here is one of those stories…

A poor, young, hungry, village girl, whose mother died while giving birth to her, takes care of her blind father Mr. Shim who falls in the river and is saved by a Monk who makes a proposition for daughter to become virgin sacrifice for band of sailors in order to restore father’s sight, doesn’t work. Sailor’s ravish and toss naked body into the sea as she sings to her death, dragon kings-men hear and save her. King falls in love, marries and new Empress send out invitation and invites all blind men to banquet to reunite with her father who thinks daughter is dead and does not believe Empress but, his desire brings back his sight as well as sight of all the blind people and animals in the land. Now that’s an opera!

Hop in your mode of transportation and travel on down the curves of Ojai Road to the center of town and you will arrive at Libbey park which encompasses the Libbey Bowl outdoor amphitheater, where most of the performances take place. In the park you will also find the Libbey Park Gazebo where a few of the Pop-up concerts (short 30 minute performances) are performed, well as a sonic installation of fine natural art made of rainsticks, rocks, wood and metal masks composed by Douglas Ewart and George Lewis, members in fine standing with the Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians, called the Rio Negro.

 

Clair Chase, flute master and founder of the International Contemporary Ensemble performed unconventional solo flute expressions. Loose lips normally sink ships but, in this case they are used as just one of the many colorful ways that Clair expresses her art of sound. Purring, sonic tone matches, voice and long wind articulations are just a few ways Clair communicates her compositions.
Solo yes but look! Amassed behind his kit of brass, silent at first, but shortly ringing the air with echoes of vibrations is Mr. Tyshawn Sorry. I say Mr. Out of respect to a man of youth with a world-wind of percussive wisdom!

Ojai Music Festival – 6/9/20167 Libbey BowlOjai Music Festival – 6/9/20167 Libbey Bowl

Claire is playing a flute that is bigger than thou! It’s called a contra bass flute and the two instruments together create a big story on the corner where genres become life long friends in pursuit of open invention and intervention. The audience is listening. No pre-conceived notions, only a willingness to ingest the nutrients of sound until the moment when sound is all that is on the stage. Clair and Tyshawn have left and we are experiencing the stimulus perpetual vibrations.

From silver shorts to a skirt of 3 dimensional proportions, Claire returns with a voice and breath on the ethereal side. From the rear of the audience, her partner Pauchi Sasaki approaches as the two cross each other on stage and combine skill sets flute and violin! Thunder storms and tumultuous weather is the sound while we bask in the warmth of the sun. In a moments notice, 20 people are on the stage with Clair at the center playing various flutes and then its the dynamic International Contemporary Ensemble in full effect.

Ojai Music Festival – “Autoschediasms for Creative Orchestra” by Tyshawn Sorey 6/10/2017 Libbey Bowl

Brother, Master, musician, composer, conductor Tyshawn is in the house conducting and performing movements for his double trio strings and piano, bass and drums. So many wonderful sounds from Rubin Codheli on cello and Chris Tordini on double bass arco. Their duo combined with all four string instruments dropping such deep, deep luscious harmony and infectious love mixed with the sun and cool breeze make for a setting of perfection! Tyshawn seen composing out front one second with the lightest footprint, a quick sneak off to interject percussive mastery, then back to the podium. After a string section, Tordini drops down into that special place! The music is low resonating peaceful mastery and the counter balance between Corey Smythe on piano and Fung Chern Hwei on violin is playful and creates just the right texture. The most peaceful prelude in the most troubled of times only shows that LOVE prevails! This proves that all good music deserves great listeners and not confines of a box.

A Power Stronger Than Itself”, A force, not necessarily to be reckoned with but, one that is undeniably united in a way of thought, a way of being. It’s mere existence begs the question of where YOU stand. It’s not a challenge or a threat it’s just a simple little fact that can only be determined through truth and honesty; fear plays no factor. And it’s okay if you don’t know, the fact that you question or even contemplate says that your mind is open to the experience, to the sound. AACM! “What is the AACM?” Well, if you know, then you are rich with wonderful echoes of sound, if you don’t and you asked the question, then you are welcome with open arms to experience a foray into new creative plateaus, freedom of expression, a discovery of self through sound, a whole new way to look at the same situations life presents and now have the ability to choose new outcomes!

Born and founded in Chicago, the AACM is an organization of creative musicians whose mission it is to nurture, perform, record and procure original music. Some of the dynamics that a composition is based on my at times be of a serious nature but, the intent is not specifically to create serious music. Trombonist and composer George Lewis is one of the original members and he is the author of “A Power Stronger Than Itself: And America Experimental Music”. Before the performance there was a panel discussion that included George, Muhal Richard Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell along with Tyshawn Sorey and Claire Chase discussing the continued impact of such creative music. Dynamic insight from the creators themselves gives you a look inside-out into their views of freedom, complexity and relevance.

Ojai Music Festival – “Afterword” by George Lewis 6/9/2017 Libbey Bowl

George wrote “Afterword, an Opera” and we had a chance to witness it’s West Coast Premier. “Originality self determination all of these things are in the opera. Some things based on tapes of old AACM meetings. Ethnographic sampling, it’s all in there. The opera is not a tragedy the AACM wins.” We were soon to discover quite a fascinating display of work. Conductor Steven Schick lead members of the International Contemporary Ensemble through two acts of incredible works that supported the powerful voices of soprano Joelle Lamarre, contralto Gwendolyn Brown and tenor Julian Terrell Otis. The work is based on the conception of the AACM, how the ancestors migrated to the windy city from the south, struggles with daily life and the yearning for better, the desire to establish a meaningful future, the ideals of the first AACM Meeting and other scenes based of old recordings of the members, the death of visionaries and realizing the world is the audience. Yes, there were many dynamics going on that split my mind into about four parts, each trying to figure out the symbiotic relationships. A true engagement in logics, sonics and search for resolve. It’s like life, if you had all the answers, it would already be over! As Muhal said, “it’s important to get involved in the dialogue of the music. With the labels and things as such, the music needs acceptance more than cataloging.”

 We begin the Saturday morning daybreak concert began with the American premier of “Engraved in the Wind”, a peaceful entrance as Nicole Mitchell comes in the back door playing solo alto flute. The audience here in Ojai really love and appreciate music. The lure of the solo flute is captivating and the way Nicole incorporates voice intermingled with her tone has indigenous implications. Always taking the instrument to new heights by stretching the imagination of sound. I would imagine being apart of the principled AACM organization instilled strong values of self creation. George Lewis is here on hand after success with his smashing operatic premier last night.

While the members of ICE are exuding celestial sounds, a slithering entity makes its way on the floor, dancing and slowly incorporating its presence into the fabric of the sonic and visual tapestry. Suddenly the tall elegant dancer reveals himself discarding his vail of red. Movement and sound stimulate multiple regions of brain activity. An exercise in thought and conclusion which has subjective interpretations of meaning. Life is not just a series answers to questions. I see, you see, we see differently and those differences teach us the things that we know we don’t know about ourselves and others. The World Premier of “They Witnessed and Unfolding”.

Inescapable Spiral”, the sphere of sound, bold and adventurous, rich with vast diversity and common in the language of love and music. A sound the world can learn from as we see and hear our tones represented, speaking freely in conversation and admiring our individual sonics as well as the strength of our unity! The poet Lord Byron Scot speaks as he lifts, twists contrasts and draws attention to the message. What is it, do you know? Are you perplexed? Do you need answers? What is it? Perhaps it is an exercise to make you see and hear outside of your own perspective; smelling and feeling the world with other optics. Tapping into other human universes deep inside yourself synonymously formulating and answering thoughts instantaneously! Brain activity is registering on higher artistic frequencies and all are enlightened! The ebb to your flow, the call to your answer, the dawn to your new day!

The afternoon performance in Libbey Park Gazebo was a quick ICE Pop-up concert featuring the World Premier pieces “Labrys” and “Mysterium” performed by Claire Chase, Josh Rubin, Rebekah Heller and Levy Lorenzo and an education workshop at the Ojai Art Center with elementary school students learning through music and enticing their audience to participate in movement and song. At Libbey Bowl, classical pieces by Kurta’g and Motzart were performed before hearing Vijay’s composition “Motzart Effects”.

Ojai Music Festival – “Autoschediasms for Creative Orchestra” by Tyshawn Sorey 6/10/2017 Libbey Bowl

Low frequency Electro magnetic energy with flute, violin, viola, french horn, oboe, bass, trombone, piano and percussion. A sound orchestration with no melody, no harmony, no rhythm but, loaded with improvisations and implications. Tyshawn Sorey’s Autoschediasms for Creative Chamber Orchestra is a story slowly unfolding the sum of its parts revealing the mystery of its magic in a secession notes, mathematically arranged to produce emotional algorithms. The desired effect has relative implications, peaking intrigue in an audience that leans typically towards more traditional classical frequencies. As the piece enters the uncharted waters of the abyss, tone individuality unifies as land approaches. The father of the avant guard Muhal Richard Abhrams watches on from the audience witnessing and contemplating what I gather must be inner joy, to see and hear visions of individual truth and sound manifest in a blossoming new generation!

Ojai Music Festival – “The Trio” f- Muhal Richard Abrams – piano, Roscoe Mitchell – reeds, George Lewis – trombone & electronics 6/11/2017 Libbey Bowl


The adventurous are all In attendance to witness the original sounds of the AACM! For decades these musicians have built their entire careers on approaching music on their own terms. Developing powerful sounds that reflect their ideology, philosophy, mores and life’s experiences; those of their own and of the global human experience. Yes, theses are different sounds indeed. Look at Roscoe playing two horns at once. One of course because he can but, more likely because these are the sounds that are necessary to convey this moments message. Muhal Richard Abrams with his cascading chords of truth and dear brother George Lewis poignantly delivers vocal tones of clear determination .Life is full of beauty, pleasure, pain and suffering. This is the musical language that speaks for those who could not, cannot as well as for those who can. Bold statements that spin, politically corrected or watered down, however you want to put it, it’s Black music plain and simple. You don’t have to understand it, like it or fear it but listen and learn, open your minds and don’t concede. This is culture at its finest and within the walls of these extraordinary sounds three are stories, messages, healing and love. Vibrations to and from our ancestors, respect for those who have suffered injustices brought to life in a world creativity expressed at a moments notice.

Ojai Music Festival – “The Trio” f- Muhal Richard Abrams – piano, Roscoe Mitchell – reeds, George Lewis – trombone & electronics 6/11/2017 Libbey Bowl

As they go through life, their journey has certainly not been to create one composition and continue to make a career out of playing that same composition for their entire lives. You don’t sit on your laurels for the rest of your life after one success. Everyday has many gems and jewels that present themselves. These gentleman have been spreading these jewels their entire lives. And once discovered, many other musical lives have been built on these principles. At the core are some pretty basic foundations; freedom, respect, kindness, love and human dignity. Only these Founding Fathers want this for everyone and not just the chosen few. In this beautiful outdoor amphitheater, you can hear the birds reply as part of the ensemble and the soundtrack could not be more perfect. Universal love!! This is not just his-story, it’s yours too!


Tonight marks the first public performance for this incomparable quartet of Vijay Iyer, Zakir Hussain, Rudresh Mahanthappa and the brilliant Arina Sirham. The world never made so much sense or felt so infectious. These four cast a love spell with such encompassing vibrations. One drink from this sonic potion and you have visions of a harmonious world where give, receive, share, honor and happiness are the virtue and sonnets by which we live.

Rudresh has an ancient sound that calls the spirits from the heavens down and connects us through this vibration he calls, “Eeeeeeeee’. Zakir is the thunder, the sound of magnificence literally right at his finger tips. Arina, I am not sure what her name actually means but, it should be, “The Goddess of Sound”! Talk about incredible music in the world, this is happening right now, and it has all descended upon us this weekend.


Culture rich, incredible rhythms and Arina’s heavenly blessings making the sound is so much more intensely beautiful. Her transcendent aura is breathtakingly mesmerizing as she sculpts the sound into expanding rings of illumination; she is the drop of water, mother music herself! 
Dancing on a plane of possibilities is where the music lives and breathes. Vijay’s “City of Sand”, spectacular ragas simultaneously meditative and majestic. Arina’s rhythm and sense heavenly articulation is angelically unmatched. The birds sing in syncopation!

Ojai Music Festival – “Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi” by Vijay Iyer & Prashant Bhargava 6/10/2017 Libbey BowlOjai Music Festival – “Yet Unheard” by Courtney Bryan 6/10/2017 Libbey Bowl


The Story – Lord Krishna, the Hindu God lived by the banks of the river Yamuna. Kaliya, the five headed snake killed all of the fish, trees and birds with its poisonous venom. They engage in a playful battle like dance where Krishna stamps out the serpent and restores life to the village. Stravinsky’s Rites of Spring adapted from dark to light in Prashant Bhargava’s film RADHE RADHE: the Rites of Holi. Vijay scored this film of happiness and brilliant color symbolizing the union of Lord Krishna with the Godess Radha, an explosion into spring through joy, dance, color and seductive passion! Prashant was a great friend of Vijay who recently transitioned at an all too early age and this work will forever mark an emotional milestone in collaborative creativity and true friendship.

After a short break the quartet inject their brilliance once again on one of Rudresh’s compositions as he employs his staccato style articulations, Zakir with deep non stop rhythm on “Snap” and Vijay’s tune “Abundance” all with timely natural improvisations by our singing, flying friends in the trees above. The low resonating melodies layered with tablas and topped with Arina’s mystical vocal magic is just the thing and with space for Rudresh embellishments makes for some Bad Ass music here in Ojai.

Ojai Music Festival – Vijay Iyer Sextet 6/11/17 Ojai Libbey Bowl

We end the festival with a group of cats that Vijay has played with for the last six years Graham Haynes, Steve Lehman, Mark Shim, Stephen Crump and the man who has made a significant mark of the people here in Ojai Tyshawn Sorey. They have a new album coming out in the fall called, “Far From Over” and you better believe that is guaranteed to be another incredible work of art. Tyshawn is a monster on drums; at times moving the entire drum kit with his exuding energy. Brilliant and hard core execution laying down a bed of sound together with Vijay in the trenches. Stephan Crumpt is amazing on bass as usual with his empirical bowing providing saturating texture and neutralizing all body and brain waves to match his frequency.

The most talented cats to have your back when it comes to sensational explorations and transendant experiences! Super strong front line with Graham tearin’ it up on coronet, Mark Shim throwin’ down those sweet melodic lines on tenor, and new school alto mad science from Steve Lehman turning out the close of the festival with a heavy dose of J A double ZZ! Watch out, these cats dissect a groove like a one handed Rubix Cube wizard! One truly outstanding weekend of synapse firing beauty.

Forever Changed!

LeRoy Downs

All Libbey Bowl Photography by David Bazemore

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Fabian Almazan’s new release “Alcanza” on his label Biophilia Records!!

by on May.30, 2017, under News

Fabian Almazan  piano
Camila Meza  voice/guitar

Linda May Han Oh  bass

Henry Cole  drums

Megan Gould  violin

Tomoko Omura  violin

Karen Waltuch  viola

Noah Hoffeld  cello

 

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Ojai Music Festival and 2017 Music Director Vijay Iyer June 8-11, 2017

by on May.29, 2017, under News

Ojai Music Festival and 2017 Music Director Vijay Iyer Announce the 71st Festival Program
June 8-11, 2017

Vijay Iyer is joined by a community of artistic collaborators, including returning Ojai family members 2015 Music Director Steven Schick, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam, flutist Claire Chase, and composer/percussionist Tyshawn Sorey 

 Iyer introduces Ojai to master musicians from various backgrounds and communities: Brentano Quartet; violinist Jennifer Koh; vocalist/composer Jen Shyu; Vijay Iyer Trio; Vijay Iyer Sextet; Tyshawn Sorey Double Trio; tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain; saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa; trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith; and The Trio featuring Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis, and Roscoe Mitchell

 

 

Highlights of the 2017 Festival include the world premiere of Vijay Iyer’s Violin Concerto, written for and performed by Jennifer Koh; the American premiere of Iyer’s Emergence for trio and ensemble; RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holiwith music by Iyer and film by Prashant Bhargava; the West Coast premiere of the opera Afterword by George Lewis; and Yet Unheard (world premiere of chamber version) by Courtney Bryan

Cal PerformancesOjai at Berkeley is slated for June 15-17, 2017 following the Ojai Music Festival

 

(November 16, 2016– Ojai, California) – The Ojai Music Festival, June 8-11, 2017, with Music Director Vijay Iyer celebrates diverse communities of music, artists, and collaborations in a weekend of stimulation and reflection.

 

Artistic Director Thomas W. Morris stated, “Vijay Iyer is usually described as a composer, a pianist, an improviser, a collaborator, and a teacher. What really distinguishes him, however, is not just what he does but who he is and what he stands for. Vijay believes a life in the arts is a life of service in imagining, building, and enacting community that transcends heritage, nation, and creed. The 2017 Festival reflects these beliefs in the range of collaborators joining us – from Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam to percussionist/composer Tyshawn Sorey, to the virtuosic ensemble ICE, to trumpet legend Wadada Leo Smith; in the breadth of roles Vijay will play – from composer, to performer, to collaborator, to intellectual guide; and in the historical and social perspectives represented by the music and artists – from how so much of the Festival’s foundation is based on the groundbreaking Association for the Advancement of Creative Music (AACM), to young composer Courtney Bryan’s powerful tribute to Sandra Bland, a vivid testimony to music’s ability to bring communities together in healing.”

 

Vijay Iyer commented, “When I was invited to take on the role of Music Director for the 2017 Ojai Music Festival, it was a shocking but validating proposition. As an artist, I like to insert myself into situations where some might not necessarily imagine I belong. I have many different affinities musically, and also very real associations across different musical communities, generations, geographic locations, and traditions that speak to me and through me. Our 2017 Festival feels like a good opportunity to update the idea of what music is today. I know the hallowed history of this Festival and I’ve seen different versions of what it can be. I’m just glad that Tom Morris invited me to intervene, and to bring my people with me. I’m going to learn so much over those few days in June, and I believe everyone there will discover a great deal – not just about music, but about themselves.” 


Watch Vijay Iyer Discuss the 2017 Festival

Much of the four-day Festival programming revolves around the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), an organization founded in Chicago in 1965 by a group of African-American experimentalists. Musicians of the AACM were not only committed to an adventurous synthesis of music making strategies – contemporary and ancient, familiar and faraway – but their very being was framed out of the Civil Rights struggles of that era. The New York Times, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the AACM a year ago said, “The AACM has been one of the country’s great engines of experimental art, producing work with an irreducible breadth of scope and style.”  Some of the original founding AACM members, including Wadada Leo Smith, Muhal Richard Abrams, and Roscoe Mitchell will be featured 2017 Ojai artists, as will composer/trombonist George Lewis, whose book A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music tells the definitive history of the AACM. Lewis’ opera Afterword, which is receiving its West Coast premiere, is based on the history of the organization.

The 2017 Festival begins on Thursday, June 8 showcasing the talents of Vijay Iyer.
The program features two recent works by Mr. Iyer, the American premiere of Emergence, performed by ICE and the Vijay Iyer Trio conducted by Steven Schick; and the world premiere of his Violin Concerto, a co-commission by the Ojai Music Festival, Cal Performances in Berkeley, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The Violin Concerto was composed for and will be performed by violinist Jennifer Koh.

 

The evening closes with a duo comprising Mr. Iyer and the celebrated trumpet player and a founder of the AACM, Wadada Leo Smith. Described by Mr. Iyer as his “hero, friend, and teacher,” Mr. Smith collaborates with the pianist on music that is “spellbinding and traverses musical identities.” 
The two-part Friday afternoon concert on June 9 features flutist Claire Chase performing a selection from her recent Density 2036 project, a 22-year program conceived by Ms. Chase in 2014 to commission an entirely new body of repertory for solo flute each year until the 100th anniversary of Edgard Varèse groundbreaking 1936 flute solo. Following Density 2036 will be a rare performance by Tyshawn Sorey’s Double Trio in a program called “The Inner Spectrum of Variables.” Mr. Sorey made his Ojai debut last year composing music for and performing in the Josephine Baker Portrait. 

 

Friday evening’s concert features the West Coast premiere of George Lewis’ opera Afterword, for a small ensemble and three singers, performed by ICE with soprano Joelle Lamarre, contralto Gwendolyn Brown, and tenor JuIian Otis, all of whom sang in the 2016 American premiere of the work in Chicago, and with Steven Schick conducting. A 2002 MacArthur Fellow, George Lewis is a composer, theorist, musicologist, and virtuoso trombonist with an endowed chair at Columbia University. His A Will to Adorn was performed during the 2015 Ojai Music Festival. Mr. Lewis is the author of A Power Stronger than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music, a prizewinning, comprehensive cultural history of this influential organization and its members.
The opera Afterword draws from the book’s own afterword, consisting of transcribed dialogues and testimonials about the AACM’s founding in 1965.Afterword will be semi-staged and directed by Sean Griffin.

Saturday afternoon’s two-part concert on June 10 begins with a program by the Brentano Quartet. In addition to performing the entire two-century range of standard quartet repertoire, the Brentano Quartet has a strong interest in both old and new music. The concert features music by György Kurtág and Mozart, as well as Vijay Iyer’s Mozart Effects, written for the quartet. Following this will be Conduction® led by Tyshawn Sorey, who is widely considered to be among the most important young artists at the intersection between composed and improvised music. Conduction®, is a gestural language invented by the acclaimed cornetist and composer Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris. As defined by the composer, “Conduction® is the practice of conveying and interpreting a lexicon of directives to construct or modify sonic arrangement or composition; a structure-content exchange between composer/conductor and instrumentalists that provides the immediate possibility of initiating or altering harmony, melody, rhythm, tempo, progression, articulation, phrasing, or form through the manipulation of pitch, dynamics (volume/intensity/density), timbre, duration, silence, and organization in real-time. Conduction® is a 60-minute piece of new music for an ensemble of 20 players being composed in real time – none of the performers nor conductor have a note of music in front of them.”

The Saturday evening centerpiece is RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi, commissioned five years ago by Carolina Performing Arts at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to celebrate the centennial of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps. RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi is a vivid and mesmerizing multimedia collaboration by Mr. Iyer and filmmaker Prashant Bhargava (who passed away in 2015 at the age of 42), exploring another sort of rite of spring, the Hindu festival of Holi, famous for its revelry of color in celebration of the love between the divine Krishna and Radha. In northern India, Mr. Bhargava filmed ravishing hi-definition images of an eight-day Holi festival, later editing the footage into a finished 37-minute film with Stravinsky’s Sacremusical structure as the basis for its film structure. Mr. Iyer composed a new score as the musical complement to Mr. Bhargava’s visual ballet, drawing at times on the rhythms and chants of the Holi festival. The result is one of Mr. Iyer’s warmest, most colorful creations to date, as rich melodically as it is texturally. The work is for an ensemble of 13 players that will be performed by ICE and conducted by Steven Schick, who will accompany the projected film live on the Libbey Bowl stage. The first half of the concert will be the West Coast premiere of a new version of Le Sacre du printemps arranged by composer Cliff Colnot for the same instrumental forces.

 

The final day of the Festival on Sunday, June 11 is a mini-festival of improvisation. It begins in the early morning with a free concert of living legends that will be one of the historical highlights at Ojai – The Trio featuring octogenarian pianist Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis on trombone and laptop, and Roscoe Mitchell on assorted woodwinds. Mr. Abrams and Mr. Mitchell were among the founders of the AACM. The afternoon concert presents Vijay Iyer and his close collaborator for more than twenty years, the award-winning saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, joining forces with two living giants of Indian classical music: celebrated Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam and tabla maestro and world music pioneer Zakir Hussain. This day realizes one of Vijay Iyer’s dreams for the 2017 Festival, to create a new musical fabric with these remarkable artists together in Ojai. The Festival closes with Vijay Iyer and his all-star sextet including bassist Stephan Crump, Tyshawn Sorey on drums, alto saxophonist Steve Lehman, Graham Haynes on cornet and flugelhorn, and tenor saxophonist Mark Shim, an ensemble The New York Times has said, “addresses original music with a gripping sense of purpose.”

In addition to the main concert lineup there will be two Daybreak concerts both starting at 9am at Zalk Theatre at Besant Hill School in the upper Ojai for Ojai Music Festival members. On Friday, June 9 the performance features Jen Shyu, experimental vocalist, composer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, and Fulbright scholar, who will perform her own work, Solo Rites: Seven Breaths. Saturday, June 10 features Nicole Mitchell, flutist, composer, bandleader, and educator. Ms. Mitchell’s music celebrates African American culture while reaching across genres and integrating new ideas with moments in the legacy of jazz, gospel, experimentalism, pop, and African percussion. She formerly served as the first woman president of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).

Free Community Concerts

Ojai continues to build on its commitment to reach an ever-broader audience, and the 2017 Festival offers two free Late Night concerts in the Libbey Bowl, in addition to the Sunday morning concert. Friday evening at 10:30pm features a recital by Jennifer Koh, entitled “Bach and Beyond” in which Ms. Koh will perform works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Missy Mazzoli, Luciano Berio, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Saturday night at 10:30pm brings Vijay Iyer together with the Brentano Quartet to perform his Time, Place, Action. The Brentano Quartet opens the concert with selections from Bach’s Art of the Fugue, and the concert closes with the American premiere of a new version of Yet Unheard by the versatile composer and pianist Courtney Bryan. Written for chorus, orchestra, and the vocalist Helga Davis, Yet Unheard sets a new text by poet Sharan Strange memorializing Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old African American woman who died in police custody in Waller County, Texas, on July 13, 2015. Her death was classified as a suicide, though protests dispute the cause of death and allege racial violence. Focusing on bridging the sacred and the secular, Ms. Bryan’s recent compositions explore human emotions through sound, confronting the challenge of notating the feeling of improvisation.

 

Ojai Talks

The 2017 Festival begins with Ojai Talks hosted by Ara Guzelimian, former Festival Artistic Director and current Dean and Provost of The Juilliard School. On Thursday June 8 the first part session topic is “The Art of Improvisation” with Vijay Iyer. The second part of the Talks features a panel to discuss “Music as Community” with Mr. Iyer and other prominent guests. On Friday evening, June 9 the Ojai Talks will be held prior to the 8pm concert of George Lewis’ Afterword on the Libbey Bowl stage. The session will feature a discussion on the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians(AACM) with special guests. Additional details will be announced at a later date.

 

Ojai at Berkeley

Marking the seventh year of artistic partnership, Ojai at Berkeley celebrates the dynamic nature of the Ojai Music Festival and of Cal Performances. As two distinct communities, Ojai and Berkeley are both known for intrepid artistic discovery, spirited intellect, and enduring engagement in the arts. Inaugurated in 2011, Ojai at Berkeley is a joint force that enables co-commissions and co-productions and allows artists to achieve more than could be imagined by each organization separately. Ojai at Berkeley follows the 2017 Ojai Music Festival and will take place from June 15-17 in Berkeley, CA. For more information visit CalPerformances.org.

Vijay Iyer, Music Director

Composer-pianist Vijay Iyer is the Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts at Harvard University. He was named Downbeat Magazine’s Jazz Artist of the Year for 2012, 2015, and 2016, and he received a 2016 US Artists Fellowship, 2013 MacArthur Fellowship, a 2012 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, and a 2011 Grammy nomination. He has released twenty-one albums, including A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke (ECM, 2016) in duo with legendary composer-trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, named “Best New Music” by Pitchfork; Break Stuff (ECM, 2015) with the Vijay Iyer Trio, winner of the German Record Critics’ Award for Album of the Year; the live score to the film RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi (ECM, 2014) by filmmaker Prashant Bhargava; and Holding it Down: The Veterans’ Dreams Project (Pi Recordings, 2013), his third politically searing collaboration with poet-performer Mike Ladd, named Album of the Year in the Los Angeles Times.

 

Mr. Iyer’s compositions have been commissioned and premiered by Bang on a Can All-Stars, The Silk Road Ensemble, Ethel, Brentano Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Imani Winds, American Composers Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra Leopoldinum, Matt Haimowitz, and Jennifer Koh. Mr. Iyer serves as Director of the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music.

 

Thomas W. Morris, Artistic Director

Thomas W. Morris was appointed Artistic Director of the Ojai Music Festival starting with the 2004 Festival. Morris is recognized as one of the most innovative leaders in the orchestra industry and served as the long-time chief executive of both The Cleveland Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He is currently active nationally and internationally as a consultant, lecturer, teacher, and writer. As Artistic Director, Morris is responsible for artistic planning and each year appoints a music director with whom he 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 a collaborative partnership, Ojai at Berkeley, with Cal Performances at UC Berkeley. Morris was a founding director of Spring for Music at New York’s Carnegie Hall and served as the project’s artistic director. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Interlochen Center for the Arts. He is also an accomplished percussionist.

 

About the Ojai Music Festival

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 in unusual ways with an eclectic mix of rarely performed music, refreshing juxtapositions of musical styles, and works by today’s composers. The four-day festival is an immersive experience with concerts, free community events, symposia, and gatherings. Considered a highlight of the international music summer season, Ojai has remained a leader in the classical music landscape for seven decades.

Through its unique structure of the Artistic Director appointing an annual Music 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, Jeremy Denk, Steven Schick, and Peter Sellars.

The Festival, which enters its 71st year in 2017, is a nonprofit organization based in Ojai, California. The Board Chairman is David Nygren and President is Jamie Bennett.

 

Remote Access to the Ojai Music Festival

The Ojai Music Festival continues to draw thousands of curious and engaged music enthusiasts from across the country. As tickets remain in high demand, Ojai includes free access to the Festival experience through live and archived video streaming at OjaiFestival.org. Festival concert archives can also be heard on media partner Q2 Music’s website at WQXR.org.

Series Passes for 2017 Ojai Music Festival

2017 Festival series passes are available and may be purchased online at OjaiFestival.org or by calling (805) 646-2053. 2017 Ojai Music Festival series passes range from $140 to $860 for reserved seating and lawn series passes start at $60. Single concert tickets will be available in spring 2017.

 

Directions to Ojai and Libbey Bowl, as well as information about lodging, concierge services for visitors, and other Ojai activities, are available on the Festival website. Follow Festival updates at OjaiFestival.org, Facebook (Facebook.com/ojaifestival), and Twitter (@ojaifestivals).

# # #

 

2017 FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

THURSDAY JUNE 8, 2017

2:00-5:00pm Ojai Valley Community Church

OJAI TALKS

Part I: The Art of Improvisation with Vijay Iyer and Ara Guzelimian

Part II: Music as Community with guest panelists moderated by Ara Guzelimian
8:00-10:00pm Libbey Bowl

EVENING CONCERT
VIJAY IYER  Emergence  (American premiere)

Vijay Iyer, piano

Stephan Crump, bass

Tyshawn Sorey, drums

ICE

Steven Schick, conductor
VIJAY IYER Violin Concerto (World premiere)

Commissioned by the Ojai Music Festival, Cal Performances at UC Berkeley, and Boston Symphony Orchestra

Jennifer Koh, violin

ICE

Steven Schick, conductor
Duo

Vijay Iyer, piano

Wadada Leo Smith, trumpet

Friday, June 9, 2017

FRIDAY JUNE 9, 2017

 

9:00-10:00am Zalk Theatre, Besant Hill School (Ojai Member event)

DAYBREAK CONCERT

 

JEN SHYU Solo Rites: Seven Breaths

Jen Shyu, performer/composer
1:00-3:30pm Libbey Bowl

AFTERNOON CONCERT
PART I

Density 2036: music by Vijay Iyer, Tyshawn Sorey and others

Claire Chase, flute
PART II

Tyshawn Sorey Double Trio:

The Inner Spectrum of Variables

Tyshawn Sorey, drums

Cory Smythe, piano

Chern Hwei Fung, violin

Kyle Armbrust, viola

Rubin Kodheli, cello

Chris Tordini, bass

 

7:00-7:45pm Libbey Bowl

OJAI TALKS

The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM): Ongoing Impact with guest panelists moderated by Ara Guzelimian
8:00-10:00pm Libbey Bowl

EVENING CONCERT

 

GEORGE LEWIS Afterword (West Coast premiere)

Joelle Lamarre, soprano

Gwendolyn Brown, contralto

Julian Otis, tenor

ICE

Steven Schick, conductor

Sean Griffin, director

 

10:30-11:30pm Libbey Bowl

FREE LATE NIGHT

Bach & Beyond

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Partita in D Minor

MISSY MAZZOLI Dissolve, O My Heart

LUCIANO BERIO Sequenza for solo violin

ESA-PEKKA SALONEN Lachen Verlernt for solo violin

Jennifer Koh, violin

 

Saturday June 10, 2017

9:00-10:00am Zalk Theatre, Besant Hill School (Ojai Member event)

DAYBREAK CONCERT

 

Nicole Mitchell, flute
ICE

 

1:00-3:30pm Libbey Bowl

AFTERNOON CONCERT

 

PART I

VIJAY IYER Mozart Effects

GYÖRGY KURTAG Moments Musicaux

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART Quartet in Eb Major, K. 428

Brentano Quartet

 

PART II

Conduction®

TYSHAWN SOREY Autoschediasms for Creative Chamber Orchestra

ICE

Tyshawn Sorey, leader

 

8:00-10:00pm Libbey Bowl

EVENING CONCERT

 

IGOR STRAVINSKY Le sacre du printemps

(arrangement by Cliff Colnot)

 

VIJAY IYER RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi

A Film by Prashant Bhargava

 

Vijay Iyer, piano

Tyshawn Sorey, drums

ICE

Steven Schick, conductor

 

10:30-11:30pm Libbey Bowl

FREE LATE NIGHT

 

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Art of the Fugue excerpts
Brentano Quartet
VIJAY IYER Time, Place, Action

Brentano Quartet

Vijay Iyer, piano
COURTNEY BRYAN Yet Unheard (WORLD PREMIERE of chamber version)

Text by Sharan Strange

Helga Davis, soprano

Joelle Lamarre, soprano

tba, contralto

Julian Otis, tenor

ICE

Steven Schick, conductor

 

Sunday June 11, 2017

 

9:00-10:00am Ojai Art Center

FREE COMMUNITY CONCERT

 

The Trio featuring

Muhal Richard Abrams, piano

Roscoe Mitchell, winds

George Lewis, trombone and electronics

 

1:00-3:00pm Libbey Bowl

AFTERNOON CONCERT

 

Zakir Hussain, tabla

Vijay Iyer, piano

Rudresh Mahanthappa, saxophone

Aruna Sairam, singer

 

5:30-7:30pm Libbey Bowl

CLOSING CONCERT

 

VIJAY IYER SEXTET

Vijay Iyer, piano

Stephan Crump, bass

Tyshawn Sorey, drums

Steve Lehman, alto saxophone

Graham Haynes, cornet and flugelhorn

Mark Shim, tenor saxophone

 

 

Artists and programs subject to change.

Visit OjaiFestival.org for the latest updates.

 

 

 

 

GINA GUTIERREZ
Director of Marketing and Communications
P: 805 646 2094 ext 104
F: 805 646 6037

OJAI MUSIC FESTIVAL
PO Box 185 Ojai CA 93024
EXPLORE MORE > www.OjaiFestival.org
FOLLOW US > Twitter
LIKE US > Facebook

Sign up for the Festival enews for updates and offers: OjaiFestival.org/contact

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The Jazzcat on KCRW May 27th Spinning Music from 4 Fantastic Record Labels!!!

by on May.23, 2017, under News

 

Click, Listen and Enjoy

KCRW

Profiling Artists from 3 Great Record Companies

Biophilia Records

Mack Avenue Records

Orenda Records

PI Recordings

Plus a Miles 91st Birthday Medley to close the show

89.9 FM KCRW.com

The music is so potent and it is and ever learning and growing process. So many artists are presenting fabulous works of art and the popular media just keeps playing the same old thing. Radio is a place to entice you to hearing and learning new music that you might enjoy! I learned about music back in the day from labels like Blue Note, Impulse, Riverside and the likes so, this Saturday I will be presenting several artists from these labels along with my regular eclectic programming.

Saturday Morning May 27th 

from 3AM to 6AM

IMG_5046On the edge of the music, balancing between the “was” and the “will be” of sound is where you can always find me doing my absolute best to provide you with an intelligent, thought provoking, artistic, creative endeavor in sound. Jazz is the most confusing word in music and therefore it’s hard to explain in mere words. All we ask, as the purveyors of this music called Jazz is that you…

nye-kcrw-in-studio-w-sam

Click for Video

  1. Come to the music openly
  2. Hear all the notes
  3. Allow yourself to feel the vibration
  4. Do NOT allow mediocre mainstream media to dictate you taste
  5. Seek, explore and settle on nothing less than extraordinary
  6. Let love and intent of the sound guide you to new destinations within yourself
  7. And most of all Enjoy!

ld-on-air-at-kcrwIt is not often that you have an opportunity to hear and enjoy pure, unadulterated JAZZ creativity coming through the airwaves here in Los Angeles.

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-3-34-38-pmThere are but a few heroes that grace the airwaves on a consistent basis. Bo Leibowitz with “Strictly Jazz” and ld-max-on-kpfkMark Maxwell with “Rise” are the only two truly providing a great service for Los Angeles. I am honored to work with and sub for both of them whenever the occasion permits.

Friday Night / Saturday Morning

“The Wee Hours”

  May 27th

KCRW

3am – 6am KCRW.ORG

The Jazzcat sitting in for Bo Leibowitz spinning a menagerie of sonic brilliance and whippin’ up magic with lot of great music by the cats you know and some you don’t!

LD at KCRW

Bring your enthusiasm for sound and your blank canvas to listen to the colors of jazz unfold, blossom and enlighten! Come on you nocturnals, weather its wine or a cup of java, stay up and let’s jam together!

P1060082 P1060081

May 27th

Friday Night /Saturday  Morning

kcrwcom

3AM to 6am Pacific Standard Time

3 Hours of Progressive, Eclectic Jazz for you dome!

idea-light-bulb

The Light is ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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Listen!!! Sat Morning 3AM!! Worldwide to The Jazzcat on KCRW.ORG “in the Wee Hours”

by on May.12, 2017, under News

Hello Beautiful Jazz People!

The Jazzcat on KCRW for 2 More Saturdays!!!!!

KCRW

click KCRW logo and enjoy show for Sat May 20th!!

89.9 FM KCRW.com

Saturday Morning May 20th and 27th 

from 3AM to 6AM

IMG_5046On the edge of the music, balancing between the “was” and the “will be” of sound is where you can always find me doing my absolute best to provide you with an intelligent, thought provoking, artistic, creative endeavor in sound. Jazz is the most confusing word in music and therefore it’s hard to explain in mere words. All we ask, as the purveyors of this music called Jazz is that you…

nye-kcrw-in-studio-w-sam

Click for Video

  1. Come to the music openly
  2. Hear all the notes
  3. Allow yourself to feel the vibration
  4. Do NOT allow mediocre mainstream media to dictate you taste
  5. Seek, explore and settle on nothing less than extraordinary
  6. Let love and intent of the sound guide you to new destinations within yourself
  7. And most of all Enjoy!

ld-on-air-at-kcrwIt is not often that you have an opportunity to hear and enjoy pure, unadulterated JAZZ creativity coming through the airwaves here in Los Angeles.

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-3-34-38-pmThere are but a few heroes that grace the airwaves on a consistent basis. Bo Leibowitz with “Strictly Jazz” and ld-max-on-kpfkMark Maxwell with “Rise” are the only two truly providing a great service for Los Angeles. I am honored to work with and sub for both of them whenever the occasion permits.

Friday Night / Saturday Morning

“The Wee Hours”

 May 20th &  May 27th

KCRW

3am – 6am KCRW.ORG

The Jazzcat sitting in for Bo Leibowitz spinning a menagerie of sonic brilliance and whippin’ up magic with lot of great music by the cats you know and some you don’t!

LD at KCRW

Bring your enthusiasm for sound and your blank canvas to listen to the colors of jazz unfold, blossom and enlighten! Come on you nocturnals, weather its wine or a cup of java, stay up and let’s jam together!

P1060082 P1060081

May 20th and 27th

Friday Night /Saturday  Morning

kcrwcom

3AM to 6am Pacific Standard Time

3 Hours of Progressive, Eclectic Jazz for you dome!

idea-light-bulb

The Light is ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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The Jazzcat Spinning on The Bridge at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza

by on Apr.06, 2017, under News

Come on by and get your music on! The Jazzcat will be spinning 3 hours of…

JAZZ Supersonic Sounds!!!!

on the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Bridge. Enjoy the experience of live jazz music along with a display of premier episodes of “The Jazz Creative” and other jazz media sponsored by the AllMusicTelevision Digital Network!

Saturday April 15th

1pm – 4pm

A casual set of eclectic jazz music with some premier jazz musicians dropping by to say hello and share their latest projects!!

Ryan “Papa” Porter

Josef Leimberg

Daniel Rosenboom

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