June 5, 2011 |
It's unlikely that the lunch crowd in the Haiku Asian Bistro is aware that one of the world's most progressive classical music singers is giving an interview in their chattering midst. But that's how it is with Dawn Upshaw. She blends right in with the suburban moms in this boutique New York suburb, a brief drive from the town where Upshaw lives with her 17-year-old son. Her 21-year-old daughter is away in college. However, it's safe to say that Upshaw, 50, is the only one in the restaurant talking about her love for the contrapuntal music of 81-year-old composer George Crumb.
May 22, 2011 |
When the 65th Ojai Music Festival opens on June 9, one of the main attractions will be the stage itself. Libbey Bowl, the festival's quaint and rustic home for more than half a century, has undergone a $4-million makeover. Its historic wooden clamshell, weakened by rot and termites, has been replaced by a concrete-and-steel structure designed by Ojai architect David Bury; seating and sight lines have been improved; and the cramped backstage has been expanded. "Even with all the changes we've tried to keep the original character," says Jeff Haydon, the festival's executive director, noting that the latest shell echoes its predecessor's familiar arched design.
May 30, 2010 |
George Benjamin undertook his first visit to Ojai last January, but in some ways, the trip must have seemed like a homecoming for the celebrated British composer, conductor, pianist and teacher. The freak storms that pounded the normally bucolic Southern Californian landscape throughout the length of his stay made Benjamin, who was in town in his capacity as the music director of this year's Ojai Music Festival, feel as if he'd never left wet and windy England behind. More significantly, though, the journey to Ojai served as a spiritual homecoming for the 50-year-old composer, who has been closely associated with many key figures in the music festival's 63-year history.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 7, 2010 |
Built for $12,000 as a do-it-yourself community project in 1957, rustic Libbey Bowl has always been the little concert stage that could. Russian composer Igor Stravinsky premiered a number of his works at the half-shell amphitheater. His American colleague, composer Aaron Copland, chose the sycamore-tangled setting to debut his conducting career. More recently, surf rocker Jack Johnson packed the bowl with fans of his popular tunes. But time and termites have taken a toll.
May 5, 2010
A star of the opera and concert stage, she is the latest in a long line of guest artists who have been invited to help create programming for the four-day summer fest. Upshaw, who will be making her fourth appearance in Ojai, will work with artistic director Thomas W. Morris and collaborators such as violinist and composer Richard Tognetti, leader of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, jazz composer and big band leader Maria Schneider and theater and opera director Peter Sellars.
November 13, 2009 |
For this summer's Ojai Music Festival, to be held June 10-13, organizers said Wednesday that the focus will be on composer George Benjamin, who is also serving as the event's music director. Benjamin will conduct some of this own work as well as pieces by Oliver Knussen, Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez, Gyorgy Ligeti and more. Among the works by Benjamin scheduled for the festival will be the West Coast premiere of "Into the Little Hill," a chamber opera to be presented in a concert version; "Three Miniatures for Violin" and "Viola Viola."