Friday, May 1, 2009

Preview: Ojai Festival’s blackbirds to be let loose



By Rodney Punt
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Be unafraid. Be very unafraid.

General audiences not so many years ago used to be really afraid of the Ojai Festival. The prospect of sitting hours on hard benches listening to the likes of Milton Babbitt and Elliot Carter sent thrills only into the hearts of true believers, hard core avant-gardists, and wannabe musical elitists. For the rest of humanity it was more like chills up the spine or fingernails down a chalkboard.

No more. In recent years, programming trends at Ojai have gone decidedly big tent and user-friendly. Hearts that were once curdled are now hearts cuddled. "Icy and thorny" is so yesterday. Now it’s "Wheeeeee, this is fun."

The group “eighth blackbird” comes to Ojai’s Libby Bowl, June 11-14, 2009 - in the valley just north of Los Angeles that was once used to depict Shangri-la in the movie Lost Horizon. These blackbirds and some of their guests will sing in the dead of night and the light of day.

According to Tom Morris, Artistic Director of the Ojai Festival, “eighth blackbird” will hold forth in a number of combinations with other guest artists in plenty of musical thrills. “eighth blackbird' is made up of six astonishing musicians: Matt Albert on violin and viola; Nick Photinas on cello; Tim Munro on flute; Michael Maccaferri on clarinet; Matthew Duvall on percussion; and Lisa Kaplan on piano. With the exception of Tim Munro, who replaced the original flutist in 2006, they all met while students at Oberlin almost fifteen years ago and have been together since. They have achieved the amazing distinction of being a full-time, professional, and successful contemporary music ensemble.”

Take a look at Morris’ recent preview talk and make plans now to attend at least some of this eclectic musical fare. Just one example that shouldn't be missed, Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire. But to mention one is to neglect others, so they're all listed below. I’ll have more to say about it in a few weeks, after I return from China.

In the meantime, you might also call the Festival ticket office at 1 (805) 646-2094 e-mail: [email protected]
val.org or go on line at http://www.ojaifestival.org/ and book early and often, just like you vote. And remember also to book your motel in Ojai or if not there in nearby Ventura.

Here’s the run-down of the musical fare:

Thursday, June 11, 6:00 p.m.
TRIMPIN AT LIBBEY PARK
Free demonstration of Trimpin sound sculptures
“Sheng High” and “Giuter-Toy”

Thursday, June 11, 8:00 p.m. – Opening Concert
MUSIC FOR A SUMMER EVENING
Libbey Bowl
Lisa Kaplan/Jeremy Denk, piano
Greg Beyer/Matthew Duvall/ Todd Meehan/ Doug Perkins,
percussion
THIERRY DE MEY: Musique de Tables
JOHN LUTHER ADAMS: Dark Waves
TORU TAKEMITSU: Rain Tree
GEORGE CRUMB: Music for a Summer Evening
(Makrokosmos III)

Friday, June 12, 1:00-4:30 p.m.
FESTIVAL SYMPOSIUM
Matilija Auditorium
Ara Guzelimian, symposium director
Symposium Session I: 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Steven Mackey and Rinde Eckert – The Creation of Slide
Symposium Session II: 2:15-3:15 p.m.
eighth blackbird – The Creation of a Festival
Symposium Session III: 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Jeremy Denk – The Creation of a Performance

Friday, June 12, 8:00 p.m.
SLIDE: World Premiere
Libbey Bowl
eighth blackbird
Rinde Eckert, singer/actor
Steven Mackey, electric guitar
Tin Hat, contemporary ensemble
Selections by Tin Hat - TBA
STEVEN MACKEY/RINDE ECKERT: Slide-
World Premiere –Ojai co-commission

Saturday, June 13, 11:00 a.m.
GOLDBERG VARIATIONS
Libbey Bowl
Jeremy Denk, piano
IVES: Piano Sonata No. 1
J.S. BACH: Goldberg Variations

Saturday, June 13, 2:00 p.m.
FREE BONUS EVENT- “Trembling Air”
Ojai Theater
Tim Munro, flute
Alexis Kenny, flute
HAROLD MELZER: Trapset for solo flute
BEN BROENING: Trembling Air for flute & mixed media
ROSS EDWARDS: Ecstatic Dances for 2 flutes
BRETT DEAN: Demons for solo flute
HELENA TULVE: Soaring for 2 flutes
STEVE REICH: Vermont Counterpoint for flute & mixed
media

Saturday, June 13, 4:30 p.m.
FREE BONUS EVENT
Ojai Theater
Preview of upcoming documentary on the life and music of
Trimpin

Saturday, June 13, 8:00 p.m.
PIERROT LUNAIRE
Libbey Bowl
eighth blackbird and friends
Lucy Shelton, Sprechstimme
Elyssa Dole, dancer
Mark DeChiazza, director
DAVID M. GORDON: Quasi Sinfonia-West Coast premiere
ARNOLD SCHOENBERG: Pierrot Lunaire-Premiere of
semi-staged version

Saturday, June 13, 11:00 p.m.
FREE BONUS EVENT-“BREATHtaking”
Ojai Theater
QNG, recorder collective
FULVIO CALDINI: Beata viscera
MARCEL REUTER: Suspiro
PAUL MORAVEC: Mortal Flesh
ÉRIC MARTY: New Work-World Premiere
WOICIECH BLECHARZ: Airlines
CHIEL MEIJERING: Sitting Ducks

Sunday, June 14, 2009, 11:00 a.m.
PIVOTAL MINIMALISM
Libbey Bowl
STEVE REICH: Music for 18 Musicians

Sunday, June 14, 2009, 2:00 p.m.
TRIMPIN RETURNS
Libbey Park - Second free live demonstration of the interactive sound installations “Sheng High” and “Giuter-Toy.”

Sunday, June 14, 2009, 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
MARATHON FINALE IN THREE PARTS
Libbey Bowl
STEVE REICH: Double Sextet
LISA BIELAWA: Kafka Songs
JOHN CAGE: Third Construction
LOUIS ANDRIESSEN: Worker’s Union
Newly commissioned work for Trimpin and his sculptural creations

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