Thomas W. Morris, Artistic Director of the Ojai Music Festival, has said that “Ojai prides itself on the wide-ranging breadth and depth of its music directors.” One source of that pride is Morris’ own ability to line up commitments extending several years into the future. Another is the ability to update those plans when the complexities of scheduling rear their heads. For example, in April of last year, Esa-Pekka Salonen had to change is Ojai plans by rescheduling his visit as Music Director for the summer of 2018, rather than the summer of 2017 as originally announced. Notification then went out that Vijay Iyer would serve as Music Director during the summer of 2017.
Last week Morris named the three directors that will succeed Salonen. This means that plans are now in place up until the summer of 2021, which will be year of the landmark 75th Festival. Specifics for those three directors will be as follows:
73rd Festival, June 6–9, 2019: The Music Director for 2019 will be Barbara Hannigan. Hannigan is a leading soprano in the contemporary repertoire. She has worked extensively with Pierre Boulez and sung the soprano lead in George Benjamin’s opera Written on Skin. While continuing to work as a singer, Hannigan is also applying her expertise by serving as a conductor.
74th Festival, June 11–14, 2020: This will be not only the year in which violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja will serve as Music Director but also the year of her Ojai debut. She has maintained an impressively adventurous approach to the repertoire she has built. In 2013 that approach earned her an award from the British publication Gramophone for the recording she made with conductor Peter Eötvös of concertos by Béla Bartók, György Ligeti, and Eötvös himself. In the United States she has served as an Artistic Partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
75th Festival, June 10–13, 2021: There is a tendency to associate pianist and conductor Mitsuko Uchida with the more traditional repertoire (as in her contribution of the complete piano sonatas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart when Philips was preparing their Complete Mozart Edition project). However, in 1998 she shared the position of Music Director at Ojai with conductor David Zinman; and her last performance at an Ojai Festival was in 2004. Like Kopatchinskaja her pursuit of modernism was recognized by an award from Gramophone. She received this honor in 2001 for the recording of Arnold Schoenberg’s piano concerto that she made with conductor Pierre Boulez.