Also announced were the music directors for 2016 and 2017: opera house and concert hall luminaries Peter Sellars and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Each music director teams with the Ojai Music Festival’s artistic director, Thomas W. Morris, to pick the performers and the program.
Pianist Jeremy Denk is the music director for the 2014 festival that will run June 12-15. And yes, the piano is technically a percussion instrument, but no, a player probably won’t get much applause by spending a concert belaboring the keys with mallets, sticks or fists.
Schick’s directorship is expected to include performing and conducting as well as curating. He’s a music professor at UC San Diego and is founder and artistic director of the percussion ensemble red fish blue fish – possibly the only classical music group whose moniker honors that great San Diegan, Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel.
He’s also an alumnus of the new music group Bang on a Can All-Stars, and a performer in several past Ojai Music festivals, including 2011, when soprano Dawn Upshaw was music director, and 2012, when Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes took charge.
Opera director Sellars is an old hand at coordinating festivals, including the 1990 and 1993 Los Angeles Arts Festivals that tried to recapture the magic of the acclaimed citywide arts component of the 1984 L.A. summer Olympiad. But he’ll be the first opera or theater director to serve as the Ojai Festival’s music director, said festival spokeswoman Gina Gutierrez. The Ojai Festival also sounded an interdisciplinary chord with its 2013 pick for music director, choreographer Mark Morris.
Salonen’s 2017 music directorship will be his third at the Ojai Music Festival. In 1999 and 2001 he became the only sitting music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic to also handle the assignment at Ojai – hand-picked by Ernest Fleischmann, who retired as the Phil’s executive director in 1998 but kept a hand in as artistic director of the Ojai Festival from 1998 to 2003.