Entertainment & Arts

Ojai Music Festival’s artistic director to retire

Thomas Morris in 2004 when he first became artistic director of the Ojai Music Festival.
(Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times )

Thomas W. Morris, the artistic director of the Ojai Music Festival since 2004, will retire in 2019, the festival announced Friday.

Morris, who will serve through the 73rd installment of the festival, said the time is right for his departure.

“The decision to finish my work here was a difficult one, but I’m confident it is the right one for Ojai and for me,” he said in the announcement. “The timing allows the festival to find a successor in time to play a central role in all the artistic and institutional planning well through the 75th celebration in 2021 and 2022.”

During his time with the festival, Morris has helped to increase attendance and to start artistic collaborations, including a partnership with Cal Performances that’s in its eighth year. He also recently announced a partnership with the Aldeburgh Festival in England.


Morris has programmed works by critically lauded experimental and classical artists, including site-specific music and premieres by John Luther Adams, The Classical Style” by Steven Stucky and Jeremy Denk, Slide composed by Rinde Eckert and performed by Eighth Blackbird, and Troublecomposed by Vijay Iyer and performed by Jennifer Koh.

The 72nd Ojai Music Festival will take place June 7 to 10, with violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja serving as music director. In the meantime, the festival will begin a search for a new artistic director.