Ojai Festival Announces 2007 Season, First Programmed by Pierre-Laurent Aimard

Classic Arts News   Ojai Festival Announces 2007 Season, First Programmed by Pierre-Laurent Aimard
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, the French pianist noted for his championing of contemporary repertoire, will focus on the music of Ligeti, Stravinsky, Carter, Bart‹k and E‹tv‹s during his first season as music director of the Ojai Festival in southern California. He will also perform with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (of which he is an artistic partner) and spotlight music for piano and percussion at the 2007 event.

All artists in the 61st festival, which takes place from June 7 to 10, will be making their Ojai debuts, with the exception of pianists Helena Bugallo and Amy Williams (who appeared there in 2005).

Hungarian composer Peter E‹tv‹s, who will be in residence for the festival, was Aimard's colleague in the Paris-based Ensemble InterContemporain, founded by Pierre Boulez, a seven-time music director at Ojai.

The four E‹tv‹s works on the lineup include two American premieres: Sonata per Sei for two pianos, one electric piano and three percussionists (June 8), and Chinese Opera, performed by the SPCO on June 9.

That concert, conducted by Douglas Boyd, also includes a performance of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde in the arrangement for 15 players conceived by Schoenberg and completed by Rainer Riehn. The singers will be mezzo-soprano Monica Groop and tenor Vinson Cole.

The Ojai season opens on June 7 with a duo-piano recital by Helena Bugallo and Amy Williams, performing Stravinsky's two-piano versions of his Septet and "Dumbarton Oaks" Concerto; the program also includes works by E‹tv‹s and Ligeti. Aimard performs a piano recital on June 9 including works by Schumann, J.S. Bach, Ives and Elliott Carter.

The NEXUS percussion ensemble is featured in two performances: the first, on June 8, highlights music for pianos and percussion, including Stravinsky's Les Noces with the Los Angeles Master Chorale conducted by E‹tv‹s. The second concert, on June 10, features NEXUS in an all-percussion concert including the group's interpretation of a traditional Zimbabwean melody featuring the mbira (thumb piano), as well as works by Steve Reich, Linda Catlin Smith and two members of NEXUS.

The Festival closes on June 10 with four piano concertos: Mozart's Concerto K. 246 with Aimard conducting from the keyboard; Ravel's Piano Concerto in G and Ligeti's Piano Concerto with Aimard as soloist and Douglas Boyd conducting; and Carter's Dialogues for Piano and Large Ensemble with pianist Tamara Stefanovich and Aimard conducting.

Aimard describes the festival as "a mixture of la douce folie and structure: a sense of freedom and fun in performances by supremely skilled musicians in engaging and compelling repertoire in intellectually stimulating combinations."

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