WORKS BY LOU HARRISON, JOHN CAGE, HENRY COWELL, CHARLES IVES, AND
JOHN LUTHER ADAMS WITH THE BAD
PLUS, COLIN FOWLER, RED FISH BLUE FISH, AND THE AMERICAN STRING QUARTET
ON WEDNESDAY–SATURDAY, JUNE 12–15
Cal Performances’ third annual Ojai North!, a multi-year partnership with the esteemed Ojai Music Festival, opens with a double bill on Wednesday, June 12, at 6:00 p.m. John Luther Adams’s Strange and Sacred Noise with red fish blue fish will be performed at the Faculty Glade in a free and open to the public concert. The festival then moves indoors to Hertz Hall where the world premiere of new choreography to Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring by the 2013 Ojai Music Director and choreographer Mark Morris will be given at 8:00 p.m. Set to The Bad Plus’s re-scoring of the explosive masterpiece for piano, bass, and drums, The Rite of Spring will be performed by the jazz trio and the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG). Highlighted by works that Morris champions, the festival programming also includes compositions by Lou Harrison, John Cage, Henry Cowell, and Charles Ives. In addition to The Bad Plus, recognized by Rolling Stone magazine as “about as badass as highbrow can get,” joining Morris will be his MMDG Music Ensemble, pianist/organist Colin Fowler, the American String Quartet, percussion ensemble red fish blue fish, and Gamelan Sari Raras from the University of California, Berkeley. All performances will be at Hertz Hall unless otherwise noted.
A series of Discover, Engage! education and community events to compliment Ojai North! Programming has been planned. Two free and open to the public concerts of works by John Luther Adams and performed by percussion ensemble red fish blue fish will be held at the Faculty Glade. In addition to Strange and Sacred Noise kicking off Ojai North!, Adams’s Songbirdsongs will be performed on Friday, June 14, at 10:00 p.m. Cultural critic Wendy Lesser leads a series of pre-concert conversations with Mark Morris and composer John Luther Adams. On Thursday, June 13, at 6:30 p.m. and on Saturday, June 15, at 6:00 p.m., Lesser speaks with Morris; on Friday, June 14, at 6:30 p.m. she interviews Adams. Two films will be offered at Wheeler Auditorium. Salomé (1923; Director Charles Bryant), a silent film starring Russian actress Alla Nazimove, will be screened on Thursday, June 13, at 10:00 p.m. The film is an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s play and will be accompanied live by The Bad Plus. On Saturday, June 16, at 4:00 p.m., film director Eva Solte will introduce her 2012 documentary Lou Harrison: A World of Music.
Each summer the Ojai Music Festival (June 6-9, 2013), explores the musical interests of its Music Director, a position that is held for the first time this year by a choreographer. “The Bay Area understands the genius of Mark Morris and his talents as a dancer, choreographer and musician, perhaps better than anywhere else in the world,” said Cal Performances’ Director Matías Tarnopolsky. “We are proud to support Mark as Music Director of Ojai North! and introduce his fans here to this new endeavor.” Morris, who considers Cal Performances his West Coast home, has partnered with the institution since 1987, presenting numerous World, United States, and West Coast premieres.
The Ojai Music Festival continue in Berkeley at the end of every annual music festival in Ojai Valley. This collaborative effort makes possible annual reprises of Ojai concerts in Berkeley, as well as co-commissions and co-productions. More than just a sharing of resources, Ojai North! represents a joining of artistic ideals and aspirations. The combined efforts of Ojai’s legacy of artistic innovation and Cal Performances’ tradition of groundbreaking productions create a joint force that allows artists to achieve more than would be possible by each organization separately.
Ojai North! kicks off on Wednesday, June 12, at 6:00 p.m., with John Luther Adams’s Strange and Sacred Noise with red fish blue fish; this free and open-to-the-public event will be held on the Faculty Glade. At 8:00 p.m., the Festival moves to Hertz Hall for the world premiere of Mark Morris’s newest work choreographed to The Rite of Spring, Stravinsky’s masterwork, reinterpreted and performed by The Bad Plus and danced by MMDG. His company will also dance Mosaic and United set to Henry Cowell’s Quartets Nos. 3 and 4, performed by the American String Quartet. The work is choreographed for a quintet of dancers wearing sumptuous Chinese silk pajamas by Isaac Mizrahi; the world premiere in 1993 included cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Mikhail Baryshnikov.
On Thursday, June 13, at 6:30 p.m. Wendy Lesser will interview Mark Morris. At 8:00 p.m., there will be an encore performance of The Rite of Spring and Mosaic and United (see June 12). Closing out the day is a screening of Salomé, a silent film starring Alla Nazimova at 10:00 p.m. This is an adaptation of the Oscar Wilde play of the same name and features The Bad Plus playing live with the film. This event is free and open-to-the-public.
Two concerts on Friday, June 14, at 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. showcase Lou Harrison’s work and those inspired by the legendary American maverick composer. At 5:00 p.m., Gamelan Sari Raras from UC Berkeley performs Lou Harrison’s Music for Gamelan and solo instruments. That evening at 8:00 p.m. members of the MMDG Music Ensemble will perform Harrison’s Suite for Symphonic Strings under the baton of Joshua Gersen, conducting assistant to Michael Tilson Thomas at the New World Symphony. The American String Quartet along with pianists Colin Fowler and Yegor Shevtsov will counter with John Luther Adams’s haunting work For Lou Harrison. Between the concerts, Wendy Lesser will interview composer John Luther Adams at 6:30 p.m. Day two concludes at 10:00 p.m. with a second John Luther Adams work titled Songbirdsongs performed on the Faculty Glade by red fish blue fish; this concert is free and open-to-the-public.
Saturday, June 15, is a full day of adventurous repertoire starting at 12:00 p.m. with John Cage’s Four Walls performed by pianist Ethan Iverson and soprano Yulia Van Doren. At 2:00 p.m., the American String Quartet will offer Charles Ives’s String Quartet No. 2, followed by a selection of songs by Henry Cowell and Charles Ives with Doren, Jamie Van Eyck, mezzo-soprano, and Douglas Williams, baritone, performing. The audience joins in with the performers for the final work, Carl Ruggles’s great hymn, Exaltation, conducted by Mark Morris. The festivities continue at 4:00 p.m. in Wheeler Auditorium when filmmaker Eva Soltes introduces and screens her documentary film Lou Harrison: A World of Music; this event is free and open-to-the-public.
At 6:00 p.m., Wendy Lesser will have her final conversation with Mark Morris. At 7:30 p.m., Joshua Gersen conducts Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Organ and Percussion with Colin Fowler and red fish blue fish. The program also includes Sowerby’s Pageant; Bolcom’s La Cathedrale engloutie (Rock of Ages); Persichetti’s Sonatine; and Ives’s Variations on America.
The final concert of Ojai North! begins at 9:00 p.m. with a pair of works by Henry Cowell performed by MMDG Music Ensemble: Heroic Dance, written for Martha Graham, and his cantata Atlantis with vocalists Doren, Van Eyck, and Williams. The short Fugue for Percussion by Lou Harrison, one of his most fiendishly difficult pieces, and his Concerto for Piano and Gamelan with Colin Fowler and Gamelan Sari Raras round out the concert.
Mark Morris was born on August 29, 1956, in Seattle, Washington, where he studied with Verla Flowers and Perry Brunson. In the early years of his career, he performed with the Koleda Balkan Dance Ensemble and later the dance companies of Lar Lubovitch, Hannah Kahn, Laura Dean, and Eliot Feld. He formed the Mark Morris Dance Group in 1980 and has since created more than 130 works for the company. From 1988 to 1991, Morris was Director of Dance at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, the national opera house of Belgium. Among the works created during his time there were three evening-length dances: L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato; Dido and Aeneas; and The Hard Nut. In 1990, he founded the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Morris is also a ballet choreographer and has created eight works for the San Francisco Ballet since 1994 and received commissions from many others.
Morris is noted for his musicality and has been described as “undeviating in his devotion to music.” He has conducted performances for the MMDG since 2006. He has worked extensively in opera, directing and choreographing productions for the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Gotham Chamber Opera, English National Opera, and The Royal Opera and Covent Garden. In 1991, he was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation. He has received eleven honorary doctorates to date. In 2006, Morris received the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Mayor’s Award for Arts & Culture and a WQXR Gramophone Special Recognition Award “for being an American ambassador for classical music at home and abroad.” He is the subject of a biography, Mark Morris, by Joan Acocella (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), and Marlowe & Company published a volume of photographs and critical essays entitled Mark Morris’ L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato:A Celebration. Morris is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. In recent years, he has received the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement (2007), the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society (2010), the Benjamin Franklin Laureate Prize for Creativity (2012), and Cal Performances Award of Distinction in the Performing Arts (2012).
For bios of other artists go to ojaifestival.org.
OJAI MUSIC FESTIVAL
The Ojai Music Festival is an annual four-day immersion experience of concerts, symposia and auxiliary events set in the picturesque Ojai Valley, just north of Los Angeles. Founded in 1947 by John Bauer, the Festival receives a constant stream of innovative programming and fresh ideas as the Music Director changes each year. Now in his tenth year as Artistic Director, Thomas W. Morris has invited pianist Jeremy Denk to serve as the Festival’s 2014 Music Director. Acclaimed conductors, composers and artists who have led the Festival in the past include Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, Ingolf Dahl, Pierre Boulez, Robert Craft, Michael Tilson Thomas, Dawn Upshaw, Calvin Simmons, Kent Nagano, and John Adams, among many others. For further information go to ojaifestival.org.
Tickets for Ojai North!, Wednesday-Saturday, June 12-15, at Zellerbach Playhouse range from $20.00-$110.00 and are subject to change; single tickets will go on sale February 1, 2013. Tickets are available through the Cal Performances’ Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at www.calperformances.org; and at the door. Half-price tickets are available for purchase by UC Berkeley students. UC faculty and staff, senior citizens, other students and UC Alumni Association members receive a $5.00 discount (Special Events excluded). For select performances, Cal Performances offers UCB student, faculty and staff, senior, and community rush tickets. Rush tickets are announced three hours prior to a performance on Cal Performances’ Facebook page and at 510-642-9988 and are available in person only at the Ticket Office beginning one hour before the performance; one ticket per person; all sales are cash only. For more information, call Cal Performances at (510) 642-9988, or visit www.calperformances.org.