Jeremy Denk, Steven Stucky, The Knights, and Brooklyn Rider Storm Ojai Music Festival (June 12–15) and Ojai North! (June 19–21)

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Jeremy Denk, Steven Stucky, The Knights, and Brooklyn Rider Storm Ojai Music Festival (June 12–15) and Ojai North! (June 19–21)

 

 

 

 

 

This summer, Jeremy Denk – winner of the 2014 Avery Fisher Prize and a 2013 MacArthur “genius grant” Fellowship – serves as Music Director of both the 68th Ojai Music Festival (June 12–15) and the fourth Ojai North! festival (June 19–21). Celebrating what Denk styles “music about music,” festival highlights include the world and Bay area premieres of The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts), a comic opera set to Denk’s own libretto that marks the first contribution to the genre from Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky. The semi-staged production features New York-based orchestral collective The Knights, which is in residence throughout both festivals, joining Denk for Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy,” and undertaking music by composers ranging from Boccherini to Timo Andres. Denk’s remaining performances include the West Coast premiere of Andrew Norman’s Light Screens and accounts of solo works by Ligeti, Janácek, and Schubert. Trailblazing string quartet Brooklyn Rider makes multiple appearances, and quartet members Eric and Colin Jacobsen – also co-founders and Artistic Directors of The Knights – are both, like Denk and Stucky, among those taking part in a series of illuminating Ojai Talks. Many Ojai Music Festival events, including the premiere of The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts), will be livestreamed by Ojai Live, often accompanied by interviews with artists and special guests and hosted by Fred Child of American Public Media’s Performance Today.

 

 

 

Jeremy Denk, Steven Stucky, and The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts)

 

The Daily Mail (UK) recently remarked: “If ever there were an artist to bust a stereotype, Denk is it.” There surely can be few readers of The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, the late Charles Rosen’s National Book Award-winning masterpiece of musical scholarship, who find themselves struck by its operatic potential. Yet Denk – an accomplished writer whose work has already graced the New Yorker, the New York Times Review of Books, Newsweek, the New Republic, and the website of NPR Music – took the seminal text as the inspiration for his first libretto, which forms the basis of The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts). As Opera News reported in a recent feature: 

 

 

 

“Characters in the opera include not just Charles Rosen and the three title characters from his book but Tonic (a bass-baritone), Dominant (soprano) and Sub-Dominant (mezzo), who are involved in a love triangle. Also present are a disheveled character who turns out to be the Tristan Chord, Robert Schumann (a mezzo), and Donna Anna and the title character from Don Giovanni. But, explains Denk, ‘The real protagonist is music itself, and what it does.’”

 

 

 

Indeed, as he warned the Wall Street Journal, “It’s not an opera in any conventional way. There’s a lot of spoken text and 18 characters – the singers have multiple roles. To the extent it has a plot, it’s prone to digressions and mishaps. People shouldn’t expect Aida.”

 

 

 

For the opera’s score, Denk turned to American composer Steven Stucky, one of America’s most frequently performed living composers, whose Second Concerto for Orchestra was awarded the 2005 Pulitzer Prize. Having served for more than 20 years as resident composer and new music advisor at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Stucky enjoys a long and rich association with the West Coast. Although he has written oratorios, for example August 4, 1964, which was a 2013 Grammy nominee for “Best Contemporary Classical Composition,” The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts) marks his first opera. As Stucky told Opera News:

 

 

 

“I had been wanting to try opera, but I had to be persuaded that I had the chops for it, because it’s a pretty tough assignment! But as I began to read drafts of the libretto, and I began to laugh out loud, pretty soon it was irresistible.”

 

 

 

A co-commission of the Ojai Music Festival, Carnegie Hall, Cal Performances, and the Aspen Music Festival, the opera receives its world premiere at Ojai on June 13, with subsequent performances at Ojai North! on June 19 and 20. All the roles will be shared between eight singers, with the support of The Knights, hailed as “the future of classical music in America” (Los Angeles Times), under the baton of the Atlanta Symphony’s Robert Spano. As a curtain raiser before each performance, Brooklyn Rider will play Haydn’s “Rider” Quartet, and on the day of the premiere, Ojai also presents a three-part panel discussion dedicated to Rosen’s memory, in which Denk speaks about Charles Rosen and Stucky joins director Mary Birnbaum to describe the challenges they faced in bringing The Classical Style to the opera stage.

 

 

 

The Knights, Brooklyn Rider, and the Jacobsen brothers

 

As Ojai’s orchestra in residence, The Knights provide the backbone for both festivals, and their programs reflect two of the principle themes that underlie Denk’s curatorship as Music Director: the same imaginative engagement with music of the past that inspired his libretto, and a diversity of musical taste that, he explains, not only embraces music “of great reverence and transcendence” but “music of great irreverence” too. Thus, under the leadership of co-founder Eric Jacobsen, The Knights pair Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony with Canon-ade: “a mélange of musical canons and canon-esque miscellany” contrived by Denk from music by Josquin, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Kurtág, Purcell, P.D.Q. Bach, Uri Caine, and J.S. Bach (June 15); juxtapose works by Ives, Stockhausen, and Feldman with the group’s own orchestral arrangement of Boccherini’s String Quintet in C, “La musica notturna delle strade di Madrid” (June 14); and perform Timo Andres’s recomposition of Mozart’s Coronation Concerto with the composer himself at the piano (June 14 & 21). Members of the innovative ensemble join Spano and the Ojai Festival Singers for a late-night rendition of Feldman’s Rothko Chapel (June 14), and Jacobsen leads Denk, the choir and The Knights in performances of Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy” that draw both the Ojai Music Festival (June 15) and Ojai North! (June 21) to a close.

 

 

 

Like The Knights, Brooklyn Rider, the genre-defying string quartet dubbed “the future of chamber music” (Strings magazine), features brothers Eric and Colin Jacobsen. For violinist Colin Jacobsen, Ojai offers the opportunity to create MMM, or “Magical Musical Moments”; he explains:

 

 

 

“Acknowledging risk as one of the preconditions of MMM feels important. … Acknowledging that whether it’s a quartet of four people or an orchestra of 40-ish, getting to a place where you can switch gears in the moment according to the demands of the music, does involve a lot of work and trust. But it feels like even in the darkest moment of conflicting viewpoints in rehearsal, when we hold to the viewpoint that it’s all in the service of MMM, we’re doing well.”

 

 

 

The two Jacobsen brothers speak further about creating An Ensemble for the 21st Century – the Musician’s View in an Ojai Talk on June 12, and Brooklyn Rider – besides whetting the audience’s appetite for The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts) with Haydn (June 13, 19 & 20) – gives an early morning performance on June 14.

 

 

 

Jeremy Denk at the piano

 

The two Ojai festivals also afford multiple opportunities to hear Denk at the piano. Named Musical America’s 2014 Instrumentalist of the Year, he proved himself a “superb soloist …, exuding personality, teasing out humor with widely varied touch and articulation” (New York Times) under Michael Tilson Thomas at Carnegie Hall last fall, while his recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations recently topped the Billboard classical chart. At Ojai, besides giving the West Coast premiere of Andrew Norman’s Light Screens (June 14) and undertaking the solo role in Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy” (June 15 & 21), Denk performs Janácek’s On An Overgrown Path interwoven with short works for solo piano by Schubert (June 12 & 21); joins violinist Jennifer Frautschi for Ives’s complete Sonatas for Violin and Piano (June 14); and plays Ligeti’s Piano Études Books I & II, in which the Washington Post has called his interpretation “a tour de force of concentration and keyboard command” (June 15 & 21).

 

 

 

Full programming details of the 2014 Ojai Music Festival and Ojai North! are provided below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ojai Music Festival 2014

 

Jeremy Denk, Music Director

 

Thomas W. Morris, Artistic Director

 

 

 

Thursday, June 12

 

 

 

OJAI TALKS (to be live streamed by Ojai Live)

 

1pm–3:30pm, Ojai Valley Community Church

 

(Ara Guzelimian, Ojai Talks director)

 

 

 

Part I: Festival Overview

 

            Jeremy Denk, 2014 music director 

 

Part II: An Ensemble for the 21st Century – the Musician’s View

 

            Eric and Colin Jacobsen, founders of The Knights

 

 

 

EVENING CONCERT (to be live streamed by Ojai Live, with intermission interview hosted by Fred Child of American Public Media’s Performance Today)

 

8pm, Libbey Bowl

 

 

 

Janácek: On An Overgrown Path interwoven with short works by Franz Schubert

 

            Jeremy Denk, piano

 

Uri Caine: Mahler Re-Imagined

 

            Uri Caine Ensemble

 

 

 

Friday, June 13

 

 

 

OJAI TALKS (to be live streamed by Ojai Live)

 

1pm—4pm, Ojai Valley Community Church

 

(Ara Guzelimian, Ojai Talks director)

 

 

 

The Classical Style: Impact and Implications, dedicated to the memory of Charles Rosen

 

         Part I: Jeremy Denk on Charles Rosen

 

         Part II: A panel discussion with guests, including Timo Andres, Don M. Randel and Henri Zerner, on Charles Rosen’s award-winning book

 

         Part III: Bringing The Classical Style to the opera stage with Mary Birnbaum, director, and Steven Stucky, composer

 

 

 

EVENING CONCERT (to be live streamed by Ojai Live, with intermission interview hosted by Fred Child of American Public Media’s Performance Today)

 

8pm, Libbey Bowl

 

 

 

Haydn: String Quartet in G minor, Op. 74, No.3 (“Rider”)

 

            Brooklyn Rider, string quartet

 

Steven Stucky/Jeremy Denk: The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts) (world premiere; semi-staged)

 

         Commissioned by the Ojai Music Festival, Cal Performances Berkeley, Carnegie Hall, and the Aspen Music Festival and School

 

         The Knights; Aubrey Allicock, bass baritone; Dominic Armstrong, tenor; Rachel Calloway, mezzo-soprano; Keith Jameson, tenor; Kim Josephson, baritone; Ashraf Sewailam, bass-baritone; Peabody Southwell, mezzo-soprano; Jennifer Zetlan, soprano; Mary Birnbaum, director; Robert Spano, conductor

 

 

 

OJAI LATE NIGHT CONCERT
10:30pm, Libbey Bowl

 

 

 

George Gershwin (reimagined and improvised by Uri Caine): Rhapsody in Blue and other works 

 

            Uri Caine Sextet

 

 

 

Saturday, June 14

 

 

 

OJAI SUNRISE CONCERT

 

8am, location TBA

 

 

 

Program TBA

 

            Brooklyn Rider

 

 

 

MORNING CONCERT (to be live streamed by Ojai Live, with intermission interview hosted by Fred Child of American Public Media’s Performance Today)

 

11am, Libbey Bowl

 

 

 

Ives: Sonatas for violin and piano (complete)

 

            Jennifer Frautschi, violin; Jeremy Denk, piano

 

 

 

OJAI FILM

 

2pm, Ojai Playhouse 

 

Film TBA

 

 

 

OJAI FILM

 

3:30pm, Ojai Playhouse 

 

Film TBA

 

 

 

EVENING CONCERT I (to be live streamed by Ojai Live)

 

6pm, Libbey Bowl

 

 

 

Andrew Norman: Light Screens for piano(West Coast premiere)

 

            Jeremy Denk, piano

 

Mozart/Timo Andres: Coronation” Concerto Re-composition

 

            Timo Andres, piano; The Knights; Eric Jacobsen, conductor

 

 

 

EVENING CONCERT II (to be live streamed by Ojai Live, with post-concert interview hosted by Fred Child of American Public Media’s Performance Today)

 

8pm, Libbey Bowl

 

 

 

Boccherini (arr. for string orchestra by The Knights): Quintet in C, Op. 30, No. 6 “La musica notturna delle strade di Madrid”

 

            The Knights; Eric Jacobsen, conductor

 

Ives: Three Places in New England (1930 version)

 

            The Knights; Eric Jacobsen, conductor

 

Feldman: Madame Press Died Last Week at 90

 

            The Knights; Eric Jacobsen, conductor

 

Stockhausen (arr. Caroline Shaw): Tierkreis – Leo 4

 

            The Knights; Eric Jacobsen, conductor

 

Weill: Seven Deadly Sins (in English)

 

            Storm Large, vocalist; Hudson Shad, vocal quartet

 

 

 

OJAI LATE NIGHT CONCERT (to be live streamed by Ojai Live)

 

10:30pm, Libbey Bowl

 

 

 

Bach: Sonata No. 3 in C, BWV 1005

 

            Jennifer Frautschi, violin

 

Feldman: Rothko Chapel

 

            Members of The Knights; Ojai Festival Singers; Robert Spano, conductor 

 

 

 

MIDNIGHT CABARET

 

11:30pm, location tba

 

 

 

            Storm Large, vocalist 

 

 

 

Sunday, June 15

 

 

 

OJAI SUNRISE CONCERT

 

8am, Meditation Mount

 

 

 

Hymnfest: An interactive selection of old and new hymns by Billings, Ives, & others

 

            Ojai Festival singers; Kevin Fox, conductor

 

 

 

MORNING CONCERT (to be live streamed by Ojai Live, with intermission interview hosted by Fred Child of American Public Media’s Performance Today)

 

11am, Libbey Bowl

 

 

 

Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C, K. 551 (“Jupiter”)

 

     The Knights; Eric Jacobson, conductor

 

Canon-ade: “a mélange of musical canons and canon-esque miscellany” devised by Jeremy Denk with music by Josquin, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Kurtág, Purcell, P.D.Q. Bach, Uri Caine, and J.S. Bach 

 

            The Knights; Eric Jacobsen, conductor

 

 

 

EVENING CONCERT (to be live streamed by Ojai Live, with intermission interview hosted by Fred Child of American Public Media’s Performance Today)

 

5:30pm, Libbey Bowl

 

 

 

Ligeti: Piano Études Books I & II

 

            Jeremy Denk, piano

 

Ives: Psalm 90

 

     Ojai Festival Singers; Kevin Fox, conductor

 

Beethoven: Fantasia in C minor for piano, chorus, and orchestra, Op. 80 (“Choral Fantasy”)

 

         Jeremy Denk, piano; Ojai Festival Singers; The Knights; Eric Jacobsen, conductor

 

 

 

Ojai North 2014

 

Jeremy Denk, Music Director

 

 

 

Thursday, June 19

 

 

 

EVENING CONCERT

 

8pm, Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley campus

 

 

 

Haydn: String Quartet in G minor, Op. 74, No.3 (“Rider”)

 

            Brooklyn Rider, string quartet

 

Steven Stucky/Jeremy Denk: The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts) (Bay Area premiere; semi-staged)

 

         Commissioned by the Ojai Music Festival, Cal Performances Berkeley, Carnegie Hall, and the Aspen Music Festival and School

 

         The Knights; Aubrey Allicock, bass baritone; Dominic Armstrong, tenor; Rachel Calloway, mezzo-soprano; Keith Jameson, tenor; Kim Josephson, baritone; Ashraf Sewailam, bass-baritone; Peabody Southwell, mezzo-soprano; Jennifer Zetlan, soprano; Mary Birnbaum, director; Robert Spano, conductor

 

 

 

Friday, June 20

 

 

 

EVENING CONCERT

 

7pm, Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley campus

 

 

 

Program as above (see Thursday, June 19)

 

 

 

LATE_NIGHT CABARET

 

10pm, Venue tba, UC Berkeley Campus

 

 

 

            Storm Large, vocalist

 

 

 

Saturday, June 21

 

 

 

MORNING CONCERT

 

11am, Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley campus

 

 

 

Janácek’s On An Overgrown Path interwoven with short works by Franz Schubert

 

            Jeremy Denk, piano

 

Uri Caine: Mahler Re-Imagined

 

            Uri Caine Ensemble

 

 

 

AFTERNOON CONCERT

 

3pm, Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley campus

 

 

 

Mozart/Timo Andres: Coronation” Concerto Re-composition

 

            Timo Andres, piano; The Knights; Eric Jacobsen, conductor

 

Ives: Three Places in New England (1930 version)

 

            The Knights; Eric Jacobsen, conductor

 

Feldman: Madame Press Died Last Week at 90

 

            The Knights; Eric Jacobsen, conductor

 

Stockhausen (arr. Caroline Shaw): Tierkreis – Leo 4

 

            The Knights; Eric Jacobsen, conductor

 

Weill: Seven Deadly Sins (in English)

 

            Storm Large, vocalist; Hudson Shad, vocal quartet

 

 

 

EVENING CONCERT

 

8pm, Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley campus

 

 

 

Ligeti: Piano Études Books I & II

 

            Jeremy Denk, piano

 

Ives: Psalm 90

 

     Ojai Festival Singers; Kevin Fox, conductor

 

Beethoven: Fantasia in C minor for piano, chorus, and orchestra, Op. 80 (“Choral Fantasy”)

 

         Jeremy Denk, piano; Ojai Festival Singers; The Knights; Eric Jacobsen, conductor

 

 

 

 

 

Programs and artists are subject to change.

 

 

 

jeremydenk.net

 

facebook.com/JeremDenkOfficial

 

jeremydenk.net/blog

 

 

 

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© 21C Media Group, June 2014

 

 

—————————————————
Louise Barder
21C Media Group
200 W. 57th St, Suite 403 
New York, NY 10019
www.21cmediagroup.com 
 
T   (646) 532-4372

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