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Arts and Entertainment

Need a Weekend Mini-Vacation? Check Out the Ojai Music Festival

A rendering of the remodeled Libbey Bowl, venue for the Ojai Music Festival (Photo via The Libbey Bowl site)
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If you need a mini vacation away from LA before Carmageddon, head on over to Ojai this weekend for the Ojai Music Festival. Local (and global) fave Dawn Upshawreturns to the 65th iteration of the Ojai Music Festival as music director in a well curated series highlighting contemporary composers and little known or rare works of older composers. You can get tickets for 5 concerts for as little as $68 (I hope I don't have to do the math for you) and up to $320. They also have cheaper weekend passes ($57-$266) and day passes ($25-$115).

The newly renovated Libbey Bowl will host the concerts starting tonight at 8 PM. Kicking off the festival tonight is an all-vocal program including music by Purcell, Faure, Messiaen, Szymanowski, Copland, Britten, Berio, and Granger. The performers are former/recent students of Dawn Upshaw's.

On Friday from 1 to 5, there's the Festival Symposium with Richard Tognetti of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and director Peter Sellars who talks about music in the time of war (great treat for a musically inclined recent grad, or anyone who loves Peter Sellars). This is the first part of the Winds of Destiny Project, which culminates with the Friday night performance of George Crumb's the Winds of Destiny. It is the world premiere of the staged production (by Sellars), and Dawn Upshaw is the featured Soprano.

Saturday morning's concert includes works by Janacek, Prokofiev, and Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata by Gilbert Kalish and Richard Tognetti. Tickets are as cheap as $5 for students and $20 for adults, so it's not going to cost you much. The day continues with another symposium at 3:30 with Upshaw, and finishes with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, performing works by Schnittke, Scelsi, Tognetti, Bach's Violin Concerto in A minor and Schoenberg's Transfigured Night.

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Sunday morning, Grammy-award winning composer Maria Schneider (more on her here from the LAT) premieres a new work with her 18-piece jazz orchestra. The final concert of the 2011 Festival includes another premiere by Schneider, works by Grieg, Bartok, Webern, and Crumb performed by the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Dawn Upshaw.

Here are some highlights from the last Ojai Music Festival.