“The Ojai Music Festival barely made reference at its opening events on Thursday to the most striking element of this year’s four-day program: Nearly all of the work is by women,” writes Zachary Woolfe in Saturday’s (6/11) New York Times. “Each year the festival changes music directors…. This year, the leader is the stage director Peter Sellars,” who programmed works by Leila Adu, Du Yun, Tania León, Christine Southworth, Carla Kihlstedt, and Pauline Oliveros. The chamber version of Kaija Saariaho’s 2006 oratorio La Passion de Simone offered “oblique commentary on [Simone] Weil. Our guide is a nameless woman, here the noble young soprano Julia Bullock… Among the most memorable moments were the subtlest, as when Ms. Bullock trilled over the barest hint of high strings, bells and softly tolling drum…. Ojai’s artistic directors over the past 70 years have been almost entirely male; Dawn Upshaw, in 2011, has been the only woman to hold the post on her own. While the festival has clearly taken note of this disparity—three of the next five years will be led by women—it has, characteristically, not spoken too loudly about it…. If Ojai won’t make a big deal about it, I will.”

Posted June 15, 2016