California’s Ojai Music Festival, one of the most important events in the contemporary music calendar, has named its music directors for the next five years. And, appropriately for an event known for its international outlook, those five come from across the globe.

New York-based jazz pianist Vijay Iyer will take up the position in 2017, followed by Finnish conductor/composer Esa-Pekka Salonen (2018), Canadian soprano/conductor Barbara Hannigan (2019), Moldovan violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja (2020) and Japanese/British pianist Mitsuko Uchida (2021).

Some of the appointments are familiar faces at Ojai. In 1999, Salonen made his festival debut with a programme dedicated to Finnish music and then served as music director in 2001. Uchida, who last performed at the festival in 2004, was co-music director in 1998. Kopatchinskaja, in contrast, will be making her festival debut when she takes up her directorship.

Based 80 miles north of Los Angeles, the four-day festival has prided itself on broad-ranging and cutting-edge concert programmes since it was established back in 1947. Previous Ojai music directors include composers such as Stravinsky (who co-directed it from 1955-6) and Pierre Boulez (who held the position seven times between 1967 and 2003). There have also been conductors, such as Michael Tilson Thomas (1973-75) and Simon Rattle (2000), and performers including soprano Dawn Upshaw (2011) and pianist Leif Ove Andsnes (2012).

More like this

Thomas W Morris, the festival’s artistic director says that these new appointments ‘…will bring to the Ojai Music Festival a truly distinctive and distinguished artistic arc through its 75th anniversary in 2021.’

This year’s festival (2016) marks the 70th anniversary (9-12 June), with opera director Peter Sellars at the helm. For further information click here.