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The world class music festival where Mozart meets modern, and Chamber Music meets contemporary

Ojai Music Festival returns this weekend
Caroline Feraday
Ojai Music Festival returns this weekend

The Ojai Music Festival returns this weekend

Rehearsing on stage at this open air amphitheater in Ventura County, is Sae Hashimoto, playing a works called 6 Japanese gardens.

She’s just one of the artists featured at this year’s Ojai Music Festival. The festival has been running for 78 years, but each year, is curated by a new musical director, which brings their own creativity and ideas to the experience.

"That's one of the loveliest things about the Ojai Festival," says Ara Guzelimian, the Festival's Artistic and Executive Director.

"It has this model in which there's a different music director each year. The music director this year is the great pianist Mitsuko Uchida, coming back for the third or fourth time," he said.

"Each year is invented anew, and I think that's somehow both very much in the DNA of the festival, and also some very fitting into the creative spirit of Ojai," said Guzelimian.

At a festival where Mozart meets modern, and Chamber Music meets contemporary, he says it’s a chance to come and enjoy and explore what’s on offer.

"A community forms for these four very intense days, and there's a bond between festival and artists. Many of the artists, when they're not playing, sit out in the audience. So there isn't this kind of fourth wall dividing the artists in the audience. Everybody's in this joint venture together, and so it's a whole immersive experience in this pretty, irresistibly beautiful setting that Ojai is," he said.

Guzelimian says anyone new to the festival should come with an open attitude.

"You know, I think ultimately any of the arts are just an immediate expression of being human. And my biggest piece of advice for anybody wanting to take the leap is come with open heart, come with open mind, come with open ears and react. Honestly, there isn't a right way or a wrong way. The reason we cherish the arts is they either speak to us or they don't. And each for each person, it's a different experience," he said.

"Come with a spirit sense of adventure and leave yourself open to discovering that you love something you never even knew existed."

The Ojai Music Festival starts Thursday and runs through Sunday…and there is a live stream of the performances on their website.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022 and 2023.

Since joining the station she's won 10 Golden Mike Awards, 5 Los Angeles Press Club Awards, 2 National Arts & Entertainment Awards and a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Writing.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for eleven years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.