Review | A Wrap on the Ojai Music Festival

Excerpted article, by Josef Woodard, Santa Barbara Independent. Read in full on Santa Barbara Independent website here.


For all its worldly trappings, as an annual gathering point for internationally-respected musicians composers, conductors, plus visitors and press from near and far, the unique power of the Ojai Music Festival (ojaifestival.org) is partly rooted in its “village” concept. As the cliché goes, it “takes one” to pull all the festival pieces together and it is one, a golden west coast destination spot.


Other, more off-kilter shows came from Sandbox Percussion with pianist Conor Hanick. A major highlight was the group’s riveting, stop-the-clocks Gilmore-commissioned performance of a work by Tyshawn Sorey. It was a stunning display of discipline, memory, coordination, use of space and piano as percussion instrument, offering offsetting vibes, gongs and water-glass/tape loop “bells,” all of it synchronized.


Hanick also captivated with his Tyshawn Sorey’s new For James Primrosch, commissioned by the Music Academy. The dreamy-stately piece again reveals Sorey’s unapologetic debt to hero Morton Feldman, but to artful, next-generation ends.