Ojai Music Festival taps Guzelimian as next chief, succeeding LA Phil’s Chad Smith

Posted on: October 17, 2019

“Ara Guzelimian first attended the Ojai Music Festival, the laboratory of musical innovation in Southern California, as a teenager,” writes Michael Cooper in Thursday’s (10/17) New York Times. “In 1974, as a college student, he performed at the festival as a member of U.C.L.A.’s a cappella choir. And from 1992 to 1997, he was Ojai’s artistic director. So when the festival suddenly found itself in need of a new leader earlier this month, after its incoming artistic director, Chad Smith, was named chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, it was only natural to reach out to Mr. Guzelimian. The festival announced on Thursday that he had agreed to take—or retake—the job. ‘It felt a little like Odysseus coming home after all his journeys,’ said Mr. Guzelimian, whose post-Ojai life has brought him to Carnegie Hall, as senior director and artistic adviser, and the Juilliard School, as provost and dean, a position he had already planned to step down from next June…. Mr. Smith will remain in charge of next year’s Ojai Festival…. Mr. Guzelimian said that his first task would be planning the season in which he returns: 2021, which is also the festival’s 75th anniversary.”

Posted October 17, 2019

In photo: Ara Guzelimian at the Juilliard School, where he is provost and dean. He has been named the next artistic director of California’s Ojai Music Festival. Photo by Hiroko Masuike / New York Times