Ojai comes "North!" next week with some pretty impressive-looking programs. So impressive, I decided to change the night I'm seeing Yuja Wang.

Courtesy of Cal Performances, the Ojai Music Festival comes to Berkeley next week for four nights of what promise to be interesting and unique concerts. It begins on Monday, June 11 at 5:00 PM with a free, outdoor performance of John Luther Adam's Inuksuit in the Faculty Glade up near Hertz Hall. Inuksuit was written for Steven Schick, who will lead 24 percussionists and piccolo players in a work I've wanted to hear ever since I read Alex Ross' comments on it awhile back, but alas, that early start time won't work for me. Brian just posted a review of the performance from Ojai here. For the rest of us, there are concerts taking place at 7:00 and 9:30 PM Tuesday through Thursday nights at Hertz Hall. The 9:30 concerts are schedule to run about an hour, so they still end at a reasonable time. I love the idea of concerts beginning at 9:30 PM- it feels so decadent and dark.
Leif Ove Andsnes
This year's music director, pianist Leif Ove Andsnes will be chatting with Cal Performances' General Director Matias Tarnopolsky and some of the other artists appearing each night at 6:00 PM- these conversation are free and open to all ticket holders. By the way, the tickets are only $10 or $20 per concert, making this festival a steal.

Christianne Stotijn
Here's the schedule:
Tuesday, June 12, at 7:00 PM:
Leif Ove Andsnes performs Alfred Schnittke’s Piano Quintet with members of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra. Andsnes will then accompany mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn in Dmitri Shostakovich’s late song cycle Six Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva, Op. 143. The concert concludes with longtime collaborator Marc-André Hamelin joining Andsnes for Igor Stravinsky’s own four hands arrangement of his prodigious Le Sacre du Printemps.

Tuesday, June 12, at 9:30 PM:
The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra will perform Leoš Janáček’s String Quartet No. 1, “The Kreutzer Sonata,” featuring actor Theodore Jansen in readings from Tolstoy arranged for string orchestra and narrator. Usually the inclusion of an "actor" "enhancing" a performance with "readings" drives fear into my heart, but I'm going to remain optimistic hear, because one, I love Tolstoy's novella, and two, for once this idea may actually bear some fruit.

Wednesday, June 13, at 7:00 PM
The concert begins with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra’s arrangement of Janáček’s Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters," and is then followed by the Bay Area premiere of Reinbert de Leeuw’s cycle of 21 songs, Im wunderschönen Monat Mai (“In the Merry Month of May”), inspired by works of Schumann and Schubert. Barbara Sukowa, for whom the work was written, has bowed out due an emergency, so Tony-nominated American soprano/actress/contemporary music specialist Lucy Shelton will perform the role which calls for singing, screaming and whispering. The composer will be at the piano, leading fifteen of the Norwegians.

Wednesday, June 13, at 9:30 PM
Marc-André Hamelin will perform Charles Ives’ Concord Sonata. What more do you need to know?
Thursday, June 14, at 7:00 PM
I changed my Yuja Wang tickets for this ridiculous bounty: the Bay Area premiere of Norwegian composer Bent Sørensen’s Piano Concerto No. 2, “La Mattina,” with Andsnes as soloist with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra; Icelandic composer Haflidi Hallgrímsson’s Poemi, Op. 7, with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and violinist Terje Tønneson; Berg’s early Four Songs, Op. 2, sung by Stotijn with Hamelin at the piano; and seriously, if that wasn't enough, t
he concert concludes with Andsnes performing Beethoven's "Waldstein" sonata.

Thursday, June 14, at 9:30 PM
The last late show begins with: selections from György Kurtag’s Játékok (“Games”), a work inspired by children spontaneously playing the piano and is followed by Debussy’s Danses Sacre et Profane for strings and solo harp; a selection of cabaret songs by William Bolcom sung by Stotijn with Hamelin accompanying, and then it all ends with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra’s interpretation of fellow countryman Grieg’s Holberg Suite.

For tickets and more information go to Cal Performances, or get them at the door.

Not for the faint of heart, and not to be missed. Yuja and Attila can wait. See you there.

Marc-André Hamelin