You could very loosely describe the annual Ojai Music Festival as a Coachella for classical and new-music fans. Since 1947, the festival has been the West Coast's preeminent gathering for adventurous chamber-music and avant-garde sounds, and over the decades such luminaries as Igor Stravinsky, Pierre Boulez and Aaron Copland have served as music director amid the bucolic Ojai setting. This year's music director is the subversive Canadian vocalist-conductor Barbara Hannigan, who has memorably transformed György Ligeti's eerily arty Mysteries of the Macabre into a wickedly brilliant schoolgirl fantasy and has been a charismatic force via provocative roles in Lulu, Pelléas et Mélisande, and in L.A. Phil's 2016 world premiere of Gerald Barry's inventively daft and demented opera Alice's Adventures Under Ground. The festival's Thursday opening centers on a performance of Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress.
Friday's highlights include Jack Quartet, percussionist Steven Schick, pianist Stephen Gosling, and vocalists Aphrodite Patoulidou and Barbara Hannigan roaming through pieces by John Zorn, Arnold Schoenberg, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel and others. Saturday features a tribute to Oliver Knussen, as well as Hannigan singing Zorn's Jumalattaret and Gérard Grisey's Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil. Sunday, Jack Quartet ushers in the U.S. premiere of Catherine Lamb's String Quartet; various musicians cycle through Terry Riley's iconic In C; and the festival culminates with a three-headed concert performance of Stravinksy's full Pulcinella, Haydn's Symphony No. 49, and Gershwin's Girl Crazy Suite, with Hannigan simultaneously singing and conducting the latter piece.
Libbey Bowl, 210 S. Signal St., Ojai; Thurs., June 6, 1-10:30 p.m.; Fri., June 7, 8 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Sat., June 8, 8 a.m.-mid.; Sun., June 9, 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; $20-$150. (805) 646-2053, ojaifestival.org.