History & Overview
Mozaic. What's in a Name?
The MOZ is for MOZART…Festival Mozaic features the rich legacy of the enduring universality, creativity and spirit of one of the greatest musicians the world has known. Impeccable and spirited performances by the Festival’s guest artists and musicians, all masters of the classical style, bring Mozart’s timeless masterworks to life.
MOZAIC is for an array of musical works of art that span generations, time and cultures.
You’ll experience the best of the world’s musical influences with orchestral performances, chamber music, world music, jazz, and informative and educational musical experiences that will broaden your horizons.
The San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival was founded by Clifton Swanson in 1971, who served as its Music Director and Conductor until 2004 when Scott Yoo was selected to step into that role.
The Festival began modestly with three performances over a weekend. It grew rapidly to six, nine, then eleven concerts and by the 1980s, the Festival presented 19 concerts. In its early days, the Festival featured primarily orchestral and choral music, but as it has evolved it offers an ever expanding range of programming, including early music, period instrument concerts, jazz, contemporary music, opera, chamber music, solo recitals, world music and much more.
Throughout its history, the Festival has attracted its share of luminaries, up-and-coming artists and exceptionally talented orchestral, choral, studio and chamber musicians who come to participate in music-making and to enjoy the pleasures of the Central Coast. Among the long list of Festival participants are Edgar Meyer, John Luther Adams, Mstislav Rostropovich, Dmitri Shostakovich II, Hilary Hahn, Jeffrey Kahane, and many others.
In 2005, founding artistic director Clifton Swanson passed the baton to Scott Yoo, who has since led the Festival in bold new directions, shifting the focus to high-level chamber music and chamber orchestra performances. In 2006, the Festival's offering were expanded to include a WinterMezzo chamber music series in the "off" season.
In 2008, the Mozart Festival adopted the brand "Festival Mozaic" to more accurately depict its variety of musical styles and to differentiate itself from the dozens of other Mozart Festivals in the U.S. and around the world. In 2009, Scott Yoo developed and debuted the Notable Encounter Series, which is designed to teach 21st century audiences about classical music as an art form. Since the Notable Encounter series' launch, those programs have become the foundation for all Festival programming.
CREATING an annual CELEBRATION
- of FIVE CENTURIES of classical and classically inflected MUSIC (“Mozart and More”)
- in SPECTACULAR VENUES
- on CALIFORNIA’s CENTRAL COAST
- and, in so doing, to produce POWERFUL LIVE-MUSIC EXPERIENCES.
Each summer, in the heart of California’s Central Coast, Festival Mozaic brings together music lovers to enjoy world-class concerts and related events in a festive and stimulating atmosphere. The festival’s programming, presented in charismatic spaces, offers an intriguing blend of repertoire drawn from five centuries of symphonic and chamber forms. Visitors to the region’s beaches, vineyards, and historical attractions join Central Coast residents in enjoying the festival’s musical and social offerings and supporting the festival’s success.
The Festival envisions itself as one of the premiere classical music experiences in the West, enriching festival-goers’ lives through an engagement with great performing art, musicians, the region and one another. The festival is a high point of the summer for both residents and visitors, offering a stimulating opportunity that cannot be had in any other environment. The festival has built a reputation for world-class programming and performance standards throughout the United States. For these reasons, festival-goers return to the festival year after year.
The artistic direction, executive staff, and board share a commitment to bringing the highest quality of live classical music, drawn from five centuries of symphonic and chamber music repertoire, to the Central Coast. A particular focus of festival programming is presenting emerging artists at particularly vibrant and exciting junctures in their careers.
The festival enriches concert presentations with events that provide a social and cultural context for the music. The festival sees itself as building on a rich tradition to build a relevant relationship between audiences and art form. This commitment is expressed in the way the festival selects artists, the way it designs and presents its programs, and the way the audience is encouraged to experience the programming. The festival draws on the power of music to enrich individual lives and strengthen community in a potentially disengaged society.
In order to create a stable foundation for the festival’s future, the festival constantly refines its audience development and fundraising strategies to take advantage of changing demographics and evolving participation styles. The festival is committed to enhancing and strengthening its administrative infrastructure in smart, strategic, and financially sustainable ways.