Classical Music Festivals in California

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A comprehensive guide to the best Classical Music Festivals in California, including the top events, ticket information, and more.


Looking for a classical music festival in California? Check out this list of some of the best ones taking place in the state this year!

-The Ojai Music Festival: This annual event takes place in the charming town of Ojai and features a diverse lineup of classical and contemporary music.
-The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music: This festival takes place in Santa Cruz and showcases the work of emerging and established composers from around the world.
-The LA Philharmonic’s Minimalist Jukebox Festival: This popular event features a wide range of minimal music, from piping-hot new works to classics by Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and Philip Glass.
-The Next Now Festival: This forward-thinking festival presents cutting-edge music by living composers, performed by some of today’s most exciting artists.

The Ojai Music Festival

The Ojai Music Festival is a classical music festival that takes place annually in Ojai, California. The festival was founded in 1947 by Austrian conductor and composer Viktor Herbert, and it has been held every year since then. The festival features a wide range of classical music, from symphonies and solo recitals to chamber music and opera. The Ojai Music Festival is one of the most popular classical music festivals in California, and it attracts visitors from all over the world.

The Cabrillo Music Festival

The Cabrillo Music Festival is an annual summer festival of contemporary music held in Santa Cruz, California. Founded in 1963 by composer Lou Harrison and conductor and educator David Tidball, the festival is now in its 56th season. It is the longest-running contemporary music festival on the West Coast, and one of the oldest continuously running new music festivals in the country.

Each year, the festival presents a mix of world premieres, commissions, and rare works by some of the most prominent composers of our time. The Cabrillo Music Festival Orchestra is made up of professional musicians from around the country, many of whom are members of major symphony orchestras. In recent years, the orchestra has been led by conductors Marin Alsop, John Adams, Allan Gilliland, Cristian Macelaru, Leonard Slatkin, and Michael Tilson Thomas.

The festival takes place over two weeks in August, with concerts Thursday through Sunday evenings. Tickets are available online or by phone.

The Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl is an amphitheater in Hollywood, California. The Hollywood Bowl is known for its band shell, a distinctive set of concentric arches that graced the site from 1929 to 2003 before being replaced with a larger one beginning in the 2004 season. The bowl is set against the Hollywood Hills and separated from downtown Los Angeles by the Santa Monica Mountains. It is owned by the County of Los Angeles and managed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. Used for summer concerts, symphonies and other events, it seats just under 19,000 people.

The Monterey Jazz Festival

The Monterey Jazz Festival is one of the world’s longest-running and most prestigious jazz festivals. It takes place every September in Monterey, California, and features a wide range of jazz performers from around the world.

The Santa Barbara Bowl

The Santa Barbara Bowl is an amphitheater located in Santa Barbara, California. The bowl is nicknamed “The Nat” because of its natural setting on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It has a capacity of 4,562 people and opened in 1936. The Santa Barbara Bowl is considered one of the best outdoor concert venues in the world.

The Hollywood Bowl is an amphitheater located in Hollywood, California. The Hollywood Bowl has a capacity of 18,000 people and opened in 1922. The Hollywood Bowl is considered one of the best outdoor concert venues in the world.

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