Musical company

The American Modern Opera Company takes over the Ojai Festival

The policy is embedded in company contracts. Sometimes it’s too expensive — most often at dance establishments, which tend to be chronically underfunded. So when possible, the AMOC makes up the difference with subsidies. (This Mellon grant will help.) Ultimately, Winokur said, “everyone walks into the room feeling the same way.”

Usually, Winokur said, partners agree with AMOC’s compensation standards. One reason could be that most institutions would be willing to support the company’s artists anyway. Many of them have been regulars at Lincoln Center; during the 2018-19 season, Bullock was in residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Costanzo was instrumental in bringing the New York Philharmonic back from its pandemic hiatus. “We have,” Tines said, “earned our stripes.”

This places the company in a position that is not appreciated by many avant-garde artists, or young artists in general. They have the freedom, and the means.

“The way AMOC engages with institutions is that we are happy to use hardware resources,” Tines said. “We need spaces, we need financial support. We not need ideals or even artistic ideas. Just allow people to be themselves and artists to create, and hopefully you’ll allow an ecosystem to create beautiful things. The resource provider cannot also be the arbiter.

When AMOC is on its own, it operates in a disciplined and democratic manner. He has a “small but busy staff,” Winokur said, consisting of him, general manager Jennifer Chen, producer Cath Brittan and corporate director Mary McGowan. The company is also made up of committees, like the one that oversees Ojai.

Anthony Cheung, who composed one of the festival’s premieres, ‘The Echoing of Tenses’, said, “I have never seen an organization like this, where even in the planning stages, the people involved or not in the project are also invested.” Guzelimian laughed as he recalled seeing a shared Google Docs file for Ojai, where all members’ changes were happening in real time. “Even document editing,” he said, “is a team effort.”