EXPERIENCE THE ART OF MUSIC IN SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
In May of 1970, a trio of music professors at the California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) came together to brainstorm the possibility of starting a summer music festival in beautiful San Luis Obispo, California. A year later, the inaugural season of the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival took place with three performances in venues on Cal Poly's campus, as well as the historic Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. Fifty years later, the vision of Clifton Swanson, Ronald Ratcliffe, and John Russell lives on through Festival Mozaic, which hosts a two-week summer festival of more than 30 events, a year-round chamber music and presenting series, and a vibrant virtual presence. Over its five decades, the Festival has offered an ever-expanding range of programming, including early music, jazz, contemporary music, opera, world music, new commissions and world premieres. The Festival places an emphasis of offering performances in unique Central Coast venues, including the historic Mission and beautiful outdoor spaces, as well as contemporary concert halls.
Clifton Swanson served as Music Director of the Mozart Festival until 2005. During the decades of his tenure, the Festival hosted luminaries such as Edgar Meyer, the Kronos Quartet, Turtle Island String Quartet, and many stars of the classical music world, including Richard Goode, Hilary Hahn, and Jeffrey Kahane. In 2005, Clif passed the baton to conductor and virtuoso violinist Scott Yoo.
Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Festival postpone its 50th Anniversary Season in 2020. Regardless, it has persevered with the support of its generous community of donors and volunteers and will continue bringing the world’s finest musical influences to San Luis Obispo County for decades to come.
Click here to pre-order a copy of the 50th Anniversary Commemorative Hardcover Book, which chronicles the 50+ year history of the Mozart Festival and Festival Mozaic complete with memoirs, stories and photos from 1971-2021.
Clifton Swanson is the Founder of the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival and Music Director Emeritus of Festival Mozaic.
Click through to view the members of Festival Mozaic's volunteer Board of Directors.
Festival Mozaic is led by a small, tight-knit staff of arts professionals. Click through to learn more about us.
The Festival is kept up-and-running by a team of generous volunteers. Read on to learn about getting involved.
Through performances in San Luis Obispo County's many diverse venues, and by providing multiple points of entry into the world of classical music, Festival Mozaic deepens the experience for its participants. Our programs provide access to the art form through professional performances by outstanding visiting artists, outreach, education, dialogue, and content creation.
Festival Mozaic is a vital community asset that provides a premier destination music experience unique to San Luis Obispo County, appealing to a wide-ranging demographic by enriching and transforming the way people hear and interact with classical music.
At Festival Mozaic, we, the board, staff, and volunteers, pledge to:
I. Embrace Artistic Excellence and Elevate the Experience
Each summer and throughout the year in the heart of California’s Central Coast, Festival Mozaic brings together music lovers to enjoy premier concerts and related events in a festive and stimulating atmosphere. The Festival was founded in 1971 to honor the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose influence lives on in the mosaic of classical music, composers, and performers. More than just a series of concerts, the Festival is an immersive experience, where the music is elevated by the backdrop of beautiful San Luis Obispo County. The Festival’s venues are intrinsic to the identity of the Festival, and the scenic beauty and lifestyle of the Central Coast is celebrated along with the art form of classical music.