About the Festival




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.



Festival Mozaic is presented by the Mozart Festival Association, a nonprofit organization with headquarters in San Luis Obispo.  Governed by a dedicated board of directors, the Festival is a vital community organization and treasured asset in San Luis Obispo County.

Music Director

Scott Yoo has been the Music Director of Festival Mozaic since 2005.

Read more

Music Director Emeritus

Clifton Swanson is the Founder of the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival and Music Director Emeritus of Festival Mozaic.

Read more

Festival Artists

Festival Mozaic's stages are graced by these truly inspiring artists.

Read more



Click through to view the members of Festival Mozaic's volunteer Board of Directors.

Read more


Festival Mozaic is led by a small, tight-knit staff of arts professionals. Click through to learn more about us.

Read more


The Festival is kept up-and-running by a team of generous volunteers. Read on to learn about getting involved.

Read more





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

  • Bring the highest quality live classical music to the Central Coast
  • Highlight the works of eclectic, young composers as well traditional ones
  • Present emerging and culturally diverse classically-trained artists in both chamber and “unclassical” musical performances
  • Choose unique, high value, historical, cultural, intimate venues for performances
  • Enrich concert presentations with information, dialogue and storytelling
  • Refresh the repertoire (music, composers, performers and venues) annually in order to cultivate new and repeat attendees
II. Be Invovled in the Cultural Community at Large
  • Showcase the lifestyle of the Central Coast (unique venues, scenery, food and wine) alongside the music
  • Design programs and activities in a manner that provides multiple points of entry to the Festival and the art form
  • Create and curate multiple ways to experience the festival while building a relationship between its audience, the musicians and the organization
  • Act as a leader within the Central Coast arts community, participate in the state and national arts conversation
  • Provide music education programs to public schools and other educational institutions
  • Design opportunities for visiting musicians to interact with the Central Coast Community
III. Be Good Stewards
  • Maintain financial stability year to year
  • Refine audience and fundraising strategies to fit with changing demographics and evolving participation styles
  • Build and retain inclusivity and diversity in professional staff, board, and volunteers
  • Strategically enhance and strengthen the festival’s administrative infrastructure in a financially sustainable manner
IV. Make Serious Music Seriously Fun
  • Celebrate the way that music brings people together
  • Be joyful and festive in addition to being smart and strategic




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.