Dr. Mitchell Kahn

Dr. Mitchell Kahn is one of the two longest serving members of the Board of Directors having joined in 2006 shortly after moving to Bellingham. With an extraordinary musical and medical background, he came from New York City where he was the House Doctor, Medical Director, and Tour Physician for the Metropolitan Opera for 28 years, accompanying them on annual tours to Japan and Europe. In 1998 he was appointed Director of the Miller Healthcare Institute for Performing Artists, the largest performing arts medical clinic in the country. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Performing Arts Medical Association and the International Performing Arts Medical Association, and was a frequent invited speaker at conferences in the US and Europe about the medical problems of performing artists.

Although new to the board at the time, he, along with Tom Little and Diane Norman, was instrumental in reviving the Festival after it had been forced to cancel the 2007 season. He wrote the first successful NEA grant, the early newsletters, and much of the publicity and articles published by and about the Festival over the next few years.

In addition to being on the board of the Festival, Dr. Kahn is also the Artistic and General Director of Pacific Northwest Opera which under his leadership has presented 51 performances of 15 operas to glowing reviews in Bellingham and Mount Vernon.

Since arriving in Bellingham, he has been an invited commentator on the intermission feature of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s radio broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera and has also made appearances on KING-FM and KSVR 91.7 FM.

Known for his encyclopedic knowledge of classical music, he was asked to extemporize a pre-concert talk when 40 people arrived early at a Festival chamber music concert this year. Although no talk had been scheduled, the listeners were expecting to hear a discussion of the music being performed.At the request of board chair Karen Berry, Dr. Kahn stepped in without hesitation to give an engaging and entertaining talk about that concert.

For a “day job”, Dr. Kahn continues to have a full-time practice of primary care internal medicine at his office in Fairhaven.