Bellingham Festival of Music Announces Updated Season Program

Lorenzo Palomo World Premiere Postponed

Violinist Tim Fain, Well Known for Film Performances, Substitutes for Pablo Villegas

Cellist Zuill Bailey Comes to Festival after Winning GRAMMY Award for Best Instrumental Solo

Bellingham, WA.—The Bellingham Festival of Music has announced several updates to its 24th Season program.  Under the artistic direction of founding conductor Michael Palmer, the festival opens July 1 and features seven outstanding programs of orchestra and chamber music through July 21.  Tickets for the festival are currently on sale at or through the Western Washington University box office at 360-650-6146 or Senior and student discounts are available.

On opening night, July 1, the Festival is delighted to present two works by young, emerging composers. Patrick Harlin’s 2011 Rapture opens the program. Benjamin Dean Taylor’s Aurum Tetra, commissioned by the Festival and the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University will be given its world premiere. A rare concerto for string quartet and orchestra, it will be performed by the Calidore String Quartet.

The previously announced world premiere of Lorenzo Palomo’s In the Garden of Bacchus, Concerto for Guitar has been postponed due to the cancellation of the soloist, Pablo Villegas.  That July 13 program will now be highlighted by the BFM debut of violinist Tim Fain, who will perform the Dvorak Violin Concerto in A-minor. Much admired for his musicality, versatility and adventurousness, Fain plays not only on the concert platform but in a variety of media. He has been seen and heard in the film Black Swan, and gave “voice” to the violin performances of lead actors in 12 Years a Slave and Bee Season. Along with his performance, the program features the Haydn Trumpet Concerto in E-flat Major with Festival Orchestra principal trumpet Charles Butler and the Schubert Symphony No. 4 “Tragic.”

On July 2, the Calidore String Quartet, the Festival’s much honored ensemble-in- residence, will perform three works: Mozart Quartet No. 15 in D-minor; Janacek Quartet No. 1 “Kreutzer,” and Dvorak Quartet in F-Major, “American.”

On July 9, Festival Orchestra principals will perform two chamber music masterpieces at the ever popular Chamber by the Bay concert in the Bellingham Cruise Terminal.  Those works are: Mozart Serenade for Winds in C minor, K. 388 and the Brahms Viola Quintet in F major, Op 88.

On July 16, cellist Zuill Bailey will perform the Haydn Concerto in C-Major instead of the previously announced D-Major work. Since he was announced as a performer in the Festival, Bailey has gone on to win the 2017 GRAMMY Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo for his recording of Tales of Hemingway, by composer Michael Daugherty.

The brilliant season finale, An All-Bernstein Evening, will include the Overture to Candide, Serenade with violinist Robert McDuffie, Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, and Chichester Psalms with the Bellingham Festival Chorus. Soloist in the latter work is boy soprano Alex Zuniga, who was recently heard singing the role of Amahl in Pacific Northwest Opera’s production of Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors.

The complete programs follow.  Except where noted, all performances take place at 7:30 PM in the WWU PAC Concert Hall:


July 1, 2017

Patrick Harlan: Rapture

Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

Marc-André Hamelin, piano

Benjamin Dean Taylor: Aurum Tetra: Concerto for String Quartet (World premiere)

Calidore String Quartet

Stravinsky: Firebird Suite (1919 Version)


July 2, 2017

Calidore String Quartet in Recital

Mozart Quartet No. 15 in D-minor

Janacek Quartet No. 1 “Kreutzer”

Dvorak Quartet in F-Major, “American”


July 8, 2017

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G-Major

Jeremy Denk, piano

Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat “Eroica”


July 9, 2017   Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 4:00 PM

Chamber by the Bay featuring Festival Orchestra Principals

Mozart Serenade for Winds in C minor, K. 388

Brahms Viola Quintet in F major, Op 88


Jul 13, 2017

Haydn: Trumpet Concerto in E-flat Major

Charles Butler, trumpet

Dvorak: Violin Concerto in A-minor

Tim Fain, violin

Schubert: Symphony No. 4 “Tragic”


July 16, 2017

Respighi: Trittico Botticelliano

Haydn: Cello Concerto in C Major

Zuill Bailey, cello

Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 in A-Major “Italian”


July 21, 2017

All Bernstein Evening –An Early Celebration of Bernstein’s 100th Anniversary

Bernstein: Candide: Overture

Bernstein: Serenade after Plato’s Symposium

Robert McDuffie, violin

Bernstein: Chichester Psalms

Bellingham Festival Chorus,

Alex Zuniga, boy soprano

Bernstein: Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
For more information:



Nestled between snow-capped mountains and island-studded bay, Bellingham, Washington’s spectacular natural beauty provides the ideal backdrop for the celebration of classical music. Since 1993, the Bellingham Festival of Music has enlivened the summer season with outstanding live orchestral performances and chamber music recitals for Northwest Washington audiences.  Under the direction of co-founder and noted American conductor Michael Palmer, the festival orchestra is composed of some of the finest musicians in the United States and Canada, many of them principals in such illustrious orchestras as the New York Philharmonic and the Boston, Chicago, and Atlanta Symphonies. They are joined by eminent soloists who have included Garrick Ohlsson, Lynn Harrell, Arnaldo Cohen, Vadim Gluzman, Joshua Bell, Frederica von Stade, and Pepe Romero. In addition, the festival boasts a resident chamber ensemble, currently the Calidore String Quartet, which presents recitals as well as participating in community educational and engagement activities.

Of equal importance to its summer season are the Festival’s year-round outreach initiatives which extend the beauty of classical music to youngsters in the region. Among these programs are masterclasses, and both the Play it Forward Chamber Music Residency and Beethoven in the Schools project which bring music to K-12 classrooms. In 2014-15, BFM also helped kick start the return of the Fifth Grade Strings program in the public schools.

The Festival’s artistic excellence has been recognized widely throughout the country and its concerts and recordings have been broadcast nationally, first by NPR and most recently by American Public Media on its Performance Today show. Among these recordings are the three-CD set of the complete Beethoven Piano Concertos featuring Garrick Ohlsson with Michael Palmer conducting the Festival Orchestra. These performances were recorded live at the Festival on the Natural Soundfields label in 2000.

The recipient of grants from several entities, the Festival has received National Endowment for the Arts grants annually since 2009—a resounding endorsement of the quality of its performances and the contribution it makes to regional and national cultural life.