Fifth Annual “Play it Forward Chamber Residency” Features Colburn Chamber Players

Violist and Cellist to Work with Students in Schools, Perform in Public Concert March 19

Presented by Bellingham Festival of Music and Whatcom Symphony


For immediate release: March 9, 2016


The Colburn Chamber Players, a talented and charismatic duo composed of violist Rachyl Duffy and cellist Nora Doyle, will be the guest ensemble in the Fifth Annual Play It Forward Chamber Residency, March 13—19. Presented this year by the Festival of Music and Whatcom Symphony, the weeklong residency takes the young musicians into many middle and high school classrooms in the county.  They will entertain, teach and inspire local music students through classroom outreach and masterclasses.

The duo, from the prestigious Colburn School in Los Angeles, will also be performing a recital for the public, which will team them with local students and musicians in several different chamber configurations.  The recital will be Saturday, March 19th, 7:30 PM at Bellingham High School, 2020 Cornwall Ave. in Bellingham.

All students free; Adults: Suggested $15 donation to BFM Outreach Programs


Biographies of the Artists

Nora Doyle, cello

Nora 300pxNora Doyle, a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a second-year Bachelor’s student at the Colburn School. She currently studies with Ronald Leonard. While at Colburn, she has collaborated with artists such as Ariana Ghez, Robert deMaine, and Scott St. John. In 2014, she received first prize in the Schubert Club competition, and has twice won the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies Concerto Competition (2012, 2014).

In high school, Nora played in a string quartet and a piano trio. Her quartet won first prize in the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Chamber Competition (2013), and second place in the St. Paul String Quartet Competition (2013). Her trio was selected for the semi-final round of the Fischoff Chamber Music competition (2013, 2014). She has appeared with both groups on NPR’s From the Top, and Minnesota Public Radio’s Minnesota Varsity competition, where she also appeared as a soloist. She has attended the Aspen Music Festival and School, Heifetz Institute, and toured as a member of the National Youth Orchestra of the USA.


Rachyl Duffy, viola

Rachyl 300pxCalled “splendid,” violist Rachyl Duffy burst onto the classical music scene on both coasts in 2015 by taking first prize in both the International Hugo Kauder Competition for Viola and the prestigious Pasadena Showcase House Instrumental Competition in the span of five months. She has also performed as a soloist with orchestras in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. Her review in Classical Voice of North Carolina describes Rachyl “bravely tackling the many soliloquies and floating effortlessly above the large orchestra. Her intonation was impeccable, her tone warm and passionate and her vibrato expressive and suited to the mood.”

A dedicated chamber musician, Rachyl has attended Kneisel Hall Summer Music Festival in Maine two summers in a row, and performed chamber music this past summer as faculty at Porterville Summer Strings. As a passionate teacher, Rachyl also coached chamber music at Kneisel Hall’s Program for Maine Students, and taught beginning orchestra and private lessons to the underprivileged students of Porterville, California. She is currently a Teaching Fellow at the Colburn School and has her own private studio. Rachyl recently won a position with the San Diego Symphony, and will begin full-time after her graduating this year with a Master of Music degree from the Colburn School, where she studies with Paul Coletti. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), where she studied with Sheila Browne on full scholarship.


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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 received National Endowment for the Arts grants in 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, and 2015—a resounding endorsement of the quality of its performances and the contribution it makes to regional and national cultural life.