January 2017 Newsletter

Happy New Year! As the Bellingham Festival of Music welcomes in a new and exciting year, we will continue our two significant focuses. First, the summer classical music festival that has been bringing top-tier musicians to Bellingham for the past 23 years–principal players from orchestras throughout the country and Canada. Our other major effort is inspiring young people in Whatcom County though our various outreach programs. These programs are in addition to our annual signature music festival and are designed to provide a spectrum of music education programming to support young musicians, cultivate an appreciation for classical music and make the music experience available to the entire community. A recent example of this outreach was our 7th Annual Welcome Home Concert on January 7th featuring guitarist Eli Schille-Hudson. The annual Welcome Home Concert expands live audience performance opportunities for Whatcom County’s emerging young musicians seeking a career in music.

Through the Festival’s outreach initiatives, the Festival increases the community’s access to classical music and provides students with a chance to hear and learn from live performances and guest artist instruction. This proud and rich history has produced a wide variety of admission free programs for both children and adults, helping our community learn more about music and students to explore their own musical talents and interests. As the year unfolds, we will be sharing more information with you about these special programs, including the Play It Forward program in March, Fifth Grade Strings Program, Beethoven In The Schools, Blue Skies for Children, free community concerts, open educational rehearsals, master classes, pre-concert lectures and more. We hope each of you will avail yourself to some or all of these experiences in the year ahead.

Karen Berry, Chair

Back By Popular Demand

Ilya Yakushev, piano
March 19, 2017, 3:00PM
Western Washington University Performing
Arts Center

Tickets on Sale January 17, 2017 WWU Box Office –

Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev, whose music thrilled festival audiences last summer, returns to Bellingham March 19, 2017 for a special concert sponsored by the Bellingham Festival of Music. Yakushev, with many international awards and honors to his credit, performed at several prestigious summer music festivals in 2016, including Maverick Concerts (NY), Bellingham Festival of Music (WA), Summer Music from Greensboro (VT), and International Keyboard Institute & Festival (New York City). His 2015-16 season also included a return appearance with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and performances with the Reading Symphony and Fairfield County Symphony. He also played recitals in Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, and New York.

Winner of the 2005 World Piano Competition, Mr. Yakushev received his first award at age 12 as a prizewinner of the Young Artists Concerto Competition in his native St. Petersburg. In 1997, he received the Mayor of St. Petersburg’s Young Talents award, and in both 1997 and 1998, he won First Prize at the Donostia Hiria International Piano Competition in San Sebastian, Spain. In 1998, he received a national honor, The Award for Excellence in Performance, presented to him by the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation in Moscow. Most recently, Mr. Yakushev became a recipient of the prestigious Gawon International Music Society’s Award in Seoul, Korea.

Mr. Yakushev attended the Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music in his native St. Petersburg, Russia, and subsequently came to New York City to attend Mannes College of Music where he studied with legendary pianist Vladimir Feltsman. Ilya Yakushev is a Yamaha artist.

Summer Festival Tickets on Sale
January 17, 2017
WWU Box Office – 360-650-6146

Season tickets go on sale January 17th,
with individual tickets on sale February 1.

Season performances and ticket prices can be found by visiting http://bellinghamfestival.org/festival-events/season-schedule/ and http://bellinghamfestival.org/tickets/

Save the Date

Play It Forward Concert

Colburn School String Quartet
March 12, 2017
Concert details will appear in the February Newsletter

Play It Forward is a collaboration between the Bellingham Festival of Music and the Whatcom Symphony to help create music awareness among middle and high school students. Each year a group of young performers from the Colburn School of Music visits Bellingham for a week-long residency, during which time they perform at area schools. In addition, Colburn musicians perform one community concert during their residency.

This year will be the sixth annual Play It Forward performance by Colburn School music students. The Colburn School is a performing arts institution located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, neighboring Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Music Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Broad Museum. The acclaimed faculty provides college and graduate level students with the highest quality performing arts education, which includes a multitude of performance opportunities in a state-of-the-art facility. The Colburn School is a unique conservatory designed to prepare gifted young artists for careers as well-rounded professional musicians.  The Calidore String Quartet, performing July 2, 2017 during our summer music festival, is ranked among Colburn’s most gifted alumni ensembles.

Ellen Pfeifer

Get To Know Your Board – Ellen Pfeifer

Ellen Pfeifer is a transplant from Boston, MA, relocating to Bellingham in July 2015 after Boston’s epic winter of 2015. Ellen and her husband Dan Polvere, a retired lawyer, chose Bellingham after many years of vacationing in the Pacific Northwest.

Professionally, Ellen made writing about classical music her passionate focus. Having studied journalism and music at Northwestern University and the University of Southern California, she won a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to study music criticism. Through that program, she held an internship at the Boston Globe and subsequently was hired as assistant music critic under the late critic Michael Steinberg. In 1972, she joined the staff of the Boston Herald and became the senior classical music critic, a post she held for 29 years. In 2003, Ellen took the position of Public Relations Manager (later Senior Communications Specialist) at the New England Conservatory (NEC). Among the highlights of her career were accompanying the Boston Symphony Orchestra on tour to China, scooping the Globe on the appointment of John Williams as Boston Pops Conductor, and hearing many wonderful performances by some of the greatest soloists, orchestras and ensembles in the world. At NEC, she handled media relations as well as internal and external communications.

It is due to the talent of board members like Ellen that the Festival operates so successfully through an all-volunteer board with no paid staff. Working with other board members, her creative talents help ensure the Festival’s press releases are professional and well timed, relations with the media and community are developed and nurtured, and the Festival is recognized as one of the Pacific Northwest’s leading virtuoso orchestra festivals. And, when not doing all things Festival, Ellen finds time to enjoy her other passions, including cooking, entertaining, gardening, and quilting.

Save The Date Postcard Has Arrived
In Your Mail

The Annual Auction and Dinner Is The Festival’s
Major Fundraiser

Please Join Us For A Fun and Glamorous Evening

Bellingham Festival of Music Auction and Dinner
For up-to-date info about the Festival visit our website
Bellingham Bay Photo Courtesy of Cheryl Crooks Photography