Our 24th annual Festival has gotten off to a brilliant start! Opening night, July 1, featured two contemporary works—including a world premiere—by two exciting emerging composers, Ben Taylor and Patrick Harlin. Ben’s Aurum Tetra, a festival commission and one of the rare concertos for string quartet and orchestra, spotlighted our resident Calidore Quartet. There was also the Festival debut of renowned pianist Marc-André Hamelin performing Rachmaninoff’s beloved Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini followed by Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. The next evening, a string quartet program, once again featured the Calidores in a fascinating program of Mozart, Janacek, and Dvorak. Both were near sell-outs!
Then, on July 8, that great poet of the piano (and the blogosphere) Jeremy Denk returned in an all-Beethoven program including the Fourth Piano Concerto and the Symphony No. 3 “Eroica.” And on Sunday, the 9th, we returned to the Dome Room at the Cruise Terminal for our ever-popular Chamber by the Bay concert performed by principals of the orchestra’s string and wind sections. There wasn’t an empty seat in either house.
As I write this, we still have three more concerts to go—completing an ambitious season of 16 works performed in 20 days, of which 10 are new to the Festival (including the world premiere.) This rich offering of masterworks at the highest artistic level over such a short period of time is only possible because of the quality of our Festival Orchestra and artistic leadership of Michael Palmer, one of the country’s finest conductors.
We are also proud of our outreach events, free community concerts performed at venues in Whatcom County, including the Whatcom Museum, Mallard Ice Cream, and the Jansen Art Center. There’s still one left on July 19 at the Whatcom Museum. There’s also a free masterclass by cellist Zuill Bailey, July 15. See details below.
We hope you will join us for as many events as possible. Come let wonderful music fill your senses and your soul.
Karen Berry, Chair
Grammy Award Winner Guest Artist Zuill Bailey
July 15, 2017 10 a.m. – 12 Noon
Each year the Festival offers master classes to local music students, taught by our incredible guest artists. This month guest artist Zuill Bailey, widely considered one of the premier cellists in the world, with his rare combination of celebrated artistry, technical wizardry and engaging personality, will be teaching a master class on July 15, 2017, at the First Congregational Church, 2401 Cornwall Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225. Master class students will include Joseph Sawyer, Cori Holquinn and Kyle Matson. To view the master class program and the biographies of these talented students, select Master Class.
This class is free to all, both participants and observers. Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery is this year’s master class sponsor.
Zuill Bailey will perform at the WWU Concert Hall on July 16, 7:30 p.m.
Meet The Board: Sherry Nelson
Sherry Nelson and husband Dick bought a Bellingham home 48 hours into their first visit in 2005—clearly love at first sight! Sherry joined the BFM Board in 2006, but then took a short hiatus to explore trails, garden and travel. She rejoined the Board as Vice Chair, drawn by her love of the Festival and attracted by developing collaborations with the Whatcom Symphony, WWU Orchestra and Marrowstone.
Before moving from Atlanta, Sherry was Founding Executive & Artistic Director for the elegantly appointed, acoustically acclaimed Spivey Hall. A generous endowment enabled her to curate 15 seasons of 60-80 annual performances by the finest classical and jazz artists in the world. Spivey Hall’s reputation soared thanks to frequent broadcasts on NPR’s Performance Today and award-winning education outreach. A leading presenter of international artists, Sherry retired as “International Business Person of the Year,” received the German-American Friendship Award and French title Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Her passion for orchestral repertoire and a UCLA Music degree launched her career in 1970 producing programs for the Los Angeles Philharmonic/Hollywood Bowl. (Forty seven years later, she produces the Bellingham Festival’s printed programs.) At 25 she became Advertising Manager for the LAPhil and conductor Zubin Mehta. In 1974 USC’s Dean of Performing Arts appointed her Public Events Director for the Schools of Music, Drama, Cinema and KUSC-FM. Illustrious faculty at the time included Jascha Heifetz and Gregor Piatigorsky.
Classical music is in her blood. Sherry’s parents’ operatic careers on stage, film and radio culminated when they met singing lead roles in Faust, fell in love, and eloped. Joining USO Camp Shows they performed for troops in Okinawa, Japan and the Philippines at the end of WWII. More than six months pregnant, Sherry’s mother sang and danced Rosalinda, based on Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. Born a month after her parents settled in Los Angeles, Sherry’s musical genes motivated her to become their pianist.
Thank You for Celebrating Classical Music with Us this Festival Season & For Being Such A Wonderful Audience
(Candid photos from the 24th Season)
“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.”
Ludwig van Beethoven
BFM Photos Courtesy of Cheryl Crooks Photography