June 2017 Newsletter


For nearly a quarter of a century the Bellingham Festival of Music has been bringing world-class music, musicians and guest artists to our beautiful community. Over the years, our summer festival has touched so many—evoking smiles, laughter, tears and interesting discussions. What a wonderful past to celebrate, a current treasure to enjoy and an exciting future to anticipate. As we prepare to open our 24th Season on the First of July, we hope you will come share in the magic of classical music.

I am so proud to be associated with the Festival and the devoted volunteers and patrons who make the Festival possible. The Board of Directors joins me in welcoming you to the Bellingham Festival of Music.

Karen Berry, Chair

Summer Festival Opens July 1, 2017

The 24th Season of the Bellingham Festival of Music opens on July 1, 2017 at the Performing Arts Center, Western Washington University. With six orchestral concerts scheduled, we promise an inspiring season, running through July 21. To learn more about the season’s programing, please select Festival Program, or to purchase concert tickets, select Tickets.

Members of the orchestra hold artistically prestigious positions elsewhere, and many are principal players in major North American symphony orchestras. The Festival also features world famous guest artists and young rising stars. Please select Festival Orchestra to see the listing of musicians who will be performing this summer, or select Guest Artists to read their interesting biographies.

Fabulous July Festival Hotel Packages Available

When attending the Bellingham Festival of Music in July, take advantage of special Festival hotel packages with the Fairhaven Village Inn, the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel and the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites. Our hotel partners offer a range of styles, locations, and amenities. For more information, please select Hotels.

New York Times Review
“A Quartet With Sunny Energy and Grunge-Band Grit”

Calidore String Quartet performance
Calidore String Quartet. From left, Jeffrey Myers, Ryan Meehan, Estelle Choi, Paul Neubauer and Jeremy Berry, performing at the Rose Studio at Lincoln Center.
Credit Richard Termine for The New York Times

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, contributing classical music critic to the New York Times, recently reviewed the Calidore String Quartet’s performance at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Clearly bedazzled, she wrote:“…the quartet demonstrated extraordinary charisma, style and energy in works by Ligeti and Mozart.”  Fonseca-Wollheim continued, “The Calidore played it with synergistic brilliance and ferocious commitment,” referring to the performance of Ligeti’s single-movement Quartet No. 1.

Of course, since this talented quartet has been performing at the Festival for several years, first as our Play It Forward ensemble in 2012, and as guest artists and quartet-in-residence since 2014, we could have remarked, “We told you so,” to Ms. Fonseca-Wollheim. To read the review, select Review.

Calidore String Quartet Festival of Music Performances: July 1-2, 2017
The Calidore String Quartet was the winner of the 2016 inaugural M-Prize International Chamber Music Competition Grand Prize of $100,000. This is the largest prize for chamber music in the world. To learn more about this remarkable quartet, select Calidore

Words Worth Revisiting
Festival of Music continues making magic in Bellingham

The Bellingham Herald published the article, Festival of Music continues making magic in Bellingham, in 2010. Written by Barbara Ryan, a founding board member of the Bellingham Music Festival and a former Bellingham City Council member, seven years later her words still hold true. Below is a reprint of the article:

Festival of Music continues making magic in Bellingham
Barbara Ryan – The Bellingham Herald, July 5, 2010

Bellingham’s quality of life attracts visitors, businesses, and new residents every year. It’s our gorgeous setting, perched between Mount Baker and Bellingham Bay. It’s our parks and trails. And it’s also the art and music that surrounds us.

The recent opening concert of the Bellingham Festival of Music left me breathless. It wasn’t the drizzle or even the climb to the parking lot. I was stunned by the quality of the orchestral performance I heard here.

Musicians from major orchestras across the county have gathered here for 17 years to play together under the direction of Michael Palmer. They’re here from the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, and New Haven Symphony, among others. Many are principals and concertmasters in their home orchestras.

How many times in the past 17 years have I heard first-timers to the festival say, “I can’t believe I’m hearing this quality of music in this town of 78,000.”

Our festival would be highly prized in any major city in the world! Flautist Christina Smith’s performance of a C.P.E. Bach flute concerto was a good example. The beautiful Smith, principal flute with the Atlanta Symphony, played this technically challenging work with the utmost agility, grace, and virtuosity. The maestro then conducted Beethoven’s Second Symphony, without a score, flawlessly, fully at ease with the music and in complete sync with the orchestra.

Select Making Magic to read the entire article.

Meet The Board: Barbara Vz Howard

Barbara Vz Howard has a thirty-two year legislative and political background in California and Washington, D.C. As the former Director of Governmental Relations for one of the largest education organizations in the nation, she has broad experience in public policy, campaign consulting, fundraising and executive management.

Barbara retired and moved to Bellingham in 2010, drawn to the community by its support for the arts, the cultural programs offered through Western Washington University and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Since moving to Bellingham, she was appointed by Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville to serve as a City Arts Commissioner, helping to organize the city’s recently enacted Percent For The Arts policy. She has also served as a board member of Allied Arts of Whatcom County. Since joining the Bellingham Festival of Music board in 2013, Barbara has served as an NEA and city/county grant writer. She currently serves on the Auction Committee and took over the role of newsletter editor following last year’s Festival. An avid gardener and animal rescue enthusiast, Barbara recently adopted an abandoned older dog, now named Cooper, from the Whatcom Humane Society.

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