September 2017 Newsletter


After taking August off, the Bellingham Festival of Music is back in the business of producing its monthly newsletter. We are also hard at work preparing for our upcoming 25th Season. Feeding off of all the positive comments regarding our past season, we are both excited and energized, and have jumped right into our future planning.

But first let me take one last moment to comment on our spectacular 2017 Season. Opening with two composers in the audience was amazing and made our first concert of the season truly special. Patrick Harlin’s, Rapture and the world premiere of Benjamin Taylor’s, Aurum Tetra were widely praised. Coupled with performances by Marc-Andre Hamelin and the Calidore Quartet, we had a spectacular opening evening. And it’s hard to imagine a better cast of characters than our other season guest artists: Jeremy Denk, Tim Fain, Zuill Bailey and Robert McDuffie, who rounded out a remarkable 24th Season. Our final all Bernstein concert, complete with our local chorus and boy soprano, Alex Zuniga, was a perfect finale. Thank you all for your wonderful support and thunderous applause.

Now it’s time to look forward to our upcoming 25th Celebration. Be sure to attend our Annual Meeting at Lairmont Manor on Thursday, Sept 28th and hear our esteemed artistic director, Michael Palmer, give you a first glimpse into what should be an unforgettable Silver Anniversary Season.

Also, be on the lookout for our new website, coming soon. And be sure to check our Facebook page for fun facts, news tidbits, guest artist information, and event postings.

Karen Berry, Chair

Annual Membership Meeting
Lairmont Manor
405 Fieldston Road
September 28, 2017 (Thursday)
7-9 p.m.

Please mark your calendar to share this fun evening of wine, hors d’oeuvres and dessert with Maestro Michael Palmer and the Board of Directors. We will reveal more details of the 25th Silver Anniversary season repertoire and celebration.

You will also have the additional pleasure of listening to the finest young musicians studying in the area.

This is a free event – no ticket necessary!

A Message from Maestro Michael Palmer

Michael Palmer
Photo by Cheryl Crooks

Our 25th anniversary year programming will spotlight our wonderful Bellingham Festival Orchestra. The concept of gathering each year an orchestra of virtuoso, all-star players has remained the focus of the Festival throughout our 25-year history. It has produced a nationally recognized summer music festival resident in Bellingham, which boasts some of the most beautiful natural surroundings to be found.

Across these years we have traversed together a significant portion of the masterwork repertoire for an orchestra of our size. As we approach this major milestone in the life of the Festival, we have been gradually increasing the size and instrumental complement of the orchestra so that, going forward, we can bring our particular brand and standard of performance to the great post classical period of the orchestral repertoire. From the mid nineteenth century forward composers have steadily developed the orchestra as a virtuoso instrument capable of attaining a variety and intensity of expression and sonic splendor unavailable before and unmatchable to this day. The names of Berlioz, Richard Strauss, Mahler, Stravinsky, Bartok and Ravel are some of those that loom large in this particularly important area of our concert stage repertoire.

In this 25th year, we also celebrate you, our audience of loyal believers, as well as our donors and those hearty souls who have kept the Festival moving forward all of these years.

One highlight of our anniversary will be the three-way World Premiere of a new work especially commissioned from the Pulitzer Prize and Grawemeyer Award-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis. Our co-commissioners are New England Conservatory (celebrating its own important anniversary) and the Nashville Symphony, which will present the East Coast and Southern premieres of the work, while we will introduce the work to the West Coast. There will be other outstanding performances and a few surprises too. We look forward to your being with us for this special anniversary celebration, as well as in the years ahead.

Whatcom Chorale

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