Play it Forward Chamber Residency Features Colburn School’s Viano Quartet

Annual Outreach Event Co-sponsored with Whatcom Symphony

Quartet to Inspire, Lead Masterclasses in County Schools

Quartet to Perform in Public Concert March 17


Bellingham, WA.–The Viano String Quartet, a young ensemble from the prestigious Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles, will be in residence, March 10—18, for the sixth annual Play it Forward Chamber Music outreach initiative co-sponsored by the Bellingham Festival of Music and the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra.

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 quartet, joined by selected student musicians, will also be performing a recital for the public, Friday, March 17th, 7:30 PM at Bellingham High School, 2020 Cornwall Ave. in Bellingham.

All students are free. Adults: Suggested $15 donation to BFM.

Comprised of members Lucy Wang, Hao Zhou, Johanna Nowik, and Tate Zawadiuk, the Viano String Quartet was formed at Colburn during the autumn of 2015. This February, the quartet will be performing Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik on NPR host Rob Kapilow’s What Makes it Great concert series at Cerritos Center as well as Santa Monica Conservatory’s Expo Line concert series with Paul Coletti.

The Viano Quartet has performed at Colburn’s Gibson Dunn Rush Hour concert series and individual members have each performed in Colburn Chamber Music Society concerts with artists including Martin Beaver, Roberto Diaz, and Ida Kavafian. As one of 10 string quartets selected worldwide, the Viano Quartet will compete in Japan at the Ninth Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in May. The quartet is coached regularly by Clive Greensmith, as well as other members of the Colburn School faculty, including Martin Beaver, Fabio Bidini, and Paul Coletti. They have received additional guidance from artists such as Arnold Steinhardt, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Gary Hoffman, as well as members of the Emerson String Quartet, Opus One, and the Calidore String Quartet.


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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, Jeremy Denk, Hilary Hahn, 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, and in 2015-16, donated string instruments valued at $10,000 to the program.

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, 2015, and 2016—a resounding endorsement of the quality of its performances and the contribution it makes to regional and national cultural life.