Russian Pianist Ilya Yakushev Returns for Recital, March 19, 2017

Brilliant Last Minute Substitute in July Concerto Performance Brought Back by Popular Demand

Program of Haydn, Tchaikovsky, Gershwin, Mussorgsky

Will Conduct Free Public Masterclass, March 18

New Afternoon Concert Time of 3:00 PM


Bellingham, WA.—Ilya Yakushev, the Russian pianist who made a brilliant last minute debut with the Bellingham Festival of Music in July 2016, will return to Bellingham for the Festival’s annual Spring Recital, March 19, 2017.  Substituting on two days’ notice for the ailing Kuok-Wai Lio, Yakushev thrilled audiences last summer with the virtuosity and melting lyricism of his playing in the Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No. 1 in G-minor.  He was immediately invited back for a full recital.

His performance will take place Sunday, March 19 at 3:00 PM at Western Washington University’s Performing Arts Center Concert Hall.  Tickets are: $45 and $35; students $15 and $12. To order, contact or 360-650-6146. For more information, check our website or call 360-201-6621.


The program will be:

Haydn:  Sonata in D Major HOB XVI: 37

Tchaikovsky:  Sentimental Waltz

Gershwin:  Rhapsody in Blue

Mussorgsky:  Pictures at an Exhibition


Yakushev will also lead a free public masterclass for local piano students on Saturday, March 18 at 2:00 PM at First Congregational Church, 2401 Cornwall Ave.



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, 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 $10,000 in string instruments to ensure all students could participate. The Festival further supports lessons and instruments for homeless, low-income, and foster children in Whatcom and Skagit Counties through the Blue Skies for Children initiative.

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.