Marcelo Era Begins!

Artistic Director Marcelo Lehninger Announces Plans for Inaugural Season, June 30–July 21, 2024

Conductor will lead five orchestral programs including choral concert featuring Mozart C-minor Mass

Guest artists to include violinist Sarah Chang and guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas

New Conductors’ Institute will offer training for gifted young musicians

Concerts will take place on Thursday-Sundays at 7:30 PM

For immediate release:

Bellingham, WA.— Marcelo Lehninger, new Artistic Director of the Bellingham Festival of Music, announced programming, soloists and other details of his inaugural season, at the Festival’s Annual Meeting October 11 at Lairmont Manor.  Chosen by acclamation this past summer after a three-year search process, the Brazilian-born conductor will lead five orchestral programs that range from familiar masterworks to Brazilian, Spanish and Latin American compositions.  

Program Highlights

Guest soloists include the acclaimed violinist Sarah Chang performing the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 on opening night, June 30; pianist-composer-improviser Stewart Goodyear playing the Gershwin Piano Concerto in F; the brilliant Russian born pianist Natasha Paremski attacking the fearsome Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3; and Bellingham favorite guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas in Rodrigo’s Fantasia para un Gentilhombre. In addition, Goodyear, who is also a composer, has written an Overture for the Bellingham Festival of Music that will be premiered on July 6. The Festival’s annual choral evening will return July 17 after last year’s hiatus and features the Mozart Mass in C-minor

“These programs offer great diversity of styles, some masterpieces you want to heart again, some new pieces, and a great pool of guest artists,” Maestro Lehninger said.

The Calidore String Quartet, BFM’s ensemble-in-residence, will return for its annual recital. Their date and program will be announced in coming weeks.

Chamber Music by the Bay, the always popular performance of smaller works by Festival Orchestra principals will take place, Sunday afternoon, July 14 at the Bellingham Ferry Terminal.  As always, the music will be followed by a wine and appetizer reception.

All orchestral concerts and the Calidore Quartet recital will take place at the Performing Arts Center, Western Washington University, 516 High St., Bellingham, WA.

New Conductor’s Institute

Inspired by Tanglewood’s renowned conductor’s institute during his tenure with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Lehninger will inaugurate a conductor’s institute in Bellingham next summer.  For the first year, two emerging conductors will be selected to take part in private coaching, cover assignments, and performance opportunities. There are only a few such programs in the United States and none on the west coast so Lehninger believes the institute will add luster to the Festival’s reputation. “I am extremely excited about this,” he said.  “Education is and will continue to be a vital part of the Festival’s mission.”

New this Year

Announcing more news about the Festival, Executive Director Erika Block, called the summer of 2024 a “celebration of friendship new and old, as we welcome our new artistic director and soloists who will have audiences on their feet.”  In order to better accommodate concert goers who prefer weekend performances, next year’s concerts will take place on Thursday through Sunday nights—with the exception of the choral program. Concert start times will also revert to 7:30 PM by popular request.  Block also assured concert goers that the wine and beer garden introduced last summer will be back—with more surprises.

Tickets will go on sale in early 2024. Stay tuned for further details. 

Complete Programs June 30—July 21, 2024

Opening Night, Sunday, June 30

John Corigliano: Promenade Overture

Bruch: Violin Concerto No.1
(Sarah Chang, violin)

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4

Saturday, July 6

Stewart Goodyear: Overture for Bellingham Festival of Music

Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F
(Stewart Goodyear, piano)

Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”

Tuesday, July 9

Calidore String Quartet
(Program TBD)

Friday, July 12

Camargo Guarnieri: Three Brazilian Dances

Villa-lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras No.2

Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3
(Natasha Paremski, pianist)

Sunday, July 14

Chamber Music by the Bay
Bellingham Ferry Terminal

Wednesday, July 17

Mozart: Great Mass in C-minor, K. 427
Bellingham Festival Chorus
Jennifer Bromagen, soprano
Richard Hodges, bass
(Tenor and second soprano TBA)

Sunday, July 21

Manuel de Falla: El Sombrero de Tres Picos, Suite No. 1

Rodrigo: Fantasia para un Gentilhombre
(Pablo Sáinz Villegas, guitar)

Gabriela Lena Frank: Three Latin-American Dances

Piazzolla: Two Tangos (arr.Fabio Mechetti)

Ginastera: Four Dances from Estancia