Festival to Celebrate Maestro Michael Palmer’s Laureate Season, July 1—24, 2022

Full Orchestra Returns for Three Weeks

Programs Feature Iconic Works from Artistic Director’s 29 Seasons

Soloists Include Garrick Ohlsson, Stefan Jackiw, Maria Valdes

For release: immediate
Bellingham, WA—The Bellingham Festival of Music will return with full Festival orchestra and full three-week programme to celebrate Maestro Michael Palmer’s Laureate Season, July 1—24, 2022. Seven orchestra concerts, featuring iconic repertoire with special emphasis on Ludwig van Beethoven’s concerted works, highlight the schedule. The Calidore String Quartet, BFM’s chamber ensemble in residence, will return for its annual recital, July 1. The orchestra and Calidore concerts will all be performed in the Western Washington University Performing Arts Center.

Also returning will be the popular Chamber Music by the Bay concert, with wine and hors d’oeuvre reception at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal’s Dome Room, July 10. The Festival will also revive free chamber music concerts in the community, free masterclasses by festival soloists, and pre-concert guest lectures.

Season Tickets will go on sale February 15 with individual concert tickets available beginning March 1. They can be ordered through the festival website.

Throughout the three-week festival, numerous additional events will honor Maestro Palmer’s extraordinary three-decade contributions to the musical life of Bellingham and Whatcom County. Details will be announced soon. Check our website for information.

Because the music of Beethoven has been an ongoing thread throughout the history of the Festival and because Palmer’s Beethoven 250th Birthday retrospective was cancelled twice due to Covid-19, the conductor will restore some of the highlights of those planned seasons. The centerpiece will be performances of the five piano concertos by the much acclaimed pianist Garrick Ohlssson. It was Ohlsson who played the concerto marathon in 2000, leading to a CD recording of the event.

Longtime musical collaborators of Maestro Palmer—Richard Roberts, BFM Concertmaster; Steven Thomas, BFM Principal Cello; and pianist Edith Kraft—will join together for the Beethoven Triple Concerto. And the Festival Chorus plus favorite soloists Katie van Kooten, Ellen Graham, and Clayton Brainerd (plus tenor to be announced) will conclude the season with Beethoven’s paean to brotherhood, the Ninth Symphony.

Other selections will feature some of the gifted young artists Palmer has brought to Bellingham, including violinist Stefan Jackiw playing the Bruch Scottish Fantasy and soprano Maria Valdes singing orchestral songs by Richard Strauss and the soprano solos in the Mahler Fourth Symphony.

Orchestra programs as of October 13, 2021 include the following:

Friday, July 1

The Calidore String Quartet
Program TBA

Saturday, July 2

Brahms: Tragic Overture
Max Bruch: “Scottish Fantasy” in E-flat Major Op.46
Stefan Jackiw, violin
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7

Friday, July 8

Beethoven: Triple Concerto in C Major, Op. 56
Richard Roberts, violin; Steven Thomas, cello; Edith Kraft, piano
Schubert: Symphony No. 9 (the Great)

Sunday, July 10

Chamber Music by the Bay
Concert and Hors d’oeuvre Reception

Wednesday, July 13

Mozart: Magic Flute Overture
Richard Strauss: Selected Lieder
Das Rosenband
Ich wollt ein Strausslein binden
Sause, liebe Myrte
Die heiligen drei Konige aus Morgenland
Maria Valdes, soprano
Mahler: Symphony No. 4

Friday, July 15

Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerti No. 1 and 3
Garrick Ohlsson, piano

Saturday, July 16

Beethoven: Piano Concerti No. 2 and 4
Garrick Ohlsson, piano

Sunday, July 17

Beethoven: Symphony No. 1
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor”
Garrick Ohlsson, piano

Sunday, July 24

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9
Katie Van Kooten, soprano; Ellen Graham, mezzo soprano; tenor TBA; Clayton Brainerd, bass