The summer festival season starts in earnest tomorrow with the commencement of the Seattle Chamber Music Society’s 6 week long festival. This year’s festival marks the 30 year anniversary of Toby Saks’ affiliation with the festival. She founded the series, played an integral part in recruiting top-shelf talent for the festival, and after this summer she will be stepping down as artistic director, making way for James Ehnes to take up the role. Concerts do sell out, but there are always free recitals an hour before the official concert begins. One (of many) highlights from the recitals this summer will no doubt be Johannes Moser’s performance of Lutoslawski’s Sacher Variations.
Up north in Bellingham, the Bellingham Festival of Music started on July 1 and continues through the rest of the month. Two Seattle favorites — pianist Jeremy Denk and violinist Stefan Jackiw — appear with the festival orchestra this year. Denk will play Liszt’s Second Concerto and Jackiw will play Sibelius’ Violin Concerto. Both Denk and Jackiw play with extreme intelligence and undoubtedly will invigorate both pieces. Britten’s Serenade for Tenor Horn and Strings (a favorite of mine) will also be played on the same program as Denk’s Liszt and there is a concert performance of Fidelio on July 17th to close the festival out.
Local composer Nat Evans is putting on a festival of sorts of his own by taking his music and love of site-specific experiences on the road to Chicago, DC, NYC, and elsewhere. Evans is also featured in this month’s Believer magazine too.