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Friday, August 6, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Concert Preview

Bellingham: a hot spot for music this month

Seattle Times music critic

Concert previews


Bellingham Festival of Music, tomorrow-Aug. 22, various venues in Bellingham; $19-$35 (360-676-5997 or www.bellinghamfestival.org).

Marrowstone Music Festival, through Aug. 15, Western Washington University, Bellingham; $4-$18 (360-650-6146 or www.marrowstone.org).

Music lovers will be wearing a path northward on I-5 this weekend and in the coming weeks, when the 12th Bellingham Festival of Music opens with its violinist headliner, Sarah Chang.

Still only 21, Chang emerged several years ago as one of the most notable young prodigies of her generation. She's a very aggressive, lively player; she'll play the Dvorák Violin Concerto at 8 p.m. tomorrow at the Mount Baker Theatre with the Bellingham Festival Orchestra, under the direction of Michael Palmer.

The orchestra also plays Respighi's "Trittico Botticelliano" and Mendelssohn's "Reformation" Symphony (No. 5).

The orchestra is something new this year: a 40-member resident ensemble whose principals are top players with such orchestras as the Montreal Symphony (concertmaster Richard Roberts), Los Angeles Philharmonic (flutist Janet Ferguson), Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (cellist Elena Cheah), Metropolitan Opera Orchestra (bassoonist Whitney Crockett), Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (violist Gilad Karni) and New York Philharmonic (oboist Joseph Robinson).

The festival usually has a major choral/orchestral piece, and this year there are a couple. In the coming weeks, they'll offer not only Bach's Mass in B Minor (Aug. 21), but also a concert version of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" (next Friday). Soloists for the Mozart include Richard Bernstein, Nathaniel Webster and Jossie Perez.

Closer to hand is Sunday's "Music in the Mountains," a 4 p.m. event up at the White Salmon Lodge of Mount Baker Ski Area, followed by a salmon dinner. (Seating is very limited.) On the musical menu: Mozart's Oboe Quartet, Barber's "Summer Music" and Dvorák's D Minor Serenade.

A string quartet from the orchestra will be heard in Tuesday's 8 p.m. chamber-music event in Bellingham's First Congregational Church, playing Haydn's "Seven Last Words," Puccini's "Chrysanthemums" and Dvorak's "American" Quartet.

On Wednesday, the Brazilian Guitar Quartet arrives for a program of Latin American, Spanish and Bach works (same time and place as the quartet evening, above).

During the course of the festival, there'll be music in seven different venues, spanning jazz and world music as well as classical favorites (such as Stravinsky's "A Soldier's Tale" and Mozart's Symphonie Concertante). The finale, on Aug. 22, is an afternoon family concert designed for children of all ages.

Meanwhile, also in Bellingham, the Marrowstone Music Festival is still going strong (through Aug. 15). Tomorrow night at 7 p.m., faculty artists are playing a chamber program in Western Washington University's Concert Hall, featuring works of Barber ("Summer Music" again), Roussel and Ives ("Concord" Sonata for piano, with Jeff Gilliam). Among the performers: oboist Rebecca Henderson (formerly of the University of Washington faculty), Juliet Stratton, Amy Porter, Alain Desgagne, Francine Peterson and Alice Render.

Melinda Bargreen: mbargreen@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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