Orcas Island Festival Turns 15
Two Heggie Premieres Triumph
by Melissa Bargreen | American Record Guide
When the big white and green ferry noses its way through a seascape dotted with green islands to the Orcas Island dock, you enter a new world with a different time zone. You’re on Orcas time now, pausing to drink in the vistas from every direction: rocky seascapes, rolling hills and wide valleys, dark green forests, little boats chugging past in quest of adventure or salmon (orboth).
August visitors usually keep an eye on the clock, though, because they don’t want to miss any of the start times for the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival (“Classical Music with a View”). The creation of violinist-violist Aloysia Friedmann and her pianist-husband Jon Kimura Parker, the festival celebrated its 15th anniversary in August with the kind of imaginative and venturesome programming that has drawn great performers and eager audiences to the island every summer. This year the lineup included two world premieres by Jake Heggie, works in many forms (including jazz) inspired by Paganini’s Caprice No. 24, an intimate song evening with Frederica Von Stade, and a free concert on the Village Green with two pianos (Parker and Orli Shaham) and instruments with a program extending from Carnival of the Animals to a set of Broadway show tunes.