The 2018 Festival season is now behind us. As the weather cools, we look back at our 21st season with fond memories. Artists came from all across the United States, Canada, and as far away as Denmark and Portugal to perform in the Festival. Several of this year’s musicians have played at the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival many times before. They were joined in creating musical memories on the Festival stage and beyond by quite a few new performers; all were happy to be greeted by welcoming home hosts and sponsors.
Artistic Director Aloysia Friedmann has once again proven herself to be extraordinarily gifted at programming each Festival concert as both a stand-alone event and a cohesive component of the five-program, ten-concert Festival. The first concert opened with what is considered the greatest work written for piano four hands, Schubert’s Fantasie in F minor, performed with gusto by the inimitable Jon Kimura Parker and Scott Cuellar. The energy and enthusiasm didn’t let up until after the last sublime notes of the Dvorák Piano Quartet on August 18th. There were many highlights this year; audience members all have their particular favorites, but most would agree that the Brandenburg Concertos were truly over the top in their contagious exuberance. Harpsichordist Jeffrey Kahane led the ensemble in all six concertos, each with a different mix of brilliant soloists, and his harpsichord cadenza in Concerto #5 was electrifying. Frederica von Stade’s beautiful mezzo-soprano voice graced the stage during the Channel Crossing concerts in a lovely, heartfelt performance with pianist Laurana Mitchelmore in memory of Laurana’s husband and Festival friend Charles Mitchelmore. The Windy Day in Paris concerts included an impromptu collaboration between Jon Kimura Parker and American Idol past contender Sanjaya Malakar, who Miró Quartet violinist (and avid Idol fan) Daniel Ching had recognized creating craft cocktails at The Barnacle in Eastsound!
The main events of the Festival were the evening concerts, but many activities kept musicians and audiences busy during the daytime as well. The church next door was filled to capacity for a lively Concerto Chat™, an informative talk given by Jon Kimura Parker at the piano, all about performing solos with orchestras. Our five Know the Score lecturers enlightened listeners over morning coffee and treats and then returned in the evening to entertain audiences with lively Pre-Concert Talks. Who knew pianist and classical radio host Lisa Bergman was such a ham? Young people of all ages met Peter, the Wolf, Grandma, and the rest of Prokofiev’s menagerie in WindSync’s lively Children’s Concert, an imaginative version of Peter and the Wolf. WindSync also performed short and lively Hamlet Concerts for residents of Olga, West Sound, and Deer Harbor. Orcas and Lopez senior citizens were gathered for lunch at the Orcas Senior Center before the Open Rehearsal for Seniors when the power went out! So, instead of the seniors caravanning over to the very dark Orcas Center, the musicians brought the rehearsal to the Senior Center. And OICMF took the show “on the road” (actually, on the boat!) to Lopez Island for a Know the Score lecture and the seventh annual OICMF concert for Lopez residents.
Our heartfelt thanks go out to all of the remarkable musicians, volunteers too numerous to list, and to you, our fabulous donors and supporters, for making this season’s Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival such an exciting, invigorating, and rewarding experience.