Music festival celebrates 40th season

Posted 7/7/23

The Olympic Music Festival is celebrating its 40th anniversary summer season with the return of world-famous violinist Ray Chen and the launch of a new educational program.  

The festival …

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Music festival celebrates 40th season


The Olympic Music Festival is celebrating its 40th anniversary summer season with the return of world-famous violinist Ray Chen and the launch of a new educational program. 

The festival runs four weekends, from Aug. 12 through Sept. 10 at Fort Worden, with eight individual performances. Performers include principal players of the Seattle Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Headlining the season finale is Chen, a renowned concert violinist.  

Chen was born in Taiwan and raised in Australia. At age 15, he was accepted into the Curtis Institute of Music. Over his extensive career, he has appeared with prestigious orchestras such as the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the Filarmonica della Scalla in Berlin. Chen has also performed at major media events, including France’s Bastille Day and the Nobel Prize Concert in Stockholm. 

Chen will be teaming up with Olympic Music Festival’s artistic director Julio Elizalde at the piano for the final recitals on Sept. 9-Sept. 10. 

Chen and Elizalde will subsequently be embarking together on a North American tour, where they will be performing at such venues as the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. 

“I’ve been fortunate to have developed a long partnership with Ray Chen for over a decade now,” Elizalde said. “We get to work together towards a common goal while sharing very different perspectives with each other.” 

Elizalde is especially excited the Olympic Music Festival audience will be the first to hear this new program before he and Chen take it on tour.

With a passion for education, Elizalde started the Olympic Chamber Music Fellowship in 2015 to mentor talented young artists and serve as a link for transitioning from student to professional. He knew from his own experience that students face a knowledge gap as they leave educational settings for the rigorous touring and rehearsal schedule professionals regularly face. Elizalde invited world-renowned artists, enthusiastic about supporting the next generation of chamber music professionals, to mentor the fellows. These mentoring artists have established careers and often hold faculty positions at music institutions. 

The five fellows, selected through a highly competitive audition, spend two weeks at the Olympic Music Festival, collaborating with mentoring artists and learning about the intricacies of building a successful career. The fellows take part in group discussion on practical topics, such as taxes, artist management, and how to succeed as an educator. 

This year’s fellows include students from prestigious conservatories such as the Juilliard School, and even hail from as far as Berlin. 

According to managing director Emilie Baker, the international reputations of Olympic Music Festival artists is what draws these young musicians from across the globe to the fellowship program. 

“Fellows enjoy a lasting connection with their mentors and peers, and leave the program with a wealth of knowledge to propel them forward for their next endeavors,” said Baker. 

Riding on this wave of success, Olympic Music Festival is launching a new junior fellows program this year, a masterclass aimed at enriching the lives of talented local high school musicians by pairing them with the fellows. 

“It’s important for us to share the resources of the great musicians we bring from around the world with the young local musicians who will be part of the program,” Elizalde said. 

These select high school students will prepare a short excerpt to perform onstage, followed by brief instruction and input from a fellow. In addition, the junior fellows will also attend Olympic Music Festival private rehearsals and receive free tickets to concerts. 

This event will take place at Fort Worden’s Wheeler Theater at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10. It is free and open to the public. Tickets are on sale at olympicmusic and by phone at 360-385-9699.

Olympic Chamber Music Fellowship
Aug. 12 - Aug. 20

Saturday, Aug. 12
“Magnificent Mozart”

Mozart - Andante & Variations in G major for Piano, Four Hands, K. 501

Mozart - Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, K. 478

Weber - Duo Concertante for Clarinet & Piano, Op. 48

Mozart - Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 581

Sunday, Aug. 13
“Fireworks in Paris”

Fauré - Clarinet Trio in D minor, Op. 120

Debussy - String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10

Chausson - Concert for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet, Op. 21

Saturday, Aug. 19
“Romantic Frontiers”

Brahms - Trio for Horn (Viola), Violin, and Piano in E-flat major, Op. 40

Schoenberg - Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4 (Transfigured Night for String Sextet)

Schumann - Piano Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 47

Sunday, Aug. 20
“Visionary Women”

Clara Schumann - Three Romances for Violin & Piano, Op. 22

Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel - String Quartet in E-flat major (1834)

Amy Beach - Piano Quintet in F-sharp minor, Op. 67 (1907)

Chamber Music Masters
Sept. 2 - Sept. 3

Saturday, Sept. 2
“Echoes of Beethoven”

Brahms - Viola Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 120,
No. 2

Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 31 in A-flat major, Op. 110

Schubert - Piano Trio No. 2 in E-flat major, D. 929

Sunday, Sept. 3
“Ravishing Rhapsodies”
Dvorák - Terzetto for Two Violins and Viola, Op. 74

Fauré - Piano Quintet No. 2 in C minor, Op. 115

Schumann - Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 63

Season Finale
Sept. 9 - Sept. 10

Ray Chen & Julio Elizalde in Recital*

Stravinsky - Suite Italienne from Pulcinella (arr. Dushkin) (1933)

Poulenc - Violin Sonata (1943)

Vitali - Chaconne in G minor

Brahms - Hungarian Dance No. 7 in A major (arr. Joachim)

Dvorák - Slavonic Dance in E minor, Op. 72 No. 2

Monti - Czardas

* This weekend features the same program on both days.