Olympic Music Festival returns for a 38th summer season

Posted 7/22/21

The Olympic Music Festival is back for another season of chamber music.

Kicking off in late August and continuing through September, the festival’s 38th summer season will feature a …

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Olympic Music Festival returns for a 38th summer season

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The Olympic Music Festival is back for another season of chamber music.

Kicking off in late August and continuing through September, the festival’s 38th summer season will feature a combination of live and virtual events.

“After one of the most challenging years in our festival’s history, words cannot begin to capture how thrilled we are to reunite with our incredible audience,” Julio Elizalde, artistic director for the Olympic Music Festival, noted  in a recent press release.

“We’ve assembled a truly special group of artists that will bring the music we love back to life at a time when we need it the most. I am personally dedicating this season to the countless frontline workers who kept us safe for over a year and to all the families who have had to face heartbreak during these unprecedented months. I hope that these concerts will bring comfort and joy to listeners both in person and at home,” Elizalde added.

While it was tricky, Elizalde told The Leader that festival organizers have worked hard to make this season happen.

“It was very hard to forecast what the summer was going to look like,” he said of planning the festival during a pandemic.

Detailing the preparation as something that normally happens several months in advance, the artistic director said it wasn’t until April that they began to see a clear picture of what the festival would look like this time.

“We assembled the best scenario that we could given how late it was,” he added.

The festival’s season will begin at Littlefield Green at Fort Worden on Sunday, Aug. 29 with an electrifying performance from the genre-smashing, audience favorite Musicians from GardenMusic. 

“That group is very well-known to our audience,” Elizalde said, adding this will be the group’s sixth summer performing at the festival.

“They’re kind of an unusual group because it’s a group of really gifted classical artists who also have incredible abilities in different styles other than classical music.”

Some of them are experienced in bluegrass or proficient in jazz or skilled in Latin music. Classical works will be performed alongside these contrasting genres and more.

“They come together and they come sort of with a blank slate and they put together these really electrifying and super exciting concerts,” Elizalde said.

He described this group as the perfect choice for a fun and celebratory way to kick off the summer festival season. GardenMusic is “always a showstopper” and there is such an “electrical feeling” to their performances.

The fun doesn’t stop there. Performances will continue online with virtual salon concerts beginning Sept. 5 through Sept. 22.

Because of the generosity of their donors and through the use of donated microphones and cameras, OMF is able to create high-definition performance videos for everyone.

These performances will be open to the community, shared online at no charge.

“We film them, we produce them, and we just put them out there and we hope lots of people, not only watch it, but that they share it,” Elizalde said.

Everyone can enjoy the music safely and conveniently from their homes.

These virtual salons will include a wide range of classical music performances and behind-the-scenes artist discussions.

Grammy-nominated violinist Tessa Lark and legendary Juilliard School piano professor Robert McDonald will be among this year’s artists.

Those participating in the Olympic Chamber Music Fellowship will be a part of the online shows, as well. The fellows and their mentoring artists will present four performances that will include both classical and more modern masterworks.

The season will conclude with a virtual Piano Extravaganza, a concert presented by Elizalde and Robert McDonald.

“I’m just looking forward to watching it all happen,” Elizalde said.

For more information, a full lineup, and tickets for GardenMusic, visit olympicmusicfestival.org.

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