Outdoor classical music experience returns to Quilcene

Posted 7/26/23

Summer in Quilcene brings a special recurrence...

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Outdoor classical music experience returns to Quilcene


Summer in Quilcene brings a special recurrence: Picnic blankets sprinkled across a lawn of daisies, strains of classical music drifting on the breeze, and a cluster of smiling concert-goers enjoying it all together, tucked away in the hidden forest glen of 7360 Center Road.
Concerts in the Barn will be celebrating its seventh season of free chamber music beginning Saturday, July 29 and continuing through Sunday, Aug. 27.
Each concert takes place at 2 p.m. inside the iconic barn, with plenty of hay bale and church pew seating available. For those wishing to pack a picnic lunch and get some son, the lawn offers even more space.
Coffee, cookies, and ice cream will be sold onsite in the milking shed. The festival will also be providing beverages from the Wine Seller and Finnriver Cidery.
Attendees are encouraged to arrive early and stroll through the grounds, peruse the gift shop’s array of festival fashions, and meet the farm animals — horses, sheep, pygmy goats, chickens, and rabbits.
This year, performances will take place both on weekends and midweek.
The season will begin July 29 with musical guests Trio Hava: violinist Elisa Barston, cellist Amy Barston, and pianist Paige Molloy. The concert opens with a Fantasie by composter Florence Price, the first Black American woman to have her work performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The concert closes with Beethoven’s Piano Trio in B flat major.
This is Molloy’s first appearance with Concerts in the Barn. She is excited for two reasons: “I’ve always heard what a fun, festive, and happy series it is. Also, I adore playing with Elisa Barston and can only imagine how wonderful it will be to meet and play with her sister, too. Double the Barston love!” she said.
The rehearsal process begins three days before the first show. “We will read through the pieces for the first weekend, and then see what needs to be worked on as a group — the give and take, the breathing together, listening to each other,” Molloy explained. As seasoned musicians play chamber music often, most of the preparation is done separately. “By the time we get together, there’s usually not much actual work to be done. It’s just tons of fun, laughing and chatting.”
Amy Barston is a festival veteran. “I’ve performed in the barn maybe 10 times? Or more? Too many to count!” She said. “It’s an exceptionally charming venue. I love the whole experience — the people running the farm are gracious hosts, and the community is committed and loyal. It always feels like family.”
Barston has a plethora of fond festival memories. “Once, my sister [Elisa] and I played a very passionate Brahms trio that literally blew the door off the barn. It was probably about to come off anyway, but it crashed down at a very climactic moment in the music, so we like to think it was our rousing performance.”
On Aug. 2 and 3, Kaimerata Concerts, an ensemble co-founded by Kai Gleusteen and Catherine Ordronneau, will deliver a Robert Schumann-themed concert to introduce the audience to works by one of the greatest composers of the Romantic period. In addition to his music, Gleusteen and Ordronneau will provide a discourse on Schumann’s life to facilitate a deeper understanding of the man behind the music.
The following weekend, Aug. 5 and 6, Trio Hava returns to perform selected works by Tchaikovsky, Brahms, and Dvořák, as well as fiddle tunes from Scotland.
On Aug. 16 and 17, the festival welcomes back the Aletheia Piano Trio for their third season. Formed 10 years ago at the Julliard School, they quickly rose to prominence with highly acclaimed performances at the Lincoln Center, Terrace Theater, and the Kennedy Center. They have prepared works by composers Lili Boulanger, Andrea Casarrubios, Clara Schumann, and Maurice Ravel.
On Aug. 19 and 20, the Carpe Diem String Quartet makes a comeback, this time with guest violinist Sam Weisner. They will perform Mozart’s String Quartet No. 15 in D minor and Felix Mendelssohn’s String Quartet in F minor, Op. 80. In keeping with their self-proclaimed desire to share new chamber music with their audience, the quartet will also be showcasing a work by Caroline Shaw titled “Blueprint for String Quartet.”
The festival will conclude with a multifaceted recital by Port Angeles group Music on the Strait, including arrangements for violin and marimba and ending with Grieg’s powerful string quartet. Grammy award-winning violinist Richard O’Neill opens the concert with a solo repertoire performed on the same instrument once owned by Concerts in the Barn founder Alan Iglitzin.
All concerts are free to the public, though a donation of $20 for lawn seating or $30 for barn seating is encouraged.
“We want everyone to experience this great music, and don’t want the price of a ticket to get in the way,” volunteer director Leigh Hearon explained. “At the same time, we firmly believe our artists should be paid at rates commensurate with other music festivals.”
With an all-volunteer staff, the financial support received from both private and business donors allow Concerts in the Barn to accomplish both of Hearon’s goals.
Patrons are asked to reserve seating for each performance via TicketStripe at ticketstripe.com/event-list/concerts-in-the-barn.
Concerts in the Barn is wheelchair accessible and accommodates people with all mobility issues. Please alert the office at (360) 732-4000 in advance of arrival to arrange assistance.
For general questions, email concertsinthebarn@gmail.com or call (360) 732-0732. For more information, visit concertsinthebarn.org.