The hummingbirds arrive, the rhodies bloom, then come the strawberries. Next up in the seasonal parade: classical-music festivals. Groups around Washington state put out the welcome mat for fans of orchestral and chamber music all summer long.
Seattle Chamber Music Society
Seattle is home to two seasonal fests put on by the Seattle Chamber Music Society, both featuring top musicians lured by the friendly ambience, receptive audiences and expertise of director James Ehnes. The summer festival kicks off Saturday at Benaroya Hall with a free preconcert recital at 7 p.m. and an 8 p.m. program of Brahms’ Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in F minor as well as his Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in B minor; Beethoven’s Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano in C minor and Honegger’s Intrada for Trumpet and Piano. The fest wraps up July 26. Other highlights: a July 13 family concert, and a free concert in Volunteer Park on July 17. Saturday-July 26. Info: 206-283-8710 or www.seattlechambermusic.org.
Olympic Music Festival
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Goats and picnickers add to the atmosphere at these weekend “concerts in the barn” — now in their 30th year — put on at a former dairy farm in Quilcene, Jefferson County. The current season kicks off Saturday with a program called “Songs & Dances of Love,” featuring pianist Paul Hersh and San Francisco-based baritone Zachary Gordinon performing lyrical pieces by Hahn, Liszt and Schumann. Saturday-Sept. 1. Info: 360-732-4800 or www.olympicmusicfestival.org.
Bellingham Festival of Music
This summer orchestra festival is another that promises top-drawer performers each year. This 2013 roster will include Garrick Ohlsson, Pepe Romero, Ray Chen and Frederica von Stade, and kicks off with the West Coast premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis’ “Dreamsongs,” performed by cellist Joshua Roman (formerly of Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and a friend and neighbor of Kernis). July 5-21. Info: 360-201-6621 or bellinghamfestival.org).
Icicle Creek International Chamber Music Festival
Enjoy music in view of the mountains at this festival, which counts as guests this year Avalon Quartet, Volta Piano Trio, violist Richard Wolfe and cellist Anthony Elliott. At the opening gala, you can meet the artists. July 7-27. Info: 509-548-6347 or icicle.org.
Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival
The Methow is a popular patch of the “dryside” for vacationers, and is proving a haven for music as well: This fest, held at Signal Hill Ranch in Twisp, is now in its 18th season. Guests this year include the always-fantastic Craig Sheppard, Mara Gearman, Jing Wang, and Yuri Namkung. Each concert is book ended by a social hour and an “afterglow” party. July 25-Aug. 3. Info: 509-996-6000 or www.methowmusicfestival.org).
Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival
Three is the lucky number for OICMF this year — opening weekend features the pianist Jeffrey Kahane, violinist Joseph Swensen and cellist Carter Brey, and a later concert will comprise talents of three concertmasters: William Preucil (Cleveland Orchestra), Martin Chalifour (Los Angeles Philharmonic) and Margaret Batjer (Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra). The fest is put on by classical power couple Aloysia Friedmann and Jon Kimura Parker. Aug. 9-24. Info: 866-492-0003 or oicmf.org.
Seattle Times staff