Olympic Music Festival: Classical Summer Sounds

The Olympic Music Festival takes place on a 55-acre dairy farm on the Olympic Peninsula. Photo courtesy of Olympic Music Festival.

Relax on the lawn and listen to chamber music on the Olympic Peninsula this summer.

The Olympic Music Festival is in full swing. The classical concert series has entertained Washington natives and visitors alike for the past 28 years — and by the end of the 2011 season, more than 20 artists will have appeared. Each show will be set in a barn, located on a 55-acre, turn-of-the-century dairy farm on the scenic Olympic Peninsula.

The Olympic Music Festival takes place on a 55-acre dairy farm on the Olympic Peninsula. Photo courtesy of Olympic Music Festival.

Alan Iglitzin, founder of the festival and sitting violist, moved to Seattle with the other members of the Philadelphia String Quartet in 1966 to become the University of Washington’s Quartet-in-Residence, a position they held until 1982. The Quartet toured internationally and recorded much if its chamber music repertoire during this 26-year tenure.

Launched in 1984, the annual festival was originally intended to be a summer home for the Philadelphia String Quartet, but soon became an idyllic setting for a Northwest audience hoping to enjoy classical music.

Iglitzin has twice been awarded the Washington State Governor’s Arts Award for his contribution to cultural life in the Northwest — once in 1973, and again in 1998 by Governor Gary Locke. The festival itself has been voted “Best Classical Music Festival” by readers of Seattle Weekly.

Since it began, the festival has grown from three weekends to 12, and hosts more than 10,000 people every summer. Visitors often travel from as far as Canada and California to take in the beauty of the area and listen to the talented artists. Even if you can’t make it to the festival, you can still hear the music broadcast by Classical KING FM 98.1 during the summer, and on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today” throughout the year.

Remaining concerts this season include: Iglitzin, violinist Stefan Hersh, French horn player Jeffrey Fair, pianist Daniel Hersh and tenor Daniel Montenegro collaborating to present Mozart and Brahms (July 23-24); Hersh and Iglitzin, along with violinist Elisa Barston, cellist Amy Barston and pianist Amy Yang to perform pieces from Dvorak, Schumann and Tchaikovsky (July 30-31); and Iglitzin with violinist Megumi Stohs, cellist Hamilton Berry and pianist Julio Elizalde to play Beethoven, Chopin, Poulenc and Schumann (Aug. 13-14). A full online schedule is available.

Festival artists play inside the barn. Photo courtesy of Olympic Music Festival.

Every Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. until Sep. 4, you and your friends can picnic and explore the farmland while listening to chamber music played by world-renowned musicians. You can visit the festival’s website to join the mailing list or find directions to the location. Ticket prices range from $14 to $33.

Olympic Music Festival | 7360 Center Road, Quilcene, WA 98376 | (360) 732-4800