Musical ‘pyrotechnics’ to heat up Whidbey Island Music Festival

Classical music plus a fun, festival atmosphere and a dash of education make for some exciting concerts during the seventh annual Whidbey Island Music Festival set for Aug. 3 through 12.

Tanya Tomkins will perform on her baroque cello at the music festival. She also takes part in the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

Classical music plus a fun, festival atmosphere and a dash of education make for some exciting concerts during the seventh annual Whidbey Island Music Festival set for Aug. 3 through 12.

From Monteverdi to Beethoven, the festival hits all aspects of baroque music with six concerts and four programs over two weekends.

“This year, we’re very excited to have three Grammy nominated musicians,” said Tekla Cunningham, festival director.

Stephen Stubbs, Adam LaMotte and William Skeen are among a long list of award-winning local and out-of-state musicians.

“So we have a nice mix of Northwest and other West Coast artists,” Cunningham added.

Cunningham will perform on violin in every concert, as she has for every Whidbey Island Music Festival.

“It’s a great opportunity to get together with good friends and play on beautiful Whidbey Island. It’s kind of like a summer camp for adults,” Cunningham said. After the long hours of putting the event together come to an end and she can settle into rehearsals, it’s all bliss from there.

“It’s a real joy to get to do the smaller chamber music,” Cunningham said.

While Cunningham said the entire event will be highlights, one special event will be the first concert with Catherine Webster. Her “vocal pyrotechnics from Vivaldi” will really showcase her soprano singing, Cunningham said. The opening night concert, called “The Glories of Venice,” features Webster singing works of Venetian masters Monteverdi, Rosenmüller and Vivaldi.

The second program will showcase the musical treasures of Imperial Vienna, including Biber, Bertali, Schmelzer, Arrigoni, Kapsberger and more.

Mozart’s “Magical Flute,” the third program, is a series of flute quartets by Mozart, Haydn and their contemporaries.

The fourth program is an evening of J.S. Bach’s works for solo instruments for solo lute, flute, violin and cello. Cunningham said that program will be special because often, only the cello or flute versions of Bach’s music are heard, so she thought it would be great for the lute and violin to also take part.

Friday and Saturday concerts take place at St. Augustine’s-in-the-Woods and Sunday concerts take place at the Greenbank Farm. Wine will be available at Greenbank Farm concerts.

“It’s a pretty fun atmosphere. It’s kind of quote-unquote ‘classical music’ but the artists have fun,” Cunningham said. People looking for a more relaxed feeling should attend the Greenbank Farm concerts.

“People are just in for a wonderful break from their everyday life. They can have a wonderful time learning about music from the 17th and 18th centuries,” Cunningham said.

Tickets cost $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Children with a paying adult get in free. Tickets are available at brown or by calling 800-838-3006.

St. Augustine’s-in-the-Woods is located at 5217 S. Honeymoon Bay Road in Freeland. The Greenbank Farm is located on Wonn Road in Greenbank.

For more information, visit



Whidbey Island Music Festival schedule

Program I

The Glories of Venice from Monteverdi to Vivaldi

7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3 at St. Augustine’s-in-the-Woods.

3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5 at Greenbank Farm.

Program II

Music from Imperial Vienna

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4 at St. Augustine’s-in-the-Woods.

Program III

Mozart’s Magical Flute

7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10 at St. Augustine’s-in-the-Woods.

3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12 at Greenbank Farm.

Program IV

Johann Sebastian Bach: the solo works for cello, flute, lute and violin

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11 at St. Augustine’s-in-the-Woods.


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