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Bellingham Festival of Music

michael binkley bellingham festival of music

The Bellingham Festival of Music in WA, USA celebrates its 20th anniversary this week. To mark the occasion, the production company, Anacrusis that organizes the event commissioned me to create a gift to present to the Artistic Director, Maestro Michael Palmer. It is pictured above.

I was fortunate to have Maestro Palmer visit our gallery, and he explained to me the genesis of the Festival. He was vacationing on the San Juan Islands with his wife over two decades ago, and fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. Palmer noticed that there was very little in the way of classical culture available. Since northwestern Washington has been a place where many influential American tycoons have decided to retire, Palmer felt there was an audience for a classical music event, and so he began the Festival. Each year, Maestro Palmer conducts the Bellingham Festival Orchestra, which features principal players from many leading North American orchestras and virtuoso players from around the world. This year features cellist Joshua Roman and Principal Oboist Joseph Robinson.

The gift was presented to Maestro Palmer after the opening night’s performance, which included the West Coast premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis’ specially commissioned Concerto for Cello & Orchestra.

The materials I used for the presentation gift are glass, black granite and white marble. The stones, both from Italy are strong, grounded and reflect the formal wear of orchestral musicians when they perform. The white marble is from the famous quarries of Carrara and the granite is from the Lake District. Glass is a solid liquid, and emulates water which is a key brand element for Anacrusis Productions and for the port city of Bellingham. I carved the glass to form a capital “B”, and the top potion has a special edge to emulate moving water, or waves. I drew Maestro Palmer’s portrait and his hands at work and these are separated by the Festival logo.

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