Age doesn’t matter; Whatcom Symphony Orchestra books top guest soloists for 2016-17

Oboist Alex Klein performs with Whatcom Symphony Orchestra Nov. 20 at Mount Baker Theatre.
Oboist Alex Klein performs with Whatcom Symphony Orchestra Nov. 20 at Mount Baker Theatre. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Yaniv Attar, music director of Whatcom Symphony Orchestra, says “the 2016-2017 season features guest soloists who are young, but not rising stars;” they’re already established virtuosos who played with major orchestras in the world.

Violinist Jennifer Koh, 30, makes her third visit with the WSO in January, playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concert in the second “Harmony from Discord” series.

Seattle-born Simone Porter, 20, debuted with the Seattle Symphony at age 10, and made her debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London at 13.

Cellist Joshua Roman, 33, performs on May 21.

And for younger classical music aficionados, the WSO has expanded the Take-A-Teen program for those 19 and younger, and added a new feature, Con Brio Crew, for ages 21 though 40.

All concerts begin at 3 p.m. Artists and repertoire are subject to change.

Tickets: 360-734-6080, mountbakertheatre<code_dp>.com.

Details: whatcomsymphony.com, 360-756-6752.

All Tchaikovsky: Simone Porter, Violin

Oct. 16

Porter makes her Bellingham debut featuring two of the composer’s greatest works.


▪ Concerto for Violin in D major

▪ Symphony No. 4 in F minor

Tickets: $49, $43, $33, $15

Pastoral/Personal: Alex Klein, Oboe

Nov. 20

Klein, who won the principal oboe chair of the Chicago Symphony at age 30 in 1995, had to leave the orchestra due to focal hand dystonia. His oboe is now equipped with special keys that allow him to perform without stress, and he’s recently regained his chair.


▪  Honegger’s “Pastorale d’été”

▪ Strauss’ Concerto for Oboe in D major

▪ Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 in F major, “Pastorale”

Tickets: $39, $34, $27, $15.

Holiday Magic

Dec. 4

The annual holiday family-friendly celebration features Bellingham Chamber Chorale and Whatcom Chamber Chorale, with a new composition by Bellingham’s Scott Henderson; and the classic holiday film “The Snowman,” playing onscreen with the orchestra.


▪ Seasonal choral favorites and “The Snowman”

Tickets: $39, $34, $27, $15.

Harmony From Discord: Jennifer Koh, Violin

Jan. 29

Koh performs Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and Ullman’s last piano sonata Schulhoff’s Symphony closes the program, featuring banjo and saxophone.


▪ Ullmann’s Piano Sonata No. 7

▪ Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor

▪ Elper’s “Al Naharot Bavel” (”On The Rivers of Babylon”)

▪ Schulhoff’s Symphony No. 2

Tickets: $54, $45, $35, $15.

All-American Celebration: Christopher Guzman, Piano

March 26

A salute to spring with some of the best-known works of the American canon, with Guzman’s performance of “Rhapsody in Blue.”


▪ Ives’ “The Unanswered Question”

▪ Copland’s “Appalachian Spring”

▪ Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”

▪ Bernstein’s “On the Town: Three Dance Episodes”

Tickets: $39, $34, $27, $15.

Joshua Roman Returns!

May 21

Since his appointment at age 22 to principal cello for the Seattle Symphony, Joshua Roman has developed a dedicated Pacific Northwest following. He returns to Bellingham for his WSO debut, playing Elgar’s fiery concerto. The season closes with Brahms’s lyrical First Symphony.


▪ Elgar’s Concerto for Violoncello in E minor

▪ Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C minor

Tickets: $49, $43, $33, $15.

Margaret Bikman: 360-715-2273, @bhamentertainme