There wasn't any music involved in my recent trip to the idyllic and remote (well, not that remote there is regular ferry service) San Juan Islands. When I returned, I got to thinking and remembered the Orcas Island Music Festival. Returning from my first visit to the islands, I can't think of a better location for a chamber music festival.
The festival isn't new. Its been going strong for about ten years now. It runs from August to September (perhaps the best time for the Northwest's amazing summer weather). Pianist, John Kimura Parker acts as the festival's artistic advisor, while his wife, Aloysia Friedmann serves as the festival's artistic director. But, the relative isolation of Orcas Island and the San Juans likely don't make it a first music choice for anyone other than residents of Orcas Island and summer regulars.
This past summer, the music of Peter Schikele was featured in the festival programming. Festival musicians premiered Schickele's Quartet for Piano and Strings (commissioned for the 10th anniversary of the festival), and performed other pieces including: the Emperor's New Clothes (narrated by Mr. Schickele), Three Strange Cases, and Morning Music.