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September 5, 2023

Kare Bailor

Bellingham Symphony Kicks Off 48th Season with Bandoneon, Boulanger, and Pictures at an Exhibition

Bandoneonist Héctor del Curto joins the Symphony for Tango-inspired music

On Sunday, October 1st, the Bellingham Symphony Orchestra will kick off its 48th Season with an opportunity to hear an instrument that is not commonly heard in the concert hall—the bandoneon. Similar to an accordion and known as Tango's main instrument, the bandoneon is a type of concertina with keys and switches on both sides. Bandoneonist Héctor del Curto will join the Symphony to perform Astor Piazzolla's 'Aconcagua' Concerto for Bandoneon and Orchestra, a tango-inspired piece named after the highest mountain peak in the Americas. Praised by the New York Times as a "splendid player," Grammy-winning musician, composer, recording artist, and educator Héctor Del Curto is one of the world’s most sought–after bandoneonists.

Also on the program are Lili Boulanger's D'un Matin de Printemps or "Of a Spring Morning"—apicturesque and moody French impressionist piece—and Modest Mussorgsky's iconic Pictures at an Exhibition. Lili Boulanger’s older sister, Nadia, was a music teacher and conductor who taught many of the 20th century’s most well-known musical giants, including Aaron Copland, Philip Glass, and, coincidentally, Astor Piazzolla. Pictures at an Exhibition is a Russian-composed piece orchestrated by French composer Maurice Ravel that takes listeners on a musical journey through an art exhibition by painter Viktor Hartmann with each movement describing a painting. The movements are all connected by a repetitive Promenade theme, which evokes feelings of walking from piece to piece.

This October also marks 10 years since Maestro Yaniv Attar debuted as Music Director of the then Whatcom Symphony Orchestra. "These ten years with the symphony have been an enormous pleasure for me, and I am thrilled to open the season with a delightful and very colorful program," Attar explains. 

"Two of the works are totally new to me—the Piazzolla Bandoneon concerto, which is going to be so much fun, and the D’un Matin de Printemps by Lili Boulanger. She is one of the geniuses of the 20th century, and I think her death at the early age of 25 is one of the biggest tragedies in classical music. I am so excited to perform this overture by her as well as the monumental Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky. I am so grateful for the support of this community over the past 10 years. I hope you can join me in celebrating this milestone!"

The first concert of the season, The French Connection, will take place at the Mount Baker Theatre on Sunday, October 1st at 3PM. 

Tickets start at just $15.

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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