Bellingham Symphony’s 45th Season Opens Oct. 11

Watching an online conversation between Bellingham Symphony Orchestra music director Yaniv Attar and Seattle Symphony principal second violinist Elisa Barton from the comfort of my dining room isn’t how the BSO envisioned the opening of its 45th season.
But it’s a lot like attending a house concert, in which a genial host welcomes friends to their home to experience a closeup and personal concert. It’s a popular thing in Bellingham, and you have to be connected with the right crowd, since house concerts are usually by invitation only or through word-of-month.
Listening to Elisa talk about her five cats who sometimes interrupt her practicing, and learning about why her violin is so special to her may not have been possible in a pre-covid setting.
Elisa talks with Yaniv about when she performed chamber music  this summer, socially distanced (“playing by the rules”), with the Chamber Concerts in the Barn in Quilcene, and how everyone teared up because they were so happy to be performing together.
“It was good for the soul,” she said.
The program for the concert on Oct. 11 features Fritz Kreisler’s Recitativo and Scherzo, Op. 6; ‍J.S. Bach’s Sonata No. 3 in C major BWV 1005; ‍Eugène Ysaÿe’s| Violin Sonata No. 3, Op. 27 “Ballade;” and ‍Niccolò Paganini’s Sonata Concertata In A Major For Guitar & Violin, Op.61, M.S. 2.
Elisa shares why she chose these solo pieces, and why they are so personal to her.
During this season, you can watch for free at 1 p.m. on the second Sunday of each month, October through June, on the BSO website, BTV, or KMRE 102.3 FM. After that, the concert will be available to watch anytime through the symphony’s channel website either by subscription or by concert.
And in this covid season, there’s no long line at Mount Baker Theatre on concert day to rush in to the Encore Room to get a seat to catch Ryan Dudenbostel’s popular pre-concert lecture! They’ll start at noon, and you’ll learn some of the history of the composers and the featured works, and just like in person, Ryan will hop over to the piano to illustrate some of his finer points.
The bonuses! You’ll hear violinist Shu-Hsin Ko, violist Yuko Watanabe, and cellist Coral Marchant perform Beethoven’s String Trio No. 3, Op. 9, No. 2, Andante and Rondo, in honor of the composer’s 250th birthday.
And Yaniv and Elisa perform the lovely Paganini duet for violin and guitar. (Keep an eye out for Yaniv’s socks!)
It’s indeed an “unconventional start,” as Ryan says, but it’s no less enthralling!
To see these videos, go to on Sunday, Oct. 11. They will be available online for free to everyone on Sunday starting at 1 p.m. The pre- concert lecture will be available Sunday starting at noon. People can also watch on BTV (pre concert lecture starts around 12:45 p.m. on BTV) or listen on KMRE 102.3FM (no pre concert lecture on KMRE).