The final two performances of the Olympic Music Festival on Saturday and Sunday will both include pre-concert lectures by veteran festival pianist and Beethoven specialist Paul Hersh. (Olympic Music Festival)

Olympic Music Festival presents final weekend with ‘musical journey’

PORT TOWNSEND — Two days devoted to Beethoven’s string quartets will conclude the Olympic Music Festival’s summer season this weekend.

“Beethoven’s string quartets are truly awe-inspiring creations,” said Julio Elizalde, festival artistic director.

“The pieces programmed during our two final concerts range from Beethoven’s early period full of vibrant optimism to the quartets written at the end of his life, which reach an emotional spirituality that captures the essence of the human condition.”

At 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the internationally recognized Ariel Quartet will perform two concerts at Wheeler Theater in Fort Worden State Park, 200 Battery Way.

Tickets cost $33 or $40, depending on seating, and can be purchased at 360-385-9699 or www.brown

The quartet includes Sasha Kazovsky (violin), Gershon Gerchikov (violin), Jan Gruning (viola) and Amit-Even Tov (cello).

Before any member of the ensemble turned 30, the Ariel Quartet succeeded in performing the entire cycle of Beethoven’s 16 string quartets.

Before each of the concerts, veteran festival pianist and Beethoven specialist Paul Hersh will give a one-hour lecture, starting at noon.

“When this Beethoven project came into focus, I immediately wanted my former teacher Paul Hersh involved in some way,” Elizalde said.

“His lifelong passion for this music has been an inspiration throughout my career, and I am so thrilled that he will share his limitless knowledge with the audience before they embark on this musical journey.”

A lunch break will precede the concerts. After both performances, audience members will be able to ask questions of Hersh or members of the Ariel Quartet.

For the complete program, visit www.olympic

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