QUILCENE — This place, said the violist, is like a musical spa.
“It’s just so beautiful out here,” on the farm where the Concerts in the Barn take place, said Korine Fujiwara, cofounder of the Carpe Diem String Quartet. On the spread located at 7360 Center Road, the foursome will give free concerts at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday to begin the seven-week season of indoor-outdoor events.
“When we’re playing music, we can hear the birds singing, we can smell the trees and flowers, we can have the raspberries growing on the premises,” she said Thursday during a break in rehearsals.
The Carpe Diem — Latin for “seize the day” — quartet is poised to restart the Concerts in the Barn after last summer’s pandemic-induced break.
Along with Seattle Symphony principal clarinetist Ben Lulich, the ensemble will offer slightly different programs each day. Saturday features Scandinavian folk tunes arranged for string quartet plus Mendelssohn’s Quartet No. 2 in A minor and Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A major. Sunday brings the folk tunes and Mendelssohn plus Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet in B minor.
Fully vaccinated concert-goers can reserve free tickets to sit in the pews or on the hay bales inside the big barn, while those who are unvaccinated, or just prefer to be outside, can choose the lawn. As in previous years, the live music is piped out for the crowd to hear.
“Come early, and bring a picnic and lawn chairs,” if you’ve got outdoor tickets, said Leigh Hearon, Concerts in the Barn’s volunteer executive director.
The farm gates open at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and the barn doors open at 1 p.m., she noted. Outside, families are encouraged to spread out blankets or use the picnic tables that will be set up — 6 feet apart — on the half-acre of land beside the barn.
“This year, amplifiers surround the barn so that outside patrons will hear the performance wherever they choose to sit,” Hearon said, adding that bottled water, cider and other beverages will be available.
Tickets are nearly sold out for some of the Concerts in the Barn later this season, she added. Lawn seating may be easier to reserve, but Hearon urges music lovers to go online “now, today” to book their spots for ensembles such as the Takács Quartet, slated for Aug. 15.
“Tickets are going fast,” she said, even with barn seating available at 75 percent of capacity. That’s 250 seats indoors for the fully immunized.
Sponsors and patrons who make donations have kept the Concerts in the Barn free, Hearon said. The series began in the 1980s as the Olympic Music Festival, and developed a strong base of support; every year except 2020, people have come from around the Puget Sound to hear chamber music on the farm, rain or shine.
On the wet days, Hearon and her husband, Olympic Music Festival founder Alan Iglitzin, watched devotees trudge in with their raincoats and umbrellas; “they’re just intrepid,” she said.
Here’s the lineup of 2 p.m. events for the rest of the summer, including two August concerts presented with Music on the Strait (musiconthestrait.com), the Port Angeles-based chamber music festival founded by Grammy-winning, Sequim-born violist Richard O’Neill and Port Angeles-born violinist James Garlick.
July 24-25: The Carpe Diem String Quartet returns to play music of Brahms, Shostakovich, Dvorak and Shelley Washington.
July 31-Aug. 1: Trio Hava, featuring violinist Elisa Barston, cellist Amy Barston and pianist Jessica Choe, plays music of Lily Boulanger, Beethoven and Brahms.
Aug. 7: “Salut d’Amour,” the romance-themed gala fundraiser, features violin virtuoso Charles Wetherbee and pianist Cameron Bennett and music of Beethoven, Amy Beach, Clara Schumann, Edvard Grieg, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and other masters.
Aug. 15: Music on the Strait and Concerts in the Barn present the Takács Quartet and music of Ravel and Haydn plus Franz Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden;” tickets are free or pay-what-you-can.
Aug. 21: Soprano Laura Bohn and pianist Hadley McCarroll offer music of Debussy, Poulenc, Schubert and Kurt Weill.
Aug. 22: Music on the Strait and Concerts in the Barn present another free or pay-what-you-can performance starring pianist Jeremy Denk, violinist James Garlick, violist Richard O’Neill and cellist Ani Aznavoorian, playing music of Jessie Montgomery, Paul Hindemith and Johannes Brahms.
Aug. 28-29: 2021’s final Concerts in the Barn feature the Fulton Street Chamber Players and music of Robert Schumann, Ken Benshoof’s “Tangents and Detours” for cello and piano, and Erno Dohnányi’s Serenade in C major.
Diane Urbani de la Paz, senior reporter in Jefferson County, can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]