The mission of Connoisseur Concerts is to present musical performances of world-class quality utilizing local and visiting artists. Every effort is made to educate and to heighten community appreciation of classical music and music history.
Connoisseur Concerts was organized in 1970 in Spokane, Washington and incorporated as a 501c3 non-profit organization in 1973. The original purpose was to offer a series of chamber music concerts performed on baroque period instruments. The annual Northwest Bach Festival was implemented into the series in 1978. Since the inception of the organization, founded by Beverly Biggs and David Dutton now of Allegro: Baroque and Beyond, four other individuals have held the Artistic Director positions, and consequently the artistic direction has evolved. The performances of the organization no longer are limited to baroque instruments or chamber music concerts. In 1990 the Board of Trustees evaluated the direction of the organization and chose to concentrate on the annual Northwest Bach Festival and a summer Mozart series in outdoor venues. Connoisseur Concerts is presently very highly regarded by music professionals and educators for extremely high level of artistic merit in its concerts and educational programs. Programs other than the Bach Festival concerts and summer Mozart concerts are presented on an occasional basis.
(Martin Pearlman, Interim Director 1986)
(Stefan Kozinski 1987-1992)
(Bach Festival/Gunther Schuller 1993 - 2013)
(Mozart Concerts/Verne Windham 1993 - present)
(Bach Festival/Zuill Bailey 2013 - present)
The Northwest Bach Festival's Artistic Director is Zuill Bailey who was named Artistic Director Designate in 2013 succeeding Gunther Schuller, Artistic Director Emeritus. Zuill Bailey is a world-renowned cellist, in-demand guest artist and top selling recording artist. He also serves as Artistic Director of El Paso Pro Musica and Sitka, Alaska, Music Festival and Series. His leadership of the Northwest Bach Festival will expand the cultural reach and influence of the Festival throughout the calendar year and throughout the geographic region. The main performances of the Festival and Series will take place in Spokane's magnificent landmark, St. John's Cathedral. The expanded educational and community outreach activities of the Festival will each students of all ages, new audiences, new and unique venues, underserved areas and will increasingly offer the gift of classical music to a broader community.
The Mozart On A Summer's Eve concerts are under the artistic direction of their founder Verne Windham, an award-winning professional musician and KPBX Public Radio's Program Director. The concerts are held in one of Spokane's most beautiful public outdoor settings, Manito Park. The Mozart concerts are appealing to those just beginning to hear classical forms of music while still being satisfying to more seasoned listeners. The garden setting is intimate and pleasant, and the Mozart concerts are considered a true celebration of summertime in Spokane, friendliness, community and beauty.
The Board of Trustees of Connoisseur Concerts is comprised of individuals in business, education, music and arts who are interested in preserving the legacy of two of the world's most renowned composers, Bach and Mozart, in live performances. The organization is managed by a professional Executive Director.
Connoisseur Concerts contracts with professional musicians for all of its programs and combines the talents of local artists with guest artists for its concerts.
Financial support is provided by generous individuals, businesses and foundations who value the enhanced quality of life that fine music brings to the human spirit.