PORT ANGELES — Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate is a rising star in the classical realm, so Music on the Strait cofounders James Garlick and Richard O’Neill are thrilled to highlight his work this weekend.
Tate is Chickasaw from Oklahoma, and he makes music that draws from Pueblo and Hopi rhythms and forms. His string quartet “Pisachi” (“Reveal”) is on the program this Friday evening at Maier Hall, Peninsula College’s intimate venue.
Music on the Strait, in its fifth year, will present two more events to round out the 2023 finale: Saturday and Sunday concerts will be held at Field Arts & Events Hall, Port Angeles’ newly open waterfront center. At both performances, balcony seats are “pay what makes you happy,” starting at $5.
More information about tickets to all three of this weekend’s events can be found at
“The sound and sight lines are just as good — or even better — up in the balcony, where you get a bird’s-eye view of the action and can take in the full beauty of Field Hall,” Garlick said.
This Friday’s 7 p.m. performance at Maier Hall has plenty of its own excitement, he added. It has not only the Tate quartet but also a piece featuring the marimba, an instrument not heard at MOTS until now. Internationally known marimbist Mari Yoshinaga “will blow you away with her virtuosity,” Garlick said.
“Mari will join Noah Geller, the concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony, to play an exciting duo, Anton Prischepa’s ‘Based on Actual Events for Violin and Marimba.’ She will also play a surprise work for solo marimba,” he noted.
Garlick, who grew up in Port Angeles, started MOTS with O’Neill, his longtime friend from Sequim.
“My grandmother used to take me to Victoria for my violin lessons for a few years, and we would park right next to what is now the hall,” recalled O’Neill, now a Grammy-winning violist who travels the world with the Takacs Quartet.
Garlick and O’Neill’s good friend Jeremy Denk, the pianist who has won a MacArthur “genius” fellowship and published “Every Good Boy Does Fine,” a best-selling book about his musical journey, is returning to MOTS for the fourth time. Denk will turn Saturday night into a celebration of Bach’s partitas — and play all six of them on the new Steinway piano at Field Hall.
This 7 p.m. concert “promises to be dazzling,” Garlick said. The piano, purchased in a collaborative effort by Field Hall and MOTS, has a warm and powerful tone, he added.
Denk will reappear in MOTS’ last event of the summer, a 3 p.m. Sunday matinee at Field Hall. This performance features violinist Garlick, violist O’Neill and cellist Ani Aznavoorian in a program highlighting the alchemy that comes with friendship. The quartet will play music by Johannes Brahms and Clara and Robert Schumann, close collaborators 170 years ago.
In addition on Sunday, the Port Angeles Symphony Brass Quintet will play, giving an opening performance at 2:15 p.m.
“We are so glad to have the PA Symphony quintet for our finale concert,” said Garlick, adding the symphony nurtured him and O’Neill when they were young students.
After both men had become professionals, symphony conductor Jonathan Pasternack invited them back to perform as guest soloists with the orchestra. Not long after that, they decided to start the MOTS festival.
“James and I are proud of this wonderful community that nurtured and supported us,” O’Neill said.
“It’s also an exciting time to see the opening of Field Arts & Events Hall. It truly is a dream come true,” he said, “an investment in the future generations of our community, and one of the most beautiful places to hear a concert in the world.”
Diane Urbani de la Paz is a freelance writer living in Port Townsend.