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, several world-renowned musicians have held the Artistic Director positions, and consequently the artistic direction has evolved. 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. In 2013 the Northwest Bach Festival contracted with Zuill Bailey to serve as Artistic Director, and he and the Executive Director Gertrude Harvey with enthusiastic support from the community have, in three years, expanded a basic four-concert Festival into a Festival & Series with over 30 programs throughout the year and with a regional presence. The Festival & Series now offers concerts in Walla Walla and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. In addition, extensive community engagement activities reach a diverse population with free events and programs for those unable to participate in public performances due to illness, limited resources or challenging personal circumstances.
(Martin Pearlman, Interim Director 1986)
(Stefan Kozinski 1987-1992)
(Bach Festival/Gunther Schuller 1993 - 2013)
(Mozart Concerts/Verne Windham 1993 - present)
(Bach Festival & Series/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. 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 in Texas and Sitka Summer Music Festival & Alaska Classics Series and Guest Artistic Director of the Classical Inside Out Series of the Mesa Performing Arts Center in Arizona. His influence has expanded the cultural effect of the Northwest Bach Festival’s music throughout the region and calendar year. The Festival & Series concerts are presented in a variety of unique venues that help dissolve barriers between performers and listeners including Barrister Winery & Event Center with Bach @ Barrister concerts as well as regular concerts in Spokane’s magnificent landmark, St. John’s Cathedral. Expanded community engagement activities offer the gift of classical music to a broader community with free Bach’s Lunch programs, Flash-Bach! appearances, visits to hospitals, recovery shelters, hospices and more along with Zuill In School programs for students of all ages.
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.