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Conductor Michael Palmer Resigns as Artistic Director of Bellingham Festival of Music

May 1, 2020 | By Lux Nova Media
publicity & public relations

For Immediate Release
April 30, 2020

ATLANTA, GA– American conductor Michael Palmer announced today his resignation from his position as Artistic Director of the Bellingham Festival of Music, located in western Washington. The sudden announcement brings an abrupt conclusion to his 27-year tenure in the post. Palmer co-founded the eminent classical music festival in 1993 – just one of the posts of his distinguished career.

“In light of recent actions by the Board of Directors of the Festival, in which I had no participation and which were taken without my knowledge, I found it necessary, as a matter of personal integrity, to tender my resignation as Artistic Director of the Festival immediately,” says Palmer.

“I am especially sad – after years of building together this incredible music festival – that proper board transparency and open communications were abandoned. I want to be honest in expressing that I feel betrayed and unfairly treated.”

In contrast to the circumstances leading to what one might call his “BelExit” as Artistic Director, Palmer has nothing but praise for the Festival Orchestra, its artistic excellence, and its musicians, with whom he has enjoyed a long and productive relationship:

“I want to make clear how much the wonderful artistry of the Festival Orchestra has meant to me over the years. Many of these musicians have been with me for several years, some for 20 years or more. There is no more honest environment than the one we have enjoyed on the stage together in our unspoiled devotion to the great works we have had the privilege to perform. The honesty, integrity, and devotion with which we have approached our work together cannot be challenged.”

Celebrating his 75th birthday this year, as well as a career spanning over 50 years, as conductor, music director, and artistic entrepreneur, Palmer has developed a reputation as an experienced conductor of integrity – on and off stage – and a reputation for entrepreneurial success - building and sustaining orchestras, and festival concepts centered around the standard orchestral masterwork repertoire from across three centuries.

In the wake of his departure from the Festival, Palmer will hardly be left without visible artistic platforms, with guest conducting appearances and several special projects, including a new east coast festival, that are in the works.

About Michael Palmer

Michael Palmer (born 8 May 1945, Indianapolis, Indiana) is an American orchestral conductor. In 1991, while music director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Palmer founded The American Sinfonietta, with which he toured Europe for 10 consecutive seasons, performing in the major concert halls of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, to critical acclaim. In 1993, he conceived and co-founded the Bellingham Festival of Music to be the summer residency for his orchestra and has served as Artistic Director since its inception.

Palmer began his professional career in 1967 at age 21 when he was appointed by Robert Shaw, to be Assistant Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, for which he was later named Associate Conductor. In that capacity he also founded and became the first director of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra in 1974. In 1975 he was one of the first young conductors to be selected as an EXXON/Arts Endowment Conductor by the National Endowment for the Arts.

He left the ASO in 1977 to become Music Director of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra (1977–1990), followed by the posts of Music Director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra (1989–1997) and the American Sinfonietta (1991–2002).

Among numerous engagements over the last five decades throughout the world, Palmer was invited as Guest Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in 1975. In the Nation's Bicentennial year, 1976, he was invited to return as conductor of the orchestra's summer season concerts in Kennedy Center. Palmer has served as Guest Conductor for three seasons for the Houston Symphony Orchestra (1978–1981) and Co-Principal Guest Conductor of the Denver Symphony Orchestra (1979–1982). He has also held academic conducting posts as Director of Orchestras for Wichita State University (1999–2004) and Distinguished Professor of Orchestral Studies at Georgia State University (2004–present). For more information about Michael Palmer, visit his artist's website: www.maestropalmer.com

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Media Contact:

On behalf of Michael Palmer
Mark Gresham / Lux Nova Media
404-654-3960 (Lux Nova Press)
2107 N Decatur Rd #458
Decatur, GA 30033






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