Festival Brochure

Pacific Musicworks, the American Handel Society, St. James Cathedral, and Sweet Bird Classics are bringing the 30-year-old American Handel Festival to Seattle in March 2011. This is a three-week, citywide festival, incorporating some 30 concerts and a host of lectures, symposia, and educational activities. The festival was founded at the University of Maryland in 1981 and held […]

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The American Handel Festival in Seattle begins March 11, 2011 with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Nicholas McGegan and ends March 27, 2011 with Seattle Baroque Orchestra, directed by Ingrid Matthews.   Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs will direct the Boston Early Music Festival production of Acis and Galatea on Friday, March 25th.  Then on Saturday […]

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Special Events

HANDEL IN SEATTLE presents a full schedule of educational activities — lectures, theater works, a short course on Handel, master classes, workshops for students, visual arts events and more.  See the full festival schedule.

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Festival Schedule

Beginning March 11, 2011 Seattle will host more than 2 dozen concerts and recitals of music by Handel and his contemporaries.  The Seattle Symphony Orchestra opens the festival with conductor Nicholas McGegan and soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian.  The festival ends with Pacific Musicworks and Tudor Choir’s performance of Esther, Boston Early Music Festival’s production of Acis and Galatea, and Seattle Baroque Orchestra.  Continue reading for the full schedule: Read more…


The American Handel Festival has fired the imaginations of Seattle’s wonderful media professionals.  Here is a sampling of what you can read or hear about the festival:

A busy weekend for Seattle Baroque fans, with Handel Festival

A busy weekend of Handel Festival and Baroque events in Seattle March 18-20, including “Dixit Dominus” and Bach’s St. John Passion.

By Tom Keogh, Special to The Seattle Times

American Handel Festival

For information on the festival, in Seattle through March 27: 206-999-7045 or www.americanhandelfestival.org

The sprawling ambition of the American Handel Festival, which includes an American Handel Society conference plus 30 concerts over 17 days, continues this weekend at various Seattle venues. Read more…

American Handel Society Conference

The American Handel Society biennial conference is the reason for the Festival.  Every other year, Handel scholars from all over the world get together to share their research and ideas and to celebrate the life and works of the great composer.  The Conference usually takes its theme from the works being performed — or vice-versa.  This year the theme is Handel’s early years in England  at Cannons, the country seat of the Duke of Chandos. 

The meetings will be held at the Pastoral Center, St. James Cathedral, Seattle, March 24-27, 2011.  Space is limited.   Daily registration is available.

An online registration form is here. Read more…

Handel at Cannons

Early Music America, Fall 2010

by Graydon Beeks, President of the American Handel Society

HANDEL CREATED his first two large scale dramatic works with English texts, Acis and Galatea and Esther, during the brief period when he enjoyed the patronage of James Brydges (1673-1744), who was from October 1714 the Earl of Carnarvon and from April 1719 the First Duke of Chandos. Research since the composer’s tercentennial in 1985 – 25 years ago – allows us to understand better the story behind the composition of these two landmark works, which will be featured at the American Handel Festival in Seattle, Washington, in March 2011…

Handel’s decision to accept the patronage of Brydges in the summer of 1717 was probably related to a number of factors. In the first place, the Earl of Burlington had decided to undertake another continental visit. More importantly, the ongoing hostility between the King and the Prince of Wales had flared into open conflict culminating in November 1717 with the Prince and Princess of Wales being ejected from St. James’s Palace and setting up their own rival court in Richmond. Henceforth, anyone paying court to one party was deemed persona non grata by the other. It was clear that the opera would not reopen for a 1717-18 season with such constraints on the members of the nobility who were its primary supporters. 

To read the entire article, click here.

Early Music America (EMA) is a not-for-profit service organization for the field of historical performance in North America. Founded in 1985, EMA’s goal is to expand awareness of, and interest in, the music of the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical periods. EMA is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2010-2011.