Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival Kicks Off 31st Season Today
This summer, the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival marks its 31st season in the beautiful seaside setting of Long Island's East End. The Island's longest-running classical music festival this year features 12 concerts from today, July 30 to August 24, featuring the signature mix of renowned and up-and-coming artists and classic and new music that has made it one of the most noteworthy summer music festivals in the country.
Programmed by BCMF founder and Artistic Director Marya Martin, who, as The New Yorker put it, has been "giving her audience a balance of classic and contemporary works in an atmosphere of relaxed elegance" for three decades, this year's festival kicks off with a free outdoor concert on the grounds of the Bridgehampton Historical Society, and continues with concerts featuring from four to 13 musicians, mostly in the picturesque 1842 Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church, with special events at the Atlantic Golf Club, the Channing Sculpture Garden, and, new this year, the Parrish Art Museum.
Artistic Director Marya Martin notes, "As we move into our fourth decade of concerts, I could not be more excited about the future in store for the festival. Mini-themes ripple through this season's programs - several pieces dedicated to music of the evening; a focus on fantastic piano quartets by Brahms, Dvo?ák, and Schumann; and in addition to the world premiere BCMF co-commission by Howard Shore, we bring back two earlier BCMF commissions celebrating three unique American voices. Finally, we are thrilled to grow the festival in partnership with the Parrish Art Museum, adding not only a new concert venue, but also providing easy access to a BCMF concert to those in Southampton and Water Mill."
Always a destination for new American music, the 2014 festival features the world premiere of a BCMF co-commission (with the La Jolla Music Society) by Academy Award, Grammy, and Golden Globe winning composer Howard Shore -- known for his Lord of the Rings movie scores and his opera The Fly -- of A Palace Upon the Ruins for Mezzo-Soprano, Flute, Cello, Piano, Harp, and Percussion (2014), to words by Elizabeth Cotnoir. The rising young mezzo Jennifer Johnson Cano is the soloist.
Other recent works to be heard include Eric Ewazen's Bridgehampton Suite for flute and violin, viola, and cello (2006); Philippe Hersant's Heliades for flute and strings (2007); Kevin Puts' Four Airs for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano (2004); new and recent works by Gabriel Kahane, Evan Ziporyn, and Aoife O'Donovan performed by the string quartet Brooklyn Rider, and works by William Bolcom and Ned Rorem. These works are interwoven on the programs with music of Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Schubert, among others -- among the festival highlights are Bach's Concerto for Two Violins; Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik; and piano quartets by Brahms, Dvo?ák, and Schumann. (Full programs are listed below.)
Joining flutist Marya Martin on the 2014 BCMF artist roster is violinist Ani Kavafian, who was also on the roster for the first festival, in 1984. This year's mix of more than 40 musicians also includes longtime festival regulars violist Cynthia Phelps, cellist Carter Brey, and double bassist Donald Palma; more recent participants such as violinists Jennifer Frautschi and Stefan Jackiw, violists Beth Guterman Chu and Richard O'Neill, cellists Clive Greensmith and Michael Nicolas, and pianists Gilles Vonsattel and Shai Wosner; as well as the long awaited return of pianist Joyce Yang, who first appeared with the festival when she was in her early teens. Newcomers include violinist Anthony Marwood, cellist Anotonio Lysy, harpist Bridget Kibbey, and percussionist Ian David Rosenbaum.
Starting with the free outdoor concert, this year a program of "Russian Memories" on July 30, the season also includes the annual BCMF Benefit Concert, a one-hour program followed by dinner, at the Atlantic Golf Club on August 2. The Festival's annual Wm. Brian Little Concert (named after the late BCMF board member) on August 15 features BCMF musicians performing a program, "Baroque Fantasy," under a tent on the stunning grounds of the Channing Sculpture Garden adjacent to the Channing Daughters Winery; wine and hors d'oeuvres are served before the hour-long program. And there will be two Saturday Soirees, a one-hour concert format introduced in 2011.
A festive summer setting, and a new partnership: Parrish Art Museum
The longest-running classical music festival on Long Island, BCMF has maintained its special sense of community ever since the festival debuted with four artists in two concerts in the intimate setting of the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church. BCMF has developed a loyal core audience among the local residents and summer visitors to this East End resort, who have had a wide range of music introduced to them over nearly 30 years. The festival is still based in the graceful 1842 church-which boasts admirable acoustics and a welcoming, air-conditioned space-and has gradually expanded to include its other special event venues.
New in 2014, BCMF partners with the Parrish Art Museum to present "Late Night at the Parrish" on August 9. That evening, the quartet Brooklyn Rider, after performing an hour-long Saturday Soiree program at the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church at 6:30 PM, will repeat the program at 9:00 PM in the Parrish Art Museum's Lichtenstein Theater, where patrons can enjoy cabaret-style concert seating and a glass of wine as they listen. The Parrish Art Museum, a 116-year-old institution devoted to the history of the artists of Eastern Long Island, opened its new Herzog & de Meuron-designed building in Water Mill in 2012.
Fourth recording release by BCMF Records brings festival discography to seven releases
In 2012, BCMF launched its own record label, BCMF Records. Signifying the Festival's commitment to American composers, the label's first recording was BCMF Premieres, a disc of contemporary American music featuring three works commissioned by the Festival-Ned Rorem's The Unquestioned Answer (2002), Bruce MacCombie's Light Upon the Turning Leaf (2010), and Kenji Bunch's Changes of Phase (1999)-as well as Paul Moravec's Wind Quintet (2010). The label's second release, BCMF Live 2011, featured performances from the 2011 festival of music by Mozart and Spohr; and a third disc, BCMF Live 2012, featured performances of works by Boccherini, Wolf, Martin?, and Thuille, all recorded at the 2012 festival.
BCMF Records' fourth release, BCMF Live 2013, to be released June 10 and distributed by Naxos, features the following highlights of the 2013 festival: Bruce Adolphe's Bridgehampton Concerto for Flute, Oboe, String Quartet, and Harpsichord; Robert Beaser's Mountain Songs for Flute and Guitar (selections); Leon Kirchner's "Flutings" for Flute and Percussion from Lily; Boccherini's Quintet in F Major, G. 437; Brahms's Zwei Gesange for Mezzo-Soprano, Viola, and Piano, Op. 91; and Purcell's Two Fantasies for String Quartet (full artist list below).
These four BCMF releases join three previous discs to create a festival discography numbering seven recordings. In 1991, Bridgehampton Chamber Music released its debut recording, featuring one of the Rorem commissions, on the New World Records label. The Festival documented its landmark 20th anniversary with a recording released in the summer of 2003 to much critical acclaim. A recording celebrating the Festival's 25th anniversary and featuring commissions by Paul Moravec was released on the Naxos label in September 2008. www.bcmf.org/media/recordings/
The Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival - An inspired idea
"This impressive festival balances the tried and true with the adventurous and mixes established performers with rising talent," said The New York Times in 2010. In the 31 years since its founding, the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival has become known for presenting a broad and stimulating range of music performed by some of the best musicians in the country in one of the most beautiful seaside settings the East Coast has to offer. Currently comprising a dozen events spanning four weeks, the Festival began with an inspired idea. New Zealand-born flutist Marya Martin and Manhattan businessman Ken Davidson had just married, as Allan Kozinn of The New York Times relates: "Davidson was dismayed by the prospect that Ms. Martin would be spending her summers traveling the festival circuit while he worked in the city and spent weekends on his own in the Hamptons." Ken and Marya's solution -- to start their own festival, right in Bridgehampton -- is now local legend.
Violinist Ani Kavafian, cellist Fred Sherry, and pianist André-Michel Schub joined Marya Martin for the Festival's first season. Each year, the Festival welcomes back many artists from years past along with new chamber music leaders to create, in Marya Martin's words, "the electricity of good friends making music together." The roster has included, among others, violinists Pamela Frank, Mark O'Connor, Todd Phillips, and Soovin Kim; cellists Timothy Eddy and Peter Wiley; bassist Edgar Meyer; pianists Jeremy Denk, Claude Frank, and Ursula Oppens; harpsichordist Kenneth Cooper; the late flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal; clarinetist Anthony McGill; and Tony-award winning singers Audra McDonald and Victoria Clark.
Committed to presenting a wide variety of music with emphasis on American composers, the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival has commissioned works from composers Bruce Adolphe, Kenji Bunch, Bruce MacCombie, Mark O'Connor, and Pulitzer Prize-winners Paul Moravec, Kevin Puts, and Ned Rorem, and features each season between 10 and 15 contemporary works.
BCMF features video excerpts from previous concerts -- performances of complete works -- on its website: www.bcmf.org/media.
Marya Martin - Internationally acclaimed flutist Marya Martin enjoys a musical career of remarkable breadth and achievement. Gracefully balancing the roles of chamber musician, festival director, soloist, teacher, and supporter of musical institutions, she has performed throughout the world in such halls as London's Royal Albert Hall and Wigmore Hall, Sydney Opera House, Casals Hall in Tokyo, and other international venues.
A native of New Zealand, Ms. Martin studied at Yale University, and shortly thereafter moved to Paris to study with flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal. After winning top prizes in the Naumburg, Munich International, and Jean-Pierre Rampal International competitions, and the Concert Artists Guild and Young Concert Artists International Auditions-all within a two-year period-she returned to the U.S. and has since appeared as a soloist with major orchestras and at leading festivals and chamber music series throughout the country.
In 2006 she received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Auckland, and in 2011 received the Ian Mininberg Distinguished Service Award from Yale University. Committed to expanding the flute repertoire, she has commissioned more than 20 new works. She most recently commissioned eight works for flute and piano comprising Eight Visions, an anthology published by Theodore Presser, and recorded them for the Naxos label. In 2011, Albany Records released Marya Martin Plays Eric Ewazen. Ms. Martin has been a faculty member of the Manhattan School of Music since 1996.
BCMF Live 2013 - BCMF Records, release June 2014
Boccherini Flute Quintet in F Major, G. 437
Marya Martin (flute), Hye-Jin Kim (violin), Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt (viola), Colin Carr (cello), Edward Arron (cello)
Brahms Zwei Gesange for Mezzo-Soprano, Viola, and Piano, Op. 91
Rachel Calloway (mezzo-soprano), Ettore Causa (viola), Shai Wosner (piano)
Leon Kirchner "Flutings" for Flute and Percussion from Lily
Marya Martin (flute), Ayano Kataoka (percussion)
Purcell Two Fantasias for String Quartet
Frank Huang (violin), Ani Kavafian (violin), Ettore Causa (viola), Clive Greensmith (cello)
Bruce Adolphe Bridgehampton Concerto for Flute, Oboe, String Quintet, and Harpsichord
Marya Martin (flute), Carl Oswald (oboe), Tien-Hsin Cindy Wu (violin), Elena Urioste (violin), Beth Guterman Chu (viola), Nicholas Canellakis (cello, Donald Palma (bass), Aya Hamada (harpsichord)
Robert Beaser Selections from Mountain Songs for Flute and Guitar
Marya Martin (flute), Jason Vieaux (guitar)
As of June 10, the disc will be on sale at all BCMF concerts as well as major retail and digital outlets through a partnership with Naxos. www.bcmf.org/media/recordings/
Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival 2014 Artist Roster:
Romie de Guise-Langlois
Amy Schwartz Moretti
Tien-Hsin Cindy Wu
Beth Guterman Chu