Alan Alda-Narrated BRAHMS AND THE SCHUMANNS Adds Performance at BCMF
At first it was unconscious, then by design: the 34th season of the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, Long Island's longest-running classical music festival, has something of a water theme. The music of the 13 concerts of BCMF 2017, running from July 30 to August 27, evokes the festival's seaside setting with such selections as the Vivaldi concerto subtitled "La tempesta di mare" ("Storm at Sea"); Ravel's Jeux d'eau (Water Games); Debussy's Poisson d'or (Gold Fish); Kevin Puts's Seven Seascapes - and the world premiere of a BCMF commission, Island Nocturnes by ElizaBeth Brown.
As Artistic Director Marya Martin put it, "What better way to recognize the deep connection between the Festival and the beach than by building a season where water and sea are always close at hand? Composers for centuries have been influenced by the elements, and water in particular. We're thrilled to flood our programs with flowing melodies and turbulent rhythms - from Vivaldi's 'La tempesta di mare' concerto to our world-premiere from ElizaBeth Brown called Island Nocturnes. In a world that is ever-more complicated, it's nice to get back to basics and remember the essential."
The 2016 festival opened with a portrait of Mozart in music and words narrated by Alan Alda. The celebrated actor and friend-of-BCMF returns to help launch this year's festival, this time weaving the story of the intimate relationship of Johannes Brahms and Clara and Robert Schumann with excerpts of their letters and music by all three. A second performance of the program has been added by popular demand.
The festival's roster of artists comprises one of the best multi-generational groups of chamber musicians to be found anywhere. Led by flutist and festival founder Marya Martin, they include violinist Ani Kavafian, who played in the festival's first year; New York Philharmonic Concertmaster Frank Huang and PrincipAl Viola Cynthia Phelps; longtime festival artists Stewart Rose, horn, and Long Island native Kenneth Weiss, harpsichord; and newcomers such as Metropolitan Opera concertmaster Nikki Chooi, and the phenomenal young bassist Xavier Foley.
Among the concert highlights are "BCMF at the Parrish Art Museum: Light | Waves," a program of Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt, and water-inspired music by Debussy and Ravel, inspired by a Parrish exhibition of the same title devoted to Clifford Ross's photography of waves; "Schubert Dreams," a juxtaposition of Schubert's last piano trios and John Harbison's tribute to that composer; "Bach & Django," a program of music by J. S. Bach and Django Reinhardt highlighted by Gypsy-jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembel performing Reinhardt's own improvisation on Bach's Double Violin Concerto; "French Masters," featuring music of Ravel, Fauré, and Philippe Hersant; and a program combining Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Andrew Norman's ode to Frank Lloyd Wright with Mozart and Beethoven quintets. A complete festival schedule follows below.
Tickets go on sale May 8 and may be purchased on the festival's website, www.bcmf.org, or by calling 212-741-9403 before July 24; after July 25, call 631-537-6368. A student ticket price of $10 will be available for most concerts.
Called a "beloved East End festival" by The New Yorker, 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 on the East Coast. BCMF has maintained its special sense of community ever since the festival debuted in 1984 with five 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 destination, who have had a wide range of music introduced to them over more than three decades of summer concerts and, since 2015, a BCMF Spring mini-series. The festival is still based in the graceful 1842 church-which boasts admirable acoustics-and has gradually expanded to include its other special event venues.
This year's Free Outdoor Concert is an ebullient program of music titled "Italian Baroque" on August 2 - which takes place on the grounds behind the festival's main venue, the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church. The season also includes the BCMF Annual Benefit, a one-hour program followed by dinner, at the Atlantic Golf Club on August 5, and the Festival's annual Wm. Brian Little Concert (named after the late BCMF board member) on August 18 featuring Gypsy-jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembel performing with BCMF artists 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 BCMF partners with the Parrish Art Museum for the fourth consecutive year, presenting "Light | Waves," inspired by a Clifford Ross exhibition of the same name, on August 14.
Currently comprising around a dozen events over five weeks in the summer and its BCMF Spring three-concert series, 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, Colin Jacobsen, and Anthony Marwood; cellists Clive Greensmith 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; Tony-award winning singers Audra McDonald and Victoria Clark; and ensembles Brooklyn Rider and the Miró String Quartet.
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, Howard Shore, and Pulitzer Prize-winners Paul Moravec, Kevin Puts, and Ned Rorem, and features contemporary works in its programs each season.
BCMF features video from previous concerts-performances of complete works and select movements-on its website: www.bcmf.org/media.
In 2012, BCMF launched its own record label, BCMF Records, which has to date released 10 recordings. 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, by Ned Rorem, Bruce MacCombie, and Kenji Bunch-as well as Paul Moravec's 2010 Wind Quintet. Ensuing releases have featured performances from each year's festival; highlights include BCMF Live 2013, works by Bruce Adolphe, Robert Beaser, Leon Kirchner, and Boccherini; BCMF Live 2014 featuring Howard Shore's A Palace Upon the Ruins, a BCMF commission, and Brahms; and Seascapes, an all-Kevin Puts disc that made Iowa Public Radio's list of the best classical CDs of 2015. For the full discography, visit www.bcmf.org/media/recordings/.
About 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.