As it approaches its three-decade mark, the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, Long Island's longest-running classical music festival, presents a 2012 season showcasing the mix of renowned and emerging artists performing classic and new music that has made it one of the most noteworthy summer music festivals in the country. Offering one of the most beautiful seaside settings on the East Coast, this year's Festival features 11 events programmed by BCMF founder and Artistic Director Marya Martin-kicking off on July 26 with a free outdoor concert by the vibrant string quartet Brooklyn Rider, and continuing with programs featuring from six to 14 musicians playing music ranging from Vivaldi and Bach to Schnittke and Ligeti, and the world premiere of a work by Paul Brantley. And the Festival's first recording on its own label, BCMF Records, is to be released on June 1.
Joining flutist Martin on the 2012 BCMF artist roster are two colleagues who were also there at the beginning, in 1984: renowned artists Ani Kavafian, violin, and Fred Sherry, cello. The invigorating mix of more than 40 musicians also includes violinists Stefan Jackiw, Joseph Lin, and Arnaud Sussmann; violist Cynthia Phelps and Hsin-Yung Huang; cellists Carter Brey and Edward Arron; pianists Alessio Bax, Gilles Vonsattel, and Orion Weiss; and bass-baritone David Pittsinger (full roster below).
This year's programs continue in the Festival's tradition of what The New Yorker has described as "a piquant mix of classical and modern works," with chamber music gems by Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms alongside music by Czech composers Dvo?ák and Martin? on four of the programs, as well as music of Gerard Beljon, Colin Jacobsen (violinist in Brooklyn Rider), Giya Kancheli, György Ligeti, Alfred Schnittke, and Carl Vine. "I think our audiences will love two of the newer works," said Marya Martin. "Dutch composer Gerard Beljon's Something Wicked for flute, piano, and electronic samples is music I can't wait to share with them. And Carl Vine's Café Concertino is a rhythmic romp which will have them on The Edge of their seats." (The full program listing is below).
And some examples emblematic of the Festival's exceptional groupings of musicians: violinist Joseph Lin, cellist Carter Brey, and pianist Alessio Bax performing Schubert's Piano Trio in B-flat Major; flutist Marya Martin, cellist Michael Nicolas, and pianist Orion Weiss performing Martin?'s Flute Trio; and violinists Ani Kavafian and Stefan Jackiw, violists Richard O'Neill and Tien-Hsin Cindy Wu, and cellists Edward Arron and Peter Stumpf ending the season with Brahms's String Sextet No. 2.
Paul Brantley's Swevens Sonata for Flute and Piano will have its world premiere performed by Marya Martin and Jeewon Park. Brantley describes it: "'Sweven' is a beautiful Middle English word that lies somewhere in the field of sleep, dream or vision, but is its own thing-a psychic value that apparently has been lost along with the use, and precise understanding, of this word. It was one of those synchronistic things that I came upon this much needed and beautiful concept as I was composing this sonata." Marya Martin performed Brantley's Syrinx-double, a work inspired by Debussy's flute classic Syrinx, at the 2010 Festival.
Tickets go on sale June 1 and may be purchased on the festival's website, www.bcmf.org, or by calling 212-741-9403 before July 19; after July 19, 633-537-6368.
New label, debut recording of new American music
Just in time for this year's season, BCMF has launched its own record label, BCMF Records. Signifying the Festival's commitment to American composers, the label's first recording, to be released on June 1, is 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). This is the premiere recording of all four works, which were recorded at the Festival by Grammy-winning producer Adam Abeshouse and Leszek Wojcik (full personnel details below). The disc will be on sale at all BCMF concerts as well as at major retail and digital outlets through a partnership with Naxos. www.bcmf.org/media/recordings/
A festive summer setting, a loyal audience
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. The festival is still based in the graceful 1842 church-which boasts admirable acoustics and a welcoming, air-conditioned space-and has expanded to the Bridgehampton Historical Society for the free kick-off concert, the Channing Sculpture Garden for the annual Wm. Brian Little Concert, and the Atlantic Golf Club for the Festival's annual benefit concert.
And 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. One 2011 audience member said, "We loved each and every concert. The music was diverse, interesting, beautiful. We marveled again and again at our good fortune to sit in the lovely church, with its great acoustics, listening to such gorgeous music."
Starting with the free outdoor concert, this year a modern and multi-cultural program performed by Brooklyn Rider on July 26, the season also includes the annual BCMF Benefit Concert, a one-hour program followed by dinner, at the Atlantic Golf Club on July 28. The Festival's annual Wm. Brian Little Concert (named after the late BCMF board member) on August 10 features a program of American music centering on Copland's Appalachian Spring in a 13-instrument arrangement, performed 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 program format introduced last year.