By Sam Mason-Jones
The Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival returns to the East End this summer to mark its 31st consecutive season, with this year’s series highlighted by the debut of “A Palace Upon the Ruins” by Howard Shore, who composed the score for the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
The 12 concerts, which will be hosted by a variety of Bridgehampton venues new and old over a four-week run, features an array of high-profile performances and will debut with a free concert on the grounds of the Bridgehampton Historical Society on Wednesday, July 30.
Mr. Shore is well known for his film scores, particularly that of the “Lord of the Rings,” for which he received three Academy Awards. As well as scoring many other motion pictures, he has also written an opera, “The Fly,” based on the David Cronenberg’s 1986 film of the same name.
Mr. Shore has been commissioned to create a piece of chamber music, with the result being unveiled to the public at the festival. The world premiere of “A Palace Upon the Ruins” will form the heart of the program “Colorful Explorations” on Sunday, August 10, at the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church.
Mr. Shore has composed “A Palace Upon the Ruins” for mezzo-soprano, flute, cello, piano, harp and percussion. The rising young mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano will be the soloist, singing the accompanying words written by Elizabeth Cotnoir. The piece will be complemented on the night by the work of French composer Gabriel Fauré.
The BCMF, which prides itself on its combination of established and emerging artists, will hear a number of other recent works too. Interwoven with classics from the likes of Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart and Schubert, the schedule features performances of Eric Ewazen’s “Bridgehampton Suite,” Phillippe Hersant’s “Heliades” and Kevin Puts’s “Four Airs,” among others.
The core of the festival is made up of the “Classic Six” concerts, which are held in the home of the BCMF, the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church. The 19th century building boasts excellent acoustics and superb architecture.
Alternate venues, such as the Bridgehampton Historical Society, Atlantic Golf Club and Channing Sculpture Garden host the other half of the performances. These shows, set outside, offer a unique experience to hear classical music.
Some of these newer contributions will have a new home too, as the festival has entered into a new partnership with the Parrish Art Museum. The museum’s new building on Montauk Highway in Water Mill will be the site of a concert by Brooklyn Rider, a young string quartet New York City. Known for its intriguing and unconventional style, the group has won many plaudits for its contribution to contemporary classical music.
On Saturday, August 9, the quartet will perform new work from Gabriel Kahane, Evan Ziporyn and Aoife O’Donovan at two separate shows. First will come a concert at the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church at 6:30pm, before it will adjourn to the Parrish Art Museum for a second performance at 9 p.m.
Speaking to this point, Marya Martin, the festival’s artistic director, noted, “We are thrilled to grow the festival in partnership with the Parish 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.”
Ms. Martin is also the festival’s sole flutist, and will perform in all but two of the 12 concerts. Joining her on the 2014 artist roster are a number of musicians familiar to past festival attendees.
This year violinist Ani Kavafian, having performed at the very first festival in 1984, returns to Bridgehampton, as does pianist Joyce Yang, who makes her return after originally performing at the festival in her early teens. Regular string-players Cynthia Phelps, Carter Brey and Donald Palma are also set to return.
This familiarity is essential to Ms. Martin for the creation of what she describes as “the electricity of good friends making music together.”
Festival debutants violinist Anthony Marwood, cellist Antonio Lysy, harpist Bridget Kibbey and percussionist Ian David Rosenbaum complete the mix of more than 40 musicians.
The Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival of 2014 will close on Sunday, August 24, with “A Serenade to the Season” at the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church. A reflective collection of music, it will feature Mozart’s “Eine Kliene Nachtmusik” and Brahms’s “Serenade No.1.”
A comprehensive concert schedule, as well as a ticket outlet, can be found at www.bcmf.org. Alternatively, tickets can be purchased by phone at (212) 741-9403 or from the box office at the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church at 2429 Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton.