Transformation & Love: Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival Returns With 12 Concerts This Summer

Marya Martin

The 2024 Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival presents 12 concerts from July 14 through August 11 that celebrate the twin themes of transformation and love in music.

Selections including variations on Pachelbel’s “Canon” by George Rochberg and jazz legend Django Reinhardt’s interpretations of Bach performed by Stephane Wrembel explore the theme of evolution, join such expressions of romance as Schumann’s Piano Quintet, inspired by his wife, Clara, and Michael Stephen Brown’s “Relationship,” performed by the husband-and-wife team of Osmo Vänskä and Erin Keefe, to shape the wide-ranging programs of the 41st season of Long Island’s longest-running classical music festival.

“We are all in a constant state of transformation,” said BCM Artistic Director Marya Martin, “and looking at change through the lens of music offers an opportunity to experience classic works in a new way and celebrate new music that launches from tradition. And what better and more human theme to pursue than musical expression of love!”

Based at the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church, the festival also includes such annual events as an art-themed concert at the Parrish Art Museum, the Wm. Brian Little Concert, preceded by wine and hors d’oeuvres, in the Channing Sculpture Garden, and the benefit concert and dinner at the Atlantic Golf Club. New this year is an event at the Madoo Conservancy in Sagaponack, which includes a wine reception and concert in the garden’s newly reconstructed gallery.

Transformation & Love

The world premieres of two BCM-commissioned works, Michael Stephen Brown’s “The Lotos-Eaters” for Flute, Cello, Piano, and Percussion, inspired by the Tennyson poem of the same name, itself based on Greek mythology, and Sebastian Currier’s “Ongoingness” for Harp and String Quartet, a co-commission, expand the festival’s theme of transformation, along with a chamber music arrangement of Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun” by clarinetist Graeme Steele Johnson; Arvo Pärt’s “Mozart Adagio,” a reflection on a Mozart piano sonata; Vijay Iyer’s “Mozart Effects” for String Quartet; Kevin Puts’ “And Legions Will Rise,” in the composer’s words, “about the power in all of us to transcend during times of tragedy and personal crisis”; and Bach’s “Triple Concerto” for Flute, Violin, and Harpsichord – a piece that the composer adapted from earlier solo harpsichord and organ works.

The theme of love encompasses the ups and downs that come with it. “Relationship” is a work by Michael Stephen Brown for clarinet and violin, and the segment “Argument” will be performed by Minnesota Orchestra Conductor Laureate and clarinetist Osmo Vänskä and violinist and former Minnesota Orchestra concertmaster Erin Keefe, themselves husband and wife. Woven throughout the festival’s programs are “Romances” by Beethoven and Gaubert, “Adoration” by Florence Price, and Elgar’s “Salut d’Amour.”

Rounding out this summer’s programs are a Mozart thread running through many of the programs; piano quartets by Brahms, Dvořák, Mozart, Schumann, and Strauss; the string octets of Enescu and Mendelssohn, and much more.

As always, 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, this summer’s BCM musicians are James Austin Smith, oboe; Graeme Steele Johnson, Bixby Kennedy, and Osmo Vänskä, clarinet; Nanci Belmont, bassoon; Stewart Rose, horn; Kate Arndt, Paul Huang, Chad Hoopes, Erin Keefe, Anna Lee, Kristin Lee, Anthony Marwood, Amy Schwartz Moretti, Rubén Rengel, and Tien-Hsin Cindy Wu, violin; Ettore Causa, Masumi Per Rostad, Matthew Lipman, Cynthia Phelps, and Cong Wu, viola; Carter Brey, Nicholas Canellakis, Brannon Cho, Narek Hakhnazaryan, and Mihai Marica, cello; Donald Palma, bass; Michael Stephen Brown, Juho Pohjonen, Albert Cano Smit, Orion Weiss, and Shai Wosner, piano; Bridget Kibbey, harp; Kenneth Weiss, harpsichord; Ian Rosenbaum, percussion; the Parker String Quartet; and the Stephane Wrembel Quartet.

In the 40 years since its founding, Bridgehampton Chamber Music has become known for presenting a broad range of music performed by some of the best musicians in the world in one of the most beautiful seaside settings on the East Coast. Visit for a full schedule.

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