By Dawn Watson
Music is Lilah Gosman’s passion. And Montauk is in her blood.
A third-generation native of The End, the soprano has travelled all over. She’s performed on some of the most illustrious stages in the world, including the Kennedy Center and Avery Fisher Hall in New York, the Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts and the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Chiari, Italy. But this weekend, her career will reach new heights when she will brings it back home as host of this year’s Music for Montauk series opening concert at the Montauk Public School on Saturday, May 9.
Not only will Ms. Gosman be hosting the series, she and her husband, Miloš Repický, are now in charge of the organization’s Artistic Planning and Development, and are also the President and Vice President of the Board. They were asked to take over the reins of Music for Montauk by Founder Bill Akin after longtime leader Ruth Widder passed away in 2013.
The singer and Mr. Repický, a pianist and conductor who is in his ninth season with the Metropolitan Opera, have big plans for the series. After going dark for 2014, the concerts are back with extended programming and an all-new line-up, they said during a telephone interview on Sunday morning.
The new leadership is keen to get started. The performing pair want to keep the traditions alive but they also want to add their own creative imprint. They’ve added a slate of site-specific outdoor summer concerts, which will be announced during a Spring Awakening series kickoff party at Gosman’s Restaurant in Montauk after Saturday’s show.
And they’ve brought a few of their friends along for the ride. Saturday’s concert, which will feature the works of Antonio Vivaldi, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Ludwig van Beethoven, Gioachino Rossini and Ástor Piazzolla, will be performed by violinist Joanna Maurer, cellist Diego Garcia, bassist Brad Aikman, mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway, with Mr. Repický on piano and Ms. Gosman acting as the evening’s host.
The musicians are serious, but the approach is light, according to the husband-and-wife team. Making the music accessible is a big priority, and that includes changing the dynamic and blurring the lines between the audience and the musicians.
The show will open with the “Spring” selection of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” It’s an appropriate beginning for the night, and for the series reboot, they say.
“It’s taking a very iconic piece, which is about spring and rebirth, and thinking out of the box about how we present it,” says Mr. Repický, adding that instead of appearing on high and unapproachable on the stage, the musicians will perform the piece from the floor, close to the audience. “I’m not interested in gimmicks, but we will be breaking the Fourth Wall. There’s a tradition, and a new twist.”
“It’s the perfect music for this spring concert,” seconds Ms. Gosman. “Especially since it’s our first, and the first in spring.”
The second piece to be performed will be Tchaikovsky’s “ The Seasons (May),” which will be followed by Beethoven’s “ Sonata for Piano and Violin F major Op. 24 (Spring),” Rossini’s “ Sonata for Strings No. 1 in G major” and “Una Voce Poco Fa” from ‘Il Barbiere di Siviglia.” The concert will conclude with Piazzolla’s “Four Seasons, Primavera Porteña.”
This inaugural spring concert will set the template for those next to come, reports Ms. Gosman. Bringing classical music that the East End knows and wants to hear and enjoy are key to the series platform, which is also why she encourages everyone to keep the party rolling after the concert and head to Gosman’s, where the musicians will be in attendance with open ears and listening to what classical enthusiasts want to hear during the remaining seven to 10 concerts coming up this year.
“We want to get people excited and to feel involved,” she says. “We want to offer different ways to experience and interact with the music here in Montauk. It’s important for us to bring it here, to one of the most beautiful places.”
The Music for Montauk spring concert will be held at the Montauk School auditorium on Saturday, May 9, at 4 p.m. The show will be followed by a Spring Awakening ticketed benefit reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Gosman’s Restaurant. The concert is free. The benefit is $25 in advance and $30 at the door. For tickets and additional information, visit www.musicformontauk.org.