Bits & Banter: Bach to South America, Kirwin Promoted, Doctorow Reconnects

Rachelle Durkin

Bach Goes to South America

When the paradigm of European classical music collides with the pulse, sounds and rhythms of South America, you get “Bach to Brazil.”

Music For Montauk will present its spring concert on Saturday, May 12, at 4 p.m. at the Montauk School auditorium, located at 50 South Dorset Drive in Montauk, featuring soprano Rachelle Durkin joined by a guitarist and an ensemble of star cellists.

“Bach is the core of western musical culture; everything connects to Bach,” said Miloš Repicky, vice president of Music for Montauk. “To take these connections to South America, with its own sounds and rhythms, is to merge worlds and unify cultures in a gorgeous way. There is no better example of this than the Bachianas Brasileiras.”

Known for bringing world-class musicians to the East End, Music for Montauk ups their game with Durkin — an established artist at the Metropolitan Opera, where she triumphed as the last-minute replacement for an ailing Anna Netrebko, according to a press release.

Joining her are cellists Ani Kalayjian, Andrew Yee, Laura Metcalf of Sybarite 5, and Caleb van der Swaagh, as well as guitarist Rupert Boyd — described as “truly evocative” by The Washington Post and “a player who truly deserves to be heard” by Classical Guitar Magazine.

The program will begin with “the essential and pure music of JS Bach’s solo cello suites, features works for cello by living composers such as Caroline Shaw, and culminates in the iconic and sultry Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 by Hector Villa-Lobos,” the press release said.

To celebrate the start of Montauk for Music’s season, a post-concert Spring Awakening Party will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Gosman’s Restaurant, located at 500 West Lake Drive in East Hampton. The concert is free, but reception tickets are $35 in advance, or $40 at the door. For more information, please visit

Southampton Arts Center Promotes Amy Kirwin to Artistic Director

The Southampton Arts Center recently announced the promotion of Amy Kirwin to artistic director, following her tenure as director of programs since 2016, driving the overall growth of the institution to more than 200 programs annually, in a now year-round operation.

“I am delighted and honored to continue the work of the past two years, now as artistic director,” Kirwin said in a press release. “In my new role I plan to expand our robust partnership model by continuing to collaborate with those who have been so much a part of our early successes, and to seek out new programmatic partners, far and wide. I am excited to build on SAC’s unique programming with thought-provoking, socially and culturally relevant, world-class offerings.”

Kirwin moved to the East End in 2010 and worked at the Parrish Art Museum for six years, most recently as the visitor services and museum programs manager, following her experience in the Broadway and Off-Broadway industry. She now lives in Hampton Bays with her husband, Peter, and their two rescue dogs.

“Amy is a tremendously talented curator and collaborator,” Southampton Arts Center Executive Director Tom Dunn said in a press release. “Her work is well respected on eastern Long Island, in New York City and well beyond. It is my privilege to work with Amy in the realization of her artistic vision.”

The Southampton Arts Center is located at 25 Jobs Lane in Southampton. For more information, please visit

Caroline Doctorow Reconnects with Great American Songbook

Folksinger Caroline Doctorow has a busy summer ahead of her — kicking off with a four-concert series, “Summer Songs: The Great American Songbook… and Other Stories.”

The first show on Saturday, May 12, will feature folk standards, Americana favorites, classic fiddle tunes and originals by Doctorow and her acoustic band, The Ballad Makers — Gary Oleyar on fiddle and guitar; Chris Tedesco on fiddle; and Karl Allweier on upright bass.

“The shows will highlight rarely heard, twin ‘dueling’ fiddles in a high-energy showdown in what promises to be a memorable musical evening that everyone will enjoy, whatever their age or musical preference,” according to a press release.

The concert will start at 7:30 p.m. in The Bridgehampton Museum’s rustic archive building, located at 2539A Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton. Additional performances will be held on Saturdays, June 30, July 28 and August 25, and tickets are $20 at the door. For more information, please call (631) 537-1088.

Getting Reacquainted with Traditional Blues

Karl Schwarz is a guitarist and singer steeped in American folklore, performing songs by his counterparts of old — from street-corner buskers to train-hopping troubadours.

Gregory Morgan brings a contemporary feel to traditional blues with his dynamic use of brush sticks, shakers and foot percussion, adding a unique style and rhythm to Schwartz’s sound.

Together, they are the New Moon Acoustic Blues Band, playing two concerts on Saturday, May 12, at 6 and 9 p.m. at Sylvester Manor Education Farm, located at 80 North Ferry Road on Shelter Island.

Built around the sounds of traditional acoustic blues and spiritual tunes, the band strives to recreate the emotion and feeling of America in the early 1900s, performing the music of artists such as the Reverend Gary Davis, Robert Johnson, Sam Chapmon and Mississippi John Hurt.

“Residing in New York City, New Moon harkens back to the time in the south when music was a relief from tireless labor, mistreatment and racism, singing the songs of working class America with energy and emotion,” according to a press release.

Tickets are $25 and reservations are strongly recommended, as seating is limited. For more information, please call (631) 749- 0626 or visit

Chinese Face Changing Finds East End Audience

Face changing is an art that is rarely seen in the New York Metro area, let alone the East End — but that’s exactly where it’s coming.

The 2018 Spring Performing Arts Festival, hosted by the Southampton Cultural Center in collaboration with the Asian Cultural Alliance, will feature a Chinese Face Changer — a major crowd pleaser in Asia and Europe — on Saturday, May 12, at 5 p.m., following Visual Workshops from 3 to 5 p.m. and proceeded by a Taste of Asia food reception from 6 to 7 p.m.

The face changing, known as “Bian Lian,” was initially an important aspect of the Chinese Sichuan Opera where the performers used face-changing techniques on stage and transformed them into a special art with stunning skills. They waved their arms and twisted their heads, and their painted masks changed again and again and again, creating fascinating transitions that left most of the audience stunned, wondering how this could possibly be happening.

All activities will take place at the Levitas Center for the Arts, located at 25 Pond Lane in Southampton. Tickets are $20 and $10 for children and students under 21, and admission to the workshops are free. For more information, please call (631) 287-4377 or visit