Fest Celebrates Silver


Marya Martin believes a good music festival is a lot like a good restaurant.

“If the food is consistently good and contains excellent ingredients, it will be word of mouth and it will slowly, but surely, succeed,” she said. “I’m dedicated to excellence and I want to make sure that every single concert is incredible. To do that properly you have to put a lot of time into each concert.”

Martin, a classical flutist, is the artistic director of the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, which is celebrating its silver anniversary this year and has “slowly but surely” grown into one of the premiere music festivals of the season.

“We, as an organization, have been extremely diligent in making sure we don’t make the mistakes other festivals have made, which is getting too big too soon,” said Martin.

When she and her husband began the festival in 1984 it consisted of just two concerts at the Presbyterian Church in Bridgehampton. This year there are 13 concerts at five venues.

If it had been up to Martin alone, she admitted the festival might now be younger than it is. She gave her husband, Ken Davidson, credit for pushing her to start it.

“He saw it as a real opportunity,” she said. “There were writers and artists and all sorts of smart, interesting people. There was no reason they wouldn’t enjoy good classical music.”

The festival opens this Sunday with a concert at the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church, a location with special significance for Martin. When she and her husband decided to give the festival a go, it was the first venue they contacted.

“I lucked out because the pastor was a classical music buff and he had heard me on the radio,” she said. “I took my flute and played a couple of notes for him in the church and it was just the sweetest sound. The acoustics were a real surprise. They were better than good. They were great.”

Martin is excited about the concerts and performers on this season’s schedule. She is looking forward to the concert at the Channing Daughter’s Sculpture Garden on August 8 featuring Martin on flute, David Krauss on trumpet, Nathan Hughes on oboe and violinist Lily Francis, among others, playing Johan Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos.

Another highlight comes the following Sunday at the church when performers will be joined by special guest Roger Waters, lead singer of the seminal rock group Pink Floyd, who will play the role of the narrator in Igor Stravisky’s “The Soldiers Tale.”

The Bridgehampton Music Festival runs through August 17. For information on concerts and tickets call 537-6368 or visit www.bcmf.org.