A Shattering Musical Finale

A truly exceptional string ensemble
Members of Shattered Glass, a string ensemble, took a bow at the end of their performance at the Montauk School on Saturday night. It was the last program planned by the late Ruth Widder, and the last concert of the Music for Montauk series. Russell Drumm Photo

    Shattered Glass is an appropriate name for the truly exceptional string ensemble that performed at Saturday night’s Music for Montauk program. An appropriate name because as the musicians made their final bows many in the audience felt as though something precious had been broken.
    Saturday night’s performance was the final curtain on an uplifting program begun by the late Ruth Widder in 1991. In the ensuing years, 120 concerts were presented in just about every musical genre for the enjoyment and benefit of both the children of the Montauk School and the hamlet’s adults. Ms. Widder died on Feb. 20. 
    After Saturday’s performance, her daughter Laurie Widder recalled growing up in Montauk, a place her late father, Herman Widder, discovered as a place to fish and play. She said with a wink that the forms of play changed after he married her mother, a gifted pianist who filled the air of North Greenwich Street with classical music on summer afternoons.
    Ms. Widder said Music for Montauk grew with her mother’s connections to the world of classical music in New York City, and with a lot of hard work. “It deepened her love of music, and of Montauk. It brought her a lot of joy.”
    Bill Akin, a co-founder of Music for Montauk, also spoke of Ms. Widder’s vision and efforts to bring world-class music to young people, and to turn a school gymnasium into a concert hall of the first order. Mr. Akin said that after much thought, he and those on the board of directors decided that Ms. Widder’s energy and knowledge of the music scene could not be duplicated. Music for Montauk will not continue without her.
    She brought the very best to Montauk. Max Jacob, Shattered Glass’s bass fiddle player, spoke of meeting Ms. Widder for the first time when she signed the group for the night’s performance.
    He said that although the group had not gotten to know her well, they were impressed by her energy and vision, one they understood better after having spent the day touring Montauk. “It wasn’t all spent rehearsing,” he said.
    Shattered Glass is a 12-piece, conductorless ensemble that opened with the concerto for three violins in F major by Antonio Vivaldi. The ensemble next played J.S. Bach’s Ricercar a 6. The Sinfonietta per archi by Krzysztof Penderecki, a strikingly powerful atonal composition, was Shattered Glass’s third offering. The String Symphony No. 7 in D minor by Felix Mendelssohn ended the performance to a standing ovation, surely the kind of reception that Ms. Widder expected.
    Shattered Glass is scheduled to perform on May 7 at Carnegie Hall starting at 8 p.m.