Bridgehampton's Chamber Music Renewal

The first concert, on Saturday, features the world premiere of Fantasie for Flute and Piano by Eric Ewazen
Marya Martin, the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival’s founder and director, will play flute in the first concert of the spring series on Saturday. Michael Lawrence

The Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival’s spring series is back for a third season. It appears that this springtime addition to the festival’s longstanding summer series has earned itself a permanent place on the East End’s classical music scene, increasing from two concerts originally to three last year, and this year adding a premiere performance to the lineup. And, no surprise, it looks like an exciting and harmonious mix of the new and well known in both repertoire and performers.

The first concert, on Saturday, features the world premiere of Fantasie for Flute and Piano by Eric Ewazen, a prolific composer who teaches at Juilliard and has been highlighted in the festival’s programs before. Although the festival regularly has premieres in its summer programs, this is a first for the spring series.

Marya Martin, the festival’s founder and artistic director, will be the flutist — in fact, she was the inspiration for the work — and will be joined by Orion Weiss on piano.

“He is such an optimistic and positive person, and he writes this music that’s not completely in keeping with modern-day sounds,” Ms. Martin said recently of Mr. Ewazen. “He has his own voice. He is a master craftsman. The voicing for the instrument is so beautiful, so it enables you to be very creative in your own playing; he allows us to dig deep. Very few composers write the way he does. It’s always such a pleasure to play because I can just let go — and it works.”

Another Ewazen composition, “Ballade, Pastorale, and Dance for Flute, Horn, and Piano‚“ from 1993, will also be heard, with Stewart Rose on horn. These two works will be framed on one side by the Trio for Flute, Violin, and Piano in C minor by the German Baroque composer Johann Joachim Quantz, and on the other by Brahms’s Trio for Horn, Violin, and Piano in E flat, a work with calm beauty that was inspired by the Black Forest and the death of his mother.

Paul Huang, a violinist who is appearing with the Bridgehampton festival for the first time, along with a roster of veterans, will be onstage. Mr. Huang, a Taiwanese-American, was the winner of the 2011 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and in 2015 was the recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant. Mr. Huang’s recent and upcoming engagements include debuts with the Houston, Pacific, and Omaha Symphonies and the Seoul Philharmonic, as well as return engagements with the Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonikoa in Spain and the National Symphony Orchestras of Mexico and Taiwan.

The Brentano Quartet has been invited as the guest ensemble for the April 1 concert. Marking its 25th anniversary this year, the quartet has appeared around the world to great critical acclaim. In the fall of 2014, it was named the quartet in residence at the Yale School of Music, succeeding the Tokyo Quartet. It has recently presented Bach’s monumental “Art of the Fugue” in concert, and for this program will perform selections from it, along with Mendelssohn’s Quartet in E minor, which shows the flowering of his original style, and Beethoven’s Quartet in F major, written around the time of his Symphony No. 3 and marking him as one of the greatest musical pioneers.

By the way, the Brentano Quartet is named after Antonie Brentano, an arts patron and philanthropist who is believed to be the unidentified “immortal beloved” to whom Beethoven addressed a mysterious love letter.

Many chamber music aficionados think that the string sextet is an ideal medium for fullness, balance, and color. For the third and final concert of the series, on May 6, sextets by Dvorak and Brahms will be heard.

It is interesting to note in today’s political climate of cutting funding for the arts that Dvorak received a three-year grant from the government of Bohemia that was intended to help young creative artists. This enabled him to give all his attention to composing, and his sextet was one of the results.

Another up-and-coming artist who is joining the Bridgehampton roster for the first time and appearing in this third concert is the violist Che-Yen Chen. He is a founding member of the Formosa Quartet and at the 10th London International String Quartet Competition received first prize and the Amadeus Prize. Mr. Chen has served for eight years as the principal violist of the San Diego Symphony and is the principal violist of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra.

“We have invited him several times for the summer festival, but he always had conflicts in scheduling,” Ms. Martin said of Mr. Chen. “We were finally able to nab him for this concert.”

Returning and joining Mr. Chen will be Ani Kavafian, violin, Amy Schwartz Moretti, violin, Tien-Hsin Cindy Wu, viola, Nicholas Canellakis, cello, and Peter Wiley, cello.

All three concerts will be on Saturdays at 6 p.m. at the festival’s main venue, the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church. Tickets are $40 to $50, or $100 to $125 for a subscription. More information can be had at bcmf.org or 212-741-9403. The festival’s 34th summer season, which will take place in July and August, will be announced in May.

The Brentano String Quartet will be part of the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival’s spring series on April 1 with a concert of Bach, Mendelssohn, and Beethoven. Peter Schaaf