With 11 concerts performed by 37 musicians, there'll be no shortage of classics in the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival. The three B's -- Bach, Beethoven and Brahms -- are well represented. But there's new music, too. And, for the first time in the festival's 32-year history, a taste of rock-and-roll celebrity.
Here's what's new at the festival, which presents its fundraiser Saturday at the Atlantic Golf Club, followed by the first Sunday evening concert at its home base, air-conditioned Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church.
KEVIN PUTS The 2012 Pulitzer winner for music with his debut opera, "Silent Night," needed a venue to premiere "A Round for Robin." It's his tribute to Robin Williams, written for flute and right- and left-hand piano played as a round -- instruments coming in at spaced intervals. "It's quite a complicated piece for six minutes," says festival founding director Marya Martin, flutist for the Aug. 9 debut. "It captures the personality of Robin Williams, with its tongue-in-cheek energy and impish style," Martin says. "It's a great little piece we'll perform in a program with Mozart, Brahms and [American composer Daniel Strong] Godfrey." The festival is also releasing an all-Puts CD, "Seascapes," on its BCMF label. "One of our main goals," says Martin, "is to nurture young American composers."
ROGER WATERS The Pink Floyd legend is also a Hamptons resident who hits the links. "My husband plays golf and was looking for a partner," Martin recalls. "It was a serendipitous thing that we enlisted him." But don't expect Waters to play guitar in the Aug. 14 performance of Stravinsky's "Soldier's Tale." "It has many of the themes we grapple with today, having just gone through two wars," says Martin. "But no one had updated it. Roger has made it contemporary with his narration. . . . He makes it more accessible to the modern ear. It's very Faustian," Martin says. (The 70-minute score is based on a folk tale about a soldier who barters with the devil.) "We're presenting it as a staged piece of drama accompanied by a chamber ensemble."
MOHAMMED FAIROUZ Just turning 30 this year, he's been hailed as an important new artistic voice -- period. But certainly one of the most important young Arab-American composers today. Fairouz's new piece, written to observe the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights march, as well as the 150th anniversary of the Civil War's end, makes its East Coast premiere Aug. 10. "Deep Rivers" is a five-movement composition for wind and voice featuring the refrain "Let America Be America Again." As a composer, Fairouz has focused on major social issues since he started writing as a teen. "Performing his piece is our way of saying that music is a language we all have in common -- we're all in this together," Martin says. "He uses Negro spiritual themes: What better way to celebrate these civil rights milestones?"
WHAT Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival
WHEN | WHERE Opening Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church concert, 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Festival continues through Aug. 23 at this and other venues.
TICKETS $45-$55, students $10 (prices vary for other events); 631-537-6368, bcmf.org