When flutist Marya Martin told friends she was launching a chamber music festival in the Hamptons, they told her, she recalls: "You'll never get an audience. Everybody's too busy going to cocktail parties."
That was 28 years ago. The Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival has grown from two concerts that first summer to three a week this year -- 12 in all.
Along the way, the festival's executive director and principal flutist has shown she knows how to throw a Hamptons party, too.
Tonight's 11th annual William Brian Little concert, "Gypsy Traveler," features French-born jazz/fusion guitarist Stephane Wrembel performing two pieces he recorded for recent Woody Allen movies: "Big Brother," from "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" and "Bistro Fada," from "Midnight in Paris" under a concert tent pitched in the sculpture garden at Channing Daughters Winery in Bridgehampton.
Sunday evening in the festival's longtime home, the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church, Martin performs the Long Island premiere of Eric Ewazen's Sonata No. 1 for Flute and Piano, written as a "beautiful gift," she says, especially for her. Martin recorded the sonata on her new CD, "Marya Martin Plays Eric Ewazen" on the Albany label.
MEMORIAL CONCERT "Brian Little was a dear friend of ours," says Martin of the former festival board member who died suddenly while jogging in 2000. He was 58. "We wanted to create something dynamic to go on in his name." Walter Channing, a vintner and sculptor friend of Little's, suggested a concert on the grounds of his winery. Some of his pieces are sculpted in the trees on his property, creating a natural sculpture garden. Before the concert, there's a wine tasting accompanied by hors d'oeuvres.
The Gypsy influences on Stephane Wrembel suggested a theme to Martin that included Romany-inflected pieces from the classical repertoire: Brahms' Rondo in Hungarian style and a clarinet-and-flute composition by Osvaldo Golijov of Romanian heritage, which Martin plays. It's followed by Romany jazz virtuoso Django Reinhardt's swing version of "Clair de Lune."
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HER SUMMER CAREER When the Bridgehampton festival opened near the summer-and-weekend home she shares with husband, Ken Davidson, Martin still played many a summer festival across the United States and abroad. Except for a brief foray to a major event, such as this weekend's National Flute Association convention in Charlotte, N.C., where she will premiere the Ewazen piece, Bridgehampton remains her summer preoccupation.
"I need music to sustain me," Martin says. "It's been a great joy to see the audience grow for this festival."
The festival continues through Aug. 21. By the finale, Martin will have played in 10 concerts.
WHAT Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival
WHEN | WHERE "Gypsy Traveler," Friday night at 7 (wine tasting at 6), Channing Daughters Winery, 1927 Scuttlehole Rd., Bridgehampton; "Untold Pleasures," 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church, Main Street; also "Rich Reflections" Aug. 18, "Saturday Soiree" Aug. 20 and "Joyous Finale" Aug. 21, all at the church
INFO $30-$50, $100-$150 for concert and wine tasting; bcmf.org; 631-537-6368