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Southampton Arts Festival Founding Director Elena Baksht Performs In New York City

Lee Fryd

Elena Baksht performed at Manhattan's Koscuiszko Foundation. (Courtesy Photo)

Pianist Elena Baksht, a founding Director of Southampton Arts Festival, and Music at Lincoln Center, brought the intimate scale performance that has become a Southampton summer staple to Manhattan's Koscuiszko Foundation. Dubbed "a poetic journey from Prokofiev to Fellini and Kundalini," the program featured Baksht's poetry — and gowns from Advisory Committee member Geraldine Brower's Bridal Garden, which benefits the Brooklyn Charter School (BCS), who provides high standard education to one of the more underserved TriState communities.

Cristina Vergano and guest Amatore, Pamela Dutton, Geraldine Brower, and F Garrett Jewitt. (Courtesy Photo)

Baksht is known for bringing internationally acclaimed musicians to the Hamptons and New York to join her inclusive Arts Circle. This evening, she performed with flautist Mario Carbotta, who had flown in from Italy for the event. They did not speak the same languages, Baksht told the audience, but they communicated sublimely with their music.

Elena Baksht. (Courtesy Photo)

Geraldina Brower, Drew de Carvalho, Marc Halsema, William McKeever and Paola Bacchini Rosenstein are the Advisory Committee to The Arts Circle, a new cultural initiative to unite different art forms that has been delighting Hamptons culture vultures since its inception six years ago. Baksht recited her own poetry in between musical performances, and changed into Bridal Garden gowns By Vera Wang, Carmela Sutera and Anne Barge.

Hamptons habitué Brower said she started the Bridal Garden twenty years ago, when working for Henry Lambert, Chairman of the Board of the Sheltering Arms Children services. One weekend, at a wedding, while others were musing on the nature of love, Lambert was wondering, what would become of the dress.

"Off price wedding dresses had never been done before," Brower recalls. "He decided to create a store as an additional fundraiser to the events. And he just handed me the job. I had never done anything like it! But I decided to do the best job I could and leave it to the universe." In the beginning, designers were reluctant, but Brower persevered. Today the shop is one of the top bridal stores in the city. Brower gets dresses by Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang, Marchessa and lots of other designers, and sells them at up to 75 percent off retail.

Elena Baksht and Floutist Mario Carbotta. (Courtesy Photo)

She has been featured on every local network newscast, GMA, Fox News, CNN, Taxi TV and NY1 many times, and written up in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Newsday, The Daily News and The Post. Business is so good, Brower began designing her own gowns, to meet such niche needs as plus sizes that designer samples do not address.

At the end of the day, it's all about the Brooklyn Charter School. "We've been able to keep two teachers in every classroom, give these kids a better education and a better start," said Brower. "It's been a mission for me."

For more information about the Brooklyn Charter School, visit brooklyncharter.org.

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