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INTERVIEW: Marya Martin Discusses Bridgehampton Chamber Music’s Virtual Festival

T.J. Clemente

Shifting Winds is among programs. (Courtesy Photo)

Marya Martin, the Bridgehampton Chamber Music's Artistic Director, was very determined to do all she can to keep both the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival and the musicians afloat throughout this Coronavirus crisis. Therefore this year's Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival will be virtual starting on Sunday, July 26.

"The Bridgehampton Chamber Music is still Long Island's longest-running classical music festival and I will do all I can do to keep it going," Ms. Martin pointed out. "We are going to use the best of past shows and add relevant interviews with the spotlighted performers about all the pieces we perform."

When last interviewed, Ms. Martin was excited about the upcoming season, starting with the Spring Concert. Then it was canceled. Now she is determined to do the best she can to help support her musicians by paying all musicians who were to perform 50 percent of what they were to earn this season.

The Marya Martin story - of being first taught the piano at six-years-old and then studying that until she was 18 in New Zealand - is one of great grit. In high school, she played the recorder. When she was 9-years-old, she recalled, "I heard a flute and loved it." Her parents rented her one for a year. A year later they bought her one. She said, "Then I started saving my money like crazy because I wanted a better one. I did a paper route and picked up the money for the papers on Saturday mornings, and by the time I was 12, I had saved up enough money to buy a Selma flute." It is perhaps because of that sort of history of commitment she is taking care of her musicians. Many who as she said, "Must work other jobs to pursue their musical talents."

About the decision on what to do this summer, Ms. Martin said, "Months ago we started looking into how we might play in the same room. Then when we couldn't really do that, we saw that the complexities of playing virtually from different locations was complex and too expensive and we weren't comfortable with that."

Then Ms. Martin explained another problem about gathering the musicians for an attempted virtual concert live. She said, "Over the years we put our musicians up in people's houses, but now people were not so willing to do that, and quite frankly it is so costly to put on these virtual live steaming and you need to have very good WiFi and the WiFi out here is not that dependable."

So Ms. Martin concluded, "The challenging thing is trying to conserve finances at this time, so doing the live stream would have been too costly. I thought it was most important to use our finances to get through this year. However, these five programs that we are doing will be quite lovely, the clarinet quintet by Mozart and then the interview with the soloist will be fascinating." As will all the other shows.

The 2020 Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival will feature All About Mozart on Sunday, July 25, Dvořák/Moravec - A New Country on Sunday, August 2, Shifting Winds on Sunday, August 9, Travel the World at Home on Sunday, August 16 and Boccherini & Mendelssohn: Virtuosity on Sunday, August 23. Concerts will premiere at 6:30 p.m.

For more information, visit www.bcmf.org.

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