Southampton Arts Festival Returns

An international music festival featuring renowned musicians and artists, as well as student prodigies, the Southampton Arts Festival features an extensive offering of performances and programs designed to enrich and entertain audiences of all ages. The Festival, founded by pianist Elena Baksht and violinist Dmitri Berlinsk, returns for its fourth season on August 16, running through August 25. This year’s honorary artistic advisor is storied musician Evgeny Kissin. It’s the Festival’s goal to combine world-class performances with an extensive educational program, creating an ideal environment for sharing ideas and talents and bridge the gap between classical music and other art forms. The Parrish Art Museum will host the Festival’s opening and closing performances and galas.

“All the concerts are going to be exciting, but I think we’re really looking forward to our opening night at the new venue at the Parrish Museum,” says Berlinksy, “[there will be] Bach concertos with International Chamber Soloists, string orchestra with two violin soloists…we really hope it will bring lots of different audiences who are music and art lovers, and also people who just want to enjoy a beautiful setting and a glass of wine outside.” Berlinsky hopes that the Southampton Arts Festival continues to move in the direction of other popular summer festivals. “It can really bring to the Hamptons a wonderful tradition, like Tanglewood, Aspen and other major summer festivals.” Berlinsky will perform at the opening with Mikhail Bezverkhny, a violinist, violist, teacher and composer who has been named laureate of several international music competitions.

On Sunday, August 18, the Festival will present “Love in Music and Poetry,” which will combine classical music from Bach, Chopin and others with Russian love poems by Alexander Pushkin, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Mikhail Lermontov, Marina Tsvetaeva and others. Julien Lowenfield, an internationally renowned poet and playwright, has translated the poems into English; Lowenfield has received much critical acclaim for his translation of the work of Alexander Pushkin. Poems will be recited in both Russian and English. “The combination of music and poetry will create a unique experience for the audience,” says Baksht. “The poems will be woven together with the music in such a way as to heighten the audience’s enjoyment of both, while telling a story of longing, love, and inspiration.” Baksht will be on piano, Berlinsky and Bezverkhny on violin, and Andrey Tchekmazov, an internationally recognized soloist and chamber musician, on cello. The performance will take place at the Southampton Cultural Center.

On Monday, August 19, the Festival’s Young Artist Showcase will play at the Basilica Parish of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Talented young performers will perform with some of the Festival’s distinguished musicians and artists. Other performances include chamber music performed at the Grace Auditorium in the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Friday, August 23 and the closing performance at Parrish Art Museum featuring the Franck piano quintet and a virtuoso showcase of piano, violin and cello.
There’s also a, members-only event on Saturday, August 17.

The Festival will also raise awareness for “Child Prodigy and Autism” research. The research was originally conducted by Ohio State University Professor Joann Ruthzats in collaboration with James D. Watson, a Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist and zoologist most famous for the discovery and scientific breakthrough of the Nucleic acid double helix. The research suggests that child prodigies may hold the key to understanding what causes autism and could potentially lead to finding a cure. The Festival wishes to support the ongoing research because several of the young people who have provided data to the study are believed by Festival supporters and benefactors to be “key to the future of classical music, young prodigy musicians.” Watson and his wife, Elizabeth, are among
the supporters.

With a variety of talented performers and several different concerts, the Southampton Arts Festival is set to be one of the most exciting summer events Southampton has to offer. For more information and tickets for any of the events at Southampton Cultural Center, call 631-287-4377 or go to southamptonculturalcenter.org. For tickets for other events call 917-520-0611 or go to southamptonartsfestival.org.

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