In 2017, partners and music aficionados Michael Yip and Michael Palmer settled into the Springs community in East Hampton, and now, after years of planning, they’re ready to make their official debut into the Hamptons classical music community with the launch of the inaugural Hamptons Festival of Music on September 9–11.
“When we were looking for a home, we actually did it with one of the main purposes of spending the off-season at our home,” says Yip, the festival’s executive director, adding later that the Atlanta couple spends their summer months on the West Coast for their Bellingham Festival of Music and traveling. “Unlike most people who put a lot of focus on the (Hamptons) summertime, we actually have spent, since we bought our home in 2017, quite a lot (of time there in the off-season) … There was nothing going on at that time of year when we were first spending time there, so we really felt like building and creating a coalition of support for people who lived there year-round.”
After purchasing their home in the Hamptons, Yip and Palmer realized that the orchestral life and events were, in their opinion, lacking. Having co-founded Anacrusis Productions Ltd. in 2009 to inspire and educate people about the value of classical music, Yip and renowned orchestral conductor Maestro Palmer were up to the task.
“In the Hamptons, there’s no orchestral life. There’s a lot of chamber music, jazz, individual (events) like Pianofest,” Yip says. “There’s a lot of art and culture, but there was no orchestral life. So we thought this could be a really unique opportunity to look for a place, be a part of the community and realistically start to think about building an orchestral music festival in the Hamptons.”
Hamptons Festival of Music Takes Shape
The Hamptons Festival of Music is an intimate three-day festival at LTV Studios in Wainscott, comprising a night showcasing orchestra, a night for chamber music and one for solo recital concerts. “Those are your pillars of what we call the ‘classical art form,’ which is at the core of the mission of our nonprofit organization (Anacrusis Productions Ltd., the festival’s producer). And we thought, three nights — this could be an incredible way to highlight the three pillars of the classical art form.”
On Friday, September 9, concertgoers will be treated to all six of J.S. Bach’s “Brandenburg Concertos.” “On its own, it feels like a chamber concert, feels like chamber music, but it’s … basically six small orchestral concertos featuring the amazing virtuosity of our orchestra,” Yip says. “This was that natural bridge. I think the incredibleness of having all six in one evening will leave people going, ‘Wow, this wasn’t just your normal chamber music concert, this was a small orchestral concert.’”
Then on Saturday, “one of the greatest classical guitarists in the world” Pepe Romero will lead an evening of chamber music also featuring guest soprano Maria Valdes. This is the only concert exclusive to VIP All Festival Pass holders, and it includes a private reception with Romero and Valdes.
Finally, on Sunday, the grand finale opens with Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro Overture.” Then Romero will return to perform Joaquín Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” before the night culminates in Beethoven’s monumental “7th Symphony” in a belated celebration of the late composer’s 250th birth year (1770).
Each concert features The Hamptons Festival of Music’s resident orchestra, The New American Sinfonietta — an invitation-only virtuoso orchestra of 41 distinguished musicians from other leading orchestras — conducted by Palmer, the festival’s artistic director. Yip notes that he and Palmer wanted to curate this inaugural festival with “really powerful artistic programming to highlight the virtuosity of the orchestra” and introduce themselves to the community.
“As a professional orchestral conductor with half a century or more of what he does — he’s got connections with some of the greatest players across the country and across the world,” he says of Palmer. “It’s been almost this magical experience of saying here’s this chance for us to build this virtuosic orchestra and we can reach out to some of the greatest guest artists in the world, so how do we want to start our inaugural year? What kind of an impact do we want to make?”
The answer: The Hamptons Festival of Music intends to connect with the community, both longtime fans of chamber and orchestral music and new audiences, and to become a much-anticipated Hamptons event each year.
“What we’re hoping is that we will connect with the community, particularly those who are ardent classical music supporters … and then to expose audiences that are just loving something new and something different and who want to support something that is a pretty monumental undertaking,” Yip says. “We just hope that the public will take some time to take a look at what we have to offer. If it resonates, take the chance, join us September 9, 10 and 11, and we can assure you that the patron experience is going to be unlike anything that you’ve ever experienced in the Hamptons.”
For more information about The Hamptons Festival of Music, visit thehamptonsfestivalofmusic.com. For single tickets and VIP All Festival Passes, text THFM to 91999.