The Hamptons Festival of Music Strikes a Chord - 27 East

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The Hamptons Festival of Music Strikes a Chord

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Michael Yip, TH·FM's executive director, speaks on stage at LTV Studios during the inaugural festival in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Michael Yip, TH·FM's executive director, speaks on stage at LTV Studios during the inaugural festival in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Michael Yip, TH·FM's executive director, speaks on stage at LTV Studios during the inaugural festival in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Michael Yip, TH·FM's executive director, speaks on stage at LTV Studios during the inaugural festival in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer conducting a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer conducting a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Classical guitarist Pepe Romero performing at a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Classical guitarist Pepe Romero performing at a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Classical guitarist Pepe Romero and Maestro Michael Palmer take a bow during a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Classical guitarist Pepe Romero and Maestro Michael Palmer take a bow during a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Classical guitarist Pepe Romero and Maestro Michael Palmer take a bow during a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Classical guitarist Pepe Romero and Maestro Michael Palmer take a bow during a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer speaks to the audinece at a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer speaks to the audinece at a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer speaks to the audinece at a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer speaks to the audinece at a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Musicians on stage at LTV Studios during the inaugural festival in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Musicians on stage at LTV Studios during the inaugural festival in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer conducts a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer conducts a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer conducts a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer conducts a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer conducts a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer conducts a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Musicians perform during a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Musicians perform during a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer conducts a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer conducts a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer conducts a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer conducts a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer conducting a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer conducting a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer conducts a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer conducts a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Musicians performing at a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Musicians performing at a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer conducting a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer conducting a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer conducting a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Maestro Michael Palmer conducting a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Audience members at a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Audience members at a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Musicians perfomring during a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Musicians perfomring during a TH·FM concert at LTV Studios in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Musicians performing at LTV Studios during the inaugural festival in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Musicians performing at LTV Studios during the inaugural festival in September 2022. BARRY GORDIN

Guest performers Brandt Fredrickson, piano, and Nick Danelson, violin, talk with Maestro Michael Palmer at TH·FM's

Guest performers Brandt Fredrickson, piano, and Nick Danelson, violin, talk with Maestro Michael Palmer at TH·FM's "Meet the Maestro & Beethoven" hosted by LongHouse Reserve on April 15. LISA TAMBURINI

From left, pianist Brandt Fredrickson, Maestro Michael Palmer, TH·FM's artistic director, and violinist Nick Danelson at

From left, pianist Brandt Fredrickson, Maestro Michael Palmer, TH·FM's artistic director, and violinist Nick Danelson at "Meet the Maestro & Beethoven" at LongHouse Reserve on April 15. LISA TAMBURINI

From left, pianist Brandt Fredrickson, Maestro Michael Palmer, TH·FM's artistic director,  and violinist Nick Danelson at

From left, pianist Brandt Fredrickson, Maestro Michael Palmer, TH·FM's artistic director, and violinist Nick Danelson at "Meet the Maestro & Beethoven" at LongHouse Reserve on April 15. LISA TAMBURINI

From left, pianist Brandt Fredrickson, Maestro Michael Palmer, TH·FM's artistic director,  Michael Yip, TH·FM's executive director, and violinist Nick Danelson at

From left, pianist Brandt Fredrickson, Maestro Michael Palmer, TH·FM's artistic director, Michael Yip, TH·FM's executive director, and violinist Nick Danelson at "Meet the Maestro & Beethoven" at LongHouse Reserve on April 15. LISA TAMBURINI

Guests enjoy cocktails at a musical kickoff of TH·FM's

Guests enjoy cocktails at a musical kickoff of TH·FM's "Meet the Maestro & Beethoven" hosted by LongHouse Reserve on April 15. LISA TAMBURINI

Guests assembled for a musical performance at TH·FM's

Guests assembled for a musical performance at TH·FM's "Meet the Maestro & Beethoven" hosted by LongHouse Reserve on April 15. LISA TAMBURINI

From left, pianist Brandt Fredrickson, LongHouse Reserve Director Carrie Rebora Barratt and violinist Nick Danelson at

From left, pianist Brandt Fredrickson, LongHouse Reserve Director Carrie Rebora Barratt and violinist Nick Danelson at "Meet the Maestro & Beethoven" at LongHouse Reserve on April 15. LISA TAMBURINI

From left, pianist Brandt Fredrickson, LongHouse Reserve Director Carrie Rebora Barratt, TH·FM's Maestro Michael Palmer and violinist Nick Danelson at

From left, pianist Brandt Fredrickson, LongHouse Reserve Director Carrie Rebora Barratt, TH·FM's Maestro Michael Palmer and violinist Nick Danelson at "Meet the Maestro & Beethoven" at LongHouse Reserve on April 15. LISA TAMBURINI

Maestro Michael Palmer and Michael Yip in East Hampton.    DANA SHAW

Maestro Michael Palmer and Michael Yip in East Hampton. DANA SHAW

Maestro Michael Palmer, Josh Gladstone and Michael Yip in East Hampton.    DANA SHAW

Maestro Michael Palmer, Josh Gladstone and Michael Yip in East Hampton. DANA SHAW

Josh Gladstone.   DANA SHAW

Josh Gladstone. DANA SHAW

authorAnnette Hinkle on May 29, 2023

Listen up, music lovers, and lend us your ears!

A new offering in live, classical music has arrived on the East End and this summer will be introduced to audiences across the region through a series of events for the entire community.

The Hamptons Festival of Music, or TH·FM, as it is known in shorthand, is the brainchild of its co-founders, Artistic Director Maestro Michael Palmer, an orchestral conductor with more than 60 years of experience in the field, and Executive Director Michael Yip, Palmer’s partner, both in life and art.

Together, they are creating a musical experience for East End audiences unlike anything that’s been offered here before, thanks to The New American Sinfonietta (TNAS), TH·FM’s 41-member resident symphony orchestra consisting of top musicians and principal players assembled from major orchestras across North America.

From September 3 to 10, TNAS will present three full, symphonic concerts at LTV Studios in Wainscott. In the lead-up to the festival’s main event, TH·FM also will host two salon series events for the community this summer.

The first, on August 14, will be a free, family-friendly outdoor screening in East Hampton’s Herrick Park of Charlie Chaplin’s silent film “A Dog’s Life.” Offered in partnership with the Hamptons International Film Festival, the film will be accompanied by a live score written by Chaplin performed by some of the TH·FM musicians.

The second event, at LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton on August 19, will be an immersive concert experience focused on Astor Piazzolla’s “Four Seasons of Buenos Aires,” featuring violin soloist Annie Chalex-Boyle, with Maestro Palmer conducting the TH·FM Salon Orchestra.

TH·FM also hosted a musical cocktail event at LongHouse Reserve in mid-April to welcome the season.

Though 2023 marks the festival’s big kickoff year, TH·FM actually dipped its toe into local waters last September with a three-concert festival presented over a single weekend at LTV Studios.

“We can have 125 to 150 audience members at LTV, so it’s a different kind of concert-going experience, but it’s special to be in that size audience,” explained Palmer

Based on the overwhelming positive response from that soft launch, this year TH·FM is not only expanding its offerings with the Herrick Park and LongHouse Reserve events but also is tapping into the local expertise of Josh Gladstone, a familiar local face who, for more than 20 years, was the artistic director of Guild Hall’s John Drew Theater in East Hampton.

“Josh Gladstone has been tremendous,” said Palmer during an interview from his home in Atlanta. “When we first met Josh, he was still artistic director at Guild Hall. We went to him with our idea, and he was lovely and excited by the September schedule.

“Since then, he’s come on board as our co-producer and has been spectacular,” he added. “He’s made important contacts for us, and he knows everyone in the community because of the many years he’s been here.”

Tapping into the local community is all part of the master plan. In fact, when Yip and Palmer bought their home in Springs in 2017, they did so with great intention and a specific goal in mind — to create an East Coast-based symphonic music program not unlike the Bellingham Festival of Music, which Palmer founded in Washington State in 1993, and which, under his artistic leadership, has become internationally recognized for its artistry.

“I used to live in New York City and came to the Hamptons a lot, but Maestro hadn’t really been here,” Yip explained in a recent interview in Sag Harbor. “He’s now looking to the next phase of his professional career. The essence was, with this all-star virtuoso orchestra, we’re going to set up on the East Coast and, like we did on the West Coast with Bellingham, bring in the players, year-round patrons and second-home owners.

“When I was living in New York City, I knew there was a rhythm and people here who would help us,” added Yip. “We wanted a second home for retirement and really wanted a home base to organically build a festival. We’re looking to build a community. It takes a lot of big-picture thinking — and this felt like we could be in a really good spot.”

Palmer, a native of Indianapolis, brings a lifetime of professional music experience to this new project, beginning with the Atlanta Symphony, where he became an associate conductor at the tender age of 20. In the decades since, Palmer has conducted orchestras in Houston, New Haven, Detroit, San Francisco, Miami, Nashville and countless other cities across the United States. He also founded the American Sinfonietta, which toured Europe for 10 seasons under his leadership.

But now, at the age of 78, he is winding down his professional career, having just retired as Georgia State University’s director of orchestras in Atlanta, and said he is looking forward to life on the East End and what’s next. Ironically, though Palmer had heard of the Hamptons and its reputation as a place for visual arts and theater, he had never experienced it firsthand himself, until Yip introduced him to the area.

“I think the first thing that struck me is the beauty of the place,” said Palmer when asked about his initial impressions of the area. “It’s an indescribable garden of natural beauty, combined with the light. You really understand why it drew the wonderful visual artists it did in the 1930s to 1950s. I was very in tune to that.

“Next, I began doing research to find out what was going on in terms of music and was very happy to learn about the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival,” he added. “That was an immediate good sign that there’s a loyal and substantial audience for classical music there.

“On the other side, it became apparent right away there was no significant orchestral life out there,” he added. “It seemed to me that was a big hole in the musical culture.”

When it comes to orchestral music, Palmer feels passionately that nothing compares to hearing it live and up close to the players, not in a concert hall, per se, but in a more unexpected venue.

“We are more interested in providing a unique experience in unusual locations — spaces and halls that bring the audience close to the orchestra and provide a more intimate experience than is typical,” said Palmer

And speaking of unusual, TH·FM’s home venue, LTV Studios in Wainscott, is certainly not typical for orchestral music. Palmer admits that the selection of LTV as the festival’s performance venue came about not by choice but as the result of a last-minute scramble in 2022, when the festival was looking to present its inaugural series of concerts.

It has turned out to be a major blessing in disguise.

“When you think you want to replicate a festival you’ve done somewhere else, you assume there will be a large enough venue somewhere,” said Palmer. “We looked all over and couldn’t find a venue with a stage large enough for our 41-piece orchestra. It became evident why there’s been no orchestral life here — where can you put one?”

Fortunately, Palmer has had experience transforming unusual or formerly industrial spaces into orchestral performance venues, so he knew to be on the lookout for nontraditional spaces on the East End.

“We did a complete evening of six Brandenburg concertos here in Atlanta with a symphony orchestra in the Westside Cultural Arts Center, a big open space where you can do whatever you want to,” he said. “Knowing that we could do that gave us a greater flexibility in terms of what we were looking for. Fairly late in the process, a friend said, ‘You should look at LTV’ — and we didn’t know what LTV was.”

But he and Yip soon came to learn that LTV is a large, wide-open studio space with soaring ceilings designed specifically for television productions. But would it work for orchestral music?

“Everything was painted black — floor, ceiling, walls. I saw some acoustical tiles and thought, this will be dead as a doornail — there’s not any way to build sound in here,” recalled Palmer. “We thought, ‘Well, this is it. We don’t have to make a decision, because we don’t have a choice.’ So we forged ahead.”

“And at the first rehearsal, it was like magic. I gave the downbeat, the orchestra played and it sounded magnificent,” he added.

Welcome to your new home, Maestro Palmer.

The Hamptons Festival of Music Schedule

2023 Salon Series - TH·FM’s Community Outreach Programs

“Music & Film ... in Concert” — August 14, 5 p.m., Herrick Park, East Hampton Village

Experience the classic Chaplin film “A Dog’s Life” projected outdoors while the TH·FM Salon Orchestra performs the film score live on stage. Offered in partnership with the Hamptons International Film Festival, TH·FM presents this free concert to the community.

“The Seasons @ LongHouse” — August 19, 5 p.m., LongHouse Reserve, 133 Hands Creek Road, East Hampton

A special immersive concert experience focused on Piazzola’s “Four Seasons of Buenos Aries,” performed against the backdrop of the natural beauty and art at LongHouse Reserve. Guests will experience TH·FM’s Salon Orchestra performing Piazzola’s tango-inspired, virtuosic music in the unique setting of the lower level of Jack Lenor Larsen’s home. The concert will feature violin soloist Annie Chalex-Boyle with Maestro Palmer conducting.

The Hamptons Festival of Music 2023 Concert Series

Sunday, September 3, 8 p.m., featuring guitarist Pepe Romero

Haydn “Overture to l’infedelta delusa”; David Leisner “Wayfaring” (world premiere) with Pepe Romero; Wagner “Siegfried Idyll”; Mendelssohn Symphony #4 “Italian.”

Friday, September 8, 8 p.m.

Bizet “Jeux d’enfant” (suite); Copland “Appalachian Spring” (original version); Mozart Symphony No. 41 in C Major “Jupiter.”

Sunday, September 10, 4 p.m.

Dvorak “Serenade for Winds”; Beethoven Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major “Eroica.”’

All concert performances will be at LTV Studio 3, 75 Industrial Road, Wainscott.

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