Music : Chappy music fest
If only for a night, Chappaquiddick was fortunate to have been graced with the talents of world-renowned concert cellist Inbal Segev, accompanied by the noted pianist Noreen Cassidy-Polera. Last Thursday evening marked the opening night of the 14th annual Chappaquiddick Summer Music Festival at the Chappaquiddick Community Center, founded by its director, Mary Beth Alger. Ms. Alger, who hosted both musicians during their stay on Chappy, says she felt as if she had died and gone to heaven during Segev's rehearsal at the Algers' home.
The Chappaquiddick Community Center boasts one of the best small acoustic venues on the Island. The combination of the superior space and the performers' prowess resulted in a superior musical experience. The Community Center accommodates about 60 people, and most members of the audience were Chappy residents, all of whom responded with enthusiasm.
These two musicians seemed particularly well-suited to each other's style. Ms. Cassidy-Polera specializes in performing for cellists. Ms. Alger explained, "She's mostly a collaborative pianist and she knows the cello repertoire as well as a cellist does. She even coaches young cellists."
Ms. Ingal Segev, an Israeli native now based in New York City, comes from a musical family (her mother is a pianist), and began playing the cello at age five. "I always knew I would become a cellist, it was a given," she said. But the flawlessness and seamlessness of their performance this past Thursday - five duets and an encore - was evidence enough of the duo's long and well-honed collaboration.
The two musicians met during their studies at Yale University. They have performed together often in the past, but they declined to reveal the year they first met, admitting that they didn't want to date themselves
The pair performed pieces by celebrated composers including Robert Shumann, Paul Hindemith, Samuel Barber, and Dmitri Shostakovich, as well as a piece by Israeli composer Ronn Yedida, a close friend of Ms. Segev's.
The tone from Segev's 164-year-old Gaetano Rossi cello resonated throughout the performance. Ms. Cassidy-Polera performed on a concert quality piano borrowed for the occasion from the Tisbury School.
While Ms. Segev is familiar with Martha's Vineyard, after having studied privately under master cellist Bernard Greenhouse on Cape Cod for two years, but this was Ms. Cassidy-Polera's first visit to Martha's Vineyard, and she expressed her appreciation of the Island's beauty.
The performers were warmly received by the audience after the recital. One admiring fan was heard to say, "It took my breath away."
The Chappaquiddick Summer Music Festival at the Chappaquiddick Community Center presents the Jupiter String Quartet tonight, Thursday, Aug. 6, at 7:30 pm. On Thursday, Aug. 13, the Split Second Piano Duo performs. Tickets $20 ($18 seniors) available at the door or in advance at the community center. A shuttle will run from the Chappaquiddick Ferry to and from the center. 508-627-5514
Megan Cerullo is a freelance writer living in Edgartown.