This week, I had the rare opportunity of hosting world-renowned musicians in my home in Marion. Gary Levinson plays a Stradivari violin and serves as concertmaster for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. His wife, Baya Kakouberi, is a recording artist and classical pianist trained in Russia. In preparation for this year’s Buzzards Bay Music Festival, the Levinsons visited my house to use the piano and rehearse for their upcoming shows.
As they played for hours each day in the living room, I sat in the next room and listened while the couple worked through incredibly complicated pieces of music. They were focused and calm as they played together, stopping every once in a while to try something over again or make a note.
At the end of the day, the couple kindly agreed to sit down with me to talk about music. They looked excited when they spoke about the upcoming week and the Buzzards Bay Music Festival – they were truly delighted to be here.
The family spends about a week in July each year in the Buzzards Bay area, graciously hosted by local music lovers. This year marks the Levinsons’ second year at the Music Festival, an event the family looks forward to all year round. Mr. Levinson said that this year, they were excited to reconnect with the people who frequent the Buzzards Bay Music Festival. He explained that there is a certain level of camaraderie amongst musicians and attendees, and the small setting creates an “intimate medium” for performers.
Having moved to the United States from Russia, the couple has experienced firsthand the way that music can translate across cultures. They agreed that classical music has the ability to transcend boundaries and allow people to connect with one another on a really meaningful level.
In the past, this family of musicians has traveled on tours across America, Canada, and on to Europe as well. According to the couple, the summer season is packed full of interesting festivals for classical musicians. The artists refer to the summer months – June through August – as “festival season.” During this time of the year, the couple has the chance to travel to different locations around the country and perform casual concerts with old friends and new ones, too. The Levinsons have traveled the globe performing beautiful music, but they have a soft spot for our quiet little corner of the world. Their two children, who are also musically inclined, wait in anticipation of the time of year they get to return to Marion, Massachusetts.
Mr. Levinson called the Music Festival “a hidden gem,” and expressed his gratitude for the passionate group of people who return each year to support the event. The Buzzards Bay Music Festival is a non-profit event that is open to the public and anyone can attend, regardless of knowledge or musical background.
By Jacqueline Hatch