Oyster Bay Music Festival makes grand return


At beautiful and historic venues scattered throughout the Town of Oyster Bay, the Oyster Bay Music Festival is set to enchant audiences for its thirteenth consecutive year. From July 1 through 8, this event promises eight days of musical splendor, featuring a diverse lineup of talented performers in venues ranging from grand estates to community landmarks.

Co-director Pippa Borisy explained that the event was founded with a vision to blend music education with community engagement. Since then, the festival has evolved into a beloved tradition that bridges generations of music enthusiasts and budding professionals alike.

“We started at the suggestion of the parish at Christ Church, who loved music,” Borisy explained. “Little by little we evolved as we realized the needs of the festival evolved.”

The festival’s appeal lies not only in its high-caliber performances but also in its unique venues. Audiences can expect to be transported to the Western Waterfront Building J at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park, where a historic boat-building warehouse serves as an acoustically rich backdrop. Additionally, the lush gardens of Old Westbury Gardens and the intimate settings of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Cold Spring Harbor offer ideal settings for the festival’s diverse repertoire.

One of the festival’s performers, bass baritone Christopher Lau, shared his journey from discovering the festival online to becoming a mainstay performer.

“I live in the township of Oyster Bay, so it’s a really special festival to me,” Lau explained. “We perform in these unconventional spaces, like the boat shop, which adds a really interesting dimension to the music we share with the community.”

The festival’s commitment to showcasing emerging talent is evident in its lineup, which includes pianists, classical singers, and various instrumentalists. Many of these artists are professional musicians, who willingly lend their talents to the town’s residents for the duration of the festival.

“Mostly these are all people in their twenties embarking on their own professional music careers,” Borisy emphasized. “We have pianists, violinists, we have a double bass player, we have a bassoon, this year we have a flutist. It’s just phenomenal different instrumentalists and we do some chamber music where we group them together and, and some solo repertoire, but every single concert is a mix.”

Beyond its evening concerts, the festival enriches the community with daytime lectures, masterclasses, and informal performances in downtown Oyster Bay. These activities not only educate but also foster a deeper connection between the performers and their audience.

“I feel like it’s a bit of a festival that’s grown with me throughout my development as a singer,” Borisy said, “and it’s been great to see it evolve from when it was first starting up to what it’s become now.”

In keeping with its community-focused mission, most festival events are free of charge, with only a few ticketed concerts to manage space.

“Our goal is to make classical music accessible,” Borisy explained.” We want everyone to experience the joy and beauty of live performances without barriers.”

As preparations for the festival enter their final stages, anticipation is high among performers and organizers alike. Lau expressed excitement about this year’s lineup, noting the international caliber of musicians set to grace the stage. “Each concert promises to be incredible,” Lau enthused, “and with new venues like Old Westbury Gardens joining our lineup, there’s a freshness and excitement that keeps us all inspired.”

For those interested in attending, more information about the festival, including concert schedules and venue details, can be found on the Oyster Bay Music Festival’s official website, OysterBayMusicFestival.org.