Art dealer Lou Meisel and his wife Susan are fixtures on the culture scene with a not-so-secret passion of supporting superb pianists from around the world. The Meisels feature these talented musicians in concerts held in the Hamptons and Manhattan.
I was blessed to be their guest at the Parrish Art Museum in a building designed by the world-class architectural firm Herzog and de Meuron. The stunning space offers a rustic setting just off Montauk Highway in Water Mill.
The Parrish Art Museum has been serving the Hamptons for more than 124 years and has a permanent collection of thousands of works. It is a true cultural center for the community.
The museum recently played host to The Salon Series, in a program performed by the remarkably talented New Yorker Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner, a handsome and charismatic young man whose talents make him seem 10 feet tall even though he’s only 5’9!
Lou and Susan greeted me at the museum doors and led me to my seat in the intimate lecture/concert hall. From my first-row seat facing the keyboard, I watched in awe as Llewellyn’s remarkable fingers tickled the ivory keys of the magnificent black and shiny Yamaha grand piano.
Llewellyn performed a variety of classical pieces, from Robert Schumann, to Franz Liszt, to Igor Stravinsky. Before playing each piece, he explained the meaning behind it. He reminded me of Leonard Bernstein, who also taught us while he played! Has a new Bernstein been born?
Lou is Vice Chair of the Concert Artists Guild, whose mission for over 60 years is to discover, nurture and promote young musicians.
They are also on the boards of Pro Musicis and the Pianofest, a series of recitals in the Hamptons that enriched my life this summer.
The Salon Series is in its 19 season. There will be one more concert at the Parrish Art Museum on Friday, Oct. 28. For more information, visit parrishart.org/programs-events/salon-series.
Additionally, Lou and Sue will present Pegasus: The Orchestra at 7 p.m. on Oct. 21 at Alice Tully Hall in the Lincoln Center. The group will perform all five of Rachmaninoff’s piano and orchestra masterpieces/concerti, the first time that this will be done in New York City since 1958.
Click here for more information.
After the mesmerizing Llewellyn performance, the Meisels invited me to dinner at Armin & Judy in Bridgehampton, the next town over from the Parrish, where we would join the pianist and a few of their friends.
To my delight, I got to sit opposite the extraordinarily talented Llewellyn, who has degrees from Juilliard and Yale and has been performing since he was 5 years old. Throughout his young career, he has already performed at the White House and Kennedy Center, at the invitation of President Obama. Next to him was Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, the new director of the Parrish Art Museum. Ironically, the two of them both have Mexican heritage!
Then came the delicious dinner at Armin & Judy’s, where I met the renowned restaurant owner and chef extraordinaire Angelo Vozza from Italy, who was visiting his favorite restaurant in the Hamptons.
Between the conversations we all enjoyed a rich, perfectly cooked North Fork wild mushroom risotto, grilled salmon with ratatouille and a remarkably crispy, but soft-in-the-middle fried chicken — just how I like it!
Susan Meisel is a superb baker and prepared the desserts, including petite pecan pies, cookies and the best rugelach I ever ate!
What a stellar meal with unique table conversation matching the delicious dinner.
The next day I was invited to Greenport on the North Fork of the East End for the dedication of the “Joe Cherry Choo-Choo,” a community effort to restore a magical and historic train ride through the woods that was a delight for the town’s children for decades.
I had met Richard Israel at a gala for the Peconic Bay Medical Center, where he sits on the board. Richard and the Greenport Rotary Club have supported the restoration of this beloved train that was as popular as the Greenport Carousel. The miniature railroad has been called “part of the fabric of the historic village” and I was delighted to be at the celebration of its restoration.
The idea was born and has been a pet project of Greenport Mayor George Hubbard Jr., who has helped make it a reality.
The 3/4 acres in Moores Woods is a perfect place for the train to run and new tracks have already been laid. The pandemic delayed it, but the mayor, rotary club and the community is making it happen!
Riding the miniature train was a Greenport tradition and now, the generosity of the town’s rotary club (which purchased the train from the deceased owner), Mayor Hubble and the town’s many fundraising events have teamed up to make it possible to ride the train again!
Being there was great fun, as was getting there!
I was in Sag Harbor and took the ferry, which runs every 8 minutes, for the five-minute ride into Shelter Island. We continued on to the ferry to Greenport.
Being in the open air with the wind blowing my hair and viewing the stately homes dotting the Shelter Island coast was a refreshing break from the world.
Take a ride on the ferry if you can and you, too, will love the trip and destinations!