Rites of Spring music festival returns this week

Paolo inside his Southold home. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Paolo inside his Southold home. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

A concert series focused on beautiful music enhanced by scenic settings is returning to the East End.

The Rites of Spring Music Festival features classical and contemporary musical concerts complemented by the beauty and history of their natural settings. Wine and food tastings will be provided at the events.

“The idea is to offer a multi-sensory experience,” said pianist and event organizer Paolo Bartolani. “To enjoy classical music, but in a different way.”

Bartolani moved to Southold from Rome in 2014, bringing with him decades of experience organizing international performing arts projects. He is currently artistic project manager in international relations for the Italian institution Santa Cecilia Music Academy.

Now in its second season, the Rites of Spring series has doubled the number of concerts from four to eight and now includes one South Fork locale.

“The concept is always the same,” Bartolani explained. “To enjoy classical contemporary music in informal venues and to combine music with the environment and historic sites.”

Of note this year is an event titled “Thought Experiments Under the Stars,” set for Saturday, June 3, at the Custer Institute in Southold. It will include a pre-concert conversation with astro-engineer Justine Haupt and composer George Cork Maul followed by a real-time composition by The Hidden City Orchestra, along with wine from Laurel Lake Vineyards and treats from North Fork Chocolate Company.

Also new this year is “Quogue Nocturne,” a concert performed at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge that will incorporate pre-recorded animals sounds captured at that location. Live owls will be on hand and Cliff Baldwin and the ACME Ensemble will perform. Early Girl Farm in East Moriches will provide light bites of foraged food.

“We’ll talk about the owls and how incredible they are. Then we’ll talk about music,” Baldwin said. “Then the musicians will join me after.”

The event will feature young musicians from Stony Brook University as well as international guests. Organizers are also partnering with PianoFest in the Hamptons, which will provide pianists for a recital at Peconic Bay Yacht Club in Southold on May 21.

Other venues include the Jamesport Meeting House, various locations along the Oysterponds, Stirling and Southold Historical Society’s joint house tour and Laurel Lake Vineyards.

Times Review Media Group is an event sponsor, along with lead sponsor Bridgehampton National Bank.

The festival kicks off this Sunday, April 30, with a solo concert by Bartolani at Castello di Borghese Vineyard in Cutchogue at 5 p.m., featuring selections by Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig von Beethoven, John Adams and Claude Debussy. That recital is free, although there will be a fee to attend the other events.

The concerts run through June. Visit ritesmusic.org for the full lineup.

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