Rites of Spring Music Festival has returned for fourth season

Brahms and Schoenberg String Sextet performed at Castello di Borghese Vineyards on April 27 during the first of seven Rites of Spring concerts . (Credit: Rites of Spring)

The Rites of Spring Music Festival is back with a series of performances showcasing the beauty and history of the East End. 

Now in its fourth year, Italian-born pianist Paolo Bartolani founded the Rites of Spring music festival as a way for people of all ages to enjoy classical contemporary music through immersive concerts at non-traditional venues. 

“We are happy to be in our fourth year promoting classical contemporary and engaging with the community,” said Bartolani, who has decades of experience organizing international performing arts projects. “Classical music is thought of as boring. We have been working to change that perception by building a connection with the audience and having each concert be site specific and tailored to the location.”

The seven-part concert series, which kicked off April 27 at Castello di Borghese Vineyards in Cutchogue, continues with performances at different locations on the East End through mid-June. The next one is tomorrow, Sunday, May 5 at Quogue Wildlife Refuge.

Entitled, “Nature’s Sounds Concert,” the interactive show features a trio of musicians led by acclaimed trombonist Ray Anderson and an art installation called “The Nest” by environmental artist Toni Valderrama. The audience will be able to partake in the performance and each person will be given a branch to later build into a giant nest.

“It is a representation of connecting with nature,” Bartolani said. “We don’t have walls between our artists and our audience.”

Other events of note include the Saturday, May 11 performance of an opera entitled “The Doll’s House” at the Jamesport Meetinghouse. The opera, recently developed by composer Grace Oberhofer, is based on a play by Henrik Ibsen. Its themes tie into female empowerment and the role of women in contemporary society. The show features six singers, six instrumentalists and a dancer on stage at the historic theater. 

“This performance is unlike any other that we have hosted,” Bartolani said. “The world premiere of the opera will take place at the Edinbourgh Fringe Festival later this season. This show is a special preview here in the United States.”

The Saturday concert series concludes with a performance by Bartolani at Laurel Lake on June 15. The “Viennese Lyrical Evening” will also feature soprano and flute performances.

For tickets and more information about the performers and programs for each event, visit ritesmusic.org

Schedule of events:

Nature’s Sounds Concert at Quogue Wildlife Refuge

Sunday May 5 at 4:30 p.m.

“A Doll’s House” opera at Jamesport Meeting House 

Saturday May 11 at 7 p.m.

Latin American Art Songs at Castello di Borghese Vineyards

Saturday May 18 at 5 p.m.

Star Music at the Ris Gallery 

Saturday June 1 at 8 p.m.

Liminal Highway at Custer Institute  

​Saturday June 8 at 7 p.m.

Viennese Lyrical Evening, Closing Festival at Laurel Lake Vineyards

​Saturday June 15 at 7 p.m.