As a non-profit organization 501c3, every year Rites of Spring Music Festival showcases artists performing classic and contemporary music in unique venues, including museums, wineries and other iconic settings that celebrate the beautiful natural environment of Long Island’s North Fork. In just 5 years, the Rites of Spring Music Festival has become the premier classical and contemporary music festival on the North Fork of Long Island. In April 2016, the Festival was initiated to offer local residents and the numerous visitors to the East End a unique opportunity to experience the beautiful and significant repertoire of chamber music presented by young soloists and vocal and instrumental ensembles of international standing. In 2017, the program was expanded to offer contemporary music along with classical works.
The Rites of Spring Music Festival continued to grow in reputation and attendance through 2019 and was planning another exceptional program in 2020 when the Coronavirus social distancing restrictions forced the cancellation of traditional in-person events. With the challenge of stay-home orders and closed venues, the Festival adapted its program to present “Music & Tell,” a virtual performance series hosted weekly in May, June and July on Zoom. “Music & Tell” has served as a means to continue to fulfill our mission while serving as a bridge to what we hope will be a much-improved climate for live performances in 2021 and hopefully an opportunity for the Rites of Spring Music Festival to recover its audiences and reinforce its financial viability. The deep connection that Rites of Spring has developed with the community is clearly reflected in the community’s involvement and stake in the Festival’s success. In addition to the significant financial contributions provided by individuals and local businesses over the last five years, the Festival has benefited from valuable in-kind support in the form of considerable promotion from the local newspaper company, Times Review Media (Suffolk Times, Riverhead News Review, etc.), the North Fork Promotion Council (GoNOFO), and the East End Tourism Alliance. We have also been able to count on the generous support of our hosting venues that have provided concert space for free. Finally, we have enjoyed and appreciated the assistance of many volunteers at our concerts over the years.
The Festival was conceived and designed to make contemporary and classical music more accessible to the public, and to raise the community’s knowledge and appreciation of these genres. The programs have thus been designed to appeal to different age groups and ethnicities. For example, in 2019, our “Nature’s Sounds Concert” at Quogue Wildlife Refuge Center encouraged audience participation, especially among children, who were each given a branch to help build a giant nest. We also broadened our program with a specific appeal to the East End’s large Hispanic population with our “Art Songs from Latin America” concert at Castello di Borghese, which featured a mix of music for voice, guitar and percussion, including dances and love songs from Puerto Rico, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic.
As noted above, we have been very fortunate to have received in-kind promotional support over the years from local media and regional tourism promotion organizations. We will continue to count on these partners in 2021. We have also gained extensive visibility through calendar listings across Long Island and from our printed brochures and programs, which we will continue to use in 2021. We estimate that our average digital marketing reach is over 67,000 community members through various social media channels. Additionally, our printed brochures and programs have resulted in a further 14,000 impressions. And in 2019, our performances were listed by Suffolk Times/Times Review, Northforker.com Newsday, Dan’s Papers, Patch, Long Island Business News, SoutholdLocal, RiverheadLocal, 27East.com, WRIV and WNPR.
As Founder, Artistic & Director of the Rites of Spring Music Festival, my musical education includes studies with some renowned pianists, beginning at the Santa Cecilia Music Conservatory in Rome (Italy) and continuing at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, and subsequently at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, where I received his Masters’ Degree in Musicology of the 20th century. In 2006, I created a Masters’ Degree Program in Cultural Enterprise Administration at the University of Perugia. At the Venice Biennale, from 2008 to 2012, I was the General Coordinator of ENPARTS – European Network of Performing Arts – which promoted the creation of new works in dance, music and theater by young artists. From 2009 to 2014 I continued this work as Director of the Résonnance Italy, a Swiss-based nonprofit organization, where I was responsible for its artistic and humanitarian program, “bringing music to places where it is not heard,” producing more than two hundred concerts in hospitals, nursing homes and prisons to promote musical sensibilities and share the joy of music. From 2016 to 2020 I worked as General Coordinator of Music Up Close Network at Santa Cecilia National Academy in Rome, which includes seven European orchestras that promote new orchestral works and support a new generation of musicians to connect with young audiences.