Pianist and European music festival organizer Paolo Bartolani has been quietly making a name for himself since he moved to Southold from Rome in 2014, but this spring, he plans to make a big splash on the North Fork’s musical pallette.
The Beacon is a proud sponsor of Mr. Bartolani’s inaugural Rites of Spring Music Fest, which pairs great North Fork locations with excellent music and local food.
Mr. Bartolani, who still works for the Santa Cecilia National Academy in Rome, Italy and as artistic project manager for the Bologna Opera House, is no stranger to the world of music festivals.
During his work in Europe, he devoted much of his time to making music accessible for all people, combining concerts and workshops in hospitals, schools and nursing homes with elegant evening performances of both classical and contemporary music.
The Rites of Spring Music Fest shares that ethos.
This year’s concerts include a free Solo Piano Concert by Mr. Bartolani at Brecknock Hall in Greenport, featuring the works of Beethoven, Debussy and John Cage; a concert of music based on the light curves of exoplanets by the Cliff Baldwin Ensemble at Custer Institute in Southold; a Music and Historic House Tour in collaboration with three North Fork historical societies; and an evening of arias from Italian operas, paired with a tasting menu from Caci North Fork Restaurant at Laurel Lake Vineyards.
“We intend to invite the community and audiences to discover, explore and appreciate chamber music through concerts, conversations, cultural and educational events,” says Mr. Bartolani. “Our aim is to create a rich musical environment through collaboration with other area organizations and to enhance the area’s appeal as a cultural and recreational destination.”
The solo piano concert at Brecknock Hall will be on April 23 at 4 p.m.; the Custer Institute concert will be held on May 21 at 7 p.m.; the Historic House Tour will be on June 4 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the Italian Opera Night at Laurel Lake Vineyards will be on June 11 at 7 p.m.
The North Fork Chocolate Company and Laurel Lake Vineyards will provide an after-concert reception at the Brecknock Hall and Custer Institute events. Mattebella Vineyards, North Fork Chocolate Company and Fork & Anchor in East Marion are providing box lunches and a reception at the house tour.
The festival is collaborating with the Southold and Greenport high school audiovisual departments, which will be making a movie about the festival on the day of the Music and Historic House Tour, which is being held in partnership with the Southold, Stirling and Oysterponds historical societies.
The Arcanum String Quartet, which studies with the famed Emerson String Quartet at Stony Brook University, will be providing music at each of the four houses on the tour, which begins at the Webb House at the Oysterpond Historical Society in Orient, and includes visits to the Margaret E. Ireland house in Greenport, the Ann Curry Bell House in Southold and the Paradise Point Auditorium.
The Italian Opera Night will feature soprano Masha Carrera, who has become a much-sought-after performer throughout Europe. Ms. Carrera was also the winner of the 25th Toti Dal Monte International Competition. Her performance will be followed by servings of eight different antipasti and traditional sweets by chef Marco Pellegrini of Caci Restaurant, along with two glasses of wine.
The Custer Institute concert, The Kepler Music: Songs from the Milky Way, is based on the observations of the Kepler Space Telescope. Each song in the series is based on a different exoplanet’s light curve — a unique signature that offers its own unique set of tones.
Weather permitting, this concert will be held outside, with innovative lighting and a chance for participants to view the stars and talk with astronomers about the relationship between science and music.
“Classical music, environment and history have a good alchemy,” says Mr. Bartolani. “People say this is exclusive music, but I want to make it inclusive music, for children and for people who live here.”
Tickets to the Custer Institute concert are $35, tickets to the Music & Historic House Tour are $70 and tickets to the Italian Opera Night are $120. Tickets to the solo piano concert are free, but reservations are required, online here.
More information and online ticket sales are on the Rites of Spring Music Fest website.