Our Next Concert

Sat Aug 27, 1pm and 3pm

At: Governors Island at Nolan Park
When: 1pm and 3pm
Rain date: Sun Aug 28
Cost: Free

Led by percussionist and Music Director Amy Garapic, more than 60 percussionists will come together to perform John Luther Adams’s “Inuksuit,” an epic outdoor piece that has helped to redefine what live musical experience can be in the 21st-century. Rite of Summer will be presenting two afternoon performances of “Inuksuit,” a work the New York Times has called “the ultimate environmental piece.”

The Inuksuit Band will include musicians from New York and beyond and will feature drummers Greg Saunier (Deerhoof) and Brian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), as well as members of many of NYCs top percussion groups and schools including:

Mantra Percussion
Iktus Percussion
Ensemble et al
Sandbox Percussion
Loop 2.4.3
Palladium Percussion

and Students from:

Stony Brook
Queens College
Mantra Youth Percussion

John Luther Adams

© Donald Lee

© Donald Lee

John Luther Adams is a composer whose life and work are deeply rooted in the natural world.

Adams was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his symphonic work Become Ocean, and a 2015 Grammy Award for “Best Contemporary Classical Composition”. Inuksuit, his outdoor work for up to 99 percussionists, is regularly performed all over the world.

Columbia University has honored Adams with the William Schuman Award “to recognize the lifetime achievement of an American composer whose works have been widely performed and generally acknowledged to be of lasting significance.”

A recipient of the Heinz Award for his contributions to raising environmental awareness, JLA has also been honored with the Nemmers Prize from Northwestern University “for melding the physical and musical worlds into a unique artistic vision that transcends stylistic boundaries.”

Born in 1953, JLA grew up in the South and in the suburbs of New York City. He studied composition with James Tenney at the California Institute of the Arts, where he was in the first graduating class (in 1973). In the mid-1970s he became active in the campaign for the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, and subsequently served as executive director of the Northern Alaska Environmental Center.

Adams has taught at Harvard University, the Oberlin Conservatory, Bennington College, and the University of Alaska. He has also served as composer in residence with the Anchorage Symphony, Anchorage Opera, Fairbanks Symphony, Arctic Chamber Orchestra, and the Alaska Public Radio Network.

The music of John Luther Adams is recorded on Cantaloupe, Cold Blue, New World, Mode, and New Albion, and his books are published by Wesleyan University Press.


“For the past five years, Governors Island, a short ferry ride away from Manhattan, has been home to this rambunctious festival, which presents free afternoon concerts of top-tier musical performers.”
The New Yorker

We depend on money from benefactors to allow the festival to remain free to the public.

Recent Press

Kara Sainz and Peter Dugan Previewed in The New Yorker

This innovative little festival is one of several organizations that is making Governors Island into a summertime playground for outdoor cultural events. Its next concert, at Nolan Park, is by an exceptional young singer and her able accompanist, performing songs by Gershwin, Ginastera, Purcell, and Falla.

Blair McMillen and Pam Goldberg in The New York Times

By ALLAN KOZINN September 5, 2011 Governors Island is a bit off the beaten path, as concert sites go. But the idea of staging a summer music festival there, devoted mostly to contemporary works, is inspired.


“Rite of Summer has an undeniable grass-roots appeal and a novel setting on the arty Governors Island.”
Steve Smith, The New York Times