Full Reviews

Steve Smith
Published: July 14, 2013

What is it about summertime that makes us flock to outdoor concerts, despite their precarious nature? Some deep connection to a primordial past of fireside storytelling and open-air drum circles? A school-conditioned reflex linking grassy settings with freedom from rigidity and responsibility? Just wishful thinking? Whatever it is, events are in high demand and presenters respond, catering to all tastes against all odds. For example, the Rite of Summer Music Festival opened its third season on Saturday afternoon with a concert reasonably well attended despite ominous clouds looming. Continue Reading…

Vivien Schweitzer
Published: August 5, 2012

Also harmonically vivid was Brian Baumbusch’s intense “Mantle Eruption,” with its simmering trancelike section… The one-hour program on Governors Island included three other arresting works by living composers: moody, Minimalist-influenced music that lured the picnicking audience into attentive silence. The shaded grassy area at Colonels’ Row is an ideal setting for an outdoor classical concert, without the distracting traffic noises that inevitably interrupt many summer events. Amplification didn’t tarnish these works, as it might a Mozart symphony… Continue reading…

Allan Kozinn
Published: Sept. 7, 2011

…the idea of staging a summer music festival (on Governors Island) is inspired. The island has already been transformed into a hybrid sculpture park and playground, and the flat open field at Colonels’ Row, bounded by elegant 19th-century houses, is as comfortable a setting for concerts as any park in Manhattan. Continue reading…

Steve Smith
Published: July 4, 2011

Governors Island is positively awash in creativity, with unusual, engaging artistic notions greeting you at every turn. What better time to kick off a contemporary-classical concert series? On Saturday afternoon (the Rite of Summer Music Festival) got off to a merry start with two performances of “In C,” Terry Riley’s Minimalist milestone from 1964, by roughly 40 players from some of New York’s most industrious new-music ensembles. In a way you could hardly ask for a piece better suited to celebrating Independence Day. Continue reading…


“Many large organizations are faltering, but intriguing festivals continue to bubble up from classical music’s ocean floor. Rite of Summer takes place on Governors Island, a heavily promoted site that allows culture to bloom in a casual setting.” – Russell Platt, The New Yorker

“Governors Island is positively awash in creativity….what better time to kick off a contemporary-classical concert series?” – Steve Smith, NY Times

“After making a splash with “In C’ and ETHEL, (Rite of Summer) closes out its inaugural season as founders Blair McMillen and Pam Goldberg tickle the ivories with special guests, violinists Miranda Cuckson and Nurit Pacht. (A) high-energy, globe-trotting program…” – Time Out NY

“…a refreshing new music series…” NY Times

“Nurit Pacht and Pam Goldberg played with a flexibility that captured the expressive turns and natural lilt of Spanish folk music as well as the liveliness of flamenco dance.” – NY Times

“Miranda Cuckson’s tone was beautifully focused, and she and Blair McMillen played the music with striking precision and unity of purpose.” – NY Times

“…you could hardly ask for a piece better suited (In C) to celebrating Independence Day.” – NY Times

“This performance of “In C” stood out for its vibrant, variegated colors…” – NY Times