Some three years ago, when husband and wife, violist Ariel Rudiakov and violinist Joana Genova, left the Manchester Music Festival after decades to form their own year-round Taconic Music, there was some doubt as to the possibility of its success. But no more.
“We operate our modest operation in the black, which is always a very good thing, and we are able to carry forth on pretty much everything we set out to do so far, all year long,” Rudiakov said recently by phone.
“We are your town musicians,” Genova added.
Still, “modest” hardly describes the third annual Taconic Music Festival, June 17–July 14, which begins its concert season at 4 p.m. Sunday at Burr and Burton’s Riley Center for the Arts in Manchester Village. Genova and Rudiakov will be reunited on stage with cellist Thomas Landschoot and pianist Jon Klibonoff for Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Quartet in C minor.
The first half of the concert features several short works: Darius Milhaud’s jazzy Suite for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, performed by Genova with guest artists clarinetist Paul Green and pianist Elizabeth Wright, followed by Lukas Foss’ Western-sounding Capriccio for Cello and Piano with Landschoot and Klibonoff. Green and Wright will close the first half with Leonard Bernstein’s youthful Sonata for Clarinet and Piano.
Sunday faculty concerts will continue June 30, July 7 and 14. Among the guest artists and ensembles are the Indianapolis Quartet (June 30), Van Cliburn prize-winning pianist Davide Cabassi, guitarist Nemanja Ostoji, violist Basil Vendryes and Green.
Taconic’s Chamber Music Intensive participants, ages 20-28, include music majors from conservatory programs across the country. NextGen concerts, 4 p.m. Saturdays, June 29 and July 13, will showcase the students in important string quartets and piano quintets.
Two master classes for the Chamber Music Intensive with world-renowned violinists, held in Manchester homes, are open to the public. Classes, from 3 to 5 p.m., Wednesday, June 26, with Deborah Buck, and Tuesday, July 9, with Nicholas DiEugenio, allow the audience to experience first-hand how chamber music is refined and brought to a whole new level. Also available to the public, faculty concert dress rehearsals, 10:30 a.m. Saturdays, June 22, 29, July 6 and 13, offer a behind-the-scenes look at Taconic’s music-making process.
But that’s just Taconic’s summer program. During the “regular” season, Genova and Rudiakov present holiday concerts, outreach concerts to veterans’ and assisted living homes, as well as schools in the Manchester area.
They also present concerts by Weston’s Kinhaven Music School, including those by the Windhaven Orchestra and the school’s chamber music ensembles. Taconic also offers its education programs in the area, Strings for Kids with violin, viola and cello lessons, and the Taconic Junior Ensemble.
“So we are very, very fortunate being the producer-presenters that we wanted to be,” Rudiakov said. “And the summer season is the perfect size and scale for what we want to do.”
Taconic’s success depends entirely on the support of its community.
“We really have very broad grassroots-style support,” Rudiakov said. “We don’t have a lot of top-down donor quasi-ownership syndrome happening. We have the Bernie Sanders approach to fundraising where a lot of people are giving what they can — and it’s enough — with no agenda attached.
“We really love that freedom that we have — and we do our level best to earn everybody’s contributions,” Rudiakov said.
Much of the coming season, between September and May, is already planned.
“We will add some more chamber music concerts, but when you come next Sunday, and see the playbill, there’s already plans for season ’19-’20, so we’re really thinking ahead,” Genova said.
As life is becoming increasingly complex, music is becoming more and more essential for musicians and audiences alike.
“The older I get, the more meaningful music becomes, especially in our current society where technology has become so prominent. In a way, to me, it’s an escape,” Genova said. “And the more we do it, the more meaningful it becomes.”