MANCHESTER>>The Manchester Music Festival Board of Directors has appointed pianist Adam Neiman as the new artistic director, effective immediately.
The nonprofit announced last month that it would make changes to its programs by focusing resources solely on the summer festival and bringing in talented young artists. Ariel Rudiakov and his wife Joana Genova, who had served as artistic directors since 2000, left the festival last month under terms that neither side disclosed.
Neiman told the Banner on Monday that Rudiakov made the new artistic director aware that his position wasn't renewed. They worked together since 2005, as Neiman has performed in Manchester yearly.
"I'm really excited and honored and I'm humbled by it and I honestly wish my predecessors wish me the best of luck," Neiman said. "I hope that I have everyone's blessing in the community to go forward. I'm excited to be a part of it."
Rudiakov declined to comment on the change in leadership.
Steven Dear, president of the MMF board told the Banner on Monday that a search committee made up of various board members sifted through previous festival performers and narrowed it down to a list of six.
"He's humble, but a very talented individual," Dear said of Neiman. "He's performed many times at MMF and has a great deal of knowledge in our area. We're very excited to have him."
Neiman is a 1999 graduate of The Juilliard School, winner of Juilliard's Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, among other achievements, and co-produced with notable conductors such as Jiri Belohlavek, Giancarlo Guerrero, Theodor Gushlbauer, and Carlos Kalmer. The new MMF member has also performed in Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada and an eight-city tour that debuted at Tokyo's Suntory Hall, according to his website.
Neiman currently occupies full-time position as an assistant piano professor at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Dear said Neiman will reside in Chicago, but make frequent trips to Vermont and then stay all summer for the festival.
The director's new duties include planning for the summer festival and the annual New Year's Eve event, ensuring funds for the young artist program, screening applicants for that program and inviting guest artists and faculty to events, to name a few.
"It's a huge task putting the festival together: assembling the orchestra, overseeing the young artist program, actually screening all the applicants and selecting them, interfacing with the people who make that program happen," Neiman said. "In the meantime, interfacing with the community and those who will donate to the festival to grow even larger to raise the artistic bar."
Neiman said he's seen the festival expand with year round opportunities; something the board wishes to backtrack on.
"The main shift of focus is to centralize around the summer presentation," Neiman said. "They've done a lot of activities outside the summer and spread the resources too thin. Getting back to its original roots and having a strong summer festival, that's the main change. The board is doing its job to really protect its assets and the ability to run smoothly into the future. Look at other festivals around the country, they have a very central and focused mission."
Contact Makayla-Courtney McGeeney at 802-490-6471.