Rudiakovs' Taconic Music comes to Manchester

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MANCHESTER >> Mount Equinox is the highest in the Taconic Mountains, and the Rudiakovs see it from their house every day.

Taking from it their inspiration, they used it to name the next step in their musical climb.

Ariel Rudiakov and Joana Genova-Rudiakov have established Taconic Music Inc., a concert and education series for Southern Vermont.

Taconic Music will offer "year-round concerts, lessons, demonstrations and education programs built upon the rich traditions of classical music," according to its mission statement.

The organization has a 501(c)3 non-profit application pending and has a full board of directors.

The Rudiakovs, until very recently the artistic directors of the Manchester Music Festival, have decided to continue practicing what they came to the area to do years ago. Ariel Rudiakov met Genova-Rudiakov at the summer festival in 1998. His father brought her in from Holland where she was getting her master's degree.

Rudiakov's family has a home in Yonkers, N.Y. and that's where he resided. Once his father died and he assumed his director position, Manchester became his new home, along with Genova's.

"We want to be here," Rudiakov said. "The primary reason is to raise our children here. Also because we like it. My family has been here on and off since 1985."

So far, Taconic Music has performed at the Maple Street School and the Manchester Community Library. The Music from the Shelves Family Concert at the library consisted of the Rudiakovs on violins, Heather Braun-Bakken, violinist, and double bassist Steven Moran.

The co-founders have plans to continue playing at the two locations, consistently exposing children to a variety of string music.

"We think it has a very beneficial affect on children," Rudiakov said. "You see developed fine motor skills using them in real time to execute and translate a composition. You don't see that every day. We try to mix up programming so it's interesting and fun but doesn't dance around the fact that the music is wonderful without watering it down. [Children] respond to it very well. We kinda feel that sometimes we can just relax and be ourselves. Children embrace it because it's quirky. With music you can draw them in and let their minds envision. You can't do this with screens or books."

They explained that the same goes for playing at an assisted living home or to adults who can't communicate well. Once they hear music, they respond in some way.

"There's no other art form like that," Rudiakov said. "It's a completely unique thing about live music. It's invisible — every other art form you can see. Dancers you can see. Music is invisible to all the senses except the ear and the mind. Children's minds are so actively developing. It's really fascinating for us to see."

Both parents of each co-founder served as teachers and played music throughout their lives.

Rudiakov is a conductor, violinist and third generation musician. He is the music director and conductor of the Danbury Symphony Orchestra. Genova-Rudiakov is an artist associate at Williams College and has led a career teaching violin, playing chamber music and in orchestras. Originally from Bulgaria, Genova-Rudiakov first picked up her instrumental sidekick at age six and made a solo debut at age 12 with the Plovdiv Chamber Orchestra, among other musical accomplishments. Now she serves as the principal second violin of the Berkshire Symphony Orchestra and as a member of the Brooklyn Philharmonic.

The Rudiakov's two children are also taking up string instruments.

Maple Street School has agreed to be Taconic Music's fiscal agent, meaning donations will be accepted on the organization's behalf and have full tax benefits.

The next event will be "The Rudiakovs and Friends" Thanksgiving concert at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26 in the library's Hunter Room. It will feature the Rudiakovs, violinist Deborah Buck, cellist Sophie Shao and clarinetist Todd Palmer performing works by Dvorak and Weber.

After, there will be a New Year's Celebration at The Inn at Manchester's Events Barn. From June 19 to July 16 will be the inaugural summer festival and chamber music intensive with concerts potentially at Burr & Burton Academy's Riley Center for the Arts.

Rudiakov said the summer festival will bring in various faculty from Southern Vermont, New York City and Boston. Nine students are already enrolled.

"There's plenty of intersections and opportunities," Rudiakov said. "The variety is going to be a hallmark of what will go on throughout the year. We're on the scene most of the time."

Some say it's the next generation of the Rudiakovs, but they claim it's the new beginning of their era.

For more information, find Taconic Music on Facebook. An official website will be rolled out soon.

Contact Makayla-Courtney McGeeney at 802-490-6471.


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