Having it All — Wine, Music and Social Media


MANCHESTER >> Wine, cheese and chamber music. If there's a better antidote to cabin fever following a long cold winter, Ariel Rudiakov, the artistic director of the Manchester Music Festival, wants to hear of it.

The music festival will be staging a concert on Saturday, March 28, to usher in the arrival of spring, perform some classics of the chamber music canon by Vivaldi, Saint- Saens, and Turina, and last but perhaps not least, uncork a few bottles of wine, during and after the show.

Not coincidentally, the composers of the music on the program hail from the wine producing countries of France, Spain and Italy. It's a form of synergy, you could say, Rudiakov said.

"Food and drink have been close neighbors of any performance," he said. "Here, we're encouraging people to have it as part of the experience which is frankly, more of a European idea."

The hope is that loosening up the typical format will broaden the audience, and could be a prelude to more crossover types of concerts, where music is mixed with local farm to table food offerings, for example, he said.

Those attending will also have a chance to hear about some ambitious marketing plans for the summer arts season in the Manchester region as well. A presentation about this summer's HillsAlive! offerings — a collaboration between seven major arts and cultural venues — will follow the performance during the post-concert reception.

HillsAlive! — an initiative launched in 2012 — is an effort to collaborate on marketing and spreading the word about what the Manchester Music Festival, the Southern Vermont Arts Center, the Dorset Theatre Festival, the Weston Playhouse, Oldcastle Theater in Bennington, Northshire Performing Arts and the Green Mountain Academy for Lifelong Learning are planning for the summer months.

This year, a revamped website bolstered by a social media push will accompany other advertising efforts, said Kate Pace, the founder and strategist of Route 7 Social, a Manchester-based marketing firm that specializes in digital and social media and which is overseeing the effort.

The hope is that by working together to lure potential customers and ticket buyers to the area who might be mainly interested in something going on at one of the venues, they will also take advantage of the opportunity to explore some of the others, thereby leveraging the impact of all seven institution's marketing efforts, she said.

"The message is that by collaborating together in that social space, we can push out content," she said, referring to the tweets, Facebook likes and Instagram pictures that will hopefully circulate about the cultural offerings that will be on tap. "My goal is to make some fun, attractive and unique things people will want to share."

But first, there will be the music. For the "Uncorked" concert, the Manchester Music Festival will feature a quartet of musicians that include Rudiakov on viola, Joana Genova on violin, Alexis Gerlach on cello and Michael Brown on piano.

The roughly hour-long concert will start with a sonata trio by Vivaldi, followed by some string trio arrangements of famous opera arias, to represent the Italian leg of the three-legged stool. Then will come the last movement of a piano quartet by Camille St. Saens, a French composer of the 19th century and early 20th centuries, before moving on to another piano quartet by Joaquin Turina, a Spanish composer from the 1930s, Rudiakov said.

"It's uniquely Spanish," Rudiakov said of the piece by Turina they will perform, "in its scales and atmosphere, its ebbs and flows; very passionate music that takes you on quite a ride during a short period of time."

Both Gerlach and Brown have or will be teaching at the Rudiakov Music Academy, which offers classical and chamber music instruction. Brown also performed last summer with the music festival during one of their annual series of summer concerts, and will be back again this summer, he said.

The pieces he will be performing are technically difficult, and they will be the first time he has performed them, he said.

"It should be fun," he said. "There's a first time for everything. It should be kind of refreshing because these pieces aren't played all that often, and they are pieces that deserve to be heard."

"Uncorked" will start at 3 p.m. and will be held at the Yester House on the campus of the Southern Vermont Arts Center. Tickets at $30 and are available at mmfvt.org or by calling 802-362-1956.


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