Mt. Equinox, the highest peak of the Taconic range, is the first thing we see from our window every day, in every season. For generations, it has been a constant, welcoming sight for musicians who have traveled here over the years. Like music, the mountains belong to everyone and the pathways are many.
The names of musicians who have performed and taught in Manchester are too numerous to list, but it is safe to say that some of the most enduring roots were planted by the cellist Michael Rudiakov (1934–2000) and his wife, Judith, a pianist and career music educator. As with many living in the region, they came to Manchester from New York City, buying their home in 1983 and gradually relocating. They performed countless concerts, created programs for children, and made classical music available for area residents and visitors.
Ariel and Joana met in Manchester in 1998, moved to the area in 2001, and picked up the baton of the previous Rudiakov generation. For the past fifteen years, we have conducted successful concert series and young artist programs, run a music academy for area children, and performed for schools, libraries, assisted living centers, and veterans homes throughout the region. In October 2016, we launched Taconic Music with a mission to provide Southern Vermont communities with year-round concerts, lessons and educational programs built upon the rich traditions of classical music. At the same time, we offer inclusive points of entry through a variety of genres for people of all ages and walks of life who value music as part of their daily lives. Music in Action brings programs for children to area schools and the Manchester Community Library (MCL). Strings for Kids offers violin, viola, and cello lessons for ages 5–18. Taconic Chamber Players, our resident ensemble, has a broad repertoire of Baroque, Classical, Romantic and contemporary works, including pop, rock and jazz arrangements, and performs in venues ranging from private homes to concert halls, in traditional and non-traditional spaces. Our first annual Thanksgiving and Holiday concerts at MCL saw standing-room-only crowds and rave reviews, and our New Year’s Eve event at the Inn at Manchester was completely sold out. Our Summer Festival brings professional musicians from across the country together for four weeks of chamber-music performances. Many of these guest artists also serve as faculty for our Chamber Music Intensive, which provides a rare opportunity for a select group of students aged 20–26 to immerse themselves in the chamber music repertoire through daily rehearsals, coachings, masterclasses and concerts.
Taconic Music embodies the experience, passion, and humanity of making music for, with, and among friends. We are fortunate to do so in such a warm and generous community.