Manchester music artists
During summer vacations from their home base in New York City, they ran what was then known as the Southern Vermont Arts Center Music Festival. The six-week Young Artists Program was a key component from the start; the founders placed a high value on coaching and instilling professionalism in upcoming artists.
Professional musicians from New York City and beyond-even from abroad-gathered each summer in Manchester, drawn by the opportunity not only to perform but also to teach and play with the Young Artists. MMF’s focus on superb music education and performance within this collegial atmosphere in the bucolic Green Mountains of Vermont remains one of the program’s strongest attractions.
Nine years later, Carroll and Eugene invited Michael Rudiakov to join them as a faculty member and to serve as the Festival’s Manager. Michael’s notable musical credentials included serving as Director of the Chamber Music Concert Series at Sarah Lawrence College and performing as a member of the Grammy nominated Composers String Quartet.
After the deaths of Carroll and Eugene in 1983 and 1985, respectively, Michael assumed leadership of the Festival. With his wife, pianist and teacher Judith, he expanded the Festival activities well beyond summer, creating a year-round organization, renaming the new venture the Manchester Music Festival, and establishing the position of a full-time resident Artistic Director to serve all members of the community.
Michael’s son, violist and conductor Ariel Rudiakov, became Artistic Director of MMF after the demise of his father in 2000. In 2001, MMF established a full-time music academy in Michael’s honor.
Between 2001 and 2004, two prominent and deeply generous area philanthropists each donated an historic property to MMF. Mrs. Ivan Combe donated the old Village Schoolhouse located at 42 Dillingham Avenue in Manchester. Now known as Festival House, it accommodates MMF’s offices with space for meetings, music lessons, rehearsals, and housing for visiting artists. The late Mrs. Irene Hunter The late Mrs. Irene Hunter donated a pre-Civil War home at 184 Seminary Avenue in Manchester, now called Rudiakov House. The house had been a part of MMF’s history since 1985 as the elder Rudiakovs’ private home as well as housing for visiting musicians and Young Artists. The late Mrs. Irene Hunter donated a pre-Civil War home at 184 Seminary Avenue in Manchester, now called Rudiakov House. The house had been a part of MMF’s history since 1985 as the elder Rudiakovs’ private home as well as housing for visiting musicians and Young Artists.
Today MMF performs locally at the Manchester Congregational Church, the United Church of Dorset and East Rupert, Riley Center for the Arts at Burr and Burton, the Mark Skinner Library, regional schools, assisted living residences, local benefits, and out-of-town venues. The summer home of the Festival concerts is Southern Vermont Arts Center’s Arkell Pavilion, where MMF has been an anchor tenant since 1974.