May 9, 2017
MAESTRO IGNAT SOLZHENITSYN RETURNS TO HIS VERMONT ROOTS
World-Renowned Conductor to Lead Manchester Music Festival Orchestra
MANCHESTER, VT: Manchester Music Festival is no stranger to featuring acclaimed musicians from around the world, but this summer, one in particular stands out. Maestro Ignat Solzhenitsyn is the Principal Guest Conductor of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Laureate of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. But for all of his travels around the globe performing in New York City, London, Milan, Zurich, Moscow, Tokyo, Sydney, Seattle, Toronto, and many more, appearing at the Manchester Music Festival is a sort of homecoming.
Solzhenitsyn is the son of famed Nobel Prize winner and Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who was an outspoken critic of the Soviet Union and as a result was expelled from the republic in 1974. In 1976, he settled his young family in Vermont. Ignat took to music at a young age and went on to study piano in London with influential instructor Maria Curcio. In 1994, he was the recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, a prestigious award designed to give recognition to talented instrumentalists who have great potential for solo careers.
Recognized as one of today’s most gifted artists, and enjoying an active career as both conductor and pianist, Ignat Solzhenitsyn’s lyrical and poignant interpretations have won him critical acclaim throughout the world. The New York Times lauded him as “an uncommonly thoughtful, communicative musician.” He currently serves on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Tanglewood Music Center and resides in New York City with his wife and three children.
Solzhenitsyn is joined by six other Avery Fisher Career Grant winners who will perform with Manchester Music Festival this year. His appearance is part of the festival’s Orchestral Experience concert on August 3rd, which brings together featured guest musicians and young artists with Van Cliburn Competition Gold Medalist Alexander Kobrin as piano soloist. On this evening, Maestro Solzhenitsyn will present two epic works of the orchestral repertoire: Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, and Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major.
Of Solzhenitsyn’s appearance, Adam Neiman, Manchester Music Festival’s artistic director says, “We are ecstatic to have Ignat Solzhenitsyn headline our orchestral concert on August 3! He is one of the world’s great musicians and brings with him a tremendous amount of experience and wisdom. I think our audience will be blown away by his electric musicianship in this remarkable program.”
April 2, 2017
VERMONT’S MANCHESTER MUSIC FESTIVAL POISED FOR AN ASTOUNDING SEASON
World-Renowned Artists Scheduled to Perform
Manchester, VT: The summer season at Manchester Music Festival welcomes award winning artists from around the country for seven weeks of concerts in the Green Mountains of Vermont. July 6 – August 17 concerts on Thursday evenings are slated to feature a number of top caliber musicians who have played with some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras. Performances will include works from composers such as Mozart, Schubert, Bach, Rachmaninoff, Renié, and many more. Sunday afternoons see concert performances from the participants in the festival’s Young Artists Program which garnered a record number of applicants this year from top conservatories around the world.
One of two major events this season will be the Orchestral Experience concert on August 3rd, which brings together featured guest musicians and young artists with Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Gold Medalist Alexander Kobrin as piano soloist. On this evening, Manchester Music Festival will present two epic works of the orchestral repertoire: Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, and Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major. The orchestra will be led by Maestro Ignat Solzhenitsyn, the Principal Guest Conductor of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Laureate of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.
The 2017 season will conclude on August 17th with a special performance entitled “A Night At The Opera” and featuring a number of performers who have starred in major roles on stages across the globe. Manchester Music Festival’s opera evening is always one of their biggest nights of the year and a favorite among Festival attendees.
In his first season as artistic director, Adam Neiman brings excitement and energy to the Manchester Music Festival. Neiman, a very well respected pianist and composer, who makes frequent appearances at prestigious festivals around the world, is an honors graduate of The Juilliard School and Assistant Professor of Piano at the Chicago College of Performing Arts. He was named artistic director of MMF in late 2016.
Now being offered to patrons are mini festival subscriptions which include either the orchestra or opera evenings along with two additional Thursday performances of choice. 2017 mini festival subscriptions begin at $106 and full season subscriptions begin at $254. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling 802-362-1956.
Neiman excited about first season as MMF director
March 15, 2017
By Greg Sukiennik
MANCHESTER — Adam Neiman has been getting ready to be artistic director of the Manchester Music Festival for a long time — well before October, when he was appointed to the post. His preparation even predates his 30 years of professional experience as a pianist.
It goes back to childhood daydreams about what music he’d program for orchestra concerts if he were in charge.
“When I was a little kid I used to sit and make programs,” he said in an interview with the Journal last Friday. “I don’t know why I did this but I literally would just create programs not even stuff that I would play. I always found it fascinating to assemble moving parts.”
Now, Neiman has the opportunity to bring together his friends from his performing career and program a seven-week summer music festival and guide a young artists’ school. He succeeded Ariel Rudiakov and his wife Joana Genova, who had served as artistic directors since 2000 and left in September under terms that neither side disclosed.
“This is kind of the fulfillment of a dream in a way. I thought in my heart of hearts, though I kept it shrouded, that one day I would love to do something like this,” Neiman said.
The schedule for 2017 can be found at the newly-revamped MMF website.
It’s been a whirlwind so far, but Neiman says the support of MMF’s board and support staff has made success possible and “upped the ante in every way,” including a completely revamped website and new brochures.
“We have very supportive and helpful people running this, as well as an enormous support team who made my learning curve a lot less steep,” he said.
Neiman’s enthusiasm is clear when he talks about the music he has chosen for MMF’s 43rd season and the students who will be part of the six-week Young Artists Program.
Setting the program and securing the performers for the season was Neiman’s first task, and he feels like he achieved what he set out to accomplish.
“These are absolute world-class artists who will be coming into town playing top-echelon music,” Neiman said. They’ll be playing a set of programs “that will be diverse, electric, electrifying, interesting and at the same time edifying for a very staunch classical crowd”.
Like other genres of music, classical music can be prone to formulaic programming, in which orchestras and festivals present tried-and-true favorites to assure success at the gate.
Neiman’s response to that challenge is to present familiar favorites, contemporary pieces and lesser-known works that have fallen out of circulation and deserve to be heard again.
For example, MMF’s opening program on Thursday, July 6 will lead off with the Beethoven string trio in C minor Mozart’s piano quartet in E-flat major — both acknowledged masterworks.
But the program will be anchored by a piece that the audience may not know — Richard Strauss’ Piano Quartet in C minor.
“This is a masterpiece. And for whatever reason it’s extremely rarely programmed,” Neiman said of the quartet. “People are going to literally jump out of their seats. It’s so good. They’re going to be like ‘Why have I not heard this before?'”
Neiman has also programmed contemporary music. The third concert, on July 20, will feature a piano trio by New York composer Lowell Liebermann, who Neiman describes as “accessible and edgy.”
When it comes to introducing contemporary work, Neiman has a card up his sleeve — his experience as an assistant piano professor at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. He’ll give 30-minute talks before each main concert, explaining not only what the composers were setting out to do, but the personal, social and cultural factors that influenced the music.
Neiman, who has been performing at MMF since 2005 came into the role relatively late for planning a summer festival, and was concerned that the artists he’d want to bring to Manchester would already have summer plans for 2017.
“I was lucky. Because they knew me and we’re friends, they said ‘we’ll make it work,” he said.
For example, the opening program will feature Stefan Milenkovich, who performed at MMF last year, along with cellist Bion Tsang and violist Brian Chen.
For MMF’s orchestral concert on Aug. 3, pianist Alexander Kobrin, a Van Cliburn International Piano Competition gold medalist, and acclaimed conductor Ignat Solzhenitsyn, the son of the late Alexander Solzhenitsyn, will perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (the “Eroica”) and Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2.
“[Solzhenitsyn] has roots here in southern Vermont and he was delighted to be able to combine professional and personal,” Neiman said.
As for the Young Artists Program, Neiman is hoping to mold it into a “high-intensity semi-professional training ground.”
“What I think is going to be exciting for audiences when they go to young artists on Sunday afternoons and main programs on Thursday evenings they will see there’s a gap [between the two] that is not that far,” he said. “I can throw amazing repertoire at these kids and they can handle it.”
Concert promises a rich summer for 2017
January 03, 2017
By Jim Lowe
MANCHESTER — In a New Year’s Eve showcase, Manchester Music Festival offered a glimpse of what the now 43-year-old summer chamber music festival will be under its new artistic management — and it was richly promising.
Chicago pianist Adam Neiman has taken over the reins from violist Ariel Rudiakov, the festival’s artistic director of 16 years, and it promises a change of flavor — still, not a radical one, as Neiman has been performing at the festival for the last decade.
Perhaps the highlight of the program, one of several, was the performance of lieder, or “art song.” World-traveling singer Randall Scarlata, also a veteran of Vermont’s New England Bach Festival, Marlboro Music Festival and Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, is a sensitive but powerful baritone without the dark gravity of a bass.
Scarlata performed well-known favorites (or at least well-known to vocal music lovers). He proved particularly delightful in two French songs, “L’invitation au voyage” by Henri Duparc and “Claire de lune” by Gabriel Faure. Not only was the French diction expert, his nuanced expressiveness delivered the songs’ deep emotions to his appreciative audience. Much the same could be said for his performance of two of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Songs of Travel” and “Spring Waters” by Sergei Rachmaninoff.
Scarlata was partnered by Neiman, who proved equally expressive, playing with power, yet with a clarity and sensitivity that never covered the singer. It was truly a duo performance by two masters. Neiman employed these same qualities in his performance of Glinka’s “The Lark,” in Balikirev’s arrangement for solo piano. With the pianist’s deep understanding and imagination, this little gem was revealed to be an intimate masterpiece.
Joining the festivities was the Haven String Quartet, the young ensemble in residence at Music Haven, a program of music lessons for more than 80 children in the underserved neighborhoods of New Haven, Conn. Their hearts, though, are matched by their performance prowess. Violinists Yaira Matyakubova and Gregory Tompkins, violist Annalisa Boerner and cellist Philip Boulanger performed with a youthful zest, yet with real musical understanding and refinement.
The quartet’s young exuberance filled the opening Allegro of Mozart’s “Eine Klein Nachtmusik,” K. 525, with joy. Their musical depth could also be heard in movements from chamber music masterpieces by Beethoven, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky and Anton Arensky, where they were joined by Neiman. These works also revealed the pianist’s elegant and astute virtuosity.
Another fine pianist, Neiman’s wife, Ariella Mak-Neiman, joined him in popular works for piano four-hands by Debussy and Dvorak. Mak-Neiman also proved a deeply satisfying performer in three Beethoven folk songs for baritone and piano and trio. They were delightful.
Saturday’s concert at the First Congregational Church was a cavalcade of short gems that kept the capacity audience — including children and teens — delighted for 90 minutes. It certainly whetted the appetite for the big stuff this summer.