The Manchester Music Festival, Inc. (MMF) was founded in 1974 by pianist Eugene List and his wife, violinist Carroll Glenn, both of whom enjoyed distinguished international careers. Together, 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 Rudiakov’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 accidental death of Eugene List in 1985, Michael Rudiakov assumed leadership of the Festival. Over a period of years, he expanded the Festival activities well beyond summer, creating a year-round organization, renaming the new venture the Manchester Music Festival, and establishing his position as a full-time resident Artistic Director to serve all members of the community. He also built an endowment for the Festival, primarily to support the costs of the Young Artists program.
After the unexpected death of Michael Rudiakov in 2000, Michael’s son, violist and conductor Ariel Rudiakov, became Artistic Director. Ariel Rudiakov continued to operate a year-round organization from 2001 until 2016. However, after a careful study of long-term trends affecting MMF and other arts organizations, the Board of Directors concluded that the year-round business model was no longer sustainable financially.
In September 2016, the Board of Directors made the decision to focus MMF primarily on its seven-week Summer Festival, which had been the core of MMF for the previous 42 years. As a result of this decision, Adam Neiman, a very well respected pianist and composer, honors graduate of The Juilliard School, and Assistant Professor of Piano at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, was named Artistic Director for the 2017 season.
MMF is headquartered at “Festival House,” located at 42 Dillingham Avenue in Manchester Village. Festival House previously was the old Village Schoolhouse, which was purchased by a benefactor and donated to MMF. It accommodates MMF’s offices and also provides space for meetings, lessons, rehearsals and housing for visiting artists.
The summer home of MMF concerts is the Southern Vermont Arts Center’s Arkell Pavilion, where MMF has been an anchor tenant since 1974. MMF also performs at the Manchester Congregational Church in Manchester Village.
Manchester Music Festival is proud to be part of Hills Alive ! While warm hospitality, incredible cuisine and jaw-dropping landscapes make Southern Vermont a popular destination, the Hills Alive calendar of special events, exhibits and performances make it an unforgettable experience. Whether driven to art by passion or by happenstance, we each deserve to be inspired. To be entertained. To live a little.
Hills Alive is So Vermont. A concert beneath the stars, a gallery tour, a new play or a Broadway musical… A wine tasting and a symphony, a picnic among the sculpture gardens… These opportunities and more are waiting for you. And you are invited!