Taconic 2.0: Founders appreciate support, look to future

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MANCHESTER — It's been a little more than a year since Ariel Rudiakov and Jonana Genova founded Taconic Music. In that time, the couple has learned a lot — not only about running a year-round non-profit music organization, but about themselves and the community where they live.

"Heading into Thanksgiving we are so grateful to so many people in the community who helped get the organization on firm, solid footing," Rudiakov said in a recent interview at the family's home on Franklin Road in Manchester Village. "We ran in the black and were able to plan solidly."

"It's a good feeling that everything went so well and all on its own terms," he added. "We were happy to be making music with so many fantastic colleagues. Everybody ad a good time together, the atmosphere was collegial, the audience response familiar and supportive."

In its first year, Taconic Music hosted nine students and held a summer festival of four concerts and a fundraiser featuring Manchester resident Maxine Linehan, performing her show "What Would Petula Do?" as well as numerous community concerts in and around town.

"Mainly what people responded to was that the music making was so genuine," Genova said. "The desire to make this happen was so genuine the vibe was good throughout, there weren't any down times or doubts or pessimism or criticism."

While planning Taconic Music "2.0" for this coming summer, the family is remaining busy.

The organization has started the "Strings for Kids" music education program in Manchester and has a number of holiday concerts planned, starting with a free Thanksgiving concert ($15 suggested donation) at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Manchester Community Library.

They'll also perform at the Bennington Museum at 2 p.m. on Dec. 16, with Genova and Deanna Baasch on violin, Rudiakov on viola, and Nathaniel Parke on cello; at the Manchester Community Library on Dec. 31, and at the Inn at Manchester on that same day.

When they're not doing that, Genova has been busy commuting to her new position. She is teaching this year as a visiting professor at the University of Indianapolis, where she's also performing on violin in the Indianapolis Quartet.

When Taconic Music was born out of their split from the Manchester Music Festival, Genova and Rudiakov found that the ability to form their own music organization from the ground up provided a measure of freedom that wasn't available to them before. It was freeing in "all the ways that mattered," Rudiakov said.

"I think that part of the freeing thing is it allows us to be creative and think outside the box," Genova said. "It's having the feeling we can go in any direction we like as long as what we do is well done. It can be in any music genre and that's what we have been striving for though chamber music."

"We don't want to be predictable. We want to crate tradition without predictability if that makes sense," she added.

Oone of the programs that resonated most from this summer's performances, for example, featured percussionist Matthew Gold. Genova would like to continue to explore world music. And Rudiakov would like to try a program that features amplified strings prominently.

"Of course we want to raise more money, and we're off to a good start," Rudiakov said, and efforts to build the group's audience, mailing list and development efforts are continuing "so that we can do some more of the other things, the nontraditional things."

"When you think of what's left of traditional concert going, we still think there's value to walking out on a concert stage and performing for an audience without a lot of fuss and fanfare," he said.

That said, they're open to less traditional performance environments, such as art galleries or even as part of an evening involving food at a local restaurant.

"To have people gathered around as a collective less formally paired with art or food there are all these things you can do that are so human and accessible," Rudiakov said.

"The audience is charged with actively listening .. that's my point. You have to listen actively," he said. "Whatever the charts may be everything can be presented fresh and in the moment if you are present and in the moment."

Reach Greg Sukiennik at gsukiennik@manchesterjournal.com


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