MANCHESTER >> A special concert devoted to Manchester's women entrepreneurs will feature the music of Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, Dora Pejacevic, Gabriela Lena Frank and Sato Matsui, five gifted female composers (four of whom were or are pianists) who distinguished themselves in a field dominated by men.

Ariel Rudiakov, Manchester Music Festival's artistic director, said the idea to recognize female composers came to him after speaking with Jacki Baker of Mother Myricks and Joy Slusarek of Joy, All Things Underthings.

"The concert is intended to celebrate composers who happen to be female, whose creative spirit and power are unjustly neglected in the music world," Rudiakov said. "To this we add the stories of the female business owners of Manchester, their own stories and how they feel about being part of this community. Jacki, Joy and Lisa Helmholz-Adams will be onstage to share their thoughts with the audience."

Titled "Flirting With Fusion," the concert will take place 7:30 p.m. on July 14 at the Southern Vermont Arts Center's Arkell Pavilion on Manchester West Road.


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Fanny Mendelssohn was the sister of Felix Mendelssohn, and Clara Schumann was the wife of Robert Schumann. Both were brilliant musicians in their own right. Queen Victoria, who once remarked that her favorite Mendelssohn piece was "Italien," learned later that she was mistaken in assuming it was written by Felix. It was written by his talented sister.

Also on the playbill will be the music of Dora Pejacevic, the daughter of a Hungarian countess who was considered one of Croatia's major 19th century composers; and 43-year-old Gabriela Lena Frank, an acclaimed award-winning concert pianist and composer whose contemporary classical compositions have been performed by such luminaries as YoYo Ma.

Rounding out the 'classical' portion of the evening will be the world premiere of Dance of the Marionettes by Sato Matsui. The piece is a quintet for strings, flute and piano.

Sato Matusui was born in 1991 and studied violin under Joana Genova at Williams College, where she was also mentored by composer Stephen Dankner, whose music we will hear later in the season in another premiere. Sato is currently studying composition as a graduate student at Juilliard, working with Philip Lasser. About the piece, the composer says "I hope that the playfulness and sincerity of this music will pull on the strings of your imagination!"

Featured artists in the July 14 concert include Joana Genova and Austin Harman, violins; Ariel Rudiakov, viola; Nathaniel Parke, cello; Renate Rohlfing, piano. Special guests are Susanna Loewy, flute, and Laura Molinelli, guitar and vocals. The concert is sponsored in part by Mother Myricks, Joy All Things Underthings, The Perfect Wife, and Helmholz Fine Art.

The program continues with 'MMF After Hours,' featuring the Vermont-based acoustic duo of Laura Molinelli and Ben Campbell, who perform together with band mates as Luminous Crush, assisted by MMF faculty and guest artists.

Tickets are $42 for adults, $18 for students, and may be purchased at Festival House, 802-362-1956, or online at www.mmfvt.org.