vladkovalsky2Monmouth Conservatory director and pianist Vladislav Kovalsky, above, welcomes jazz pianist Sandy Sasso, below, for a holiday concert this Saturday.

sandy-sassoWe already know that the long-running, best-kept-secret Red Bank institution known as the Monmouth Conservatory of Music has been a blessing and a boon to the “classically curious” — those looking for an intimately scaled, no-pressure introduction to great music that’s packed with an impressive roster of guest artists, free of pretension, and often free of charge.

When the MCM’s Chamber Orchestra and executive director Vladislav Kovalsky perform a public-welcome holiday concert this Saturday, they’ll be offering up an “all Bach and Holiday” program of sacred and devotional music, one that should deliver the requisite warm ‘n fuzzies for aficionados of the form. It will also unpack a cool and sassy surprise.

Following the orchestra performance, the MCM’s performance space will host jazz vocalist and pianist Sandy Sasso.  The one-two marks the first-ever pairing of classical European repertoire with “America’s classical music” that finds the New York-based veteran of the late Nelson Riddle’s orchestra appearing with her touring trio and their own special sideman guest, MCM guitar teacher Charlie Ruggirello.

They’ll be sharing the matinee bill with Kovalsky, the internationally renowned Steinway artist who has served as director of the conservatory since 1998 — and whose wife, violinist and MCM associate director Irina Kovalsky, conducts the chamber orchestra.

It all happens at 4 p.m. at the MCM’s facility at 50 White Street, opposite the municipal parking lot. The concert is a ticketed event this time out, with adult admission priced at $20 and half-price tickets available to seniors (age 62 and up) and conservatory student parents. Current MCM students and children 18 and under are admitted free of charge, and (recommended) advance reservations can be made by calling (732) 741-8880, or emailing