Classical 91.5

Brenda Tremblay

Classical Morning Host and Producer

While you’re sleeping, she’s thinking. 

Thinking about the best ways to wake you up.

A native of Albion, New York, NEA Fellow Brenda Tremblay bolts out of bed each weekday morning at 4:00 a.m. to present classical music on 91.5 FM, streaming at classical915.org.  Before she became a daily host on WXXI-FM in 2009, she tried her hand at every task in public radio, from hosting overnight blues gigs to freelancing for National Public Radio.  Her NPR reports and local documentaries earned three Gracies from the Association of Women in Radio and Television, many AP awards, and a national Gabriel Award. 

In addition to waking up super early, Brenda produces and hosts the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra's radio concerts on Monday nights at 8 p.m. She also collaborates with WXXI news to cover the arts across all media services.

Outside the broadcast studio, singing is Brenda’s passion. She’s performed with choirs in Carnegie Hall, Westminster Abbey, and in the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing.  In Rochester, some of her best memories have been made with friends in the Rochester Oratorio Society and local chamber choirs Madrigalia and First Inversion.  Currently she serves as Music Director at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Brockport, New York.

Ruth Phinney

When The New York Times published "5 Minutes That Will Make You Love Classical Music," your friends at WXXI began thinking of their own cherished pieces.

Here are four pieces we think you might fall for.

1. Dmitry Kabalevsky's Overture to Colas Breugnon

Weekday mornings

Sep 14, 2018
Memorial Art Gallery

Monday, September 17

Wake to rare and outstanding recordings from the WXXI music library, including Edoardo Bellotti playing Bach at the Memorial Art Gallery, an old refrain, and works by Mozart, Copland, and Jennifer Higdon.

Tuesday, September 18

We'll hear the sound of water flowing through music in recordings by Yolanda Kondonassis and the London Philharmonic. We'll look back at summer and look ahead to winter, too, in pieces by Frederick Delius, Antonio Vivaldi, and Lera Auerbach.

Wednesday, September 19

Daniel Dorsa for The New York Times

Things are going amazingly well for 37 year-old American composer Missy Mazzoli.

She was recently appointed the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s composer in residence, and she has an eagerly anticipated new opera set to premiere later this month.  

In this profile by Zachary Woolfe of the New York Times, she describes growing up in rural Pennsylvania.

Say what you will about beauty pageants, but this one is a winner in the eyes of classical music fans.  On Sunday night in Atlantic City, opera singer and composer Nia Franklin was crowned Miss America.  

Franklin is a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina who earned her master's degree in music composition from UNC School of the Arts.  She moved to New York after being accepted at the Kenan Fellow program at Lincoln Center Education in Manhattan.

Russian pianist and composer Sergei Rachmaninoff was stingy with his talent.  The only recordings we have of him playing were produced in studios, under strict controls.  That's why a recently-discovered performance of the artist interpreting his Symphonic Dances is so exciting to classical music afficianados.

Gerry Szymanski

It depends on your point of view.

An upcoming Fringe Festival performance by Rochester chamber choir First Inversion is embroiled in unexpected controversy after recent social media posts slammed the event for offering African-American spirituals sung by a nearly all-white choir. (Disclaimer: the writer of this post is a member of the ensemble.)

Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capitol Concerts

More details are emerging about upcoming funeral services for the late U.S. Senator John McCain.  Before he died from brain cancer last weekend, he requested that opera singer Renée Fleming perform the Irish standard "Danny Boy" at his memorial service. 

She has agreed.

 "She is very honored," her manager, Dannielle Thomas, told the Democrat and Chronicle. "It's going to be a beautiful service."

"The Fiery Furnace"

Aug 24, 2018
University of Rochester

To those who knew him, Paul Burgett was a professional encourager.

In the video below, see him tell his story.

It starts with his arrival as a student at the Eastman School of Music in 1964, where he entered what he called the "fiery furnace."

 We must all enter the fiery furnace, he says.

The University of Rochester

City newspaper writer Daniel Kushner writes about a weathered book of 17 songs which includes the “Farewell Song of Frederick Douglass,” recently acquired by the University of Rochester.  The song's music was written by  English composer and abolitionist Julia Griffiths who met Douglass in England in 1847.  It could be the only copy in the United States.

The Answer is "Yes"

Aug 17, 2018
By Jack Mitchell, CC

The impact of Leonard Bernstein's passion and intelligence still ripples through our lives.  That's why we're spending so much time reflecting on him and his influence on how we listen to music.

Got five minutes?  Reacquaint yourself with his ideas by watching the short video below.  It's a kind of musical manifesto recorded in front of a live audience at Harvard University.  Bernstein quotes Keats, answers Charles Ives' "Unanswered Question," and argues that music springs from the earth itself.

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