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.

Getty images

I love figure skating!  With the Winter Olympics on, here's your very basic guide to Western classical music AND some breathtaking spins, too.

“My dear Dr. Koussevitzky, To begin with I have two handicaps—those of sex and race. I am a woman; and I have some Negro blood in my veins.”  - Florence Price

In this New Yorker article, Alex Ross tells the story of a 2009 house renovation which led to the discovery of lost music by a ground-breaking American composer. 

Singing to Power

Jan 31, 2018
Leonardo da Vinci

“Don’t be born a woman if you want to have your own way.”  - Nannina de’ Medici

For some 15th century wealthy women, performing was a political duty.

Eastman School of Music

American mezzo-soprano and Eastman professor of voice Katherine Ciesinski is among the 2018 Grammy winning artists named over the weekend.  She sang a leading role in the Houston Symphony's live recording of Alban Berg's Wozzeck, which won in the Best Opera Recording category.

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A Rochester-based composer who teaches at Nazareth College is headed to the Winnipeg New Music Festival this week.  Octavio Vazquez will serve as a guest composer, attending rehearsals, panel discussions, and concerts along such classical music luminaries as Philip Glass. 

Getting to this high point in Vazquez’s career has not been an easy path.  He grew up in the 1970s in Galicia, northwestern Spain, at the end of the rule of the long-reigning dictator, Francisco Franco.

Glenn McClure

We’re following the adventures of composer Glenn McClure, who journeyed to Antarctica in late 2016. During an epic journey funded by the National Science Foundation, the SUNY Geneseo and Eastman professor lived in a tent on an ice shelf and worked with scientists to collect data. He is now using that data as inspiration for new music.

Take a listen:

The composer writes:

Marsha Rivers

A memory:

I'm walking out of the school cafeteria - fifth or sixth grade - sunlight streams through the windows, the air heavy is with the smell of goulash and green beans from that day's lunch. My dad (who was the junior high band director) and the elementary music school teacher, Mr. Grammatico, stop me in the hall. My dad is holding an empty glass coke bottle.

“What’s this note?” my dad asks me.  He blows across the top of the coke bottle and produced a low hoot.

“A-flat,” I say automatically.

Credit Gordon Welters for The New York Times

A Russian-German pianist deeply interested in politics and human rights has won a major music prize, the the $300,000 Gilmore Artist Award.

He's not afraid to say what he thinks.

“What fascinates me about Igor is that art, life and politics are all one,” a close friend told The New York Times. “You have to understand suffering, the state of the world, in order to understand music.”

The Telegraph

A conductor, a soprano, and a (still) empty plot of land. 

2017 unfolded with the good, the bad, and the ugly -- in behavior that rocked the arts world, media, politics, and academics.  

Here are five stories that made arts headlines in Rochester and beyond.

National Institutes of Health via AP

The National Institutes of Health is uniting musicians, music therapists and neuroscientists to advance our understanding of the human brain.  

Click here to read about the work of NIH researchers such as David Jangraw.

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