Classical 91.5

Julia Figueras

Music Director and Midday host

A Strong Memorial baby and Greece Arcadia grad, Julia Figueras is the Music Director and mid-day host for WXXI-FM. She is also the producer and host for the award-winning monthly interview/performance show, Backstage Pass.

Figueras began her radio life in 1980 at WICN in Worcester, MA, and has been playing formats ranging from classical to rock to jazz, with a dash of talk in Boston, MA as well as at stations in Concord and Portsmouth, NH.  She received her bachelor's degree in theater, cum laude, from Brandeis University.

The mother of two daughters, she has a passion for the Boston Red Sox and New York Times crossword puzzles, loves Dvořák, Radiohead, Springsteen, and Brahms, and enjoys reading mysteries and histories. She is also a member of a trivia team that competes in weekly quizzes throughout Rochester. Currently, Figueras sits on the Board of Directors for the Penfield Symphony Orchestra with her husband, Peter Iglinski, and holds an honorary seat on the Amadeus Children's Chorale board. Previously, she spent 10 years on the Board of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

Figueras also writes the WXXI Classical Music e-Newsletter. Sign up here!

Ways to Connect

Johannes Brahms: Piano Quartet No. 1 in g-minor, op. 25

Jon Nakamatsu, piano
Juliana Athayde, violin
Philip Ying, viola
David Ying, piano

When newly-crowned Van Cliburn Gold medalist Jon Nakamatsu took the stage with your Rochester Philhamonic Orchestra for the first time in 1999, it was love at first sight for pianist, orchestra, and audience alike. Since that snowy day in January, Nakamatsu has returned many times for both orchestra and chamber performances, as well as an appearance on Backstage Pass.

classical915.org

Songs from Magic, Spells and Mystery

Madrigalia and director Cary Ratcliff are no strangers to Classical 91.5 listeners. They've appeared on Backstage Pass, and their "Cup of Good Cheer" on Live from Hochstein has been a tradition for years. Indeed, Madrigalia has been serenading Rochester for over four decades, with no signs of slowing down. 

McGrath: Michael Rutledge/Griffey: anthonydeangriffey.com

Benjamin Britten: Folk Songs, Volume 6

Anthony Dean Griffey, tenor

Lynn McGrath, guitar

This is one of our highlights from the First Muse concert, "British Buddies," on November 19, 2017, in the First Unitarian Church.  Anthony Dean Griffey was the inspiration for this concert: First Muse Artistic Director Melissa Matson wanted to collaborate with Griffey, and designed this all-English program around his warm tenor voice. Also included in the evening were works by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Frank Bridge, and John Dowland. Stayed tuned to Performance Rochester--more from this concert will be featured later in the month!

Allen Shawn: MorningStar Music; Ward Stare: Rochester Philharmonic

This week, your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra plays two classic symphonies--Haydn's Symphony No. 22, the Philosopher and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5--and a world premiere of Allen Shawn's Oboe Concerto with RPO Principle Oboe Erik Behr. What a treat to have the composer in town so he, RPO Music Director Ward Stare, and Mr. Behr could all talk to Julia Figueras about the unveiling of this new work. Also in the mix: Maestro Stare's unabashed love of Haydn and what Erik Behr really thinks about the Tchaikovsky Symphony. Oh...and there might be a controversial statement uttered, too.

Emily Birsan: Kristin Hoebermann Photography

Soprano Emily Birsan makes a triple debut this week with your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra: not only is it her first appearance with the RPO, it's also the first time she'll sing Berg's "Seven Early Songs" with an orchestra, and her first outing with Mahler's Symphony No. 4. She and RPO Music Director Ward Stare talked with WXXI Music Director Julia Figueras about these two works, and the heavenly spell they cast.

Brook Nance

Meet Casey Springstead: he's the longtime wind ensemble director at Irondequoit High School, the Music Director for the Hochstein Youth Symphony Orchestra and, because his schedule isn't full enough already, a French hornist in the Penfield Symphony Orchestra. In September of 2017, he was given the Faculty Service Award at the Hochstein School of Music and Dance.

Kemp: Hochstein; Elliott: Eastman School of Music; Hwang: Genesee Symphony Orchestra; Bock: RPO

To celebrate Women's History Month, we dug into our Backstage Pass archives for the Cello Divas: 4 women, and 4 cellos. Ingrid Bock, Rosemary Elliot, Mimi Hwang, and Kathy Murphy Kemp joined Julia Figueras to chat about their unique quartet, how it came about, and where they looked to find music. This edition of Backstage Pass won a Bronze medal from the New York Festivals. Find out why the judges were so pleased on Friday, March 9 and Sunday, March 11.  Both airings are at 1 PM.

Ward Stare: Devon Cass/Misha Dichter: CJ Mulligan

Your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra kicks off its Leonard Bernstein Centennial celebrations this week with a work by Bernstein--Bernstein's Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety--and a piece Bernstein championed--Shostakovich's Symphony No. 9. Pianist Misha Dichter, who solos in Bernstein's work, joined RPO Music director Ward Stare to chat with WXXI-FM's Music Director Julia Figueras about the Legacy of Lenny, and the many gifts he gave us.

Wedding Wire

The highest honor a student at the Eastman School of Music can earn is the Performer's Certificate. So what is that, and how does one get it? On the next Backstage Pass, Julia Figueras introduces you to three recipients of this honor:  harpist Anna Dunlap, violinist Willa Finck, and cellist Brandon Xu. Also joining them will be Nicholas Goluses, the co-chair of the String Department.  It's all things stringed on Backstage Pass, Friday, February 23, with an encore on Sunday, February 25. Both shows are at 1 PM.

Barbara Allen: newschool.edu

This week with your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, it's all about dance...and the one piece on the program that isn't a ballet will be performed with the Rochester City Ballet! RPO Music Director Ward Stare, St. Louis Symphony Concertmaster David Halen and, appropriately, Barbara Allen, the Principal Harp for the American Ballet Theatre, all joined Julia Figueras to talk about playing for dancers, finding the perfect instrument, and the internal language of orchestras.

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