Classical 91.5

Mona Seghatoleslami

Afternoon host

Mona Seghatoleslami is the host and producer on WXXI Classical 91.5 FM weekdays from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. She also hosts the lunchtime concert series Live From Hochstein Wednesdays at 12:10 p.m., interviews musicians, produces special programs, and works on any project she can find that helps connect people and music in our community through WXXI.

Mona is originally from New Jersey; she ventured out to the Midwest for college, where studied viola at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. She got her start in radio at WFIU in Bloomington, Indiana while in grad school studying musicology and library science at Indiana University. She also spent a few years as a radio announcer and producer in West (by God) Virginia, where she also wrote for the Charleston Gazette and taught American music at West Virginia State University.

When she’s not on the radio, you can find Mona attending concerts and movies, playing viola in community orchestras, occasionally strumming the ukulele, riding her bike everywhere, and reading as much as she can – especially The New Yorker and sci-fi novels. She also books the bands for one of the coolest live music venues in Rochester – The Little Theatre Café.

Ways to Connect

Welcome to Major Themes, a monthly feature in which classical music experts recommend a must-hear recording based on what's happening at classical stations and programs around the country. For August's installment, we checked in with friends in Ohio, Tennessee and Vermont, as well as the new overnight host of Classical 24, the nationally syndicated classical music service. Here are their top picks.

  

John Adams: I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky (Warner/Rhino)

Leonard Bernstein was a grand character (who actually wore a cape!) yet he was also famed for being down to earth and relatable when presenting music.  

These contrasting sides of Bernstein and the impression he left came through in conversation with Mark Watters this week. 

WXXI opens its doors to the public for a day of fun, free activities for guests of all ages.

Please join us at 280 State Street for our Open House on Saturday, September 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. You'll  have a chance to see WXXI Classical 91.5's studios and music library, meet the classical hosts, and participate in fun and educational musical activities. 

 

Christmas Eve, during the first year of World War I, soldiers from opposite sides put aside their differences and the war they were fighting to spend time together, sharing their provisions and stories with each other, to celebrate Christmas.

This beautiful, true story was told in the movie Joyeux Noël in 2005, and then adapted into an opera, Silent Night, in 2011 by librettist Mark Campbell and composer Kevin Puts, who as an alum of the Eastman School of Music.    

One of the operas on stage at the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, NY this year is the Pulitizer Prize-winning Silent Night – based on a true story of a legendary cease-fire during World War I.  Composer Kevin Puts spoke with WXXI's Mona Seghatoleslami for a preview of this moving opera. 

One of the most important artists of our era, Ryuichi Sakamoto has had a prolific career spanning over four decades. From techno-pop stardom to Oscar-winning film composer, the evolution of his music has coincided with his life journeys. Following Fukushima, Sakamoto became an iconic figure in Japan’s social movement against nuclear power. As Sakamoto returns to music following a cancer diagnosis, his haunting awareness of life crises leads to a resounding new masterpiece.

  Join WXXI for Classical 91.5 Presents, a series that spotlights classical music connections in film.

Classical 91.5 presents...On the Town, Saturday September 29th at 3pm at The Little Theatre. Tickets available now.

First Presbyterian Church in Lyons is a community gathering place noted for hosting ecumenical events and musical performances.  The church also has a beautiful old pipe organ that has fallen on hard times - a Skinner and Son organ from the 1920s.

One of my favorite little things about Rochester that I discovered after moving here is that we had busts of Goethe and Schiller around town.  Sadly, Goethe was stolen a few years ago from Highland Park, never to be seen again. But we still have Friedrich Schiller, best known to music fans as the writer of the words to the Ode to Joy, used by Beethoven in the finale of his ninth symphony.

Joy, beautiful spark of the gods,
Daughter from Elysium,
We enter, drunk with fire,
Heavenly One, thy sanctuary!
Your magic binds again
What convention strictly divides;
All people become brothers,
Where your gentle wing abides.

Today, as I biked by, I had to stop – because Schiller had some artistic company, right next to his little park on Andrews Street. Fiber art (yarnbombing?) by someone who knew his musical connections. The lighting was a little blah this morning, but still – hope these make you smile too. 
 

As part of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, a big band of 25 musicians from the Eastman School of Music will play jazz movie scores. Emmy-winning composer Mark Watters, who has been at Eastman for a year now as the director of the Beal Institute for film music and contemporary media will conduct the performances. 

Listen here to a conversation with Mark Watters about composing for movies, TV, and video games - as well as more about the history of jazz at the movies, this week's program at the jazz festival, and his work teaching at Eastman.  

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