Classical 91.5

Ruth Phinney

Classical 91.5 and Reachout Radio Program Director

Ruth began working for WXXI in 1982 as the radio division secretary after working as a music teacher in several local districts.  Trained as a classical musician, she was the perfect match for creating program listings for the monthly program guide and working with the radio hosts. As she began to learn the business of "radio," she took on the job of managing what is now WXXI Reachout Radio, and later to manage both Reachout Radio and Classical 91.5.

Today she sets the strategic goals and programs for Classical 91.5 and works nationally with Classical Music Rising, a collaborative project of leading classical stations to shape the future of classical music radio as the field confronts evolution in delivery across multiple broadcast and digital platforms, demographic and cultural change, and significant disruption throughout the music industry.

Ways to Connect

Episode # 1826

6/30      Kris Kristoffersen Writes and Sings  The varied career and very good songs of Kris Kristoffersen who went from being a Rhodes scholar to writing Country music standards that also crossover success, and playing both leads and character roles in movies. But at the heart of it all are the songs, especially the melancholy ballads, from “Me and Bobby McGee” to “Help Me Make It Through the Night.”

From The Vaults

Episode # 1825

6/23      The Golden Age of Cabaret  Back in the 1950s, the spice of Manhattan night life wasn’t the Copa or the Latin Quarter, but an often short-lived batch of tiny clubs where those on the in gathered to hear singers of style and sophistication who brought songs alive by singing with intelligence and fidelity, and underlining the words with jazz-tinged piano playing. Here’s an hour with cabaret royalty—Mabel Mercer, Blossom Dearie, and Bobby Short.

Starting July 2, Classical 24 keeps listeners company through the night (Thursday - Saturday and some Sunday nights) with new host Garrett McQueen!

esl seven-eight

Episode # 1824

6/16      Depression Dreams During a dark time, large numbers of people looked for a way out, a way to escape if only for a few minutes at a time. The popular songs of the day were often dark and blues-tinged but they also offered respite in a vision of what might happen, what could come true. The decade of the Great Depression was overloaded with songs about dreaming.

: Rob Curtis/Vireo

For more than 40 years WXXI Classical 91.5 has broadcast "the birds" each morning just before 6:00 a.m.  This practice began under the creative spirit of Simon Pontin, then host of Simon's Super Scintillating Sunshine Show, or the Sunshine Show for short.  When Simon retired, listeners were very vocal about hoping that "the birds" would continue, which they have with current morning host Brenda Tremblay.  These recordings are from a 1970s recording called "Environments."

World Channel

Big Voice: An Inspiring Look at the Creative Process Between a Choir Teacher and His Students  -  WXXI TV, Saturday, June 16 @ 4:00 p.m.

Big Voice chronicles a year in the life of Jeffe Huls, a visionary high school choir teacher, and his most advanced choir – a group of students who struggle with the demands of high school life and personal challenges. Big Voice captures the transformative power of a committed teacher who inspires a passion for music, a sense of belonging, and the value of working together to become one big voice.

Welcome to Major Themes for May 2018, 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 this month's installment, we checked in with friends in Ohio, Vermont and Minnesota, as well as the host of Pipedreams. Here are their picks, with an emphasis on piano, moms, mermaids and Mass.

Martha Argerich & Sergei Babayan, Prokofiev for Two (Deutsche Grammophon)

Kritzerland Records

Episode # 1823

6/9       Follies and Stephen Sondheim’s Pastiche  A theater comes down and an era in American theatrical history ends with it. To tell his story and recreate the era in Follies, Stephen Sondheim writes a score in which nearly every song reflects a different style, time, or songwriter. In total, it becomes his homage to American song.

The Film Experience

Films of Change and Revolution, including Doctor Zhivago on the June 30th broadcast.

6/2       A Conversation with Christophe Beck  Edmund's conversation with composer Christophe Beck and examples from his scores for Frozen, The Peanut Movie, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and more.

Lyric Opera

6/2          Bizet: The Pearl Fishers
Zurga: Mariusz Kwiecień
Nadir: Matthew Polenzani
Nourabad: Andrea Silvestrelli
Leïla: Marina Rebeka