Classical 91.5

Interviews

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. 

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.  

An expert in Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia says there are a number of misconceptions about the conditions, and he wants families to understand that people can live well with those diagnoses. One method proven to be effective in engaging people with dementia is personalized music. It's the subject of a remarkable documentary called "Alive Inside," part of the Reel Mind Theatre and Film Series

The film follows a social worker who brings iPods to people living with dementia at nursing homes; once many of the patients hear music from their past, it sparks memories in ways human interaction could not. We'll discuss the role music has in opening pathways in the brain, and the latest in Alzheimer's and dementia research with our guests: 

  • Dr. Al Power, M.D., Schlegel Chair in aging and dementia innovation at the Schlegel--U. Waterloo Research Institute for Aging
  • Brian LeBlanc, Alzheimer's advocate who is living well with Alzheimer's disease
  • Robin Lombardo, northeast regional director for Music & Memory

To hear a concert by pianist Tony Caramia is to hear beautiful and unexpected music. He follows his intuition, chance, a ravenous curiosity and a good ear into some wonderful musical discoveries, that open up new worlds for listeners – as well as for the students he teaches at Eastman. 

On Live from Hochstein this afternoon, Caramia is playing music that stands out for its lovely harmonies – and playful energy -  in a program called “Syncopated Sounds from Germany.” Listen above to hear him introduce you to Ernest Fischer, Erwin Schulhoff, Lothar Perl, and others.  

Bus driving guitarist looks back on career with many turns

Apr 30, 2018

  

Guitarist Lawrence Johnson recorded the complete works of early-nineteenth century composer Fernando Sor – using equipment that the guitarist got in a trade for a Volkswagen.  He recalls, "I found out this guy and this girl, they were married – and he decided he didn’t like her anymore and he left her and took her car. But he was also a recording nut, and so he had this Revox 77.  So I said: I got a car if you want it, but I need that Revox 77. So, I got it." 

Cellist Stefan Reuss recently stopped by WXXI's studios to discuss his experiences playing chamber music at the Rochester Academy of Medicine for twenty years, in a trio that includes pianist Rebecca Penneys and violinist Mikhail Kopelman. We also discussed the trio's upcoming performance this week on Live from Hochstein

Trio creates harmony from tension

Apr 9, 2018

Among the old beautiful buildings that line East Avenue, you can find the Rochester Academy of Medicine – a place that has been a resource for the medical community for many years, as well as more recently a host for various community events, including “salon” piano trio concerts.  

The salon at 1441 East Avenue is a room that holds about a hundred people . It would be a big living room for most homes, but it’s a rather intimate space for a concert. That is something cellist Stefan Reuss has come to appreciate over the years:

Bill Tiberio's work as a musician and a teacher has an impact throughout the Rochester community. You can hear him playing saxophone with his band, or see him  conducting the Music Educators Wind Ensemble and Music Educators Big Band based at the Eastman Community Music School, and most of all, know that he has inspired generations of music students as a teacher at Fairport High School for more than 30 years.

The RPO's 96th season will include music from the classic repertoire, as well as programming aimed at the family. We sit down with music director Ward Stare and Curt Long, the new CEO.

Our conversation includes the criticism that some orchestras have received for not featuring enough music by women and people of color -- something the RPO says it is addressing this season. Our guests:

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