Classical 91.5

Musicians of Rochester

Musicians of Rochester serves as a portrait of musical life in and around the greater Rochester, New York region. Inspired by Humans of New York, Classical 91.5 intern Bridget Kinneary started Musicians of Rochester early in 2015 as part of her Eastman Arts Leadership Internship program. This portrait continues to grow each month as interns and staff meet and share stories and insights from Musicians of Rochester. We invite you to visit this page often to meet new musicians and find out more about the music scene in Rochester.

Erick Aceto, violinist and luthier
Andrew Alden, silent movie composer
Maria Battista-Hancock, guitarist & music therapist
Al Biles, RIT Professor & jazz trumpeter
Sean Brabant, singer
Kathleen Bride, harpist & teacher
Stephanie Buell, student singer
Andy Calabrese, jazz pianist & composer
Philip Carli, silent movie pianist
David Costello, pianist & composer
Orlando Diaz, pianist & composer

Brian Donat, cellist & teacher
Pete DuPre, Harmonica
Christopher Glatty, piano technician
Jeanne Gray, grandmother & teacher
Alma Haddock, student & cabaret singer
Oliver Hagen, contemporary pianist & conductor
Peter Hasler, trombonist & teacher
Kristin Jarvis, singer
Sean Jefferson, drummer & teacher
Lawrence Johnson, guitarist & bus driver
Henry Kearse, piano & Honky Tonk Henry
Bridget Kinneary, violist & teacher
Petar Kodzas, guitarist & teacher
Sister Anita Kurowski, singer & teacher
Gaelen McCormick, string bass & teacher
Ted McGraw, Irish music archivist
Aristea Mellos, pianist & composer
Sergio Munoz, guitarist, violinist & teacher
Ayano Ninomiya, violinist
Alexander Pena, violist & teacher
Mark Phinney, organist & teacher
Dave Porter, optical engineer & trombonist
Evan Ritter, pianist & music festival co-director
Corrine Shaffer, cellist & swing dancer
Johnandrew Slominski, pianist & teacher
Casey Springstead, conductor & teacher
Bill Tiberio, saxophonist & teacher
Octavio Vazquez, composer & teacher
Neil Varon, pianist & conductor
Teryle Watson, cellist & teacher
Brian Williams, jazz bassist
David Ying, violinist & teacher
Melissa Zgouridi, opera singer
Danny Ziemann, jazz bassist
 

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Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and Alan Jones took the one less traveled by.

As a Masters student at the Eastman School of Music, the singer and pianist was on the path to becoming a composer when his innovative work as a church musician caught the attention of professors.

Alan was a natural teacher and persuaded to pursue a life as an educator.   

Lucky music students at Spencerport High School blossomed under his direction for thirty-two years.

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His cello has floated to islands and scaled mountains.  Its sound has echoed across remote lakes and dense pine forests.

Brian Donat is The Adirondack Cellist, and he's performed on wild peaks, in hunting cabins, and on lakeside docks.

Lawrence Johnson: classical guitarist, retired city bus driver, composer, and passionate civil rights advocate.

To have a conversation with Lawrence Johnson is an opportunity to become acquainted with a fascinating person, while also getting an overview of the evolution of classical guitar in American musical life during the second half of the 20th century.  The impact of Segovia, the ways that many classical musicians didn’t take the guitar seriously, and the change in the approach and appreciation of classical guitar music – that’s all in there, along with trading a Volkswagon for a tape deck, late night bus runs with a guitar, and Greenwich village in the 1960s.

Whether you have a few minutes to spend with him...

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Meet Teryle ("TARE-ril") Watson, a teacher, conductor, and performer who inspires students with her passion and humor.  

Born in Brooklyn, New York, she came to Rochester in 1967 to attend the Eastman School of Music.  Her journey has taken her from the Julliard School in New York to the Royal College of Music in London and back to Rochester where, in 1975, she embarked on a thirty one year career as a music teacher with the Rochester City School District.

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.

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.

Teacher Mark Phinney taps into a child's world of play using the Orff Schulwerk Method at John James Audubon School 33 in Rochester, New York.    His students range from kindergarten age to sixth grade, and he says he loves working with them.

The Orff Schulwerk Method is vastly different from the way Mark learned to make music.

"We were basically in the 'sit and get.'  We sat and we were told, and that's what we did.   Here, you come in and you DO.  It's constant activity, music-making, and prepping to make the music. The kids take over!"

 

Photo: Eastman School of Music

What happens when a musician goes deaf? Most simply retire. A few--Beethoven being the most famous case--carry on. Meet Gaelen McCormick. Gaelen began having hearing problems some years back, and was ultimately diagnosed with Bilateral Meniere's Disease. With fight or flight as her two options, Gaelen has chosen the former.

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On occasion, Dr. Octavio Vázquez of Nazareth College has asked his students, "What are you doing here?  Run for your lives!  There’s no future in this business!”

He’s joking, of course.

“Being a composer, it’s a little bit like falling in love," he says.  "It’s the most irrational choice you can make, going into classical music or composition as a career choice.  But the best things in life are irrational.”

Michael DuPre

You'll want to spend time with this dear man.    He was an army medic during World War II in the Battle of the Bulge, and he's not just a wonderful storyteller.  He's moved thousands of people with his small, simple instrument of choice, the harmonica. 

Pete DuPre’ has been playing the harmonica since he was a child.  He's now 94.  He continues to tell his stories and to make the harmonica sing in churches, nursing homes, schools, at memorials, and for celebrations of all kinds.  

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