Classical 91.5

On Record

A collection of discussions between special guests and Music Director and midday host, Julia Figueras. 

Kondonassis: Mark Bettrell/Higdon: jenniferhigdon.com

They're back! Your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is about to record the Jennifer Higdon harp concerto with soloist Yolanda Kondonassis that they all premiered in May. It's part of an all-American show that includes works by Patrick Harlin, Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, and Leonard Bernstein.

The great pianist Yefim Bronfman is joining forces with Ward Stare and your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra to open the new season with two fan favorites and a concerto that Mr. Bronfman calls "a nightmare;" the Roman Carnival Overture by Berlioz, Dvorak's New World Symphony, and Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2 all set the stage for concerts to come.  

For the next three months, Backstage Pass will be spending time with some of the many wonderful summer music festivals  in our area. First up: The Geneva Music Festival. Festival director and founder Geoffrey Herd will talk to Julia Figueras about the creation, care, and feeding of this festival, and members of the Cavani String Quartet and friends will play Faure. Chill out with Backstage Pass on Friday, June 1. The show will repeat Sunday, June 3. Both shows begin at 1 PM.

A big ending is as important as a strong beginning, right? With that in mind, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Music Director Ward Stare chose Bizet's opera Carmen to close out the 2017-18 season. Reviled at the premiere, it became one of opera's greatest hits within three years after being shredded by Paris critics.

Ward Stare, mezzo-soprano Sandra Piques Eddy (Carmen), and tenor Dinyar Vania (Don Jose) sat down with Julia Figueras to discuss this now-iconic opera. 

Kondonassis: Mark Bettrell/Higdon: jenniferhigdon.com

Jennifer Higdon believes in magic. This week, Ward Stare, harpist Yolanda Kondonassis, and your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra weave a spell with the world premiere of Higdon's Harp Concerto. All parties involved talked to Julia Figueras about the creation of this work, with a little Brahms and Britten in the mix, too...and it was magic.

Photo: Houston Style/Bruce Bennett

It's a concert of white noise, poisoning beauty, and a spectacular HD production to accompany a work that leaves us drifting in space. Houston Symphony Orchestra Conductor Laureate Hans Graf, who is the guest conductor for your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra this week, spoke to Julia Figueras about Ligeti, Scriabin, and Holst's The Planets.

Here's a brief quiz about The Planets by Gustav Holst.

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.

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.

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