Classical 91.5

SymphonyCast for April 2021: Music inspired by Peru, Fridays at 8:00pm

Philadelphia Orchestra composer-in-residence Gabriela Lena Frank is seen playing her 115-year-old Steinway grand piano at her home in Boonville, Calif. This month we'll hear her composition Walkabout: Concerto for Orchestra which was inspired by her travels in the homeland of her mother - Perú, performed by the Oregon Symphony, Friday, April 16th @ 8pm.

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Recent blog posts

Julliard-trained violinist and writer Emma Sutton-Williams has written an article for Rolling Stone magazine titled, "Julliard Must Modernize, or It Will Disappear," arguing that in order to keep classical music alive for the future, music conservatories need to be more innovative in their education to connect and draw parallels to popular culture.   Read her view and a response to her article by local music educator and entrepreneur Ashley Danyew.

Among the many lessons we’ve learned this past year is this: most of us will never take live music for granted again. The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra used the time off from live concerts during the pandemic to reevaluate its leadership role in a community frayed by racial strife.  

Here’s a little perspective.

News from the world of Classical Music

CARM: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

Apr 15, 2021

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

Last October, in the midst of the pandemic, Laurie Anderson appeared at the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum to recreate one of her earliest works. Wearing ice skates attached to frozen blocks of ice, she played her violin along with a tape recording stashed cleverly inside her instrument. When the ice melted, her performance ended. Bow over bridge, blades over ice: "Duets on Ice" is a meditation on balance and time.

When Duke Ellington famously coined the phrase "beyond category," he was talking about freedom — of choice, of expression, of belonging. He meant following your heart and your instincts into an artistic territory without borders. And that's the place where violinist Regina Carter makes her home. She plays everything — jazz, classical, R&B, Latin, blues, country, pop, you name it.

As capacity restrictions on entertainment venues ease, organizations are approaching the change differently.

Venues like movie theaters and comedy clubs can now fill a third of their capacity, according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Larger venues like the Dryden Theatre, which has a capacity of 500, can seat up to 100 people inside and 200 outside. 

In the midst of downtown Rochester’s new Innovation Square development is an ambitious plan to resurrect the former Xerox Auditorium, creating a new performance space for the city. Natalie Fuller and Karl Stabnau plan on having the Theater at Innovation Square up and running by early summer.

“We’re really hoping to give back to the community,” Fuller says, “and provide a space here for groups to come in and either do shows at limited capacity at whatever the guidelines are from day to day and week to week.”

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On Record Interviews

Andreas Delfs  has just been named the new Music Director of your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and he has a long and ambitious agenda for the organization as it heads into its centenary year. Julia Figueras sat down with Maestro Delfs in an empty Restaurant Good Luck to talk with him about that to-do list, with a speed round to wrap it up.

This is a week of two large and beloved Russian works: Tchaikovsky's daunting Violin Concerto and Rachmaninov's lush Symphony No. 2. Marcelo Lehninger returns as guest conductor for your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and violinist Blake Pouliot is making his RPO debut.  Both stopped by to chat with Julia Figueras about getting through the pitfalls of the concerto, avoiding potential excesses in the symphony and, in the mix, some fashion tips.

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Across the Universe/Jeff Spevak

Hanif Abdurraqib left Connecticut in the spring of 2017, after a painful breakup. Now he was back in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. A wounded writer. Perfect. Anger and bitterness have filled many, many library shelves.

Except, it was too easy to be bitter, he says. “I don’t really write well when I’m bitter. And so I needed to figure out something for myself that served my writing.”

It is such a simple morning ritual. 

Daniel Armbruster gets out of bed. His own bed, after years of so many unfamiliar ones. He pours himself a bowl of granola, sets out the butter and bread for toast. 

There’s some sugar and vitamin C in the cupboard. What’s this, a bottle of C24H28ClN5O3? A chemical formula, better known as Dramamine. The date on the bottle says it’s expired, and it's no longer needed since the high-speed rock-and-roll life has slowed to a more manageable pace. Throw it out. 

And then, on to what “After Coffee" is really about.

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