Classical 91.5

Mimi Hwang: Rochester cellist and Eastman professor

Hwang was born in Los Angeles, California; her parents are immigrants of Chinese ancestry. Hwang began playing the cello at the age of 8. In March of 2021, Chamber Music America (CMA), the national network for ensemble music professionals, announced her appointment  as the new Chair of its Board of Directors.

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Recent blog posts

After years of public debate over the barren gravel pit on East Main Street, local activists can chalk up a win: Parcel 5 will become a public green space.

For now, at least.

http://emmasuttonwilliams.com/

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.

News from the world of Classical Music

Miloš Karadaglić was eight when he noticed the dusty guitar sitting on a shelf in his house in Montenegro.

"I think my father had this guitar when he was young, and when he tried to seduce my mother — and once he got her, I don't think he played it ever again," Miloš says, laughing. "Typical sort of behavior. I got this guitar and, seriously, the moment I held it in my hands, I felt I found my best friend."

Rochester philanthropist and activist Betty Strasenburgh has died at the age of 90. 

Strasenburgh was a philanthropist, harpist, sailor, pilot, adventurer, but most of all, she was a community advocate who, among other efforts, helped lead a campaign to renovate the Eastman Theatre.

Strasenburgh was born in New York City, where she lived through high school. She played the harp and was accepted to the Eastman School of Music, which brought her to Rochester.

Classical music fans are mourning the loss of Christa Ludwig, the beloved German mezzo-soprano celebrated both for her versatility and the warmth of her voice. She died at her home in Austria on April 24 at age 93.

Ludwig embraced a broad range of opera roles, with her silken tones, from the battered mistress Marie in Alban Berg's modernist Wozzeck, to the cheeky pageboy Cherubino in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro.

To be Esperanza Spalding is to be many things that myths are made of — the myths of genius, of creativity, of beauty, of success and stardom. Just to be a female bass player in the man's world of jazz is to be a unicorn, that most mythical creature. To have, on top of that, a voice that spins gold and casts spells — to win a Grammy for an album literally called 12 Little Spells. The possibilities for myth, magic and fairytale are endless.

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.

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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

I had my coming-out from COVID-19 about a week and a half ago.

My first indoor concert in more than a year. Two solo acoustic performers: a ridiculously talented young guy, Max Doud, then Tommy Brunett, scratchy-voiced scenester and Fairport whiskey baron. It was a night at The Penthouse at One East Avenue, 11 floors up in the downtown Rochester skyline. It’s a spacious room, and the tables seemed separated enough. All four of the people at our table were fully vaccinated.

A handful of framed gold records lined the otherwise mundane hallway of the Rochester Presbyterian Home, and then on to the walls of the one-room apartment of Ethel Gabriel. She was 91 years old then, but she remembered. 

“How could I forget Elvis?” she said. “I made him famous.”

That was eight years ago, before dementia swept away so many memories of Elvis Presley and of the estimated 2,500 albums -- probably more -- that she produced over the course of a career that began in 1940, when the recording industry was a man's world. 

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