Classical 91.5

Society for Chamber Music in Rochester: Mozart in France - 8/9/20

Mozart had big plans when he arrived in Paris; sadly for him, none of them panned out. For the second in our series, the Society for Chamber Music in Rochester brought Wolfgang back to the City of Lights, and surrounded his Kegelstatt Trio with three French composers for happier results. This concert was recorded on Sunday, December 16, 2018 in the Hochstein School of Music Performance Hall.

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Recent blog posts

Editor's note: As soon as I read this essay by conductor Ramona Wis, I wanted to share it with you.  Dr. Wis's ideas offer comfort for everyone, not just musicians.  We can all face an uncertain future with grace and courage.  We're all in this together. ~  Brenda Tremblay

The Conductor as Yogi: From Holding Space to Making Space

By Ramona M. Wis

The first time I heard the phrase “holding space” was from a colleague describing her experience with someone going through a tough time.  “I just held space for her,” she said.  It was a phrase I was not familiar with but soon started seeing everywhere (or maybe it was just “blue car syndrome,” where my increased awareness led to noticing what was always there).

Aaron Winters

The Public Media Journalists Association (PMJA) has announced awards for outstanding journalism, and two WXXI staffers have earned accolades for their work.

Mona Seghatoleslami won 2nd place in the ‘Best use of Sound’ category for a feature she did called “New Sounds from Ossia” about student-run ensemble at the Eastman School of Music.

Listen to Mona’s feature.  

News from the world of Classical Music

Back in the days before the coronavirus pandemic, lots of people found community and comfort in singing together, whether at school, as a form of worship, in amateur groups or performing as professionals. Last year, Chorus America reported that some 54 million Americans — that is, more than 15% of the entire country's population — participated in some kind of organized group singing. And that study revealed that nearly three-quarters of those polled felt less lonely.

When cases of the coronavirus spiked in March, doctors and nurses across the country found themselves overwhelmed with work. The shutdown also took away an important creative outlet for a special breed of medical professional: classical musicians. That's why John Masko, a symphony conductor in Boston, founded the National Virtual Medical Orchestra, giving those in the medical field a chance to perform and connect with each other.

"I kept hearing from musician after musician from our ensemble [about] how much they wish they were playing," Masko says.

Sheridan Paige Photography

Violinist Epongue Ekille from Rochester is one of the people calling for a greater recognition of Black musicians’ contributions to classical music. She shares her experiences and some listening recommendations.

As next month’s KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival recalibrates for the new reality -- the event will be presented virtually -- the performers are having to rethink what Darren Stevenson calls “the canvas on which we create.”

New York's Metropolitan Opera, armed with technology, today's top singers and a captive, home-bound audience is, in spite of them, struggling to make opera relevant. The company's new streaming series, Met Stars Live in Concert, while a valiant endeavor, can't seem to shake off opera's fusty, aristocratic trappings.

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On Record Interviews

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.

Your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Music Director Ward Stare cap off the celebration of suffrage and Susan B. Anthony with "The Mother of Us All," Virgil Thomson's opera with a libretto by Gertrude Stein. The production, directed by Susan Stone Li, features singers from the Eastman School of Music. Ward and Susan stopped by to talk with Julia Figueras about putting the concert together, and about the path constructed by Thomson and Stein.

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Across the Universe/Jeff Spevak

The film is black and white, as was the issue. The camera work is a little jittery, as were the times. A Black man -- he looks to be in his mid-20s -- is talking about the relationship between the police and Black youths.

“They got feelings, we got feelings, they should consider that. I mean, if you get clubbed upside the head, man, it hurts. They should know that, if they get clubbed upside the head, that’s gonna hurt. You know what I mean?”

The problem with our new reality is, we can’t see it from where we are now.

The new reality, of course, is COVID-19. The numbers -- more than 600,000 dead worldwide, more than 140,000 dead in the United states -- tell us the virus is not a conspiracy theory. Science tells us it’s not going to simply disappear.

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