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Guitarist Jason Vieaux and the LA Guitar Quartet and more, Center Stage from Wolf Trap, March 2021

Lots of guitars this month on Center Stage from Wolf Trap. We'll hear 100 Greatest Dance Hits for Guitar with Jason Vieaux on March 3rd, and the LA Guitar Quartet on March 24th.

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The late Paul Burgett recorded this reflection during the Obama years in the white house.  It is a reflection on the importance of celebrating the contributions of African Americans, during Black History Month and all year long.  His comments are as relevant today as they were when he recorded this video. 

It’s difficult for composer Jaap Nico Hamburger to explain most of what goes into writing his music: it happens quickly, he doesn’t sketch or work things out on the piano, and he writes directly into a full score in about as much time as it takes to perform the piece. 

He is frequently inspired by ideas he finds when reading, and then he often starts with a visual, architectural image of the music before writing down what is already a fully conceived piece of music. 

News from the world of Classical Music

Updated at 9:46 p.m. ET

A union representing 800 backstage workers at New York's Metropolitan Opera began a publicity campaign today urging donors and government entities to withdraw support for the company because of a labor dispute.

Copyright 2021 WHYY. To see more, visit WHYY.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

On 'Time To Shine,' Black Violin Focuses On The Light

Feb 17, 2021

Kev Marcus and Wil Baptiste — two artists from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — met 25 years ago, in a high school orchestra class. Growing up, neither one had had much exposure to classical music; both said their parents were more likely to listen to reggae or calypso. Classical music felt like it was supposed to be for other people, which had the effect of drawing them even closer to it. Today, they play as a duo, with Marcus on violin and Baptiste on viola.

In the 1920s, the Russian physicist Leon Theremin debuted an electronic instrument that could be played without any physical contact. Players stood in front of a box and waved their hands over antennas, summoning otherworldly sounds seemingly from thin air.

Will Liverman is a young baritone and a new, exciting voice in the opera world. He is also on something of a mission.

In school, the artist was rarely introduced to Black composers. It was a cumulative interest, patched together by YouTube clips and introductions from colleagues. Now, he wants to expose listeners to music that he feels doesn't get programmed enough in concert halls or receive enough airplay on classical radio stations.

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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

Right now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, with no end in sight, Alan Murphy imagines the plight of songwriters as a familiar philosophical question: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

“I imagine, especially now, everybody wonders, ‘What am I doing?’” Murphy says. “Not, ‘What’s the value of it?’”

The falling tree, and the songwriters, are making vibrations in the air. It’s your ear that converts those vibrations into sound. And if there’s no one on the receiving end, did the sound even exist…?

As the carnival barkers say, step right up -- and see the amazing Geva Theatre Center schedule change before your very eyes.

This is the COVID-19 reality. There will be no flipping of a switch, so that everything suddenly goes back to “normal.” The emergence of the arts from the coronavirus pandemic will be a cautious, step-by-step process.

As Geva Artistic Director Mark Cuddy says, “We’re trying to step up into the season, every next production a little closer to normal.”

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