Classical 91.5

The Society for Chamber Music Rochester presents four new concerts in August 2021

Rochester's premiere chamber music ensemble presents a new season of four concerts featuring members of the Society for Chamber Music in Rochester. The series begins with the return of pianist Jon Kimura Parker performing a Schumann Piano Quartet on Aug 8th. We'll explore the musical colors of France on Aug 15 and German Masters on Aug 22. Plus much more. Julia Figueras hosts.

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Recent blog posts

Throughout the pandemic, musicians and artists in Rochester have done so much to keep us all connected, comforted, and inspired while also facing so many challenges of their own. Even as live, in-person music is becoming a more regular part of more people's lives,  I was particularly touched by this virtual choir performance that the Mount Hope World Singers have just released online. Here is their performance of "Umi Sono Ai" by Kousaku Dan, as arranged by Rachel Stenson, with some more about the ensemble and this project from their artistic director Annika Bentley and stage manager Kristen MacKay. ~Mona

Much has been reported recently about the limited representation and inequity in the world of classical music.  From musicians of color being represented in orchestras and the repertoire they perform, to women conductors on the podium, equity and inclusion is now becoming part of the discussion in the classical music industry.

News from the world of Classical Music

Fairy tales do come true, but sometimes not quite the way you've imagined. Last spring, Elaine Welteroth and Jonathan Singletary had to give up their plans for a dream wedding. The writer/Project Runway judge/fashion icon and the musician/producer had been planning epic nuptials to celebrate their epic love story (they knew each other as children, then reconnected after many years to discover soul mate-level romance.) But when the pandemic started, their happily-ever-after took a different turn.

The pandemic shut down most summer music festivals last year and Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, was no exception. But on July 10 the BSO returned, with an all-Beethoven program featuring pianist Emanuel Ax.

In Februrary, Will Liverman released his album Dreams of a New Day. It's a beautiful collection of art songs by Black composers, many in world premiere recordings, that chart the peaks and valleys of the Black American experience, celebrating hope and joy, but too often chronicling pain, violence and loss.

Some say that classical music audiences are dwindling and aging out.  But the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra is actively working to change that scenario with its commitment to the next generation of listeners, visionary programming collaborations with video game composers, and educational offerings that include regular school and family concerts.

Isata Kanneh-Mason, 'Deep River'

Jul 14, 2021

A Decca Classics Recording/Universal Music Operations Limited / YouTube

"Deep River," the beloved spiritual, gets heard in strikingly diverse settings – from a swing version

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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

The Bug Jar is a slim sliver of Rochester real estate. Four small rooms, if you count the two bathrooms, at the corner of Monroe Avenue and South Union Street.

Yet, it is such a big deal in Rochester’s music scene. I’ve written it before, I’ll write it again: Red Creek and The Penny Arcade are in the Rochester Music Hall of Fame. The Bug Jar, which reopens Friday, should be there as well.

After 20 years of writing its own history, you’d think people could talk or write about Blackberry Smoke without referencing The Allman Brothers Band. Or Lynyrd Skynyrd. Or The Marshall Tucker Band.

Charlie Starr pays no mind to our need to place his band in such a box.

“Not really,” says Blackberry Smoke’s lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter. “Because I love those bands, so dearly.”

One man’s heaven is another man’s hell.

“It’s like, ‘Well, it could be worse, you know,’” Starr concedes. “They could say, ‘You guys remind me of the Bay City Rollers.’”

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