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There has never been an American dynamo remotely like Leonard Bernstein. The composer, conductor, pianist, creator of musicals, educator, political maven and raconteur seemed to spin on his axis faster than any normal human being.

A well-known figure in the University of Rochester community  has died. Paul Burgett died Wednesday after a brief illness, he was 72. 


Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

After more than a year of construction, Nazareth College is getting ready to take the wraps of its new Jane and Laurence Glazer Music Performance Center.

The $15.5 million facility is located adjacent to the Nazareth College Arts Center, and it includes a 550-seat venue designed specifically for the acoustics of large instrumental ensembles.

Rita Mannelli is the Executive Director for the Arts Center.  She says having the new building is important because nearly 20 percent of the Nazareth College student body are in the Department of Music.

© Manuel Vaca

"I had no idea what to expect. How to talk to these people - they were just foreign creatures..."
~a young musician in the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.  

Nearly twenty years ago, conductor Daniel Barenboim and scholar Edward Said started a music workshop to bring together young Arab and Israeli musicians from across the Middle East together to play in an orchestra together, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

The University of Rochester

City newspaper writer Daniel Kushner writes about a weathered book of 17 songs which includes the “Farewell Song of Frederick Douglass,” recently acquired by the University of Rochester.  The song's music was written by  English composer and abolitionist Julia Griffiths who met Douglass in England in 1847.  It could be the only copy in the United States.

Yo-Yo Ma opened his recent Tiny Desk concert with the gently rolling "Prelude" from J. S. Bach's Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1. It's music Ma has lived with nearly all of his life.

"Believe it or not, this was the very first piece of music I started on the cello when I was four years old," he told the crowd, tightly squeezed between the office furniture on NPR's fourth floor.

The death of singer Aretha Franklin has touched a lot of people including a Rochester musician who actually played with her.  Herb Smith plays trumpet both with the RPO and with his own jazz trio. He is also an adjunct professor at RIT and is conductor of the RIT Jazz Ensembles.

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