Classical 91.5

Brenda Tremblay

Classical Morning Host and Producer

While you’re sleeping, she’s thinking. 

Thinking about the best ways to wake you up.

A native of Albion, New York, NEA Fellow Brenda Tremblay bolts out of bed each weekday morning at 4:00 a.m. to present classical music on 91.5 FM, streaming at  Before she became a daily host on WXXI-FM in 2009, she tried her hand at every task in public radio, from hosting overnight blues gigs to freelancing for National Public Radio.  Her NPR reports and local documentaries earned three Gracies from the Association of Women in Radio and Television, many AP awards, and a national Gabriel Award. 

In addition to waking up super early, Brenda produces and hosts the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra's radio concerts on Monday nights at 8 p.m. She also collaborates with WXXI news to cover the arts across all media services.

Outside the broadcast studio, singing is Brenda’s passion. She’s performed with choirs in Carnegie Hall, Westminster Abbey, and in the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing.  In Rochester, some of her best memories have been made with friends in the Rochester Oratorio Society and local chamber choirs Madrigalia and First Inversion.  Currently she serves as Music Director at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Brockport, New York.


Arthur Frackenpohl passed away in Pittsford on June 8th at the age of 95.   His obituary reads:

"Born April 23rd, 1924 to Alexander and Erna Frackenpohl in Irvington, New Jersey, Art’s musical abilities quickly surfaced and he pursued a long career teaching music and composition. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music.

He took leave to join the Army and served in WWII from 1943 – 45.

The Pauline Oliveros Trust

The summer solstice is “Make Music Day,” which is being celebrated in Rochester and around the world.  If you’re downtown on Friday afternoon, you might notice a group of people standing in a circle with their arms linked. 

They’ll be doing the Heart Chant by composer Pauline Oliveros.  

Pride of Rochester

This weekend, the Rochester City School District Marching Band embarks on its first-ever, out of state trip to Hersheypark in Pennsylvania. This trip is a watershed moment, according to Alison Schmitt, lead teacher for the Arts Department in the Rochester City School District.

Every day students and parents alike hustle around to get ready for their day, and students are entering school feeling stressed, rushed and unfocused - not ready to learn. 

But Ohio Schools are participating in a new project to help everyone - students and teachers alike - get focused and ready to learn.  How are they doing it?  By listening to classical music piped through the school's public address system.  

Learn more in this PBS Newshour video.

Vanessa Pena/Associated Press

On April 15th, Rochester photographer and music librarian Gerry Syzmanski felt a visceral reaction to watching Notre Dame Cathedral engulfed in flames.  “To see this world treasure burning," he said, "to have the fire shooting into the sky and the spire falling down was incredibly moving.”  A friend of his, Michael Philipson, felt the same way. “It looked like, you know, one of those Dan Brown movies The Da Vinci Code or like the end of the earth.”  


One week ago, many watched in horror as Notre Dame burned in Paris.  Musicians were especially concerned about the cathedral’s iconic pipe organ. It's the largest in France, with five keyboards and more than 8,000 pipes; some parts of the instrument date back to the 1730s. Going back farther in history, there has been an organ in the same spot since 1402.   

Brenda Tremblay

Tune in for a morning of classical music, cultural news, and Rochester’s arts calendar. 

The Mystery Piece theme?  Classical artists who jazz!

Monday, June 24

Let’s wake with a squeeze, a magic spell, a Beethoven sextet, and Rochester soprano Allyn Van Dusen singing a love song.  Michael Lasser has a new book out (City Songs and American Life 1900-1950), and you’ll love his portrait of the great Fats Waller around 8: 30 a.m.

Tuesday, June 25

Pride of Rochester

A new truck.  New uniforms.  New opportunities.

Music is a growing force in Rochester's City Schools.

As part of our celebration of Music in our Schools Month, WXXI’s Brenda Tremblay recently spoke with Alison Schmitt, lead teacher for the Arts Department in the Rochester City School District. 

Star Tribune

Acclaimed American composer Dominick Argento died Wednesday in Minnesota.  He was 91.

In a 2016 interview, the Pulitzer Prize-winning  composer had advice for younger composers: "Look for a community that needs you."

Bauer Media

In less than a month, a team of broadcasters in the U.K. will launch a new classical radio service aimed at young audience members, 35 and under.  Surprised?  The effort is driven by the fact almost half (45%) of young people in a recent survey said classical music offers them an escape from the noise of modern life.

The service, called Scala, will offer familiar works by Beethoven and Holst, as well as music by Jonny Greenwood, Rebecca Dale, and one of Britain’s youngest commissioned composers, 19-year-old Jack Pepper.