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 classical915.org.  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.

schreinersgardens.com

Wake up to beauty of classical music and just enough news to help you keep up with all the changes in the world.

Catch the Mystery Piece at 6:40.   The theme?   Garden Tour  

You’ll hear a description of a popular summer flower – and a piece of music inspired by its beauty.  

Monday, July 6

Launch into a new week with hopes, dreams, and a touch of whimsy in pieces by John Dowland, Felix Mendelssohn, and G.F. Telemann.  Vladimir Ashkenazy plays Schumann’s Scenes from Childhood.

Tuesday, July 7

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.  

Christine Lavin video

A community of neighbors and music lovers has produced a video tribute to essential workers.  It's focused on daily life on Mulberry Street, home of Mary Slothower Lavin.  She took photos of essential workers doing their jobs, and her sister Christine Lavin (a folk singer and  Rochester Music Hall of Fame inductee) wrote original music for a slideshow.   Christine edited the video with a performance of her music played on the viola by high school student Amelia Krinke.  Small world note: Krinke is daughter of Eastman grad Jenny Undercofler and the granddaughter of James Undercofler, the former dean of the Eastman School.

Smithsonian music curator James Merle Weaver died on 16 April in Rochester, New York, from complications of COVID-19. He was 82.

Weaver began his lifelong engagement with music as a piano, and later, organ, student in his hometown of Danville, Illinois. While on a high school field trip to Washington, DC, Weaver saw his first harpsichords at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Sometime during his sophomore year at the University of Illinois, he decided to go to Amsterdam to study harpsichord and the just-developing field of historical performance practice with Dutch organist and harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt. Returning to Illinois, Weaver completed his bachelor's (1961) and master's (1963) degrees, during which time he "discovered" the late-18th-century fortepiano, an instrument Weaver eventually added to his repertoire of historic keyboards.

Judi Vinar

Judi Vinar first saw Bobby McFerrin on the Grammy Awards back in the 80’s.

“I was blown away,” she said by phone from her home in the Twin Cities.  “When I first heard Bobby do a solo piece, you know, a lot of what he does is jump around with a bass note and octave note on top and somehow he fits the melody inside of that.”   

She went out and bought all his records. 

Willa Powell

Rochester school board member Willa Powell found this little piece of history.  

It’s a poster she purchased in an estate sale.  

The thing is, no one at the WXXI Public Broadcasting Council recognizes the image or the artist.  

Willa believes the artist’s signature is “J.A. Clark.”

Does it look familiar to you?  We would love to know the story behind it.  If you can help, please email classical@wxxi.org.

Thank you!

(Julieta Cervantes photo)

In 2015, when Meredith Monk walked into the White House to receive a National Medal of Arts from then President Obama, she says had a plan.

She remembered, “We were all like deer in the headlights, but I was determined I was going to give him a hug.   I’m tiny and he’s very, very tall, so he bent down and I whispered in his ear, ‘Keep on trucking.’  He said, “There’s nothing else we can do.’"

From that point on, Monk said, everybody wanted to hug the President, and the hugs got longer and longer.

Getty images

Former Rochester resident and long-time Eastman professor Christopher Rouse died unexpectedly on Saturday.

His wife Natasha Rouse made the announcement on his facebook page:

"I am greatly saddened to announce the death of my husband and friend, Christopher Chapman Rouse III, on September 21st at 11:27 a.m. He passed away unexpectedly due to sudden complications from his eight year battle with renal cancer.

Eastman School of Music

To get to know Maria Newman, you have to understand who her father was.   She is the daughter of nine time Academy award-winning film composer Alfred Newman, who wrote the 20th century Fox fanfare.  Her brothers and cousin are equally famous; there’s Randy Newman of Toy Story fame, Thomas Newman, who scored Finding Nemo and Shawshank Redemption. Her brother David has scored nearly 100 films such as Galaxy Quest

It’s no exaggeration to say she comes from a musical dynasty.

Brenda Tremblay

How was your summer?

Mine was transformational. 

It began with a phone call last spring.   A singer and retired teacher contacted me and asked, “How would your church like a pipe organ?”   

My ears maximally perked.   As a church musician for about fifteen years, I’d been playing a 1960’s Allen electric organ, a workhorse at the end of its life.  Pipe organ purists would call it a toaster.

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