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.

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.   

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.

Mondays at 8pm beginning April 22, 2019.

You're invited to join host and producer Brenda Tremblay on Monday nights at 8 p.m. to experience concerts captured live in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, augmented with exclusive artist interviews with WXXI's Julia Figueras.

PHILHARMONICS  #1   airs April 22 & July 29, 8 p.m.


Jessica Bejarano

You can count them on one hand.  Just hold up one finger.  Among more than 20 of the major U.S. symphony orchestras, only one woman has the top job of principal conductor. But women are making better gains in the nation’s smaller ensembles. Jessica Bejarano is leading the San Francisco Civic Symphony, as well as the path for other women like her trying to shatter gender stereotypes. NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent Joanne Elgart Jennings reports:

© 2018 The Metropolitan Opera.

Eastman graduate and Rochester Classical Idol winner Kathryn Lewek reigns as one of the world's leading Queens of the Night in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute).

Jacquie Manning

What could be better than a night at the opera?  A night at the opera with dogs, of course!  Click here to read about the furry helpers enlisted to make going to the opera a more palatable experience in Austraia.  Dogs are protecting diners around the Sydney Opera House from "malicious, dive-bombing seagulls."