Classical 91.5

Julia Figueras

Music Director and Midday host

A Strong Memorial baby and Greece Arcadia grad, Julia Figueras is the Music Director and mid-day host for WXXI-FM. She is also the producer and host for the award-winning monthly interview/performance show, Backstage Pass.

Figueras began her radio life in 1980 at WICN in Worcester, MA, and has been playing formats ranging from classical to rock to jazz, with a dash of talk in Boston, MA as well as at stations in Concord and Portsmouth, NH.  She received her bachelor's degree in theater, cum laude, from Brandeis University.

The mother of two daughters, she has a passion for the Boston Red Sox and New York Times crossword puzzles, loves Dvořák, Radiohead, Springsteen, and Brahms, and enjoys reading mysteries and histories. She is also a member of a trivia team that competes in weekly quizzes throughout Rochester. Currently, Figueras sits on the Board of Directors for the Penfield Symphony Orchestra with her husband, Peter Iglinski, and holds an honorary seat on the Amadeus Children's Chorale board. Previously, she spent 10 years on the Board of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

Figueras also writes the WXXI Classical Music e-Newsletter. Sign up here!

Ways to Connect

Chris Van Hof came to Classical 91.5 as an Arts Leadership Intern from the Eastman School of Music.  Shortly thereafter, Chris took the reins of the afternoon hosting shift for Classical 91.5, bringing a new energy to the shift held for more than 30 years by the late Mordecai Lipshutz. 

It's a program of music inspired by times of oppression, filled with themes of resistance. Conductor Fabien Gabel returns to Kodak Hall to guest conduct the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and pianist Juho Pohjonen makes his  RPO debut in an evening of Beethoven, Poulenc, and Prokofiev. Julia Figueras sat down and chatted with them about the works, the power of Beethoven, and the joys of French music.

Photo: Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra

He works on both sides of the podium with your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, grooves at the Rochester International Jazz Festival and the Fringe Fest, teaches students of all ages, is a longtime participant with the Gateways Music Festival, and plays with the Gateways Brass Collective. Meet Herb Smith...a proud graduate of the Eastman School of Music, and one of Rochester's most versatile and vibrant musicians. Intrigued? You can hear Herb perform in the William Warfield Scholarship Fund concert on Sunday, January 12 at 3 PM in Kilbourn Hall. 

In 2011, Concentus Women's Chorus gave us the gift of music for our fourth Holiday Backstage Pass.  Eight years later, they return to our studios for another holiday performance, and with a new Music Director. Join our seasonal celebration Wednesday, December 18 at 1 PM. The show repeats on Sunday, December 22 at 1 PM.

You can read more about Concentus and the passing of the baton in David Raymond's City Paper article.  

There are journeys we take in life. Sometimes, we go through darkness to find light; sometimes we leave the light and descend into darkness. In the next Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra concerts, we will do both.

The professors are coming! On the next Backstage Pass, Julia Figueras introduces you to the Felix Ensemble--a clarinet trio from the Greatbatch School of Music at Houghton College. This faculty trio, which performs regularly in the Southern Tier, is driving a bit north, bringing Brahms, Beethoven, and a bit of Brazil into our studios. Friday afternoon at 1 on Classical 91.5.  The show repeats on Sunday, November 17 at 1 PM.

Tessa Ward: Lauren Desberg

Tessa Lark's star is shining brightly. She brings her luminous presence into Kodak Hall this week for a performance with your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra to perform Alban Berg's Violin Concerto. Tessa and RPO music director Ward Stare came by our studios to talk with Julia Figueras about this deeply moving piece, as well as Bach, Bartok, Webern, and the freedom of fiddling.

Cellist Andrei Ionita brought down the house when he played Shostakovich for his RPO (and American!) debut just over a year ago. He's back in town, this time to play a concerto that struggled to gain a foothold in the concert hall. Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra music director Ward Stare has framed the concerto with touches of spring, dashes of melancholy, and a lengendary ballet. Both came to our studios to chat with Julia Figueras.

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra's Conductor Laureate, Christopher Seaman, is back in town for a concert of audience favorites, including Max Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 with soloist Simone Porter. Christopher and Simone came to our studios to talk with Julia Figueras about the program, as well as giving us the inside scoop on Simone's new violin and what's on their reading lists. 

Orli Shaham: Christian Steiner

This week, your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra welcomes a new maestro and the return of a fan favorite. Conductor David Danzmayr and pianist Orli Shaham combine forces with the RPO for a concert of two temperamentally different symphonies and a songbird's concerto. Julia Figueras sat down in our studios to talk about the pieces, programming, and the power of music for our youngest listeners in Orli's Bach Yard. 

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