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

She was the pride of Henniker, New Hampshire. At a time when women were relegated to playing pretty parlor pieces, Amy Beach's parents allowed her to pursue her pianistic passion. Beach studied with the finest teachers and made her debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the tender age of 16. Within two years she was married, and her performing career came to a screeching halt, save one concert a year for charity. Although she was permitted piano lessons, she was never allowed to study composition; that was not a proper place for a woman.

Gerry Szymanski

It was the ultimate cynical propaganda; when the Nazis created Terezin, they billed it as a "health spa," sending prominent Jews whose disappearance would be noticed, had earned medals in the previous wars, and those who older than 65 there. In the beginning, there was a vibrant cultural life with concerts, lectures, and covert education for the many children housed. In truth, it was a way station for the prisoners, most of whom would be shipped to death camps.

Franz Schubert wrote a real earworm with his lieder, Die Forelle, or The Trout. In fact, it was such a catchy tune that a wealthy patron suggested that perhaps Schubert could create a set of variations with it. And Schubert did--in five different pieces. The first time was Schubert's Piano Quintet in A Major nicknamed, of course, the Trout. Rather than the usual line up of piano and string quartet, Schubert shook up the formula a bit, dropping the second violin in favor of a double bass. And it all worked; to this day it's a favorite in the world of chamber music.

It's April 23, the day we celebrate the birth of the Bard of Avon. Of course, we don't know what day Shakespeare was actually born on, but we do know that he was baptized on April 26, 1654 and died on April 23, 1616, so we have embraced April 23, giving a nice symmetry to the life of one of our greatest poets and playwrights.

For a composer who was so important in the development of the sonata and concerto, there's a surprising lack of knowledge about the early years of Arcangelo Corelli. This we do know: by the age of 22, he was working in Rome, where he would make a name for himself, moving in the highest circles of society, performing for heads of state and the church. And his sphere of influence extended well beyond Italy; Bach studied Corelli's works, and used them as inspiration.

Voices is a professional ensemble, founded by William Weinert, and described by City Paper as "a sonic cloudburst."  At the end of the holiday season this year, Voices convened in Asbury First United Methodist Church for a concert of psalm settings, including Handel's Dixit Dominus (Psalm 110).

Beethoven wrote only one Septet, but why mess with perfection? Ever the rebel, Beethoven took the usual instrumentation, gave it a good shake, and came up with an all new aural cocktail. Gone were the winds in sets of two; Beethoven used one of each, then added a string quartet, subbing one of the violins with a double bass. It was a blend that no one had ever heard before, and the crowds went crazy.

Evan Meccarello founded the Hochstein Alumni Orchestra (HAO) in 2010, reuniting musicians who trained at the Hochstein School of Music and Dance. Since its debut, the HAO has played summer concerts in Perinton and Canandaigua, adding a winter concert in the Hochstein Performance Hall in 2011.

Time for math! Pegasus Early Music started this season with a concert called Viol Cubed featuring, in case you didn't already guess, three brilliant viol da gamba players: David Morris, Lisa Terry, and Beiliang Zhu.

This was to be a big year for Cordancia Chamber Orchestra, as it celebrated its 10th year; part of the celebration included a performance on Backstage Pass in February.

Pages