Classical 91.5

Mona Seghatoleslami

Afternoon host

Mona Seghatoleslami is the host and producer on WXXI Classical 91.5 FM weekdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. She also hosts the lunchtime concert series Live From Hochstein Wednesdays at 12:10 p.m., interviews musicians, produces special programs, and works on any project she can find that helps connect people and music in our community through WXXI.

Mona is originally from New Jersey; she ventured out to the Midwest for college, where she studied viola at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. She got her start in radio at WFIU in Bloomington, Indiana while in grad school studying musicology and library science at Indiana University. She also spent a few years as a radio announcer and producer in West (by God) Virginia, where she also wrote for the Charleston Gazette and taught American music at West Virginia State University.

When she’s not on the radio, you can find Mona attending concerts and movies, playing viola in community orchestras, occasionally strumming the ukulele, riding her bike everywhere, and reading as much as she can – especially The New Yorker and sci-fi novels. She also books the bands for one of the coolest live music venues in Rochester – The Little Theatre Café.

Ways to Connect

Join Classical 91.5 and WXXI for a special 20-minute sneak preview of the hour-long documentary, Harbor from the Holocaust, followed by a discussion at the Virtual Little Theatre.  The film features a musical score by Composer Chad Cannon and performances by traditional Chinese guzheng player Bei Bei Monter and cellist Yo Yo Ma. 

Sheridan Paige Photography

Violinist Epongue Ekille from Rochester is one of the people calling for a greater recognition of Black musicians’ contributions to classical music. She shares her experiences and some listening recommendations.

Make Music Rochester is typically a live, free musical celebration on June 21 with concerts in a variety of spaces throughout the city. In 2020, they are going virtual, with opportunities for you to perform and to listen.

“The show must go on...”

That mantra is the rallying cry of artists finding ways to create, perform, and share their work no matter what is happening around them. But Tuesday June 2nd is different: a group in the music industry is calling on performers, musicians and the industry itself to make a different choice in light of ongoing racism and violence.

The music begins with me, so I must write music that resonates with me and that I feel committed to sharing with the world. But the music comes to life through performers, teachers, students, and audiences. And when they chuckle at a funny moment or are moved by a lyrical melody, then I know I have written something meaningful.” –  Steve Danyew

Steve Danyew is a composer based here in Rochester, who also teaches courses focused on helping young musicians develop their own creative careers at the Eastman School of Music’s Institute for Music Leadership.

He took the time to share a little bit of his creative process for a recent composition that awaits its premiere: a fanfare inspired by a mural on the wall of Kodak Hall in Eastman Theatre. 

While David Hochstein is not, like most of our Musicians of Rochester, someone you can meet as part of Rochester's musical community today, his legacy continues to have an impact on our lives. As we commemorate Memorial Day, I wanted to share the story of this young musician who gave his life in service to his country. 

David Hochstein was born in 1892, and grew up on Joseph Avenue. His father, Jacob, was a highly educated Russian-Jewish immigrant who spoke six languages and ran a print shop out of their house. Jacob was David’s first violin teacher, but soon passed him on to other more knowledgeable musicians from Rochester’s European immigrant community.

 Join host Grace Browning, RPO Principal Harpist on Friday, May 22 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. for the fifth in a series of Harpy Hours LIVE on WXXI's Facebook page. In this Harpy Hour, Grace will be joined by Jeff Tyzik, Grammy Award winner, conductor, arrranger and composer; Juliana Athayde, Concertmaster of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra; Erik Behr, Principal Oboe of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra; and Rosanna Moore, harpist and actress.

Harpy Hour is an online, virtual series that presents live musical performances, special guests, great conversation, trivia, and a featured establishment/local beverage! This week's featured local establishment and guest is Wendy Wilson of Leonard Oakes Estates Winery and Lynoaken Farms.



I miss the bustle around Gibbs Street. Eastman School of Music students and faculty walking around with instrument cases, stopping in at Java's, playing concerts, and all the rest. But it helps to know that even though they're mostly not around physically in Rochester, the Eastman community is still making music and enriching our world while they are studying. It's all just online! Here are a few highlights to share, including an inspiring chorus, new cinematic music, the ode to joy, and more.

Let's celebrate music over a glass of something - this week it's martinis!

Join host Grace Browning, RPO Principal Harpist on Friday, May 15 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. for the fourth in a series of Harpy Happy Hours LIVE on WXXI's Facebook page. In this Harpy Hour, Grace will joined by Joshua Roman, cellist/composer/curator; Lara Somogyi, harpist-composer; and Molly McDonald, violinist. Also on the show, Paul Knoke, a local harp historian (with a harp museum in his house!) who will share one of his antique harps with a short historical performance. 

Join us for Harpy Hour as we celebrate music and The Hochstein School's 100th anniversary.