Classical 91.5

Ruth Phinney

Classical 91.5 and Reachout Radio Program Director

Ruth began working for WXXI in 1982 as the radio division secretary after working as a music teacher in several local districts.  Trained as a classical musician, she was the perfect match for creating program listings for the monthly program guide and working with the radio hosts. As she began to learn the business of "radio," she took on the job of managing what is now WXXI Reachout Radio, and later to manage both Reachout Radio and Classical 91.5.

Today she sets the strategic goals and programs for Classical 91.5 and works nationally with Classical Music Rising, a collaborative project of leading classical stations to shape the future of classical music radio as the field confronts evolution in delivery across multiple broadcast and digital platforms, demographic and cultural change, and significant disruption throughout the music industry.

Ways to Connect

It has just been announced that Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero has been awareded the Beethoven Prize for Human Rights, Peace, Freedom, Poverty Reduction and Inclusion for 2018, which takes into account an artist's engagement in the broader society outside the concert hall.

Gabriela said in a Facebook post, "I am very grateful for this prestigious award, if only because it will offer one more opportunity to give public voice to the millions of Venezuelans suffering the gravest imaginable consequences of a narco-mafia autocracy."


This week Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel leads the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra in one of Tchaikovksy’s Shakespeare Fantasies, and Argentine pianist Martha Argerich evokes Nights in the Gardens of Spain. Frank Dominguez is your host.

This time during Hispanic Heritage Month Concierto celebrates the accomplishments of Presidential Medal of Freedom winners Arturo Sandoval, Plácido Domingo and Pau Casals. Frank Dominguez is your host.

Description in Spanish...

Esta vez durante el mes de la herencia hispana, Concierto celebra los logros de los ganadores de la medalla presidencial de la libertad: Arturo Sandoval, Plácido Domingo y Pau Casals. Frank Dominguez es tu anfitrión.

Welcome to Major Themes, a monthly feature in which classical music experts recommend a must-hear recording based on what's happening at classical stations and programs around the country. This month, we checked in with friends in Minnesota, Ohio and New York, plus the host of Performance Today. Here are their top picks.

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A presentation of the scariest and darkest classical film scores from Night on Bald Mountain, to the horror classic Bride of Frankenstein and its comic cousin, Young Frankenstein, host Lynne Warfel takes us on a musical ride through popular film scores for Halloween.


From the 17th Century buildings of the Colonial City of the Dominican Republic, the Peabody Renaissance Ensemble and Camerata Colonial perform music dating from the year of Columbus’s voyage to the New World and Colonial World Spain, with stories of his arrival in Hispaniola and an historical look at the first European City in the New World.  Festival Music Director John Thomas Dodson is our musical guide through the Colonial streets of Santo Domingo.


This week on Concierto Frank Dominguez shares a special program for Hispanic Heritage Month, featuring influential Latino conductors of U.S. orchestras such as Maximiano Valdés, Giancarlo Guerrero, and Gustavo Dudamel. Also, we celebrate pianists who have come to the U.S. from Latin America such as Cubans Jorge Bolet, Horacio Gutierrez, and more recently Gabriela Montero from Venezuela.


Episode # 1839

9/29      Depression Love Songs  The ballads of the Depression tell a different story from the lighter-than-air love songs of the 20s. They survived an ominous decade even when they couldn’t bring themselves to offer hope. Blue skies turned cloudy and gray, and pretty much stayed that way. The night was starless and forbidding, and the wind brought only heartache. That’s the way it was, even in songs.

Rochester mezzo-soprano Jessica Ann Best spoke with WXXI's Helene Biandudi-Hofer on Need To Know about Understanding Music's Ability to Connect and Engage.  Meet Best, hear about how her career developed, her studies with Pat Alexander (mother of Renee Fleming), and how she crosses genres, from opera to jazz to musical theater.  Best says, it's about the colors of the voice and using the right tools for the right genre.

This week a group of highly respected scholars and visionaries in the arts are gathering at the Eastman School of Music to present three FREE public lectures and panels for the Rochester community about the future of Classical Music.  Topics to be discussed include: Critical Challenges Facing Musical Leaders of Tomorrow (Thursday 9/20, 4:00-5:30, Hatch Recital Hall, ESM); Teaching in a Truly Digital Age (Friday 9/21, 2:30-3:30, Hatch Recital Hall, ESM); and The Future of Classical Music in America  (Saturday 9/22,