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

Lutenist Michael Leopold joins Deborah Fox for some lute duets in this first program of our new series.  We'll also hear from the Gateways Festival Orchestra, musicians of the Geneva Music Festival and Madrigalia performing with Cordancia Chamber Orchestra.

This week (pgm 2) we'll hear more from the Geneva Music Festival, plus the Rochester Early Music Festival, the Roberts Wesleyan College Wind Emsemble and Oliver Brett performing both on harpsichord and organ.

This week (pgm 3) we hear from the Dorian Wind Quintet, the Geneva Music Festival, an edgy piece by new music ensemble fivebyfive (pictured here), and selections from "The Panther and the Rose" concert by Pegasus Early Music - a concert that was recorded in an empty church just as the pandemic was beginning.  Here is what Deb Fox said about that concert.

Scott Suchman

In additional to several festival performances, this program (pgm 4) includes the premiere of award-winning composer Scott Perkins' new work, commissioned especially for the congregation and musicians of Third Presbyterian Church in Rochester, NY.  Here's what Third Presbyterian's Music Director Peter DuBois said about the work.

In this episode (pgm 5) of Performance Upstate we go to Opening Night of the Geneva Music Festival in May 2019.  Here’s what the festival’s Artistic Director Geoffry Herd said about that night.

“Opening night was riveting with the fabulous Verona String Quartet joined by violinist Jinjoo Cho and pianist Michelle Cann. The second half of the concert was Chausson's concerto for violin, piano and String Quartet. I was absolutely blown away by the virtuosity of the performers and the orchestral nature of the sound that the ensemble produced.”

On this episode (pgm 6) of Performance Upstate we’ll hear an outstanding performance by 13-year-old pianist Christoper Zandieh, Winner of the 2018 MostArts Festival Young Pianist Competition and a $10,000 cash prize. Christopher Zandieh began his Suzuki piano studies at age 4 on Long Island, and, by age 6, enrolled at the School for Strings in NYC as a student of Marina Obukovsky.

We'll hear Christopher, as well as selections from the Roberts Wesleyan College Wind Ensemble, Pegasus Early Music, Eastman Collegium Viol Consort and Fanny Mendelssohn from the"Women Composers Across the Ages" concert at the Geneva Music Festival.

In this episode (pgm 7) of Performance Upstate we’ll hear a few selections by Musica Spei from their “Keeping Your Head: The peril & power of sacred choral music in the English renaissance" June 2018 concert. Juli Eliot, a soprano with Musica Spei said this about the concert.

In this episode (pgm 8) of Performance Upstate we hear from two concerts celebrating women.  The Geneva Music Festival brings selections from "Women Composers Across the Ages" and Pegasus Early Music  presents selections from "Nevertheless, She Persisted," music by and about strong women, celebrating the 200th anniversary of Susan B. Anthony’s birth and the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.  We'll also hear from the Dorian Wind Quintet, Musica Spei and members of the Society for Chamber Music Rochester.

In this episode (pgm 9) of Performance Upstate, we'll hear from Pegasus, First Inversion, Roberts Wesleyan College Wind Ensemble; we'll visit the Geneva and Skaneateles Music Festivals and hear a Prelude and Fugue by J. S. Bach, as performed at the 2019 Rochester Early Music Festival.

This final episode (pgm 10) of Performance Upstate offers three pairs of delights.  We'll hear two world premieres, two choral works by Eric Whitacre and two choral ensembles.  We'll also enjoy a Beethoven Piano Trio from the Geneval Music Festival and some Baroque rarities captured live in concert with Pegasus Early Music performing.