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

Episode #2121

5/22      All Alone Being alone is the toughest time of all in a song. These are songs in which someone listens to a clock tick, plays solitaire, or waits for the phone to ring. Is the beloved gone; is the beloved gone for good? And yet there are also songs when being alone is the tonic. It gives you the comfort you crave.

On Saturday, May 8, 2021, Mary Jo Heath informed listeners that she has decided to retire as the Met’s radio host at the end of this season.  Mary Jo began her radio career at WXXI-FM, hosting the Saturday afternoon shift each so she could hear the opera while working on her degree at ESM.

Episode #2120

5/15      Rodgers and Hart in NYC Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart were born and bred in New York City. They went to Hollywood to work in the early thirties, but mainly they loved New York and couldn’t wait to return. As Hart put it in a title, “I Gotta Get Back to New York.” Their songs combined the wiseguy wit and blunt emotionalism you expect from New Yorkers.

On January 26, 2021, The Sound Health Network was launched to explore how music can provide insights into brain functioning, reduce social isolation, promote community solidarity, and influence health, something so many people needed after nearly a year of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and renowned soprano and Kennedy Center Artistic Advisor at Large Renée Fleming have launched a new partnership, designed to explore the connections between music, health, and wellness.

Episode #21-19

5/8        Arlen and Koehler Harold Arlen was a major songwriter. First, though, he worked as a rehearsal pianist and turned a bit of fooling around into a hit when somebody heard it and introduced to a good but still largely underrated lyricist named Ted Koehler. They worked together through much of the thirties, two white guys writing for the Cotton Club during the Harlem Renaissance.

Episode #2118

5/1        This Must Be Illegal As boundaries cracked in the teens and then crumbled in the twenties, pleasure became an end in itself. The poor Puritans wouldn’t have known what to do about it. Here are musical tributes to what may just be the most delightful form of sin.

Hwang was born in Los Angeles, California; her parents are immigrants of Chinese ancestry.  Hwang began playing the cello at the age of 8. In March of 2021, Chamber Music America (CMA), the national network for ensemble music professionals, announced her appointment  as the new Chair of its Board of Directors.

4/24   Episode #21-17  

The Wit of Dorothy Fields The crackle of irreverence and intelligence set to the rhythms of everyday speech: that’s Dorothy Fields in a nutshell. Only she could subtitle a song, “A Sarcastic Love Song.” She could write the love ballads everybody expects from a songwriter, but she was a master of English colloquial speech and the wit that came with it.

4/17      Episode #2116

Winners and Losers  Songs range from ecstasy to despair. The characters inside the lyrics bet everything they’ve got on love and win. Sometimes. There’s a song called “Here’s to the Winners” and another called “Here’s to the Losers.”

Women composers and musicians present music inspired by wind, water, rainbows and more. Saturdays at 8pm.