Classical 91.5

Backstage Pass

Monthly, 1 to 2 pm, days vary, on WXXI-FM 91.5, WXXY 90.3, WXXI-FM/HD 91.5-1 and online at wxxi.org

Backstage Pass is a monthly live performance program which highlights performances by local and visiting musicians, giving Classical 91.5/90.3 listeners the backstage experience of meeting the artists “up close and personal.”  Several times each year, Backstage Pass is performed before a live audience of sustaining members.  

The series’ production team includes WXXI-FM Music Director and host Julia Figueras, Supervising Audio Engineer Andrew Croucher, and Executive Producer Jeanne Fisher.

In 2007, 2015, and 2017, Backstage Pass won Finalist Awards from the New York Festivals, and in 2009 it brought home a Bronze Medal from that international media competition.

Backstage pass is made possible in part by a gift from Drs. Dawn and Jacques Lipson to support performance, innovation and accessibility of the arts in the Rochester community.

The professors are coming! On the next Backstage Pass, Julia Figueras introduces you to the Felix Ensemble--a clarinet trio from the Greatbatch School of Music at Houghton College. This faculty trio, which performs regularly in the Southern Tier, is driving a bit north, bringing Brahms, Beethoven, and a bit of Brazil into our studios. Friday afternoon at 1 on Classical 91.5.  The show repeats on Sunday, November 17 at 1 PM.

Anthony Dean Griffey has had an extraordinary journey, from rural North Carolina to the world's greatest opera stages. Now he makes Rochester his home as a voice professor at the Eastman School of Music. On the next Backstage Pass, this four-time Grammy winner shares his story with host Julia Figueras. He and pianist/conductor Timothy Long offer up a program of English and American music on Friday, October 4 at 1 PM. The show will repeat on Sunday, October 6 at 1 PM.


Pegasus Early Music is about to begin Season 15. Founder and Artistic Director Deborah Fox has rounded up three brilliant viola da gamba players to begin this landmark season. David Morris, Lisa Terry, and Beiliang Zhu will all be in our studios to play, and to chat with host Julia Figueras. It's a performance that will be simply viol, Friday September 20 at 1 PM.  The show repeats on Sunday, September 22 at 1 PM.


Backstage Pass is hitting the road again, and you can be there to see it! In celebration of the Gateways Music Festival, Julia Figueras again hosts Backstage Pass live from Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre with the GMF Orchestra, guest artists, and a live audience.

Fifteen years ago, a new summer music series came to the Finger Lakes, and Backstage Pass debuted with it. On the next Backstage Pass, the Canandaigua Lake Music Festival returns to talk about changes made and plans for the future. Original founder Amy Barston is joined by her current co-director Kevin Kumar, pianist Audrey Andrist, and the festival's new Executive Director Gaelen McCormick to chat with host Julia Figueras. There will be music, too, on Friday, July 19 at 1 PM. The show repeats on Sunday, July 21 at 1 PM. 

The Geneva Music Festival is shining a spotlight on women in classical music and jazz this season. On the next Backstage Pass, GMF Artistic Director Geoffrey Herd and friends, with special guest, cellist Clive Greensmith, bring that party into Studio E. Join host Julia Figueras with the Geneva Music Festival on Thurday, June 13 at 1 PM. The show repeats on Sunday, June 16 at 1 PM.

This Backstage Pass is downright saxy! The award winning Scio Quartet from the Eastman School of Music joins host Julia Figueras for a fun discussion and some serious saxophone playing. Find out where they're going...and where they've been on Friday, May 3 at 1 PM. The show repeats on Sunday, May 5 at 1 PM.

Russian flutist Irina Stachinskaya came into town for a Rochester Flute Association Master Class and recital at the Eastman School of Music. She and pianist Irina Lupines made room in their schedules for Backstage Pass with Julia Figueras. Irina Stachinskaya was only 14 when she landed her first job: Principal Flute for the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra. Since then, she's been very, very busy...and you'll get to hear about her adventures Tuesday, April 2 at 1 PM. The show repeats on Sunday, April 7 at 1 PM.

You may have noticed a change or two in the players of your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra this year. One major addition: a new Principal Harpist. In the next Backstage Pass, host Julia Figueras will introduce you to Grace Browning, now in her first season with your RPO. To celebrate Women's History Month, Grace is bringing in a stack of music by women to play for your enjoyment. Tune in Tuesday, March 19 at 1 PM. The show will repeat Sunday, March 24 at 1 PM.

The Gateways Brass Collective, a newly formed quintet of participants in the Gateways Music Festival, was just in town for a Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration. On Friday, February 15 at 1 PM, you will meet these extraordinary musicians of African descent and hear some snappy performances, too. The show encores on Sunday, February 17 at 1 pm.

Meet the players (l. to r.)

Amanda Collins, horn; Herb Smith, trumpet; Richard White, tuba; Isrea Butler, trombone; Courtney Jones, trumpet 

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