Classical 91.5

Classical Blog

I got a call one day from Jeanie Williams, a features editor at the now long-defunct Rochester Times-Union. She had heard my review of a revue—Irving Berlin’s songs performed at the old Downstairs Cabaret located in a restaurant’s basement at the corner of Andrews and St Paul. She’d been unable to send someone to cover it and asked if the paper could run what I’d read on the radio the morning after the show opened.

Brenda Tremblay

How was your summer?

Mine was transformational. 

It began with a phone call last spring.   A singer and retired teacher contacted me and asked, “How would your church like a pipe organ?”   

My ears maximally perked.   As a church musician for about fifteen years, I’d been playing a 1960’s Allen electric organ, a workhorse at the end of its life.  Pipe organ purists would call it a toaster.

Kathryn Lewek on Twitter

Early this week, American soprano Kathryn Lewek unleased a firestorm of social media posts taking aim at opera critics who've commented on her body.   Lewek, a nursing mother, says she was appalled and hurt by reviews of her performance as Eurydice in a production of Jacques Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld at the Salzburg Festival.

There’s always a great variety of music at the Rochester Public Market on Saturday mornings. One of the people who is a regular there is my friend Alyssa Rodriguez, a fiddler who plays Swedish, Irish, and American tunes (she also works at WXXI and teaches music at The Kanack School).

A few Saturdays ago when I was hanging out at the market watching Alyssa play, people kept stopping to ask her: what is THAT?

A Gateways Music Festival Reflection with Jaman Dunn

Aug 20, 2019
Neal Ganguli

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jaman Dunn, the new Assistant Conductor, Community Engagement at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Jaman was in Rochester to participate in the Gateways Music Festival as a guest conductor. Gateways aims to connect and support professional classical musicians of African descent, and enlightens and inspires communities through the power of performance.


Jorrell Williams says he found opera almost by accident in school music class, and found a love of both traditional roles and exciting new stories contemporary composers are approaching through opera. Elaine Alvarez heard opera from birth thanks to her music teacher mom, and she has remained in love with the "elemental communication" of music.

Reflections on the Moon Landing

Jun 19, 2019
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/89/Il_mondo_della_luna_%28Goldoni%29%2C_1794.jpg

The opera buffa Il mondo della luna was first performed on August 13rd, 1777 in Hungary. Written by Joseph Haydn (libretto by Carlo Goldini), it tells the story of an astronomer who tricks a rich aristocrat into marrying off his daughters. The astronomer does so by convincing the aristocrat he has been transported to the moon, and puts on a bogus marriage ceremony featuring the ‘Emperor of the Moon’ and the rest of his court (played by himself and the aristocrat’s daughters).

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Quite frequently here at WXXI we are asked what listeners can do with their old pianos.  It seems that in this day when many are downsizing and people don't stay in one place for many years as they used to, few people are interested in having a large instrument in their home; much less one that can't easily be moved. 

marytree.blogspot.com

It seems that as each new generation comes along, with it there is a renewed focus on the environment, recycling and going green.  The next young generation decides that saving the planet is something they’ll do better than the previous generation. 

I am at the end of the Boomer generation, and in my experience, it was my grandparents’ generation that knew about recycling & reuse. Everything from hand-me-down clothes, to wrapping Christmas presents in cereal boxes and newspaper tied with a rag, to the “button box.”  Every grandmother seemed to have one.

November 1941: The Czech town of Terezín (Theresienstadt in German) begins use as a concentration camp by the Nazi regime. Among the people deported to this garrison town were numerous artists, who continued to write and perform in the camp. Terezín existed with a dual purpose. It was a ghetto that served as a transit point to the Nazi death camps. Additionally, it became the backdrop for a carefully constructed propaganda campaign which the Nazis used to deny the existence of the Final Solution.

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