Classical 91.5

Classical Blog

Aaron Winters

The Public Media Journalists Association (PMJA) has announced awards for outstanding journalism, and two WXXI staffers have earned accolades for their work.

Mona Seghatoleslami won 2nd place in the ‘Best use of Sound’ category for a feature she did called “New Sounds from Ossia” about student-run ensemble at the Eastman School of Music.

Listen to Mona’s feature.  

An energetic quiet descends on the auditorium as the light dims. You welcome the concertmaster with polite applause, and he leads the orchestra in one final tuning. The conductor strides confidently onstage, swinging her arm with panache to gesture for the orchestra to rise as she takes the bow on their behalf. As she takes her place at the podium, the audience on the edge of their seats, a few coughs break the silence. Suddenly, she slashes the air with her baton, drawing out Beethoven’s famous bah-bah-bah-bahh! and they’re off to the races with his Fifth Symphony.

You let the music wash over you in your seat. Its tense, agitated rhythms draw you in like a racing heartbeat, driving from one moment to the next. But after a minute or two, you find your mind wandering. Am I in the mood for dessert tonight? What was that TV series my sister told me about? Where did I leave my keys again?

The Power (and complicity) of Classical Music

Jun 10, 2020

(This is a guest post from C24's Music Through the Night host Garrett McQueen.)  

As the world begins to heal following the deaths of George FloydAhmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, people are taking another look at the ways in which racism has impacted institutions beyond law enforcement — including classical music.

Violinist.com

“The show must go on...”

That mantra is the rallying cry of artists finding ways to create, perform, and share their work no matter what is happening around them. But Tuesday June 2nd is different: a group in the music industry is calling on performers, musicians and the industry itself to make a different choice in light of ongoing racism and violence.

The music begins with me, so I must write music that resonates with me and that I feel committed to sharing with the world. But the music comes to life through performers, teachers, students, and audiences. And when they chuckle at a funny moment or are moved by a lyrical melody, then I know I have written something meaningful.” –  Steve Danyew

Steve Danyew is a composer based here in Rochester, who also teaches courses focused on helping young musicians develop their own creative careers at the Eastman School of Music’s Institute for Music Leadership.

He took the time to share a little bit of his creative process for a recent composition that awaits its premiere: a fanfare inspired by a mural on the wall of Kodak Hall in Eastman Theatre. 

Christine Lavin video

A community of neighbors and music lovers has produced a video tribute to essential workers.  It's focused on daily life on Mulberry Street, home of Mary Slothower Lavin.  She took photos of essential workers doing their jobs, and her sister Christine Lavin (a folk singer and  Rochester Music Hall of Fame inductee) wrote original music for a slideshow.   Christine edited the video with a performance of her music played on the viola by high school student Amelia Krinke.  Small world note: Krinke is daughter of Eastman grad Jenny Undercofler and the granddaughter of James Undercofler, the former dean of the Eastman School.

I miss the bustle around Gibbs Street. Eastman School of Music students and faculty walking around with instrument cases, stopping in at Java's, playing concerts, and all the rest. But it helps to know that even though they're mostly not around physically in Rochester, the Eastman community is still making music and enriching our world while they are studying. It's all just online! Here are a few highlights to share, including an inspiring chorus, new cinematic music, the ode to joy, and more.

​​Bachfest Malaysia (Malaysia Bach Festival) was founded in 2015 by Artistic Director David Chin to promote the music of J.S. Bach in Malaysia and beyond through performance and education. David is well known to the Rochester music community from his time here leading many performances, focusing on music by Bach, while he was a doctoral student at the Eastman School of Music. 

For two years, the musicians of Bachfest Malaysia had been looking forward to performing at the St. Thomas Church during Bachfest Leipzig 2020 in June. Since the festival planned for this year has now been postponed to 2022, they decided to make a virtual performance recording of a complete cantata – Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 62 – one of the three cantatas which they were going to perform at the festival.

While Live from Hochstein is on hold while can't gather in person, we have been revisiting past programs on the radio on Wednesdays, including highlights during the noon hour with Julia Figueras, and full programs at 9pm.

Our featured highlight over lunch this Wednesday comes from the intriguing, international trio Syrinx XXII, who played on Live from Hochstein this past fall.  They also took the time during that visit to meet with the local chapter of the American Recorder Society and stop by our studio for some conversation.

I was able to catch up with Katharine over email, and she collected and shared some stories of how they have been doing since they visited us in Rochester. 

From a College Senior: Reconciling with Uncertainty

Apr 20, 2020
Provided

Like many college students, Benji Wittman finds that his plans for the coming months have been scrapped  due to the threat of COVID-19.

Today, my summer internship was officially canceled. In response and in self reflection, I have collected some of my thoughts surrounding our lives in reference to the pandemic and how my perspective has been affected and figured it may be a helpful narrative of sorts for those who may be looking for a way to cope with or reconcile with the uncertainty.

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