Classical 91.5

COVID-19

Editor's note: As soon as I read this essay by conductor Ramona Wis, I wanted to share it with you.  Dr. Wis's ideas offer comfort for everyone, not just musicians.  We can all face an uncertain future with grace and courage.  We're all in this together. ~  Brenda Tremblay

The Conductor as Yogi: From Holding Space to Making Space

By Ramona M. Wis

The first time I heard the phrase “holding space” was from a colleague describing her experience with someone going through a tough time.  “I just held space for her,” she said.  It was a phrase I was not familiar with but soon started seeing everywhere (or maybe it was just “blue car syndrome,” where my increased awareness led to noticing what was always there).

HomeStage: Hanna PK

Jul 9, 2020

The fact that Hanna PK is in Rochester shows the breadth of musical talent here. While known for blues, she's a singer-songwriter in a variety of genres. With a lot of us yearning for a return to a new 'normal', Hanna PK performs “Soyo Arirang," inspired by the old Korean folk tradition called Arirang.


Three of Rochester’s largest cultural attractions: the Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester Museum and Science Center, and The Strong National Museum of Play, will open Saturday, June 27, as part of New York Forward’s Phase 4 for reopening. Governor Andrew Cuomo said this week the Finger Lakes and four other regions are on track to begin Phase 4 on Friday.

The George Eastman Museum will remain closed until mid-July due to construction on the Thomas Tischer Visitor Center. The Strong and MAG will be open to members only to start, and RMSC will be open to the general public.

The Rochester Fringe Festival revealed its modified 2020 schedule. Festival producer Erica Fee has been in contact with many people in the arts community, and there has been some debate and confusion about safety.

We discuss the decision-making process in a major festival during a pandemic, and we explore the questions that some in the arts community are expressing. Our guest:

  • Erica Fee, producer of the Rochester Fringe Festival

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.

​​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.

Inspiring Listening Recommendations

Apr 20, 2020

One of the things that I am truly missing recently is playing as a part of community orchestras. Conductors of various ensembles are continuing to connect with and inspire their musicians even while we can't meet in person.  Dr. Paul Shewan, who is director of the Roberts Wesleyan College Community Orchestra, recently sent out some listening recommendations to the orchestra, and he said that it would be okay to share them online with you here too. ~Mona 

I hope you are all doing well. As music can provide comfort in difficult times such as these, I thought I would send you a list of pieces that are meaningful to me. It is my hope that, if you explore some of these pieces, they will be encouraging and uplifting to you. Feel free to dialogue and/or create your own list. Mine is by no means extensive. Enjoy!

Opera Companies Sew Masks to Combat Coronavirus

Apr 9, 2020
seattleopera.org

Opera companies around the world have seen seasons and countless performances cancelled in an effort to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus. Several costume shops were just days away from final fittings before a performance. Around the nation costumers have been changing their focus and are now sewing masks to donate to help protect healthcare workers fighting the virus. 

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