Classical 91.5

Interviews

Celebrating Sherrill Milnes at 85

Jan 9, 2020
Dario Acosta

A personal tribute, interview, and words from friends 

This week we celebrate the eighty-fifth birthday of the legendary operatic baritone Sherrill Milnes. Born on January 10, 1935 in Downers Grove, Illinois, Sherrill lived his early life on a dairy farm. His mother was the music director of the Methodist church, where Sherrill gleaned his early music education; singing hymns and playing several instruments. His father was the minister. From this grounded place, Sherrill grew up to become the most celebrated and the most recorded American opera singer of his time. To me, he is family.

Maya Temperley

David Temperley composes tuneful, expressive pieces in a classical mold, drawing on his experiences with chamber music and influences from the popular music he grew up listening to on the radio. He's also a music theorist who writes about rock music, including in his latest book The Musical Language of Rock

Read more about Temperley and his music in CITY Newspaper this week: "Having it Both Ways. The Music of Rochester Composer David Temperley."

You can also hear his music and story in this radio feature: 


Karli Cadel

In the musical Showboat, the character Joe sings about racism and inequality, as he watches how things change and stagnate along the river and in the world.

And the song where he really lays it all out there - “Ol' Man River” -  has become a beloved classic, notably performed by Paul Robeson and William Warfield…or as singer Justin Hopkins first heard it: Frank Sinatra.

Musicians of Rochester: Blake Pattengale

Nov 27, 2019
Jacob Walsh/City Newspaper

A seemingly strange dichotomy is at work in the creative life of Rochester musician Blake Pattengale. A guitarist who graduated from Eastman School of Music in 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in jazz performance, he’s also the rapper known as Redbeard Samurai.

“What I’ve kind of done through high school, college, and everything is just try out all these different musical hats and try out all these musical genres, and give myself license to do it,” Pattengale says.

Read more in Blake Pattengale: Song of the Samurai in City Newspaper.

Aaron Winters

Syrinx XXII is a trio with an unusual, perhaps unique, combination of instruments: flutes, recorders, and piano.

They visited Rochester this week to perform on our lunchtime concert series Live from Hochstein, along with a few other performances throughout the region.  What a discovery! The way that they blend the wide range of tones and textures of their instruments into sweet and surprising music.  You can listen to that show here online. 

Musicians of Rochester: Siena Facciolo

Aug 20, 2019

Siena Facciolo is a musician that channels every aspect of her being into each chord she plays or note she sings. Siena grew up in Vermont, where she started piano lessons at 6 years old and continued on to be a classically trained pianist and talented vocalist. In university, she spent two years at McGill (one year studying environmental sciences) before switching to their music program, and ultimately transferring to the University of Rochester to complete her undergraduate studies in music. As much as she enjoys performing her work, she also takes time to teach piano, and has offered private lessons throughout her music career.

Dave Jones, Empire West Photo

The characters in Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Bohème start out as broad archetypes:  the moody poet, a fun-loving musician, a lonely young woman dreaming of love, a flirtatious party girl…

They're drawn in broad strokes, and it’s easy for everyone to see something of themselves, or their friends, in this group.

But as the cast of this summer’s Finger Lakes Opera production of La Boheme discussed – the opera’s true power lies in how all these characters change. 


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.

Photo Credit: Christian Steiner

Composer Margaret Brouwer lives in Ohio, near Lake Erie. She loves the natural beauty of the Great Lakes and she’s worried about them.

She has composed her love for Lake Erie -- and her concerns for its future --  into a musical work called "Voice of the Lake."


Two young people from different backgrounds meet and fall in love -- and society tears them apart.  You may recognize that as "West Side Story."

Here's another story: Two young people from different backgrounds meet and fall in love -- and end up making music together all over the world. 


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