Classical 91.5

Kevin Puts

Simple Gifts

Nov 11, 2016
Brenda Tremblay

I was trying to remember who ruled Austria when Beethoven was working on his Fifth Symphony.  German Emperor Francis II?  Napoleon?   Can you name the Holy Roman Emperor in power when Mozart was putting the finishing touches on The Magic Flute?   Which U.S. President lived in the White House when Aaron Copland wrote Appalachian Spring

Unless you majored in music in college, you probably can’t toss off these names without a little help from Google.

Photo © by David White

When the University of Rochester’s Eastman School decided to send a student orchestra to New York this fall, Dean Jamal Rossi commissioned Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts to write something new for soprano Renée Fleming.  It didn’t take composer Kevin Puts long to find a source of inspiration for their collaboration.  Click on the link for the full interview.

Decca/Andrew Eccles

On November 12, Renee Fleming and the Eastman Philharmonia under the baton of Neil Varon, will premiere "Letters from Georgia," a new work by Eastman School of Music alum Kevin Puts.  The song cycle, which sets letters from Georgia O'Keeffe to music, was created on commission from the school and tailored to the voice of Ms. Fleming. After the world premiere in Rochester, they will repeat the performance in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center.

WXXI Music Director Julia Figueras chatted with Renee Fleming about the piece, and about her involvement with her alma mater.

Poster for Eastman Philharmonia Concert outside Lincoln Center in New York City
Boon Hua Lien /

The Eastman Philharmonia and superstar soprano (and Eastman alum) Renee Fleming will perform the world premiere of a new work by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Kevin Puts (also an Eastman alum) on November 12th at Kodak Hall in Eastman Theatre in Rochester, under the direction of Neil Varon

Then, they will all travel downstate, and two days later, perform this new work, “Letters from Georgia” at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. (read more)