Classical 91.5

Virtual Events

You Know Me, PUSH Physical Theatre at Fringe

Sep 15, 2020

With the Rochester Fringe Festival going virtual this year, PUSH Physical Theatre strived to create a performance specifically for the small screen.

Join WXXI's Arts InFocus as they share a look at "You Know Me," a brand new piece that was created, rehearsed, and recorded all in one week as members of PUSH collaborated with New York City-based artist Hassiem Muhammad, tackling difficult, but necessary conversations about race and racism. 

One year ago, the giant fantasy undersea visions of Plasticiens Volants’ French inflatables bobbed and weaved in the crisp fall air over the heads of thousands of people on Rochester’s Parcel 5. London’s Massaoke karaoke singalong of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” echoed off the sides of downtown buildings. 

Big-name comedians, mainly at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, have been a major part of the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival though its first eight years. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, that kind of show is not in the plans this year when the event opens next week.

Join Classical 91.5 and WXXI for a special 20-minute sneak preview of the hour-long documentary, Harbor from the Holocaust, followed by a discussion at the Virtual Little Theatre.  The film features a musical score by Composer Chad Cannon and performances by traditional Chinese guzheng player Bei Bei Monter and cellist Yo Yo Ma. 

Four songs and two arias, all by Mozart. That was all that Eastman School of Music graduate and current Finger Lakes Opera Young Artist Robin Steitz found herself singing during the first two months of the pandemic.

"It was kind of cool," she says. "For the first time since I started singing, I wasn't being compelled by some pressing performance coming up. There was nothing outside of myself telling me what I needed to focus on, so I would just obsess over one Mozart song for a week."

Fellow FLO Young Artist Jongwon Choi nearly stopped singing altogether when everything shut down. His opera auditions in Germany were canceled, and opportunity seemed scarce outside of his regular church job. His wedding in Korea was also postponed. "I was very depressed during this virus time," he admits.

Steitz is an itinerant opera singer who recently found refuge in the Berkshires; Choi has been studying at The Mannes School of Music in New York.

For their current venture, though, it doesn't matter where they are physically. Through the summer, they have both been working remotely as two of the 11 participants in Finger Lakes Opera's Tomita Young Artists Program. For both of these young singers, FLO has challenged them musically and inspired them to learn new skills, in order to adapt to the new, technologically mediated opera performances such as those in the "Summer Scenes" virtual concert.


 

Falling in line with other festivals throughout the world, the Gateways Music Festival, postponed from earlier this summer, has confirmed plans to go virtual in November.

The event, which has brought classical musicians of African descent to Rochester since 1995, first partnered with the Eastman School of Music four years ago. Last year’s seven-day event was its largest ever, with 17 public programs, more than 30 community performances and 125 musicians. This year’s Gateways, a five-day event starting on Nov, 9, may be equally ambitious in a different way, when set against the challenge presented by COVID-19.


The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra confirmed Tuesday that it is postponing or canceling all of its September, October and November traditional programming. In place of the performances: Five livestreamed concerts, without an audience, from Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.

The affected shows include all philharmonic, Pops, Sunday Matinee and orKIDStra Series performances, as well as a series of specials that are being rescheduled for next summer. Events scheduled for December and beyond remain in place while the RPO awaits further word from the state.

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).

Make Music Rochester is typically a live, free musical celebration on June 21 with concerts in a variety of spaces throughout the city. In 2020, they are going virtual, with opportunities for you to perform and to listen.

Harpy Hour, June 5th

Jun 3, 2020

Join host Grace Browning, RPO Principal Harpist and this week's co-host Classical 91.5's Brenda Tremblay on Friday, June 5 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. for our final Harpy Hour LIVE on WXXI's Facebook page. In this Harpy Hour, Grace and Brenda will be joined by Alexis Peart, mezzo-soprano; Julia Bullock, American vocalist; and Gerard Floriano, artistic director of the Finger Lakes Opera.

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