Classical 91.5

Arts Features

Every day there are exciting things going on in Rochester's cultural arts community.  Classical 91.5 hosts collaborate with and create highlights of various arts organizations, musicians and artists in and around our community. 

Sheridan Paige Photography

Violinist Epongue Ekille from Rochester is one of the people calling for a greater recognition of Black musicians’ contributions to classical music. She shares her experiences and some listening recommendations.

(Photo Bettina Stoss)

Gregory Kunde is supposed to be singing in Europe.  

The internationally-acclaimed tenor had just finished a run as Jean de Leyde in Giacomo Meyerbeer's grand opera Le Prophète at the Deutsche Oper Berlin when the pandemic hit.

Now he finds himself at home in Rochester with time to clean the garage and croon his favorite Frank Sinatra standards.

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.  

On a warm spring morning, Allison Roberts walked with bare feet to the art box she installed in front of her South Wedge home.

It looks like a little library, with glass panels on the door and a handle in the shape of a red bird.

"I finally had to put a little note up because people kept putting books it in. No! Only art supplies!” she said with a laugh.                          

Inside are colorful ribbons, paper, and other things people can use to create something.

Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra held its first livestreamed performance Friday morning for classrooms whose field trips were canceled due to coronavirus concerns and precautions.

This week, the RPO had to cancel a series of interactive, educational performances around the concept of voting for fourth- through sixth-graders. According to Marie-Andélina de la Farrière with the RPO, more than 5,000 students in 250 classrooms participated in the live-stream in more than 50 schools.

Judi Vinar

Judi Vinar first saw Bobby McFerrin on the Grammy Awards back in the 80’s.

“I was blown away,” she said by phone from her home in the Twin Cities.  “When I first heard Bobby do a solo piece, you know, a lot of what he does is jump around with a bass note and octave note on top and somehow he fits the melody inside of that.”   

She went out and bought all his records. 

Susan B. at the symphony

Jan 31, 2020

This year’s observances of Susan B. Anthony’s 200th birthday celebration and the centenary of the 19th Amendment are momentous events, but at first glance they may not seem to inspire musical celebrations. The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is prepared to prove otherwise this weekend and next.

“These are significant milestones,” Stare says, “and in planning this season we definitely wanted to make note of them.”

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: 


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.

Pioneering British-born conductor, harpsichordist, composer and scholar Raymond Leppard has died. He was 92 years old. With full-bodied performances matched by pioneering scholarship, Leppard helped reintroduce audiences to 16th and 17th century Italian masterpieces by composers including Claudio Monteverdi. But Leppard was also very much a man of his time: He championed — and wrote — contemporary works for both stage and screen.

His death was announced by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, where he was music director and conductor laureate from 1987 to 2001.

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