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. 

Longtime local film critic Jack Garner has died. The Democrat & Chronicle, where Garner worked for decades, says he died Sunday at the age of 75.

Garner’s wife, Bonnie, was quoted in the D&C saying they would have celebrated their 50th anniversary next month and they were planning to take international trips after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, Garner was elected an Honorary Trustee of WXXI and The Little Theatre (which is operated by WXXI).

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.  

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.

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.

When will it be safe to sing together again? It’s a question the New York Times asked earlier this month when reporting on how choirs have been linked to several coronavirus outbreaks. Scientific research shows that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through respiratory droplets. When singers project in performance settings, they may unwittingly spread the virus, if infected. There have been conflicting messages across the globe about the risk of singing during the pandemic.

This hour, we discuss what the data shows and how local and national groups are adapting, both in the short and long term. Our guests:

  • Lee Wright, director of music ministry at Downtown United Presbyterian Church, and founder artistic director of First Inversion choral ensemble
  • Janet Galván, professor of performance studies, and director of choral activities and conducting at Ithaca College
  • Dr. Scott Stratton-Smith, family medicine specialist with Rochester Regional Health
  • Brenda Tremblay, host for WXXI's Classical 91.5, and member of a local choir

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

There’s no ’20 in the Rochester Broadway Theatre League’s 2020-’21 season.

With the coronavirus pandemic remaining a nationwide concern, the RBTL’s upcoming calendar will skip this year entirely and open Jan. 26, 2021, with the Broadway-proven hit Mean Girls. But the undisputed highlight will be the return of one of the most-acclaimed musicals of recent years, Hamilton.

The RBTL, which presents its shows at the Auditorium Theatre, generally opens its season in October.

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.

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. 

The producers of the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival announced Thursday afternoon that the event’s June dates are being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but they left open the door for a rescheduling in the fall of this year.

"In the past two weeks since we announced our 2020 festival lineup, our world has been turned upside down,” co-producers John Nugent and Marc Iacona said in a press release. “The health crisis we are experiencing has resulted in significant loss of life and illness, growing fear, and unprecedented disruption in all aspects of our lives.”

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