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. 

A group of students at the Eastman School of Music wants to expand the range of sounds in your life: they're the student-run new music ensemble, OSSIA.

Noah Kahrs is a composer in the last semester of a master’s degree program at Eastman and technical director for OSSIA.

Kahrs says one of the more memorable pieces he worked on with OSSIA was Xerox Rock, by Celeste Oram.

When Rachel Flowers was born 15 weeks premature in 1993, she weighed just one and a half pounds. She lost her vision three months later due to a condition called retinopathy of prematurity. 

But when you talk to Rachel today, there's no sense of loss, disability, or limitations. The 25-year old music prodigy's world is vast and full of potential. By the time she was 4 years old, Rachel was playing Bach fugues on the piano seemingly with little effort. 

Now, with a flourishing music career, she composes her own songs and has befriended and sometimes performs with artists who have inspired her: Arturo Sandoval, Carl Palmer and Dweezil Zappa. 

In 2018, there were many developments in Rochester's always vibrant arts scene.

WXXI Arts and Culture contributor Jeff Spevak talked with news director Randy Gorbman about some of the major events over this past year, from the jazz festival and local indie rockers Joywave to outstanding art exhibits and the ongoing saga of the downtown performing arts center.

Glenn McClure

If you pay attention to science news, you might be concerned by recent reports from both The United Nations and the U.S. Federal Government warning of the effects of climate change. Skeptics abound, however, and there seems to be little political will to make large-scale changes to the way we live.   That's why, in part, the National Science Foundation is sending artists and musicians to far-flung places all over the planet. 

That's how composer Glenn McClure found himself sleeping in a tent in Antarctica. 

Mary Ann Blair

Mitzie Collins might be excused for resting on her laurels. 

She's not.

For her contributions Rochester's musical life, she earned the 2007 Artist Award from the Arts and Cultural Council of Greater Rochester, and she was honored as 2014 Musician of the Year by the Rochester Alumnae of the Mu Phi Epsilon Music Fraternity.

Hammered dulcimer expert.  Shape-note singer.  Organist.  Recording artist.   For decades Mitzie has performed, taught, and delighted audiences in a wide range of musical styles. 

Olean Times Herald

He was a piano man in a bar. 

Now he's shaping the future as the dean of a conservatory.

Ayman Jarjour is a musician and humanitarian who is using his skills and talents to help refugees in camps around the world. He's in Rochester for a benefit performance on November 10. We sit down with him to discuss what he's learned through his work, and we'll hear from a local refugee who shares her story. In studio:

As Artists Unlimited, a local theater group that integrates people with and without disabilities, gets ready for its latest production of the Little Mermaid, WXXI's Caitlin Whyte stopped by another rehearsal for a unique part of the play — the fly scenes. She has been following the group as they prepare for their 18th production.

When I walk into fly rehearsal, just a week before the show debuts, the crew is discussing how to rig Ariel up for her big reveal, turning from mermaid to woman, while in the air.

It takes a second, but they figure out the scene. The fly crew is a team of dads, most with kids in the play, pulling ropes and securing harnesses to make the underwater scenes more intricate and lifelike.

Tonight is the premiere of BRAVURA: The Life and Death of David Hochstein.

It’s fitting that the play will open around Veterans Day.  The Rochester native and music prodigy died 100 years ago while serving in World War I.

Click on the LISTEN link above to hear an interview with the playwright Stuart Loeb

There are nine performances of BRAVURA November 8 through November 18 at the Multi-use Community Cultural Center, 142 Atlantic Avenue in Rochester.

In a recent article posted in the Irish Times, author Michael Dungan spoke with cellist Adrian Mantu about how the juxtapositioning of new music with classics by Mozart or Haydn can be revelatory.  Take his example of Irish composer Jennifer Walshe's composition Minard/Nithsdale performed several years ago in concert with his ConTempo Quartet.