Classical 91.5

Classical Blog

This is a place where our classical hosts, interns and artists can share their stories, viewpoints and point of view on topics related to classical music and the arts in general.  Come back to this page often to read the latest and share your comments.

Ways to Connect

There’s always a great variety of music at the Rochester Public Market on Saturday mornings. One of the people who is a regular there is my friend Alyssa Rodriguez, a fiddler who plays Swedish, Irish, and American tunes (she also works at WXXI and teaches music at The Kanack School).

A few Saturdays ago when I was hanging out at the market watching Alyssa play, people kept stopping to ask her: what is THAT?

A Gateways Music Festival Reflection with Jaman Dunn

Aug 20, 2019
Neal Ganguli

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jaman Dunn, the new Assistant Conductor, Community Engagement at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Jaman was in Rochester to participate in the Gateways Music Festival as a guest conductor. Gateways aims to connect and support professional classical musicians of African descent, and enlightens and inspires communities through the power of performance.


Jorrell Williams says he found opera almost by accident in school music class, and found a love of both traditional roles and exciting new stories contemporary composers are approaching through opera. Elaine Alvarez heard opera from birth thanks to her music teacher mom, and she has remained in love with the "elemental communication" of music.

Reflections on the Moon Landing

Jun 19, 2019
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/89/Il_mondo_della_luna_%28Goldoni%29%2C_1794.jpg

The opera buffa Il mondo della luna was first performed on August 13rd, 1777 in Hungary. Written by Joseph Haydn (libretto by Carlo Goldini), it tells the story of an astronomer who tricks a rich aristocrat into marrying off his daughters. The astronomer does so by convincing the aristocrat he has been transported to the moon, and puts on a bogus marriage ceremony featuring the ‘Emperor of the Moon’ and the rest of his court (played by himself and the aristocrat’s daughters).

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Quite frequently here at WXXI we are asked what listeners can do with their old pianos.  It seems that in this day when many are downsizing and people don't stay in one place for many years as they used to, few people are interested in having a large instrument in their home; much less one that can't easily be moved. 

marytree.blogspot.com

It seems that as each new generation comes along, with it there is a renewed focus on the environment, recycling and going green.  The next young generation decides that saving the planet is something they’ll do better than the previous generation. 

I am at the end of the Boomer generation, and in my experience, it was my grandparents’ generation that knew about recycling & reuse. Everything from hand-me-down clothes, to wrapping Christmas presents in cereal boxes and newspaper tied with a rag, to the “button box.”  Every grandmother seemed to have one.

November 1941: The Czech town of Terezín (Theresienstadt in German) begins use as a concentration camp by the Nazi regime. Among the people deported to this garrison town were numerous artists, who continued to write and perform in the camp. Terezín existed with a dual purpose. It was a ghetto that served as a transit point to the Nazi death camps. Additionally, it became the backdrop for a carefully constructed propaganda campaign which the Nazis used to deny the existence of the Final Solution.

ESP in 360

Apr 8, 2019
Aaron Winters

When the Eastman Saxophone Project played on Live from Hochstein this past week, we tried something new: recording them with 360 cameras!  

What that means: you can watch part of their performance and even adjust your view throughout the ensemble, while hearing their barn-burning take on Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 (in an arrangement by Clancy Ellis) that they played on the show.

Don Giovanni "In Brief"

Apr 5, 2019
Nic Minetor

In case you're thinking about going to see Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Don Giovanni, currently in production at the Eastman School of Music, I'm here to tell you that you don't want to miss it.

Both casts bring color, imagination, and elegance to this slightly unconventional production. I don't want to spoil too much for you, but Director Stephen Carr combines the old and the new to tie the theme of the opera to the current #MeToo movement, and Music Director Timothy Long leads a first-rate group of instrumentalists in the orchestra, both conducting and playing harpsichord continuo.

I grew up in the NYC area surrounded by a large extended family of first- and second-generation Italian immigrants, most hailing from Sicily. I enjoyed the musical aftermath of our extended family visits where uncles and cousins would play their mandolins and guitars after sharing a traditional meal and lively conversation! 

I recently received one of my uncle’s Gibson mandolins from my cousin that was hanging on his wall and during a recent visit, it was offered and became my current musical obsession.

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