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

NPR Music producers are dealing challenges that, thanks to technology, can be addressed in creative ways.  Here is what the producers of NPR's From the Top are planning for upcoming months.

An Almost-Pleasant Purgatory

Mar 28, 2020

What does an organist do when the church closes its doors?  Eastman graduate Käthe Wright Kaufman shares her perspective from the U.K.

March 28, 2020

Peter Adamik

With concerts being cancelled around the world and right here in Rochester, many artists are feeling the financial pinch. A number of organizations are stepping up to assist these performers as much as possible. 

I’ve been teaching cello lessons for over 25 years and I’ve never taught an online lesson until a couple of weeks ago.  What a huge learning curve this has been!!!   In the past two weeks I have learned to use several online video streaming platforms.  I have upgraded my hardware with a new webcam, microphone, wireless earbuds, and new speakers.  I have taught 40 families to use Zoom, which ended up being my preferred platform after lots of experimenting and advice from colleagues.  I have boosted my personal creativity to make these online lessons work best for my students.  Most recently,

Every year for Johann Sebastian Bach’s birthday, a spontaneous, global community of musicians unites over a few days by offering performances in subways, public spaces, and concerts open to all. The music is given freely as a gift, and as an invitation to further explore classical music. We've had our own Rochester celebration for a few years now at The Little Café.

Living in a World of Live-Streams

Mar 17, 2020
Max Schulte / WXXI News

With the spread of COVID-19 around the world, communities are encouraged to practice social distancing. This decision will hopefully protect those most vulnerable and save lives. Unfortunately, this means that countless concerts and public gatherings are being canceled. While this decision is necessary, it leaves audience members without art and leaves artists without means to share.

Luckily, the world is connected digitally like never before. This allows for many concerts and companies to live-broadcast or offer streams to share music and offer comfort.As always, you can stream classical music from our station, This month we are featuring female composers and performers as part of women’s history month. Furthermore, while to me there is no thrill quite like hearing a performance live, in a time where that may not be possible here is what several companies are doing and what concert attendance looks like right now.

BPO Composers Reading & About Self-publishing

Feb 12, 2020

Hello everyone, my name is Sia Uhm, a new classical radio intern at WXXI. I am originally from South Korea and I came to the US 7 years ago to attend Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Massachusetts. Currently, I am a composition major at the Eastman School of Music and I am in my final year. 

ACO (American Composers Orchestra) organizes an opportunity called EarShot for emerging composers to have their orchestra pieces come to life and get input from professional composers and performers. My orchestral piece 'Ladybug in the Room' that I wrote last year was recently selected for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra EarShot New Music Readings. The performance (public reading) occurred on January 30th in Kleinhans Hall, Buffalo, with Maestro Bradley Thachuk conducting, 

As a quick introduction for myself, my name is Malinda Wagstaff. I am originally from Spokane, Washington. I am a soprano in the final year of my undergraduate degree at the Eastman School of Music. I am currently working as the classical radio intern here at WXXI. This spring you can hear me in “The Mother of Us All” with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and as Beggar Woman in Eastman Opera Theatre’s production of “Sweeney Todd.”

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is celebrating the centennial of women’s suffrage in New York State by performing an opera about Susan B. Anthony by Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein. This show utilizes characters from history like Susan B. Anthony, Daniel Webster and Lillian Russell. Stein and Thomson also created characters for this show like Jo the Loiterer, Indiana Elliot and my character, Angel More.

Spotlight on Music Therapy in Rochester

Jan 21, 2020

Music Therapy has been shown to benefit people of all ages and abilities. It can improve cognitive, social, mental, physical and emotional needs. 

An organization in our own community is doing much to provide assistance and programs for those who would benefit from these services. The Expressive Arts Program at The Hochstein School, under the direction of Jennifer Phillips, has been providing services in the Rochester area for more than 40 years. Today we highlight the work they are doing.

Celebrating Sherrill Milnes at 85

Jan 9, 2020
Dario Acosta

A personal tribute, interview, and words from friends 

This week we celebrate the eighty-fifth birthday of the legendary operatic baritone Sherrill Milnes. Born on January 10, 1935 in Downers Grove, Illinois, Sherrill lived his early life on a dairy farm. His mother was the music director of the Methodist church, where Sherrill gleaned his early music education; singing hymns and playing several instruments. His father was the minister. From this grounded place, Sherrill grew up to become the most celebrated and the most recorded American opera singer of his time. To me, he is family.