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

Spotlight on Music Therapy in Rochester

Jan 21, 2020
https://hochstein.org/Expressive-Arts

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.

Willa Powell

Rochester school board member Willa Powell found this little piece of history.  

It’s a poster she purchased in an estate sale.  

The thing is, no one at the WXXI Public Broadcasting Council recognizes the image or the artist.  

Willa believes the artist’s signature is “J.A. Clark.”

Does it look familiar to you?  We would love to know the story behind it.  If you can help, please email classical@wxxi.org.

Thank you!

Musical Mucha

Nov 8, 2019

"For me, the notions of painting, going to church, and music are so closely knit that often I cannot decide whether I like church for its music, or music for its place in the mystery which it accompanies." – Alphonse Mucha

“Mucha studied to be a musician, you know,” he said.

And I had to admit: I didn’t know that, nor a number a number of the other interesting things that an art historian friend shared with me on our wanderings through the Memorial Art Gallery yesterday.

Aaron Winters

Syrinx XXII is a trio with an unusual, perhaps unique, combination of instruments: flutes, recorders, and piano.

They visited Rochester this week to perform on our lunchtime concert series Live from Hochstein, along with a few other performances throughout the region.  What a discovery! The way that they blend the wide range of tones and textures of their instruments into sweet and surprising music.  You can listen to that show here online. 

This is the start. It’s like the opening moments of a “Star Trek” episode, where you know the new young guy in the blue shirt will be the one to die at the hands of an alien, before Captain Kirk works it out. Likewise, the editors at WXXI have shot down all of my suggestions, so you can help name this column. Until then, it’s called “Your Name Here.”

Check out events happening this weekend

play.primephonic.com

It was the early 1980's and I had just begun my work at WXXI as the radio secretary (WXXI had only one radio station at the time).  Our news team had scheduled an interview with the legendary opera soprano Jessye Norman while she was in town. She came through the door near my desk in a full length fur coat, head held majestically and floated past my desk in a way that left a lasting impression on this 20-something voice major, just a few years out of college. The scene is as vivid in my mind today, as the day it happened.

I got a call one day from Jeanie Williams, a features editor at the now long-defunct Rochester Times-Union. She had heard my review of a revue—Irving Berlin’s songs performed at the old Downstairs Cabaret located in a restaurant’s basement at the corner of Andrews and St Paul. She’d been unable to send someone to cover it and asked if the paper could run what I’d read on the radio the morning after the show opened.

Brenda Tremblay

How was your summer?

Mine was transformational. 

It began with a phone call last spring.   A singer and retired teacher contacted me and asked, “How would your church like a pipe organ?”   

My ears maximally perked.   As a church musician for about fifteen years, I’d been playing a 1960’s Allen electric organ, a workhorse at the end of its life.  Pipe organ purists would call it a toaster.

Kathryn Lewek on Twitter

Early this week, American soprano Kathryn Lewek unleased a firestorm of social media posts taking aim at opera critics who've commented on her body.   Lewek, a nursing mother, says she was appalled and hurt by reviews of her performance as Eurydice in a production of Jacques Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld at the Salzburg Festival.

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