Classical 91.5

Musicians of Rochester

Musicians of Rochester serves as a portrait of musical life in and around the greater Rochester, New York region. Inspired by Humans of New York, Classical 91.5 intern Bridget Kinneary started Musicians of Rochester early in 2015 as part of her Eastman Arts Leadership Internship program. This portrait continues to grow each month as interns and staff meet and share stories and insights from Musicians of Rochester. We invite you to visit this page often to meet new musicians and find out more about the music scene in Rochester. Click on the name of the artist to find out more about them or to hear an interview with them.

L to R starting at the top Sean Jefferson, David Costello, Gaelen McCormick Casey Springstead, Brian Williams, Siena Facciolo Orlando Diaz, Petar Kodzas, Herb Smith
Credit https://www.classical915.org/topic/musicians-rochester

Erick Aceto, violinist and luthier
Andrew Alden, silent movie composer

Veronica Bain-Derby, singer & advocate for the people of Ghana
Maria Battista-Hancock, guitarist & music therapist
Al Biles, RIT Professor & jazz trumpeter

Kristine Bouyoucos, musician & printmaker

Sean Brabant, singer
Kathleen Bride, harpist & teacher
Stephanie Buell, student singer
Andy Calabrese, jazz pianist & composer
Philip Carli, silent movie pianist
Katherine Ciesinski, mezzo soprano and master teacher

Mitzie Collins, teacher & dulcimer expert
David Costello, pianist & composer
Orlando Diaz, pianist & composer

Brian Donat, cellist & teacher
Pete DuPre, Harmonica

Siena Facciolo, soul-folk singer/songwriter
Christopher Glatty, piano technician
Jeanne Gray, grandmother & teacher
Alma Haddock, student & cabaret singer
Oliver Hagen, contemporary pianist & conductor
Peter Hasler, trombonist & teacher

David Hochstein, composer & Founder of the Hochstein School
Kristin Jarvis, singer
Sean Jefferson, drummer & teacher
Lawrence Johnson, guitarist & bus driver

Alan Jones, retired music teacher, pianist & singer of American song

Henry Kearse, piano & Honky Tonk Henry

Reverend Kingfish, blues singer & guitarist
Bridget Kinneary, violist & teacher
Petar Kodzas, guitarist & teacher
Sister Anita Kurowski, singer & teacher
Gaelen McCormick, string bass & teacher
Ted McGraw, Irish music archivist

Honey Meconi, Professor of Musicology, U of R
Aristea Mellos, pianist & composer
Sergio Munoz, guitarist, violinist & teacher
Ayano Ninomiya, violinist

Leah Ou, pipa musician

Blake Pattengale, jazz guitarist and rapper

Alexander Pena, violist & teacher

Mark Phinney, organist & teacher

Dave Porter, optical engineer & trombonist
Evan Ritter, pianist & music festival co-director
Corrine Shaffer, cellist & swing dancer
Johnandrew Slominski, pianist & teacher

Herb Smith, trumpeter, teacher & advocate
Casey Springstead, conductor & teacher

Armenio Suzano, clarinet, saxophone & Dean of Greatbatch School of Music

David Temperley, composer & teacher
Bill Tiberio, saxophonist & teacher
Octavio Vazquez, composer & teacher
Neil Varon, pianist & conductor

Rachel Waddell, conductor & educator
Teryle Watson, cellist & teacher
Brian Williams, jazz bassist
David Ying, violinist & teacher
Melissa Zgouridi, opera singer
Danny Ziemann, jazz bassist
 

Bill Tiberio's work as a musician and a teacher has an impact throughout the Rochester community. You can hear him playing saxophone with his band, or see him  conducting the Music Educators Wind Ensemble and Music Educators Big Band based at the Eastman Community Music School, and most of all, know that he has inspired generations of music students as a teacher at Fairport High School for more than 30 years.

Teacher Mark Phinney taps into a child's world of play using the Orff Schulwerk Method at John James Audubon School 33 in Rochester, New York.    His students range from kindergarten age to sixth grade, and he says he loves working with them.

The Orff Schulwerk Method is vastly different from the way Mark learned to make music.

"We were basically in the 'sit and get.'  We sat and we were told, and that's what we did.   Here, you come in and you DO.  It's constant activity, music-making, and prepping to make the music. The kids take over!"

 

Photo: Eastman School of Music

What happens when a musician goes deaf? Most simply retire. A few--Beethoven being the most famous case--carry on. Meet Gaelen McCormick. Gaelen began having hearing problems some years back, and was ultimately diagnosed with Bilateral Meniere's Disease. With fight or flight as her two options, Gaelen has chosen the former.

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On occasion, Dr. Octavio Vázquez of Nazareth College has asked his students, "What are you doing here?  Run for your lives!  There’s no future in this business!”

He’s joking, of course.

“Being a composer, it’s a little bit like falling in love," he says.  "It’s the most irrational choice you can make, going into classical music or composition as a career choice.  But the best things in life are irrational.”

Michael DuPre

You'll want to spend time with this dear man. He was an army medic during World War II in the Battle of the Bulge, and he's moved tens of thousands of people with his small, simple instrument of choice, the harmonica. 

Pete DuPre’ has been playing the harmonica since he was a child.  He's now 94.  He continues to tell his stories and to make the harmonica sing in churches, nursing homes, schools, at memorials, and for celebrations of all kinds.  

Brenda Tremblay

Jeanne Gray is a force of nature.

She glows with enthusiasm for lifelong music-making.

“When you’ve got senior citizens who are back doing level one solos and enjoying it, why not?”

Born on October 9, 1926 in Endicott, New York, this great-grandmother has witnessed and shaped music programs across New York State through decades of teaching in Corning, New York and in Webster Central Schools until her so-called "retirement" in 1962. 

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"When I started walking Porter, we went down to Mount Hope Cemetery where there were a lot of hills and great places to visit. It's at that point that I met a whole bunch of other dog people . . . Now, I think of all the connections, all the groups I'm playing in now all just because of walking a dog!"

Brenda Tremblay

Soprano Kristin Jarvis was born into a musical family, but her passion for singing derailed when she was eleven years old.

"No matter how miserable I was, I was so grateful that I was able to see for as long as I could because there are some people who are born never being able to see anything.  I'm grateful I had those eleven years.  When I got back into music I think it really helped me finish recovering from all that had happened."

"It's not about me when I'm singing whether it's a solo or in a choir. It's about the music.  I'm just the vessel.  I'm just the one, you know, sending this message out."

Pianist and composer Orlando Diaz faces setbacks with resilience.  

"A big theme in my life is handling rejection like a boss because I applied to Julliard for a collaborative piano program for my Master's degree, and I got in! But I didn't respond to their e-mail on time, so they gave my spot to somebody else.  I had to decide whether I would wallow in my own filth for a year or come up with something that would make that year even better than if I had gone to the city."

How did he thrive?  Listen to a long interview with him below.

"I'm just always typecast as funny 'cause I happen to be kind of a funny person."

Nazareth College senior Alma Haddock has a problem. With a brassy voice that's been compared to Ethel Merman's, "I never get to do dramatic roles or sing dramatic songs" she says.

To show another side of her musical talent, she's creating a cabaret show. 

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