Classical 91.5

On Record

A collection of discussions between special guests and Music Director and midday host, Julia Figueras. 

Tessa Ward: Lauren Desberg

Tessa Lark's star is shining brightly. She brings her luminous presence into Kodak Hall this week for a performance with your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra to perform Alban Berg's Violin Concerto. Tessa and RPO music director Ward Stare came by our studios to talk with Julia Figueras about this deeply moving piece, as well as Bach, Bartok, Webern, and the freedom of fiddling.

Cellist Andrei Ionita brought down the house when he played Shostakovich for his RPO (and American!) debut just over a year ago. He's back in town, this time to play a concerto that struggled to gain a foothold in the concert hall. Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra music director Ward Stare has framed the concerto with touches of spring, dashes of melancholy, and a lengendary ballet. Both came to our studios to chat with Julia Figueras.

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra's Conductor Laureate, Christopher Seaman, is back in town for a concert of audience favorites, including Max Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 with soloist Simone Porter. Christopher and Simone came to our studios to talk with Julia Figueras about the program, as well as giving us the inside scoop on Simone's new violin and what's on their reading lists. 

Orli Shaham: Christian Steiner

This week, your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra welcomes a new maestro and the return of a fan favorite. Conductor David Danzmayr and pianist Orli Shaham combine forces with the RPO for a concert of two temperamentally different symphonies and a songbird's concerto. Julia Figueras sat down in our studios to talk about the pieces, programming, and the power of music for our youngest listeners in Orli's Bach Yard. 

It's a bold opening night for the new Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra season: four works of our time, never before performed by the RPO. Needless to say, the orchestra, under the baton of Music Director Ward Stare, is up to the challenge. Anchoring the program is John Adams' Scheherazade.2, a work premiered by RPO guest soloist Leila Josefowicz. Ward and Leila walk us through that piece - and the three others - and explain why playing contemporary music is important...and thrilling.

Garrett McQueen is a man of many talents: overnight host for Classical 24, creator and producer of the podcast Trilloquy, and bassoonist extraordinaire. He's in town to moderate the opening day panel discussion for the Gateways Music Festival, but found a moment or two to sit down and chat with Julia Figueras about his life path, and why Gateways is inspiring and important to him...and to us.

As has become Ward Stare's tradition, your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra closes the Philharmonics season with an opera. This year, it's Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, and Ward brought two people into our studios who have been largely responsible for shaping the production: fortepianist Kinza Tyrrell and stage director Grant Preisser. They talked to Julia Figueras about the plot, the editing, and why this opera was not a big hit when it was first performed. 

Cinema is a magic place where sound and image collide and mesh. Jazz trumpeter and Emmy Award winning composer Jeff Beal is in town to conduct EFAME  in a live score screening of The Biggest Little Farm for the One Take Film Festival. He and festival programmer Linda Moroney sat down with Julia Figueras to talk about that magic place, the beauty of documentaries, and why the Eastman School of Music became the home for the Beal Institute for Film Music and Contemporary Media.


It's been five years since Michael Francis has been in town to work with your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and he's returned for a concert of just two pieces...but those pieces are mighty. In the first half, Sir William Walton's searing Symphony No. 1, with Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 featuring Van Cliburn Gold medalist Yekwon Sunyoo in the second half. Maestro Francis stopped by to chat with Julia Figueras about the two works and the universal language of music.

Hough: Sim Canetty-Clark

Stephen Hough is in town to play the Dvorak Piano Concerto with your Rochester Phiharmonic Orchestra, a piece that musicians either love or hate.  Stephen falls on the "love" side, although it did take a little time. So he and Ward Stare (who is meeting this work for the first time) discussed with Julia Figueras why the pros outweigh the cons...with a little chat about Brahms and Richard Strauss surrounding it. And then the phone rang...