WXXI AM News

Classical Music

Peace amidst war in opera at Glimmerglass

Aug 18, 2018

Cooperstown, New York means one thing to baseball fans  - the Hall of Fame, And another thing to opera fans – The Glimmerglass Festival, held every summer.

One of the operas on stage this year is Silent Night – based on a true story of a legendary cease-fire during World War I.

When's the last time you gave someone a standing ovation? We have a little debate over when to stand, and when to stay seated. The critics say that we stand too often, and that has removed the meaning of standing ovations. It's the adult version of "everyone gets a trophy." Or is it?

Our guests:

Bus driving guitarist looks back on career with many turns

Apr 30, 2018

  

Guitarist Lawrence Johnson recorded the complete works of early-nineteenth century composer Fernando Sor – using equipment that the guitarist got in a trade for a Volkswagen.  He recalls, "I found out this guy and this girl, they were married – and he decided he didn’t like her anymore and he left her and took her car. But he was also a recording nut, and so he had this Revox 77.  So I said: I got a car if you want it, but I need that Revox 77. So, I got it." 

"I really love Rochester. I love the simplicity. I love the sense of neighborhood. I love the fact that it's common to speak to people on the street even if you don't know them."

So says retired music teacher Teryle (pronounced “TARE-il”) Watson, who possesses a birds’ eye view of music programs across the spectrum.  

Trio creates harmony from tension

Apr 9, 2018

Among the old beautiful buildings that line East Avenue, you can find the Rochester Academy of Medicine – a place that has been a resource for the medical community for many years, as well as more recently a host for various community events, including “salon” piano trio concerts.  

The salon at 1441 East Avenue is a room that holds about a hundred people . It would be a big living room for most homes, but it’s a rather intimate space for a concert. That is something cellist Stefan Reuss has come to appreciate over the years:

Musician redefines herself after hearing loss

Apr 4, 2018
Photo Credit: Eastman School of Music

Gaelen McCormick has been losing her hearing, to varying degrees over several years as a result of Ménière’s disease – a condition that also causes vertigo and tinnitus.

"My husband and I have a morning ritual. Wake up, and the first thing he says, is “I love you” and the next thing I can say is “I can hear you” or “I can’t hear you” – and that’s how we start our day." 

The loss of hearing was a particular challenge for McCormick because of her profession: she is a musician.

The RPO's 96th season will include music from the classic repertoire, as well as programming aimed at the family. We sit down with music director Ward Stare and Curt Long, the new CEO.

Our conversation includes the criticism that some orchestras have received for not featuring enough music by women and people of color -- something the RPO says it is addressing this season. Our guests:

The Gateways Music Festival is not only coming back next week, but there are big plans to grow it. The festival, which begins August 8, celebrates diversity in classical music.

We talk with Lee Koonce, president and artistic director of the Gateways Music Festival, about the events and how to bring more diversity to the classical music scene. He also shares his musical journey.

The New York Philharmonic is the nation’s oldest symphony orchestra, but it wasn’t until 2014 that it welcomed its first black principal player. While that fact may seem staggering, recent data paint a bleak picture of the state of diversity in classical music: only 4% of orchestra musicians are either African American or Latino.

Organizers of this summer's Gateways Music Festival are committed to improving that percentage. The festival features musicians of African descent and works by African-American composers. Our guests give us a preview of the festival and discuss how to make classical music more accessible to underserved communities. In studio:

  • Jamal Rossi, dean of the Eastman School of Music
  • Paul Burgett, chairman of the board of the Gateways Music Festival, and University of Rochester vice president and senior advisor to the president of the University of Rochester
  • Lee Koonce, president and artistic director of the Gateways Music Festival
  • Dalanie Harris, double bassist, and sophomore at the Eastman School of Music

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has unveiled their 2017/2018 season.

We sit down with Ward Stare and Jeff Tyzik to listen to some music and discuss how they put together the lineup. It's designed to appeal to all audiences and all ages, a crucial factor for the survival and growth of orchestras. 

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