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Coming up on Connections: Thursday, December 21, 2023

First hour: What are you reading and what do you hope to read next?

Second hour: Discussing the new film, "Maestro," and the work of composer Leonard Bernstein

Summer Book Week is an annual Connections highlight, but reading is something we can all do year-round. For the holidays, guest host Scott Fybush returns with some of our favorite book people for a fun, interactive chat about what we're all reading and what books we're hoping to get for the holidays. Our guests:

  • Henry Padrón-Morales, owner of Hipocampo Children's Books
  • Mackenzie Reed, author
  • Caitlin Larry, librarian at Brighton Memorial Library
  • Kyle Semmel, literary translator and author

Then in our second hour, Classical 91.5 music director and host Mona Seghatoleslami leads a discussion about the remarkable Leonard Bernstein. Were he simply the composer of the iconic musical "West Side Story," Leonard Bernstein would be an important cultural figure. But of course, you have to add to that his years as music director of the New York Philharmonic (the first American-born conductor to lead a major American symphony orchestra); how he introduced an entire generation to the joys of classical music over the course of 53 "Young People's Concerts” on CBS; his revival of Gustav Mahler's symphonies; and his leading of classical concerts for important cultural touchstones, including memorials for JFK and celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The new movie "Maestro" starring (and directed by) Bradley Cooper opposite Carey Mulligan, looks at Bernstein's life and legacy through a personal lens. It's a chance to delve into Bernstein's artistic legacy, consider the story the movie tells, and consider the many roles of the artist: creative, political, and personal. We discuss it all with our guests:

  • Andreas Delfs, music director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Thomas Warfield, director of dance at RIT, and artistic director of PeaceArt International
  • Brynn Tyszka, artistic director of Blackfriars Theatre
You'll hear Scott in various capacities on WXXI either as a reporter, or hosting Morning Edition or All Things Considered.
Mona Seghatoleslami is the host and producer on WXXI Classical 91.5 FM weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m. She also hosts the lunchtime concert series Live From Hochstein at 12:10 p.m. Wednesdays, interviews musicians, produces special programs, and works on any project she can find that helps connect people and music in our community through WXXI.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.