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Longtime WXXI Classical Host Mordecai Lipshutz Has Died

Retired Classical 91.5 afternoon host Mordecai Lipshutz died Sunday, March 9, 2014 at the age of 64, following several months of illness.

One of the most recognized voices on Rochester’s airwaves; Lipshutz joined Classical 91.5 in 1976 as a part-time announcer and became a full-time host in 1979. During his distinguished tenure he produced and hosted Live From Hochstein, the longest running live broadcast concert series in Western New York, and the annual RPO Holiday Pops Concerts.

“We are saddened to hear the news of Mordecai, who was the voice of classical music in Rochester for more than 30 years,” said WXXI President Norm Silverstein. “His soothing voice, incredible knowledge of Classical music, and his music selections – made him everyone’s favorite afternoon drive home companion.”

Friends and listeners are invited to celebrate his life and share memories this Sunday, March 16 from 1 to 3 p.m. at ARTISANworks, 565 Blossom Road, Suite L, Rochester, New York 14610. For more information, call ARTISANworks at (585) 288-7170.

Lipshutz was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA where his parents ran a printing company, which printed all the programs for the Philadelphia Orchestra. As a result of their business, Lipshutz was exposed to great music throughout his childhood. He earned a degree in acting at Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA. In 1975 he enrolled in the Printing Management program at Rochester Institute of Technology while working part-time at Classical 91.5. Brad Spear, a former WXXI Radio Operations Director responsible for hiring Lipshutz, recalls, “ I took a chance and hired this inexperienced guy who had a wonderful basso laugh and knew the music cold.” Shortly after being hired, Lipshutz decided he preferred radio to printing and joined Classical 91.5 as full-time music host.

In 2006, in celebration of 30 years on the air, Lipshutz received a proclamation from the Monroe County Legislature in honor of his dedication to the arts and for bringing beautiful music to the Rochester community. He retired from Classical 91.5 in 2008.

Here are 2 videos with Mordecai doing a little impromptu singing at the jazz fest in recent years:

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.