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Arts Features

Bat McGrath died Tuesday night, in much the same way as he wrote and sang. With no drama, no fuss, quietly, at his mountainside home in Tennessee with his wife Tricia Cast, all on his terms.

A member of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame, the 73-year-old McGrath was diagnosed with cancer on Dec. 12. A suspicious colonoscopy result led to the discovery that the cancer had spread throughout his liver. With treatment, it was estimated McGrath might have another 1½ years to live. But these procedures would seriously compromise his quality of life, and McGrath and Cast made the difficult decision to decline treatments. A decision, they were told, that would leave McGrath with mere months to live.

To get to know Maria Newman, you have to understand who her father was.   She is the daughter of nine time Academy award-winning film composer Alfred Newman, who wrote the 20th century Fox fanfare.  Her brothers and cousin are equally famous; there’s Randy Newman of Toy Story fame, Thomas Newman, who scored Finding Nemo and Shawshank Redemption. Her brother David has scored nearly 100 films such as Galaxy Quest

It’s no exaggeration to say she comes from a musical dynasty.

Finger Lakes Opera brings relatable characters to stage

Aug 9, 2019
Dave Jones, Empire West Photo

The characters in Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Bohème start out as broad archetypes:  the moody poet, a fun-loving musician, a lonely young woman dreaming of love, a flirtatious party girl...it’s easy for everyone to see something of themselves – or their friends – in this group of characters.

But as the cast of this summer’s Finger Lakes Opera production of La Bohème discussed – the opera’s true power lies in how all these characters change, as you can hear with musical selections drawn from classic recordings of the opera.

Music expresses love, concern for Great Lakes

Jul 8, 2019
Christian Steiner

Composer Margaret Brouwer lives in Ohio, near Lake Erie. She loves the natural beauty of the Great Lakes and she’s worried about them.

She has composed her love for Lake Erie -- and her concerns for its future --  into a musical work called "Voice of the Lake."


Couple brought together by music plays at jazz festival

Jun 17, 2019
Courtesy of the artists

Two young people from different backgrounds meet and fall in love -- and society tears them apart.  You may recognize that as "West Side Story."

Here's another story: Two young people from different backgrounds meet and fall in love -- and end up making music together all over the world. 


Hidden treasure in walls of Eastman School of Music

May 24, 2019

There is a hidden treasure in the walls of the Eastman School of Music that has been there since the 1920s. It's in Kilbourn Hall, and even if you have attended concerts there, you've probably never seen or heard it.


Conductor inspires UR students to challenge selves, society

Apr 17, 2019
Matt Wittmeyer

Conductor Dr. Rachel Waddell describes music as a “performing tool to bring people together.” She views her work with the orchestras at the University of Rochester’s River Campus as a chance to have people challenge themselves, and society.  

WATCH: The power of story and voice in a mural

Aug 20, 2018

Mural artist Sarah Rutherford is combining the power of story and voice in a unique project she recently completed here in Rochester. It’s called Her Voice Carries and it features five murals highlighting the empowering stories of five Rochester women from different walks of life. Though their journeys may be different, they share an interesting common thread. That story on this edition of Need to Know.

www.rit.edu

The death of singer Aretha Franklin has touched a lot of people including a Rochester musician who actually played with her.  Herb Smith plays trumpet both with the RPO and with his own jazz trio. He is also an adjunct professor at RIT and is conductor of the RIT Jazz Ensembles.

Yarn art in Schiller Park will be down by Labor Day

Aug 13, 2018
Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

Mike Gilbert is holding a cup of coffee in one hand and picking up trash with the other when I pull up to Schiller Park.

His company 5Linx, just moved across the street to the Harro East building, and Gilbert noticed the park had been what he calls "forgotten."

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