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Arts & Life

He was a Southern black man who helped shape American music in the late 1920s. He moved to Rochester, gave up music and lived in obscurity for two decades before he was re-discovered during the mid-1960s blues and folk revival.

He resumed his career, touring and recording before his death. A few years ago, his life even inspired a musical.

That story is one we know well here in Rochester.

But I'm not talking about Son House, the iconic bluesman.

It is also Lesley Riddle's story.


provided photo

Sufian Zhemukhov immigrated to the United States from Russia in 2010 to pursue his work. He's an associate research professor at George Washington University and teaches European history and Russian history at the University of Maryland.

He said navigating American culture has been the most difficult part of his transition. Along the way, Zhemukhov took a storytelling class to hone his English skills.

He'll be using those storytellilng skills this weekend when he's town for the 2019 KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival. His show is called "Flirting Like an American."

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.

Rochester Fringe Festival opens today

Sep 10, 2019

The eighth annual KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival kicks off today, and continuing its trend of expanding by a full day each year, has reached a stretch of 12 days.

This year’s theme is “Leap A Little,” with organizers encouraging audiences to get out of their comfort zones, whether that be the kinds of art you show up to take in, or the new-to-you cultural venues around the city.

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.  

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