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Laura Strickling

Soprano Laura Strickling and her family have been rescued from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.  Now in Puerto Rico, she and her husband and one year-old baby Elizabeth are waiting to fly to Chicago.  A Facebook community of musical mothers is collecting donations to shower Laura and her family with supplies, including a new stroller to replace the one destroyed by Hurricane Irma. 

Strickling won First Prize and the Audience Favorite Award in the 2015 Rochester Oratorio Society's Classical Idol Competition.

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, now a tropical storm, the U.S. Virgin Islands are trying to clean up after its devastating impact on the region.

This was the first big storm for Laura Strickling and her family, who have lived on the island of St Thomas for three years.

"I didn’t really sit down and say what do I need, how much do I need, I just started grabbing. But it’s really expensive to stock up for this sort of thing. So as I’m filling my cart I'm thinking, we can't afford to spend $500."

CNN Money

Can computers (A.I. or artificial intelligence) compose music? It sounds crazy, especially to classical music listeners. But Taryn Southern, a writer, producer, singer, and Internet personality, recently released a song where everything except the vocal line (lyrics and melody) was composed by a computer. 

Intrigued? Read more and listen here.

Laura Strickling and family are okay.  But she says just thinking about the potential impact of Hurricane Jose turns her stomach.   The First Prize winner in Rochester's 2015 Classical Idol Competition, Strickling lives in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, with her husband, a lawyer, and one year-old daughter.  She has asked her story be shared in order to keep a spotlight on the suffering in her community. 

Early Saturday morning, September 9th, she described her current situation on social media:

"Day 2, After #HurricaneIrma

Pulitzer-prize winning composer George Walker has written ten sonatas, two string quartets, and challenging concertos for piano, violin, cello, and trombone.   Last year he finished a new sinfonia.   What makes Walker’s latest creation so rare is that when he finished it, he was 94 years old.  Read Frank Oteri's profile here.

The Fischoff Competition is the largest chamber music competition in the country   – more than 100 music groups of 3 to 6 players enter each year. This year, gold prize winners at this prestigious competition were from the Eastman School of Music – The Fuego Quartet.  

The intrepid pianist Marc-André Hamelin has a reputation for embracing the toughest, strangest music. His new recording of For Bunita Marcus by Morton Feldman is a fine example. For nearly 75 minutes the music never rises above a whisper and the damper pedal is always pressed down, allowing single notes to ring out into vast, silent spaces.

Vegetables aren't just for eating...

Sep 4, 2017
The New York Times

Oboists may complain about making their own reeds, but imagine having to make your entire instrument every time you perform! That's exactly what the musicians of the Long Island Vegetable Orchestra have to do. 

Read more about this unique approach to music: Cue the Carrots! Strike Up the Squash!

Earlier this summer, NPR Music put out a list that they called “an intervention, a remedy, a correction of the historical record and hopefully the start of a new conversation” - The 150 Greatest Albums Made by Women. 

  Anne Midgette wrote in the Washington Post, "NPR’s recent list of the 150 greatest albums by women was inspiring — but where were the composers? In the wake of much discussion about the chronic underrepresentation of female composers on American concert programs, I came up with my own best-of list.”

This should be a big year for Amy Beach.  September 5th is the composer's 150th birth anniversary.  But aside from a few commemorative dates and this major event in Rochester, NY, not much else appears to be happening to mark her achievements.

“My work has always been judged from the beginning by work as such, not according to sex,” she insisted. “The question has rarely ever been raised.”

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