Classical 91.5

Brenda Tremblay

Classical Morning Host and Producer

Brenda Tremblay bolts out of bed every weekday morning at 4:00 a.m. to present classical music on Classical 91.5 FM, streaming at wxxi.org.   (The broadcast starts at 6:00 a.m. with birdsong, inspired by the BBC.)  She’s an NEA Fellow who’s interviewed musical luminaires such as Renée Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma, and Steve Reich.  She also produces and hosts the RPO radio concerts and other local productions, and works with the Center for Public Affairs to create arts and cultural coverage for all media services.  Her productions have earned three Gracies from the Association of Women in Radio and Television, many AP awards, and a national Gabriel Award. 

Away from the studio, Brenda serves as Music Director at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Brockport, New York.  She loves to sing.  She’s performed with choirs in Carnegie Hall, Westminster Abbey, and in the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing.  In Rochester, some of her best musical memories have been made with friends in the Rochester Oratorio Society and Madrigalia.

Audrey Whitmeyer-Weathers

What's left on a singer's bucket list after a stellar career at The Met?  How do songs tell one's real life story?  Two world-renowned singers, mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and current Professor of Voice, Anthony Dean Griffey performed a benefit concert Sunday, February 18th in Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music.  They collaborated with pianist Russell Miller, Professor of Vocal Coaching and Repertoire.  In a wide ranging conversation with WXXI's Brenda Tremblay, von Stade and Griffey tell stories, talk about the athletic and spiritual challenges of singing, and the lasting

S. Richards

Last summer, when Musa Ngqungwana made his debut in the title role of the Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess at the Glimmerglass Festival, he discovered that life had prepared him to play an outsider.  

The bass-baritone was raised by a single mother in what he calls a “ghetto” of Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  He says that growing up in apartheid, a system of institutionalized racial segregation and discrimination that existed in South Africa until 1991, almost guaranteed him a life of poverty and perhaps an early death.

But music saved him.

Getty images

I love figure skating!  With the Winter Olympics on, here's your very basic guide to Western classical music AND some breathtaking spins, too.

“My dear Dr. Koussevitzky, To begin with I have two handicaps—those of sex and race. I am a woman; and I have some Negro blood in my veins.”  - Florence Price

In this New Yorker article, Alex Ross tells the story of a 2009 house renovation which led to the discovery of lost music by a ground-breaking American composer. 

Gyrfalcon @ Dreamstime.com

February 19 - 21   John Andres hosts.

February 22

We will continue our series of Olympic Mysteries, hearing the same pieces that are inspiring figure skaters competing in Pyongyang. Wake up with The Moldeau by Smetana, a Carmen suite by George Bizet, and early Baroque music by Francesca Caccini.

February 23

Start the day with Olympic strides, played by pianist Tony Caramia, The Rise of Birds by Mason Bates, and a 500-watt oboe concerto by Johann Sebastian Bach.

 

Singing to Power

Jan 31, 2018
Leonardo da Vinci

“Don’t be born a woman if you want to have your own way.”  - Nannina de’ Medici

For some 15th century wealthy women, performing was a political duty.

Eastman School of Music

American mezzo-soprano and Eastman professor of voice Katherine Ciesinski is among the 2018 Grammy winning artists named over the weekend.  She sang a leading role in the Houston Symphony's live recording of Alban Berg's Wozzeck, which won in the Best Opera Recording category.

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A Rochester-based composer who teaches at Nazareth College is headed to the Winnipeg New Music Festival this week.  Octavio Vazquez will serve as a guest composer, attending rehearsals, panel discussions, and concerts along such classical music luminaries as Philip Glass. 

Getting to this high point in Vazquez’s career has not been an easy path.  He grew up in the 1970s in Galicia, northwestern Spain, at the end of the rule of the long-reigning dictator, Francisco Franco.

Glenn McClure

We’re following the adventures of composer Glenn McClure, who journeyed to Antarctica in late 2016. During an epic journey funded by the National Science Foundation, the SUNY Geneseo and Eastman professor lived in a tent on an ice shelf and worked with scientists to collect data. He is now using that data as inspiration for new music.

Take a listen:

The composer writes:

Marsha Rivers

A memory:

I'm walking out of the school cafeteria - fifth or sixth grade - sunlight streams through the windows, the air heavy is with the smell of goulash and green beans from that day's lunch. My dad (who was the junior high band director) and the elementary music school teacher, Mr. Grammatico, stop me in the hall. My dad is holding an empty glass coke bottle.

“What’s this note?” my dad asks me.  He blows across the top of the coke bottle and produced a low hoot.

“A-flat,” I say automatically.

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