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, Madrigalia, and with Tasty Parker and the Joy Riders.

The idea is to reach an audience that's usually out of reach.

Migos’ rap song “Deadz” includes an all-black orchestra.

"The orchestra’s appearance in the video signifies opulence, and Orchestra Noir says their participation is a way to reach young African-Americans, an audience who may not routinely frequent orchestra concert halls."

Read more here.

Photo by Benjamin Chappell (New York)

David Chin serves as the Artistic Director of the Hong Kong Bach Festival, Malaysia Bach Festival, and the East Malaysia Bach Cantata Singers and Orchestra, as well as the Principal Conductor of the Association of Toronto Chinese Evangelical Church Musicians in Canada.  In this conversation with WXXI's Brenda Tremblay, he describes the blooming appreciation for J.S. Bach in Malaysia and the teachers that first introduced him to Bach's sacred masterworks.

REX/Shutterstock

Award-winning writer and broadcaster Armando Iannucci traces his love of classical music from the moment, at the age of 11, he walked into his first musical appreciation lesson. When the needle of the record player thumped onto a scratchy recording of Holst's The Planets, he was in love.  "Then I heard sounds that excited me in a way that somehow the recordings of Deep Purple and King Crimson my brothers played never did."  Read more.

Back to school

Feb 26, 2017

Mr. Monaghan taught me how to breathe.  He was completely blind and read and composed in Braille. My mother helped me reach the keys of a piano before I could walk.  Mr. Grammatico showed me how hold a saxophone and later, a bassoon.  Mrs. Pritchard taught me to love dissonance, and Miss Konigiser opened my ears to Sondheim, Lerner, and Lowe.  

My father was junior high band director, and watching him experience the stresses and joys of teaching gave me a deep, rich appreciation for all teachers.

They inspire, encourage, and spark lifelong passion. 

Selfie by Brenda Tremblay

Legendary conductor David Zinman came to Rochester, and  I was thrilled to sit down with him for an interview. What happened when he arrived in Rochester in the 1970's? Why did he choose the baton over the violin? What did Pierre Monteux pull out of a mysterious drawer in London? Listen in.

Anne Midgette of the Washington Post thinks so.  Read her thoughts about hyperbole, the news, and singing here.

(Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune)

This article in the Chicago Tribune is not easy to read, but it underscores the healing power of music for former University of Rochester student Nicholas Kollias.   In December of 2015 he and another student was abducted, held, and tortured for several hours before being rescued by a Rochester police SWAT team.

You can hear Kollias play a waltz by Chopin on iTunes.

Stephanie Buell

Feb 14, 2017
Brenda Tremblay

So the first musical I ever did was All You Really Need to Know You Learned in Kindergarten and that first day I walked in,  I’d never been in musical before.  I thought was going to be, you know, a little thing we perform for the parents.  Nope! Nope!  Not at all! I walked in and Mr. Tallman, everyone, there were tons of people, and he just gave us a note and everybody sang in, like, harmony, and I was just like, “WHOA! This is insane! This is what I want to do!

CW33

Tonight, Seattle musicians are making a bold statement by performing music from the seven countries singled out in the President's recent executive order.  The concert is sold out, but it will be streamed live at 7:30 pm Pacific Time here.

Library of Congress

"Frederick Douglass wasn’t just an abolitionist leader, author, and statesman – he was also a music lover. He wrote passionately about the importance of music in communities of enslaved people in his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass."    Read more about his legacy here.

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