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   (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.

Eastman via Twitter

For the last two weeks on the WXXI-FM Mystery Piece, we’ve been counting down the Top Ten greatest symphonies ever written, according to a survey of 151 leading conductors by BBC Music magazine.  Here's the list:

The BBC Music Magazine top 10

Let’s call it a growth opportunity.  In 1971, only 1.4 percent of the orchestras registered in The Musicians Guide were led by women. Ten years later, that number was slightly higher; 4.3 percent of orchestras in the annual American Orchestra League Directory published by Symphony Magazine had women directors.  By 1988, the number was 56 out of 845.  That's still less than seven percent.   Today, that number is only marginally improved.

On this Primary Day, let's think about the influence of politicians on music.  This summer, President Obama made news when he released his personal playlist.  That’s no surprise.  American Presidents and their families have always influenced who and what we listen to.  George Washington loved to dance, especially the minuet.  Abe Lincoln said he couldn't live without music.  Teddy Roosevelt embraced jazz.  


There's a big, empty space in the heart of downtown Rochester.  How to fill it?   Among a thousand opinions are four concrete new proposals, officially submitted to the City of Rochester as of  last Friday.   One of them is for a new performing arts center.  The Rochester Broadway Theater League's plan calls for a 3,000 seat  performing arts center at the site.  Read more here.

Joyce DiDonato/Instagram

Fading light?  Falling leaves?   Cold winds?  Bring it!  If you’ve a mind of winter and indoor pleasures, here are five concerts to look forward to this fall.

September’s RPO season opener

Ward Stare will conduct a concert in Kodak Hall that’s as comforting as a soft, warm afghan. What’s not to love in Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony (one of Classical 91.5 FM listeners’ top ten favorites), a dashing overture by Ron Nelson, and Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto?  Thursday September 15th and Saturday, September 17th.   

Pack your bags.  Take a weekend to explore.  There are obscure and fascinating destinations for music history geeks sprinkled throughout New York State.  I’ve touched on some of these before, but here they are, laid out for your next road trip.

Stop 1: Saranac Lake, New York, a four and a half hour drive east of Rochester.

Ooops.  The Wells Fargo financial company of Music Man fame misfired  with a print brochure suggesting smart young people should avoid careers in the arts.  Artists, actors, and musicians of all stripes fired back with snark and outrage.  Wells Fargo apologized.  Read more here.

photo: Eastman School

"At the University of Rochester, the Eastman School of Music has proposed a new master of arts in music leadership.   If approved, the new degree would be offered next summer and count as a concentration for those who go on to earn an MBA from Simon."

When Yuja Wang appeared with the RPO in the spring, she dazzled audiences with her vivid interpretations of two Bartok piano concertos and her unconventional concert attire.   At least one Classical 91.5 listener found the sight of her bare legs too distracting. 

Haydn: Piano Trio No. 16 in D

Originally performed at “Live from Hochstein” in Fall 2014. The Neave Trio has performed at some of the world’s finest concert halls and is the Fisch/Axelrod Trio-in-Residence at San Diego University.

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