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.

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.

Credit Gordon Welters for The New York Times

A Russian-German pianist deeply interested in politics and human rights has won a major music prize, the the $300,000 Gilmore Artist Award.

He's not afraid to say what he thinks.

“What fascinates me about Igor is that art, life and politics are all one,” a close friend told The New York Times. “You have to understand suffering, the state of the world, in order to understand music.”

The Telegraph

A conductor, a soprano, and a (still) empty plot of land. 

2017 unfolded with the good, the bad, and the ugly -- in behavior that rocked the arts world, media, politics, and academics.  

Here are five stories that made arts headlines in Rochester and beyond.

National Institutes of Health via AP

The National Institutes of Health is uniting musicians, music therapists and neuroscientists to advance our understanding of the human brain.  

Click here to read about the work of NIH researchers such as David Jangraw.

provided photo

On occasion, Dr. Octavio Vázquez of Nazareth College has asked his students, "What are you doing here?  Run for your lives!  There’s no future in this business!”

He’s joking, of course.

“Being a composer, it’s a little bit like falling in love," he says.  "It’s the most irrational choice you can make, going into classical music or composition as a career choice.  But the best things in life are irrational.”

On Christmas Eve morning at 10:00, you're invited to enjoy a broadcast from King's College Chapel.  Click here to download the service booklet.

Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Composer John Rutter is to Christmas music as scotch tape is to bow and ribbons.

In this New York Times profile by Michael White, the composer says being attached to Christmas doesn't bother him:

Michael DuPre

You'll want to spend time with this dear man.    He was an army medic during World War II in the Battle of the Bulge, and he's not just a wonderful storyteller.  He's moved thousands of people with his small, simple instrument of choice, the harmonica. 

Pete DuPre’ has been playing the harmonica since he was a child.  He's now 94.  He continues to tell his stories and to make the harmonica sing in churches, nursing homes, schools, at memorials, and for celebrations of all kinds.  

Mark Grube

It takes a village to eat all the leftovers.  That's according to an informal survey of WXXI hosts and friends.  Need fresh ideas for your holiday?  Taste and see. 

Fried Oysters

This recipe comes from awesome WXXI volunteer and singer Eric Logan.

Provided by artist

English classical pianist Paul Lewis will appear in Rochester Monday night at the Eastman School of Music.   He's playing music by three European composers: Haydn, Beethoven, and Brahms.


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