Classical 91.5

Evan Dawson

Evan Dawson joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.

Evan is also the author of Summer in a Glass: The Coming Age of Winemaking in the Finger Lakes and is the managing editor/Finger Lakes editor for the New York Cork Report, a web site that offers independent news, reviews, and commentary about the New York wine industry.

He has written freelance articles on topics including politics, wine, travel, and Major League Baseball.

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has unveiled their 2017/2018 season.

We sit down with Ward Stare and Jeff Tyzik to listen to some music and discuss how they put together the lineup. It's designed to appeal to all audiences and all ages, a crucial factor for the survival and growth of orchestras. 


When the RPO performs Shostakovich's fifth symphony later this month, they will be performing one of the legendary examples of music as political speech. Stalin thought it was a tribute to his regime; almost certainly, however, Shostakovich had threaded a musical needle and was signaling his solidarity to a suffering public.

That got us thinking: what are some other examples of music as political speech? It spans genres, and it's not always as effective as the creator of the music hopes. Finally, we discuss whether music can move the public, or if music is more effective at simply reflecting the public's mood. Our guests:

  • John Covach, director of the Institute for Popular Music at the University of Rochester
  • Lisa Jakelski, associate professor of musicology at the Eastman School of Music
  • Terry Smith, head of the Harley School's Lower School
  • Mona Seghatoleslami, host and producer on WXXI Classical 91.5


The New York Times says Upstate New York is "unusually rich" in community orchestras. We're not talking about the RPO here; we're talking about Penfield and Finger Lakes and Brockport and Greece and more. How do they all co-exist? How do their missions differ?

We have some fun, listen to some music, and explore the often underappreciated scene. Our guests: