Classical 91.5

Julia Figueras

Music Director and Midday host

A Strong Memorial baby and Greece Arcadia grad, Julia Figueras is the Music Director and mid-day host for WXXI-FM. She is also the producer and host for the award-winning monthly interview/performance show, Backstage Pass.

Figueras began her radio life in 1980 at WICN in Worcester, MA, and has been playing formats ranging from classical to rock to jazz, with a dash of talk in Boston, MA as well as at stations in Concord and Portsmouth, NH.  She received her bachelor's degree in theater, cum laude, from Brandeis University.

The mother of two daughters, she has a passion for the Boston Red Sox and New York Times crossword puzzles, loves Dvořák, Radiohead, Springsteen, and Brahms, and enjoys reading mysteries and histories. She is also a member of a trivia team that competes in weekly quizzes throughout Rochester. Currently, Figueras sits on the Board of Directors for the Penfield Symphony Orchestra with her husband, Peter Iglinski, and holds an honorary seat on the Amadeus Children's Chorale board. Previously, she spent 10 years on the Board of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

Figueras also writes the WXXI Classical Music e-Newsletter. Sign up here!

Ways to Connect

https://www.fingerlakes-music.org

Our spotlight on summer music performances continues with one of the longer running festivals: the Finger Lakes Chamber Music Festival. Founded in 2002 by Richard Auldon Clark, the festival has brought music to vineyards, churches, barns, and Camp Good Days, played by members of the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra.

For the next three months, Backstage Pass will be spending time with some of the many wonderful summer music festivals  in our area. First up: The Geneva Music Festival. Festival director and founder Geoffrey Herd will talk to Julia Figueras about the creation, care, and feeding of this festival, and members of the Cavani String Quartet and friends will play Faure. Chill out with Backstage Pass on Friday, June 1. The show will repeat Sunday, June 3. Both shows begin at 1 PM.

A big ending is as important as a strong beginning, right? With that in mind, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Music Director Ward Stare chose Bizet's opera Carmen to close out the 2017-18 season. Reviled at the premiere, it became one of opera's greatest hits within three years after being shredded by Paris critics.

Ward Stare, mezzo-soprano Sandra Piques Eddy (Carmen), and tenor Dinyar Vania (Don Jose) sat down with Julia Figueras to discuss this now-iconic opera. 

Kondonassis: Mark Bettrell/Higdon: jenniferhigdon.com

Jennifer Higdon believes in magic. This week, Ward Stare, harpist Yolanda Kondonassis, and your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra weave a spell with the world premiere of Higdon's Harp Concerto. All parties involved talked to Julia Figueras about the creation of this work, with a little Brahms and Britten in the mix, too...and it was magic.

Five years ago, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra concertmaster Juliana Athayde and RPO Principal Oboe Erik Behr took the reins of the Society for Chamber Music Rochester.  Since then, changes have happened: new venues, commissioned compositions...even wine tastings.

Photo: Houston Style/Bruce Bennett

It's a concert of white noise, poisoning beauty, and a spectacular HD production to accompany a work that leaves us drifting in space. Houston Symphony Orchestra Conductor Laureate Hans Graf, who is the guest conductor for your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra this week, spoke to Julia Figueras about Ligeti, Scriabin, and Holst's The Planets.

Here's a brief quiz about The Planets by Gustav Holst.

Photos: rossings.org

Ernest Bloch: Concerto Grosso No. 1

In March 2017, The Rochester Oratorio Society collaborated with the University of Rochester Humanities Center in the "Poetry for Peace" project--a month-long series that commemorated the centenary of the U.S. entry into World War I. Art, poetry, and music of that era were all explored in moderated discussions throughout Rochester, culminating in a concert on March 24. Included in the concert was Ernest Bloch's Concerto Grosso No. 1, a post WWI work written by Bloch to prove to his students at the Cleveland Institute of Music that "old" techniques of composition like tonality were still viable and interesting in this modern age.

Photo: John Schlia

Missy Mazzoli: Magic with Everyday Objects

Meet fivebyfive: a chamber group that brings together music of our time, multi-media presentations and, every now and then, shopping. And they do more than just mount concerts; they also hold workshops for students from elementary school through high school throughout the area, and have appeared in the Fringe Festival with our very own Mona Seghatoleslami.

Photo: Sarasota Orchestra

Richard Strauss: III. Vivace-Allegro-Tempo Primo, Oboe Concerto

Evan Meccarello founded the Hochstein Alumni Orchestra (HAO) in 2010, reuniting musicians who received training at the Hochstein School of Music and Dance.

Paul Schoenfield: Cafe Music

Juliana Athadye, violin

Ahrim Kim, cello

Chiao-Wen Cheng, piano

Composers can't always make a living wage simply writing, and so it was for Paul Schoenfield, who supplemented his compositional salary as the house pianist at Murray's Steakhouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota. But all that tickling of the ivories did more that help pay the bills; it also was the inspiration for what has become one of his best known--and loved--works: Cafe Music.

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