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

Adele was two days into her four day stand at London's Wembley Stadium when she did the unthinkable: she cancelled the rest of her tour and stopped singing. Her throat troubles had returned, after vocal cord surgery, and she knew she had come to the end of the line--perhaps permanently.

Every summer, the Kanack School of Music offers a series of summer music programs for musicians spanning the ages from ages 4 to 18, teaching everything from classical to contradance. On the next Backstage Pass, Julia Figueras welcomes Executive Director Alice Kanack and Artistic Director Andrew Barnhart, as they bring in some of their best and brightest to show us what they've got! Find out about this hidden gem of a music school on Wednesday, July 26 at 1 PM. You can catch the encore Sunday, July 30 at 1 PM.


Pianist Stewart Goodyear in a row of piano frames
photo by Andrew Garn

For the first time ever, Backstage Pass is taking its show on the road, and you're invited! 

In celebration of the Gateways Music Festival, Julia Figueras hosts Backstage Pass live from Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre with the entire GMF orchestra, guest artists, and a live audience.  Music Director Michael Morgan, RPO trumpeter Herb Smith, pianist Stewart Goodyear, and violinist Amadi Azikiwe are among the guests who will chat with Julia, along with GMF President and Artistic Director Lee Koonce and Eastman School of Music Dean Jamal Rossi.


The year was 1717. Britain’s King George I wanted to create a spectacular event that would forever etch his name (and his dynasty’s) in the history books. So he turned to his good friend, and one of Europe’s most popular composers, to help him out: George Frideric Handel. 

The plan was hatched: the King and company would float down the Thames on a barge from Whitehall Palace to Chelsea and back again, followed by another barge with an orchestra playing music composed just for the occasion.

Your Rochester Philharmonics Orchestra closes out the season with a partially-staged production of Puccini's much loved opera "La Boheme." RPO Music Director Ward Stare brought director Grant Preisser, along with Inn Dukach (Mimi) and Harold Meers (Rudolfo) to talk with Julia Figueras about the performance. Along the way, there was much laughter, and a few very touching moments...not unlike the opera itself.

Almost 10 years ago, tenor Gregory Kunde and Linda Wojciechowski sang sacred songs together for our first ever holiday Backstage Pass. Since then, Gregory Kunde's opera career has taken off--especially in Europe. On the next Backstage Pass, the couple returns to sing and to chat with host Julia Figueras about all that has happened...and what could be next. The show was recorded on June 2. An encore edition can be heard on Sunday, June 4  at 1 PM.


The RPO can be heard Monday nights at 8pm on WXXI Classical 91.5. 

In 2002, Juliana Athayde and Fabien Gabel were both in the Aspen Summer Music Festival. Fifteen years later, they'll take the stage together--he as guest conductor of your Rochester Philharmonic, and she as soloist in Bartok's Violin Concerto No. 2. Together, they chatted with WXXI Music Director Julia Figueras about the magic of Debussy, the earthiness of Bartok, and what took Juliana so long to get to that concerto.

jacksonville.com

Courtney Lewis, who has been a guest conductor for your Rochester Phiharmonic Orchestra, is now  Music Director for the Jacksonville Symphony. He's given serious thought to where the orchestra players should sit.  In fact, he has two different seating plans, depending on the program. So who sits where and why?

Photo: Eastman School of Music

Backstage Pass

May 2, 2017

Bassist James VanDemark is in his 40th year as a professor at the Eastman School of Music. Generations of his students have gone on to great careers as performers and teachers... and sometimes as doctors. On this edition of Backstage Pass, James and some of his students past and present join producer and host Julia Figueras to discuss his remarkable achievements on the stage and in the studio over the last 4 decades.

Visit the Backstage Pass program page.


Halski Studios

There are just two works this week for your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra: Leonard Slatkin's "Kinah" and Mahler's Symphony No . 5.  RPO Music Director Ward Stare introduces WXXI Music Director Julia Figueras to the Slatkin work, and then takes her on Mahler's symphonic journey from death to laughter.  The RPO can be heard Monday nights at 8pm on WXXI Classical 91.5.

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