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

Your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is about to perform one of the great choral works of all time: Mozart's Requiem.  RPO Music Director Ward Stare and tenor Anthony Dean Griffey, who is a professor at the Eastman School of Music, joined WXXI-FM Music Director Julia Figueras to chat about its curious history and how to approach the work. Also discussed: Hovhaness's fugues and Stravinsky's War Symphony.

The upcoming Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra program is filled with power and passion, from the romantic look east in Ravel's "Shéhérazade" to the dark portrait of the Soviet Union with Elliot Goldenthal's "Pravda" and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5. Music Director Ward Stare and soprano Nicole Cabell came to our studios to chat with Classical 91.5 Music Director Julia Figueras about the works, with a backward glance by Nicole at her alma mater, the Eastman School of Music,  and the magic moment she was crowned the Cardiff Singer of the World.

http://www.esm.rochester.edu/trombone/trombone-choir/#jp-carousel-245

What happens if you find 24 trombonists in one room? In Rochester, it means you sit down and enjoy a concert with the Eastman Trombone Choir.

The choir, now in its 75th year, has played around the country and around the world, but never on Backstage Pass. Conductors Mark Kellogg and Larry Zalkind rectify that when they bring the Trombone Choir to Studio A for a performance and chat with host Julia Figueras. Expect the unexpected on Tuesday, January 31 at 1 PM.  The show will repeat at 1 PM on Sunday, February 5.


Cellist Julian Schwarz has just been named to the faculty of Shenandoah Conservatory in Virginia.

The second half of your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra's season begins on the dance floor--from the tranquil and often spritely Beethoven violin concerto to the waltz tempi of Ravel's Noble and Sentimental Waltzes and the suite from Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier. Ward Stare, the RPO Music Director, chats with Classical 91.5's Music Director about these three works and how two of them overcame rough premieres.

Christopher Warren Green, who has played for royalty, takes on Handel's "Messiah" this weekend--a work that was premiered before royalty...during the Lenten season. So how did this glorious work become a corner stone of Christmas

programming? Maestro Warren Green and Eric Townell, Artistic Director of the Rochester Oratorio Society talk about that, along with the many ways one can perform what some have said is one of the greatest pieces ever written.

This year, we celebrate the season with the Eastman Double Reeds.  Four oboists and four bassoonists join us in Studio B to play their own arrangements of holiday hits and more.  Join host Julia Figueras for a festive hour on Thursday, December 8 at 1 PM. The show repeats on Sunday, December 18 at 1 PM.

Cellist Julian Schwarz grew up in a musical home--his father is conductor Gerard Schwarz. On our next Backstage Pass, Julian Schwarz joins host Julia Figueras to discuss growing up musically and rubbing elbows with greats, including Rochester's David Diamond. 

Joining Julian is pianist Marika Bournaki for a program that will include Beethoven, Schumann, Bloch and--yes--Diamond.  Friday, November 11 at 1 PM.  The program will repeat on Sunday, November 13 at 1 PM.

Decca/Andrew Eccles

On November 12, Renee Fleming and the Eastman Philharmonia under the baton of Neil Varon, will premiere "Letters from Georgia," a new work by Eastman School of Music alum Kevin Puts.  The song cycle, which sets letters from Georgia O'Keeffe to music, was created on commission from the school and tailored to the voice of Ms. Fleming. After the world premiere in Rochester, they will repeat the performance in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center.

WXXI Music Director Julia Figueras chatted with Renee Fleming about the piece, and about her involvement with her alma mater.

Currie/Edinburgh Festival;Stare/RPO

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is wrapping up the first American Music Festival with a concert that includes works by Samuel Barber, Jennifer Higdon, and Aaron Copland. Percussionist Colin Currie, who commissioned Higdon for the concerto he's playing the RPO, discusses the genesis and architecture of the piece, and how his performance has changed since he premiered it 11 years ago.

RPO Music Director Ward Stare chimes in with a chat about Barber's depiction of Medea's tenuous sanity and the nobility and glory that is Copland's Third Symphony.

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