Classical 91.5

Mona Seghatoleslami

Afternoon host

Mona Seghatoleslami is the host and producer on WXXI Classical 91.5 FM weekdays from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. She also hosts the lunchtime concert series Live From Hochstein Wednesdays at 12:10 p.m., interviews musicians, produces special programs, and works on any project she can find that helps connect people and music in our community through WXXI.

Mona is originally from New Jersey; she ventured out to the Midwest for college, where studied viola at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. She got her start in radio at WFIU in Bloomington, Indiana while in grad school studying musicology and library science at Indiana University. She also spent a few years as a radio announcer and producer in West (by God) Virginia, where she also wrote for the Charleston Gazette and taught American music at West Virginia State University.

When she’s not on the radio, you can find Mona attending concerts and movies, playing viola in community orchestras, occasionally strumming the ukulele, riding her bike everywhere, and reading as much as she can – especially The New Yorker and sci-fi novels. She also books the bands for one of the coolest live music venues in Rochester – The Little Theatre Café.

Ways to Connect

At this point in the winter, 19 degrees would probably feel like a heat wave - but that temperature still felt plenty cold the day that I gave winter biking a try with filmmakers Alex Weiser and Ander Kazmerski, for Rochester Street Films, a project by Reconnect Rochester.
 

You can see the results in a short movie here: 

Carmen on Ice!

Dec 21, 2017

In case this wondrous and magical bit of art has somehow escaped your notice I felt it was important to take some time to share this with you: Carmen on Ice.

This TV movie made in 1990 follows the story of the opera Carmen and uses Georges Bizet's beloved music. Carmen on Ice stars some of the leading figure skaters of the time: Katarina Witt, Brian Boitano, and Brian Orser.  The skaters don't sing their roles, but they do still convey the drama, passion, and wit of the story and the interactions of the characters through their performances. Despite the ridiculousness of the whole idea, it's pretty captivating. 

Guitarist Thomas Viloteau just finished his doctorate at the Eastman School of Music about a week ago, and now this week, he will be heard on the radio across the country, as a Young Artist in Residence on Performance Today.

You can hear him on Performance Today on Saturday morning on WXXI Classical 91.5

Photo by: Pavel Vaan & Leonid Semenyuk

Dmitri Hvorostovsky was an amazing opera singer.  He had such a voice and dramatic stage presence, and he was charming, handsome, and distinctive.

I am just one of many who count him among my favorites and mourn his passing. I’m struggling to write anything of substance to explain how intensely I love his performances, and the tears that I’m shedding at the death of someone I didn’t actually know in person – just admired so very much.  

Photo Kevin Patterson

      

  The opera Mrs. President is being performed Saturday night in Rochester. It tells the story of the first woman to run for president, which happened earlier than you might think.

In 1872, women didn’t have the right to vote in America, but that didn’t stop one from running for president: Victoria Woodhull.

She was a complicated, fascinating figure from American history – but not as well know these days as  other women’s rights activists of the late 19th century.  Her run for president in 1872 was just the tip of the iceberg. She was a clairvoyant, newspaper publisher, jailbird, stockbroker and proponent of free love. Despite her courage and persistence, Woodhull was viciously attacked by the conservative society in which she lived, a movement which was spear-headed by the powerful and influential preacher Henry Ward Beecher. Woodhull spent Election Day in prison, jailed for revealing Beecher’s secret life, a sex scandal that ignited the public and the press.

Victoria Woodhull is the subject of an opera – Mrs. Presidentwritten by composer Victoria Bond and librettist Hilary Bell. 

  Connoisseurs of modern music, Polish culture enthusiasts, and Twin Peaks fans – take note:

The annual David Hochstein Recital Competition recognizes outstanding musicianship and performance skills of advanced student musicians in grades 10-12 who reside in the nine-county region surrounding Greater Rochester. The students who win this competition perform at a recital at Hochstein each spring.

This year's winners are clarinetist David Kim, violinist Chie Xu, and pianist Raymond Feng. 

Join WXXI for Classical 91.5 Presents, a series that spotlights classical music connections in film. 

Classical 91.5 Presents...Brief Encounter on Saturday November 18th, 3pm at The Little Theatre, with music by Rachmaninov in The Little Theatre Cafe performed by the Empire Film Music Ensemble starting at 2pm.

via New York State Ballet

The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty...Dracula? There's someone you might not expect to find on stage in a classical ballet.

New York State Ballet is performing Dracula this weekend at RIT. Capturing the spirit of this classic horror tale in ballet took some creative thinking about the characters, as choreographer Rob Royce explained, along with sharing the story of his artistic journey and what has brought him to Rochester.  

  

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