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

Stephanie Marsh

It's been a great season of Live from Hochstein - with everything from Brahms to brass, world premieres, wind quintet favorites, and Radiohead played by the Eastman Cello Ensemble (along with music by David Liptak, Caleb Burhans, and Arvo Pärt. You can hear this season finale show here: 


Steinway

“I know a professor who painted a piano…”

“WHAT? That damages the sound! How could he? Was it an old junker?”

“Actually, it was a Steinway…”

 - Conversation backstage before an orchestra concert last week

You can cause some damage if you just start slapping paint on a piano in any old way. The frame of the piano affects the sound and resonance of the entire instrument.

It’s another thing if you are a trained artist, commissioned by Steinway to create one of their limited edition or special pianos.  There are some absolute beauties that have been created over the years, and one recent one - called "Pictures at an Exhibition" is particularly stunning. 

  Evan Ritter is a student at the Eastman School of Music, originally from Texas. He’s a junior, studying piano performance.  He’s also co-director of the South East Asia Music Festival in the Philippines. Teaching and leading this intensive music festival for students in one of the most impoverished districts of a troubled country is both rewarding and challenging.

The challenges include the fear of extrajudicial killings, strict curfews, and even the occasional pack of wild dogs. 
 

Guitarist Raphaella Smits has been visiting Rochester for a few days to teach and perform, including a free concert tonight (7:30pm, Red Room, 1010 East Avenue, Rochester)

On this tour, she is playing music from her most recent album, which is particularly special to her because it marks her 60th birthday.  It’s all music that she has known since she was a young student – but feels that now is the right time for her to play it. 

Most musical groups have a mission – like the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (To inspire, educate and engage our community through the art of music). 

There are a few ensembles who aim to do even more – something beyond the already laudable musical missions of most groups. Here are a few orchestras with extra-musical missions that I have come across over the past few months that I thought you might enjoy knowing.

Decca/Andrew Eccles

Say it ain't so, Renée!  

Beloved singer (and Rochester icon) Renée Fleming is saying farewell to staged opera with a performance of Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier this spring. But of course, that doesn't mean she's done with music. She'll be singing concerts, continuing her work with the Lyric Opera of Chicago as their Creative Consultant, and more.

Read all about it in the New York Times

UPDATE: Not so fast, says Renée Fleming in an interview with NPR! She also says she still likes the New York Times article, despite that one misunderstanding.

rpyo.org

As we're wrapping up our celebration of Music in Our Schools Month, here is one more entry in our guide to community music groups. 

 

Although I started this series of posts thinking of adult musicians who wished to get back into playing and singing (or start something new), we had a few requests to list opportunities for students. 

 

Debra Yasinow

On Sunday, April 23 at 1 p.m. Classical 91.5 will host a special free screening of Violins of Hope: Strings of the Holocaust at the Little Theatre (240 East Avenue, Rochester). The screening also includes the award-winning short film, Joe's Violin.

Every year around the world, musicians gather and celebrate the music of Johann Sebastian Bach with performances, focusing on bringing his music to places that it is not normally heard. The project is called “Bach in the Subways."  This year, for Bach’s 332nd birthday, there are several performances in Rochester.

 

 

Band, choir, orchestra…these groups are all pretty familiar ideas. For this installment in our guide to opportunities to get involved in community music in Rochester and the surrounding region, I have for you a list of other groups, which don’t fit into such neat categories. 

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