Classical 91.5

Arts and Culture

An expert in Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia says there are a number of misconceptions about the conditions, and he wants families to understand that people can live well with those diagnoses. One method proven to be effective in engaging people with dementia is personalized music. It's the subject of a remarkable documentary called "Alive Inside," part of the Reel Mind Theatre and Film Series

The film follows a social worker who brings iPods to people living with dementia at nursing homes; once many of the patients hear music from their past, it sparks memories in ways human interaction could not. We'll discuss the role music has in opening pathways in the brain, and the latest in Alzheimer's and dementia research with our guests: 

  • Dr. Al Power, M.D., Schlegel Chair in aging and dementia innovation at the Schlegel--U. Waterloo Research Institute for Aging
  • Brian LeBlanc, Alzheimer's advocate who is living well with Alzheimer's disease
  • Robin Lombardo, northeast regional director for Music & Memory

The Avenue Blackbox Theatre opens on Joseph Avenue

Jun 8, 2018

Rochester’s newest theater is anything but typical.

The Avenue Blackbox Theatre is located on Joseph Avenue in the 14621 zip code. It’s the first theater on the city’s Northeast side. It features chalkboard sidewalk panels outside, 60 seats inside and parades on Sundays.  

Reenah Golden is the theater’s director. She says she grew up in the area and knows firsthand how much talent is in the neighborhood.

Creative Commons

Guest conductor Christopher Warren-Green led the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Rochester Oratorio Society in a performance of Handel's Messiah in December of 2016.

The maestro is no stranger to the British royal family.

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"I really love Rochester. I love the simplicity. I love the sense of neighborhood. I love the fact that it's common to speak to people on the street even if you don't know them."

So says retired music teacher Teryle (pronounced “TARE-il”) Watson, who possesses a birds’ eye view of music programs across the spectrum.  

Tom Rivers

More than a dozen local school districts have made a list of the best communities in the nation for music education.

In awards published April 17th, Brighton, Rush-Henrietta, Honeoye, and the East Irondequoit Central School Districts are among those named by the NAMM foundation, a trade organization which honors teachers, administrators, families, and leaders for supporting music as part of a well-rounded education.  

Cellist Stefan Reuss recently stopped by WXXI's studios to discuss his experiences playing chamber music at the Rochester Academy of Medicine for twenty years, in a trio that includes pianist Rebecca Penneys and violinist Mikhail Kopelman. We also discussed the trio's upcoming performance this week on Live from Hochstein

The List is Out

Mar 21, 2018
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Every year, the Library of Congress' Registry honors 25 "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" recordings.  Among the gems on the new list are the soundtrack of The Sound of Music, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and recordings of music by Christopher Rouse, Steve Reich, Richard Maxfield, Pauline Oliveros.

As the recent mass shooting at a Florida high school re-energizes the national gun violence debate, a local composer has turned to music to reflect on a tragedy that shook America to its core just over five years ago.

Eastman School of Music instructor Steve Danyew once attended Sandy Hook Elementary in  Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six adults were killed by a mass shooter on December 14, 2012.

Danyew's piece "Into the Silent Land" blends elements of a funeral march and a lament.  Near the end, a poem is read over the music by a narrator.

Audrey Whitmeyer-Weathers

What's left on a singer's bucket list after a stellar career at The Met?  How do songs tell one's real life story?  Two world-renowned singers, mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and current Professor of Voice, Anthony Dean Griffey performed a benefit concert Sunday, February 18th in Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music.  They collaborated with pianist Russell Miller, Professor of Vocal Coaching and Repertoire.  In a wide ranging conversation with WXXI's Brenda Tremblay, von Stade and Griffey tell stories, talk about the athletic and spiritual challenges of singing, and the lasting

S. Richards

Last summer, when Musa Ngqungwana made his debut in the title role of the Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess at the Glimmerglass Festival, he discovered that life had prepared him to play an outsider.  

The bass-baritone was raised by a single mother in what he calls a “ghetto” of Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  He says that growing up in apartheid, a system of institutionalized racial segregation and discrimination that existed in South Africa until 1991, almost guaranteed him a life of poverty and perhaps an early death.

But music saved him.

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