Classical 91.5

blog

Getty images

I love figure skating!  With the Winter Olympics on, here's your very basic guide to Western classical music AND some breathtaking spins, too.

Singing to Power

Jan 31, 2018
Leonardo da Vinci

“Don’t be born a woman if you want to have your own way.”  - Nannina de’ Medici

For some 15th century wealthy women, performing was a political duty.

Glenn McClure

We’re following the adventures of composer Glenn McClure, who journeyed to Antarctica in late 2016. During an epic journey funded by the National Science Foundation, the SUNY Geneseo and Eastman professor lived in a tent on an ice shelf and worked with scientists to collect data. He is now using that data as inspiration for new music.

Take a listen:

The composer writes:

Marsha Rivers

A memory:

I'm walking out of the school cafeteria - fifth or sixth grade - sunlight streams through the windows, the air heavy is with the smell of goulash and green beans from that day's lunch. My dad (who was the junior high band director) and the elementary music school teacher, Mr. Grammatico, stop me in the hall. My dad is holding an empty glass coke bottle.

“What’s this note?” my dad asks me.  He blows across the top of the coke bottle and produced a low hoot.

“A-flat,” I say automatically.

Olivia Lopez

Once upon a time, my lips nearly melted off my face.

Thanks to Julie Philipp, the Democrat and Chronicle's senior engagement editor, I had the chance to tell a story from my personal life as part of a collection of true, first-person tales centered on the role music can play in defining who we are and how we express ourselves. Click here for "My Brief and Spectacular One-Day Career as an Adult Bassoonist."  

Sarah and the Moose

Jun 12, 2017

What's your voice type? Alto? Soprano? Bass? Tenor?  Not sure?  Here's a primer to help you find your spot in the choir. (Click the post title if you don't see it, and enjoy.)

The daily 6:40 a.m. Mystery Piece (June 12 - 16) will test how well you can identify singers' voices.

Thanks to the Classical 91.5 listener to who sent in this comic relief! ~ Brenda

Back to school

Feb 26, 2017

Mr. Monaghan taught me how to breathe.  He was completely blind and read and composed in Braille. My mother helped me reach the keys of a piano before I could walk.  Mr. Grammatico showed me how hold a saxophone and later, a bassoon.  Mrs. Pritchard taught me to love dissonance, and Miss Konigiser opened my ears to Sondheim, Lerner, and Lowe.  

My father was junior high band director, and watching him experience the stresses and joys of teaching gave me a deep, rich appreciation for all teachers.

They inspire, encourage, and spark lifelong passion. 

alpacasofinstagram

One day I walked into the doctor’s office and noticed the receptionist wearing an unusual necklace, a thick chain with a large, gold llama hanging at the end.   I complimented her llama.  Her eyes lit up behind glasses as she explained that she and her family raised llamas and showed them at the New York State Fair.  They had even won prizes, she said.  

I said, “That’s nice!  I know someone who runs an alpaca farm.” 

She shrugged dismissively and said, “I just don’t get the whole alpaca thing.”

Once in a blue moon I encounter a book that resonates so deeply with me that I immediately flip back to page one and start over.  That happened when I finished Run by Ann Patchett.  The first time I read for plot and the second time for language.  Months later, I’m still going back to re-read favorite passages. 

Run is about family, running, and secrets.