Classical 91.5

Interviews

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

Trio creates harmony from tension

Apr 9, 2018

Among the old beautiful buildings that line East Avenue, you can find the Rochester Academy of Medicine – a place that has been a resource for the medical community for many years, as well as more recently a host for various community events, including “salon” piano trio concerts.  

The salon at 1441 East Avenue is a room that holds about a hundred people . It would be a big living room for most homes, but it’s a rather intimate space for a concert. That is something cellist Stefan Reuss has come to appreciate over the years:

Bill Tiberio's work as a musician and a teacher has an impact throughout the Rochester community. You can hear him playing saxophone with his band, or see him  conducting the Music Educators Wind Ensemble and Music Educators Big Band based at the Eastman Community Music School, and most of all, know that he has inspired generations of music students as a teacher at Fairport High School for more than 30 years.

The RPO's 96th season will include music from the classic repertoire, as well as programming aimed at the family. We sit down with music director Ward Stare and Curt Long, the new CEO.

Our conversation includes the criticism that some orchestras have received for not featuring enough music by women and people of color -- something the RPO says it is addressing this season. Our guests:

Michael DuPre

You'll want to spend time with this dear man.    He was an army medic during World War II in the Battle of the Bulge, and he's not just a wonderful storyteller.  He's moved thousands of people with his small, simple instrument of choice, the harmonica. 

Pete DuPre’ has been playing the harmonica since he was a child.  He's now 94.  He continues to tell his stories and to make the harmonica sing in churches, nursing homes, schools, at memorials, and for celebrations of all kinds.  

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. 


The Memorial Art Gallery is exploring new ways to create provocative portraits of subjects, and in its current exhibition, it’s using video. The MAG is partnering with renowned video artist Charles Atlas on a video installation called “Here she is...v1,” featuring iconic drag performer Lady Bunny.

We discuss the exhibit and talk about the impact of the moving image. Our guests:

  • Charles Atlas, film and video artist
  • Jonathan Binstock, director of the Memorial Art Gallery
  • John Hanhardt, consulting senior curator of media arts at the Memorial Art Gallery
  • Douglas Crimp, professor of art history at the University of Rochester

The Gateways Music Festival is not only coming back next week, but there are big plans to grow it. The festival, which begins August 8, celebrates diversity in classical music.

We talk with Lee Koonce, president and artistic director of the Gateways Music Festival, about the events and how to bring more diversity to the classical music scene. He also shares his musical journey.

“I think the most important thing is: we need to make sure that we encourage music, and arts in general, solely for the sake of music and art. Because it’s the other part of human life that needs to be stimulated.

If all we give our kids are “how many AP classes can we cram into our high school schedule, how many activities can we do throughout the day,” and never give them the side of artistic stimulation that allows them to express and process them world around them, we’re really doing them a disservice.