Classical 91.5

Classical Blog

This is a place where our classical hosts, interns and artists can share their stories, viewpoints and point of view on topics related to classical music and the arts in general.  Come back to this page often to read the latest and share your comments.

Ways to Connect

Miss the glory days of high school orchestra? Still have your violin, or flute, or trombone – but you don’t take it out to play it like you always mean to? Want to sing somewhere besides the shower? 

Did you know that you are not alone? There are some wonderful community orchestras, bands, and choirs throughout the region, and they would love to have you join in making music with them.  

photo by Brenda Tremblay

Happy New Year!

I've been thinking about this quote by Neil Gaiman:

"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.

Decca/Timothy White

Recently WXXI Music Director Julia Figueras asked me to point to a single favorite musical moment of 2016.

That’s impossible.

My head swims with memories of many fantastic performances.  For example, in February, flutist Marina Piccinini and the RPO dazzled in a flute concerto by Pulitzer winner Aaron Jay Kernis.  That was super exciting!

Dylan Thomas may have been drunk when he made this recording. He had skipped several previous recording sessions. 

He was supposed to just read several of his poems (including “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night”), but when he finished the poems, the panicked producers realized that they didn't have enough material for the second side of the record. 

Counting crows

Dec 10, 2016

Bird by bird. That’s how the longest-running citizen science project in the world shines a light on our understanding of bird populations.  It’s an international effort starting December 14th with local events planned December 17-26.  

Want to get involved?   Sign up to watch your feeders and join a team of counters to offer ornithologists a vital snapshot of our native bird populations during the winter months.   You might stay at home and count birds from the warmth of your kitchen.  Or you might join a count circle with a diameter of 15 miles.   At least ten volunteers, including a leader to coordinate the process, count in each circle.  They break up into small groups and trace pre-planned routes, counting every bird they see.  

Photo: Brenda Tremblay

A few months ago, I had the privilege of meeting with music students at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York.  In preparation for the session, Professor Roy Stein had asked them to research and write about the theory that classical music is a dying art form.   Here are all the things I forgot to say.

Dear Professor Stein,


This is the recipe for Curried Turkey Spread that my mom makes after Thanksgiving. 


¾ lb. Turkey
½ cup mayonnaise
8 ounce package cream cheese
3 tbl. Curry powder
3 tbl. Chutney
1 cup almonds

In addition to writing four violin concertos dedicated to each of the seasons, Antonio Vivaldi wrote a poem for each season too.  

Winter doesn't technically start for another few weeks, but I think the current weather makes it appropriate to turn to Vivaldi's "Winter": 

A baroque singalong. Bachaholics Anonymous.

A few familiar composers, others you’ve never heard of.

A variety of voices, instruments, and spaces. 

All you need to bring: open ears.

Simple Gifts

Nov 11, 2016
Brenda Tremblay

I was trying to remember who ruled Austria when Beethoven was working on his Fifth Symphony.  German Emperor Francis II?  Napoleon?   Can you name the Holy Roman Emperor in power when Mozart was putting the finishing touches on The Magic Flute?   Which U.S. President lived in the White House when Aaron Copland wrote Appalachian Spring

Unless you majored in music in college, you probably can’t toss off these names without a little help from Google.