Classical 91.5

Musicians of Rochester

Musicians of Rochester serves as a portrait of musical life in and around the greater Rochester, New York region. Inspired by Humans of New York, Classical 91.5 intern Bridget Kinneary started Musicians of Rochester early in 2015 as part of her Eastman Arts Leadership Internship program. This portrait continues to grow each month as interns and staff meet and share stories and insights from Musicians of Rochester. We invite you to visit this page often to meet new musicians and find out more about the music scene in Rochester.

“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.

Brenda Tremblay

So the first musical I ever did was All You Really Need to Know You Learned in Kindergarten and that first day I walked in,  I’d never been in musical before.  I thought was going to be, you know, a little thing we perform for the parents.  Nope! Nope!  Not at all! I walked in and Mr. Tallman, everyone, there were tons of people, and he just gave us a note and everybody sang in, like, harmony, and I was just like, “WHOA! This is insane! This is what I want to do!

Musicians of Rochester: Philip Carli

Dec 6, 2016

Now one of the world’s most-acclaimed silent movie pianists, Philip Carli saw his first silent films at Disneyland in California. It was love at first sight. These silent films inspired him to create little films of his own as a kid, and experiment with accompanying them on the piano.

Musicians of Rochester: Maria Battista-Hancock

Aug 27, 2016
artist photo

Born in the sunny south of Italy, Maria-Battista Hancock grew up surrounded by music. “In my family, I like to say we had music for dessert,” says Maria. It was through music that Maria learned how to speak English, and through music that she found her calling—music therapy. “My cousin Giovanna is a few years younger than me and has Down syndrome. She's non-verbal, but when we played music as a family, her face would light up and she would try to sing along,” says Maria. “It was then I realized music is so much more than just performing.”  

Musicians of Rochester: Andy Calabrese

Aug 27, 2016

If you’ve listened to a local commercial recently in Rochester, you might have heard the music of Rochester native Andy Calabrese. Jazz pianist, producer, and composer Andy Calabese writes music for commercials and film out of his studio in Pittsford. He’s written music for local businesses such as The Strong National Museum of Play and Xerox. Andy Calabrese started experimenting with a 4 track cassette in 1984, overdubbing synths and guitars. Around that time, he met Chuck Brucato, and started collaborating with him creating music for commercials. They still collaborate today.

Musicians of Rochester: Danny Ziemann

Aug 27, 2016

One of Rochester's foremost jazz bassists, Eastman alum Danny Ziemann plays with top jazz musicians all over the world, including renowned pianist Gordon Webster. Danny Ziemann met Gordon by chance at Eastman, when Gordon Webster needed a last minute fill-in bassist. They’ve been performing together ever since.

Musicians of Rochester: Dave Porter

Aug 27, 2016

My day job is as a Program Manager with Syntec Optics in Rochester, New York.  I have a technical background in design and engineering.

I love all types of music - listening and performing. I serve on the board of the Genesee Symphony Orchestra and have been the principal trombone player in the GSO for more than ten years.  I also play in many other local ensembles: the Genesee Valley Wind Ensemble, Batavia Concert Band, Trombone Choir, Alexander Fireman's Band and Batavia Swing Band.

Musicians of Rochester: Ted McGraw

Aug 27, 2016

If you play Irish music in Rochester, you've heard of Ted McGraw. Ted McGraw started the first traditional Irish music session in Rochester in 1974, and he owns a collection of about 10,000 albums of traditional Irish Music. He fell in love with Irish music he heard on the radio back in the 1950s, and purchased some of the first albums of his collection at a record store in Brighton. Now, he’s the official archivist in North America for Comhaltas, an international organization that promotes traditional Irish music and culture.

Musicians of Rochester: Oliver Hagen

Aug 27, 2016

Some of Oliver's earliest music memories involve learning music alongside his father. At a young age, he recalls playing along with a song by Sting. Other times, his father taught him the African balafon, a type of xylophone with gourd resonators. Now, he works with notable new music ensembles, including New York City's Ensemble Signal and Ensemble Intercontemporain of France, where he worked alongside conductor Pierre Boulez. 

Sister Anita Kurowski

Aug 27, 2016

Sister Anita Kurowski teaches music at Nazareth Elementary School and grew up surrounded by music lovers. She fondly remembers singing in the car, in church, and with her grandmother who used to sing songs with her and her siblings accompanied by autoharp. She picked up violin when she was 7, and later became involved in band playing clarinet and tenor saxophone. But when it came to selecting an instrument for college, she chose voice.

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