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.

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.

Eric Aceto

Aug 27, 2016

Raised by a family of artists and musicians, Rochester-native Eric Aceto creates one-of-a-kind instruments in his shop in Trumansburg, NY. He grew up listening to his parents’ eclectic album collection and family members playing Gershwin at the piano at family dinners. He remembers fondly that one Christmas, all his siblings received instruments as presents, and formed a band that later developed into The Peabody Band. One day, his bandmates decided they needed another instrument besides guitar, and the gift of a violin from an uncle solved that. Eric has been playing violin ever since, and has combined his love of music with his love of woodworking as a luthier at Ithaca Stringed Instruments.

Alexander Peña

Aug 27, 2016

-- by Alyssa Rodriguez

Born to immigrant parents from Mexico, Alexander Peña works to ensure all youth are given the opportunity to pursue music in Rochester. An Eastman alum, Alexander Peña directs RocMusic, an afterschool music education outreach program that offers group and private instruction for economically disadvantaged urban youth free of charge. "RocMusic is an entry point for people that may not have the option to begin an instrument,” says Alex. “We are able to connect students to career paths through music."

Brian Williams

Aug 27, 2016
Alyssa Rodriguez

Dubbed by Frank DeBlase as the "Top Cat on the Bottom End," Rochester-based bassist Brian Williams seems to be everywhere. He plays everything from swing jazz to blues to, most recently, bossa nova. He's shared the bill with national acts, including Muddy Waters, Albert King, and Asleep at the Wheel, and taught slap bass technique workshops across the Pacific Northwest.

Christopher Glatty

Aug 26, 2016

Christopher Glattly, a Rochester-area piano technician, works magic behind the scenes at many of Rochester's notable music venues, including Eastman and Hochstein. But Chris didn't always know he wanted to work on pianos; he discovered piano work through a night class he took at the suggestion of his college piano teacher. Soon after completing a four year program at Michigan State, Chris began working on pianos in the Rochester-area, including concerto instruments for the RPO.