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: 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.

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
www.esm.rochester.edu

www.esm.rochester.edu

-- 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.

Corrine Shaffer

Aug 26, 2016
Corrine Shaffer

For Corinne, it was love at first dance. A friend brought her to her first swing dance at Groovejuice in 2006, and she's never stopped dancing since. A graduate of Nazareth College where she studied cello, Corinne teaches and DJs for Groovejuice Swing, an organization that specializes in teaching 1920s and 1930s Lindy Hop style dancing. Recently, she's been experimenting with playing jazz music on the violin. "Jazz ties together all of my passions," says Corinne. "The more jazz music I discover, the more I contribute to Groovejuice by DJing."

Andrew Alden

Aug 26, 2016

Rochester-based composer Andrew Alden writes and performs original music for silent film classics such as Lost World and Nosferatu. It all began with Night of the Living Dead, which Andrew scored for nonet in 2012, followed by Nosferatu, which has become one of Andrew's most performed scores. "Film music reaches a wide audience. People really care," says Andrew. "People have a viceral reaction to film." One of the hallmarks of Andrew's work is collaboration and group improvisation.

Al Biles

Aug 26, 2016

  RIT Professor and jazz musician, Professor Al Biles recently performed at the First Niagara Fringe Fest with his musical software program GenJam. A project 20 years in the making and still evolving, GenJam uses genetic algorithms to improvise jazz music.

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