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.

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.

Musicians of Rochester: 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.

Musicians of Rochester: Neil Varon

Aug 26, 2016

Neil started improvising on a baby piano at the age of 5. His mentors, conductors Leonard Bernstein and Herbert van Karajan, illustrated the importance of two monumental tasks: feeling/understanding the music and rehearsing it economically. Advice for young musicians: don’t spend time wanting to “be somebody,” you already are.

Musicians of Rochester: Aristea Mellos

Aug 26, 2016

Born in Australia, composer Aristea started recording her own melodies at the age of 8 after a few years of piano lessons and choir. She is inspired by the variety of American music. “When I’m not practicing music, I don’t know who I am.” Career goal:keep composing for friends.

Aristea Mellos' Website

Musicians of Rochester: Sean Brabant

Aug 26, 2016

His earliest musical influence was his Dad, also an opera singer. At Eastman, Russell Miller and Carol Weber influenced him profoundly with their attention to detail in Art Song. “Music is a way for humans to communicate emotions, and that ability is everything.” Advice to Young Musicians: Be a chameleon.

Musicians of Rochester: Ayano Ninomiya

Aug 26, 2016

Ayano begged her parents to play the violin in first grade.  Her mentor, Miriam Fried, inspires her to be passionate about everything she does.  Ayano says, "There is no silent human civilization - music connects us across cultures and time." Advice to young musicians: Being uncomfortable is good! Seek inspiration!

Ayano Ninomiya's Website

Musicians of Rochester: David Ying

Aug 26, 2016

David teaches in the studio at Eastman where he once studied cello with Paul Katz.“Music is about more than just playing in tune, it’s a powerful expression of who we are as people.” He is constantly inspired by his children’s sense of wonder.Advice for young musicians: live life.

David Ying's Website

Musicians of Rochester: Melissa Zgouridi

Aug 26, 2016

Mezzo Soprano and Fulbright finalist for study at the Mozarteum in Austria, Melissa decided to pursue operatic singing after seeing Le Nozze di Figaro because it was everything she never expected. “Music expresses what words cannot. I work with text all the time, but it’s the music that grabs you.”

Melissa Zgouridi's Website

Musicians of Rochester: Kathleen Bride

Aug 26, 2016

After fights with her brother over the piano, Kathleen’s mother got her harp lessons at the age of six. Marcel Grandjany, Julliard Professor, inspired her with his artistry and teaching. She loves animals, antiques, and walks with her husband. Advice to young musicians: Don’t try to do everything right away. 

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