Classical 91.5

On Record

A collection of discussions between special guests and Music Director and midday host, Julia Figueras. 

Archived episodes on SoundCloud.  Newest episodes appear at the bottom of the page.

Your Rochester Philharmonics Orchestra closes out the season with a partially-staged production of Puccini's much loved opera "La Boheme." RPO Music Director Ward Stare brought director Grant Preisser, along with Inn Dukach (Mimi) and Harold Meers (Rudolfo) to talk with Julia Figueras about the performance. Along the way, there was much laughter, and a few very touching moments...not unlike the opera itself.

In 2002, Juliana Athayde and Fabien Gabel were both in the Aspen Summer Music Festival. Fifteen years later, they'll take the stage together--he as guest conductor of your Rochester Philharmonic, and she as soloist in Bartok's Violin Concerto No. 2. Together, they chatted with WXXI Music Director Julia Figueras about the magic of Debussy, the earthiness of Bartok, and what took Juliana so long to get to that concerto.

Photo: Eastman School of Music

Backstage Pass

May 2, 2017

Bassist James VanDemark is in his 40th year as a professor at the Eastman School of Music. Generations of his students have gone on to great careers as performers and teachers... and sometimes as doctors. On this edition of Backstage Pass, James and some of his students past and present join producer and host Julia Figueras to discuss his remarkable achievements on the stage and in the studio over the last 4 decades.

Visit the Backstage Pass program page.


Halski Studios

There are just two works this week for your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra: Leonard Slatkin's "Kinah" and Mahler's Symphony No . 5.  RPO Music Director Ward Stare introduces WXXI Music Director Julia Figueras to the Slatkin work, and then takes her on Mahler's symphonic journey from death to laughter.

Guest conductor James Feddeck and pianist Natasha Paremski are offering up an evening of Russian delights with your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra this week. On the bill: Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, and American Sean Shepherd's piece inspired by Russian fairytales. Classical 91.5's Music Director Julia Figueras chatted with them about the subtlety and humor in Russian music, the wonderful advice from teachers, and the dangers of criticism.

Ward Stare: Devon Glass; Ingrid Fliter: Anton Dressler

Chopin specialist and Gilmore Award winner Ingrid Fliter is in town to join Ward Stare and your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of...Chopin. She and Maestro Stare chatted with Classical 91.5's Music Director Julia Figueras about the inner workings of the Gilmore Award, the inner voices of Chopin's music, and the power and beauty of Brahms, whose music will appear twice in the program.

There are just two pieces in this week's Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra concert: "Romeo and Juliet" by Berlioz, and Brahms' massive Piano Concerto No. 1 with soloist Jeremy Denk. Jeremy and RPO Music Director Ward Stare talked to Classical 91.5 Music Director Julia Figueras about the pieces: the passion of Berlioz and the perfection of Brahms. And teachers. And Nina Simone.

Your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is about to perform one of the great choral works of all time: Mozart's Requiem.  RPO Music Director Ward Stare and tenor Anthony Dean Griffey, who is a professor at the Eastman School of Music, joined WXXI-FM Music Director Julia Figueras to chat about its curious history and how to approach the work. Also discussed: Hovhaness's fugues and Stravinsky's War Symphony.

The upcoming Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra program is filled with power and passion, from the romantic look east in Ravel's "Shéhérazade" to the dark portrait of the Soviet Union with Elliot Goldenthal's "Pravda" and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5. Music Director Ward Stare and soprano Nicole Cabell came to our studios to chat with Classical 91.5 Music Director Julia Figueras about the works, with a backward glance by Nicole at her alma mater, the Eastman School of Music,  and the magic moment she was crowned the Cardiff Singer of the World.

The second half of your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra's season begins on the dance floor--from the tranquil and often spritely Beethoven violin concerto to the waltz tempi of Ravel's Noble and Sentimental Waltzes and the suite from Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier. Ward Stare, the RPO Music Director, chats with Classical 91.5's Music Director about these three works and how two of them overcame rough premieres.

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