Classical 91.5

On Record

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

Emily Birsan: Kristin Hoebermann Photography

Soprano Emily Birsan makes a triple debut this week with your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra: not only is it her first appearance with the RPO, it's also the first time she'll sing Berg's "Seven Early Songs" with an orchestra, and her first outing with Mahler's Symphony No. 4. She and RPO Music Director Ward Stare talked with WXXI Music Director Julia Figueras about these two works, and the heavenly spell they cast.

Ward Stare: Devon Cass/Misha Dichter: CJ Mulligan

Your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra kicks off its Leonard Bernstein Centennial celebrations this week with a work by Bernstein--Bernstein's Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety--and a piece Bernstein championed--Shostakovich's Symphony No. 9. Pianist Misha Dichter, who solos in Bernstein's work, joined RPO Music director Ward Stare to chat with WXXI-FM's Music Director Julia Figueras about the Legacy of Lenny, and the many gifts he gave us.

Barbara Allen:

This week with your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, it's all about dance...and the one piece on the program that isn't a ballet will be performed with the Rochester City Ballet! RPO Music Director Ward Stare, St. Louis Symphony Concertmaster David Halen and, appropriately, Barbara Allen, the Principle Harp for the American Ballet Theatre, all joined Julia Figueras to talk about playing for dancers, finding the perfect instrument, and the internal language of orchestras.

Marcelo Lehninger, Music Director in Grand Rapids, has returned to guest conduct your Rochester Philharmonic. On  the table are two French works, and two Russian pieces, one of which--Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1--will feature Tchaikovsky Competition Gold Medalist Andrei Ionita. Marcelo and Andrei discussed the program with Julia Figueras, with musings about the genius of Shostakovich and why Andrei ultimately chose the cello over the piano.

Michael Christie has returned to our fair city to conduct your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in a program of Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Mozart's final symphony, the Jupiter. As he began to plan the line-up, Mr. Christie had an idea: what if we presented the Vivaldi in the style of concerts of that era?  So this week, the RPO, Michael Christie, and Concertmaster/soloist Juliana Athayde will be giving you Vivaldi plus.  How will that play out?                              

It was Beethoven's gift to the world: a hope for universal peace and joy--and work to unify us all. And it worked: hundreds of years later, his Symphony No. 9, the Choral, is one of our most beloved pieces in the canon. Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Music Director Ward Stare spoke to WXXI-FM Music Director Julia Figueras about this grand work and and the piece he paired it with for this week's RPO concerts: Wagner's "Prelude and Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde

Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Music Director Ward Stare programmed just two pieces for this week's concerts: Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Beethoven's masterful Piano Concerto No. 5. Classical 91.5 Music Director Julia Figueras welcomed the Music Director and pianist Olga Kern to chat about this evening of fan favorites. But don't be fooled--the Mussorgsky will be performed in an all-new way for our ears:  a compilation of orchestrations by nine different composers.

Christopher Seaman, Conductor Laureate of your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, is back in town for his annual date with the band. Joining him this time around is pianist Joyce Yang for an evening that will include a Beethoven overture, a Sibelius symphony, and Mozart's dramatic and mysterious Piano Concerto No. 24. Maestro Seaman and Miss Yang chatted with WXXI-FM Music Director Julia Figueras about the complexities of Mozart, the heroics of Sibelius, and the experience of accompanying a dance company...from the stage.

Photo: Eastman School of Music

Pianist Rebecca Penneys taught at the Eastman School of Music for almost 4 decades. As of this semester, she holds the title of Professor Emerita of Piano. Miss Penneys--who appeared on Backstage Pass in March of this year in a celebration of the Salon Concert Series--joins host Julia Figueras for a look back at her time at the school and a look forward, as she talks about how her new life is growing out of her Eastman days. Works by Soler, Scarlatti, Brahms, and Chopin are in the musical mix. Tune in for this special salute on Monday, October 23 at 1 PM.