Classical 91.5

On Record

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

For the next three months, Backstage Pass will be spending time with some of the many wonderful summer music festivals  in our area. First up: The Geneva Music Festival. Festival director and founder Geoffrey Herd will talk to Julia Figueras about the creation, care, and feeding of this festival, and members of the Cavani String Quartet and friends will play Faure. Chill out with Backstage Pass on Friday, June 1. The show will repeat Sunday, June 3. Both shows begin at 1 PM.

A big ending is as important as a strong beginning, right? With that in mind, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Music Director Ward Stare chose Bizet's opera Carmen to close out the 2017-18 season. Reviled at the premiere, it became one of opera's greatest hits within three years after being shredded by Paris critics.

Ward Stare, mezzo-soprano Sandra Piques Eddy (Carmen), and tenor Dinyar Vania (Don Jose) sat down with Julia Figueras to discuss this now-iconic opera. 

Kondonassis: Mark Bettrell/Higdon: jenniferhigdon.com

Jennifer Higdon believes in magic. This week, Ward Stare, harpist Yolanda Kondonassis, and your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra weave a spell with the world premiere of Higdon's Harp Concerto. All parties involved talked to Julia Figueras about the creation of this work, with a little Brahms and Britten in the mix, too...and it was magic.

Photo: Houston Style/Bruce Bennett

It's a concert of white noise, poisoning beauty, and a spectacular HD production to accompany a work that leaves us drifting in space. Houston Symphony Orchestra Conductor Laureate Hans Graf, who is the guest conductor for your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra this week, spoke to Julia Figueras about Ligeti, Scriabin, and Holst's The Planets.

Here's a brief quiz about The Planets by Gustav Holst.

Allen Shawn: MorningStar Music; Ward Stare: Rochester Philharmonic

This week, your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra plays two classic symphonies--Haydn's Symphony No. 22, the Philosopher and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5--and a world premiere of Allen Shawn's Oboe Concerto with RPO Principle Oboe Erik Behr. What a treat to have the composer in town so he, RPO Music Director Ward Stare, and Mr. Behr could all talk to Julia Figueras about the unveiling of this new work. Also in the mix: Maestro Stare's unabashed love of Haydn and what Erik Behr really thinks about the Tchaikovsky Symphony. Oh...and there might be a controversial statement uttered, too.

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: newschool.edu

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 Principal 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?                              

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