WXXI AM News

Classical Music

"I really love Rochester. I love the simplicity. I love the sense of neighborhood. I love the fact that it's common to speak to people on the street even if you don't know them."

So says retired music teacher Teryle (pronounced “TARE-il”) Watson, who possesses a birds’ eye view of music programs across the spectrum.  

Trio creates harmony from tension

Apr 9, 2018

Among the old beautiful buildings that line East Avenue, you can find the Rochester Academy of Medicine – a place that has been a resource for the medical community for many years, as well as more recently a host for various community events, including “salon” piano trio concerts.  

The salon at 1441 East Avenue is a room that holds about a hundred people . It would be a big living room for most homes, but it’s a rather intimate space for a concert. That is something cellist Stefan Reuss has come to appreciate over the years:

Musician redefines herself after hearing loss

Apr 4, 2018
Photo Credit: Eastman School of Music

Gaelen McCormick has been losing her hearing, to varying degrees over several years as a result of Ménière’s disease – a condition that also causes vertigo and tinnitus.

"My husband and I have a morning ritual. Wake up, and the first thing he says, is “I love you” and the next thing I can say is “I can hear you” or “I can’t hear you” – and that’s how we start our day." 

The loss of hearing was a particular challenge for McCormick because of her profession: she is a musician.

The RPO's 96th season will include music from the classic repertoire, as well as programming aimed at the family. We sit down with music director Ward Stare and Curt Long, the new CEO.

Our conversation includes the criticism that some orchestras have received for not featuring enough music by women and people of color -- something the RPO says it is addressing this season. Our guests:

The Gateways Music Festival is not only coming back next week, but there are big plans to grow it. The festival, which begins August 8, celebrates diversity in classical music.

We talk with Lee Koonce, president and artistic director of the Gateways Music Festival, about the events and how to bring more diversity to the classical music scene. He also shares his musical journey.

The New York Philharmonic is the nation’s oldest symphony orchestra, but it wasn’t until 2014 that it welcomed its first black principal player. While that fact may seem staggering, recent data paint a bleak picture of the state of diversity in classical music: only 4% of orchestra musicians are either African American or Latino.

Organizers of this summer's Gateways Music Festival are committed to improving that percentage. The festival features musicians of African descent and works by African-American composers. Our guests give us a preview of the festival and discuss how to make classical music more accessible to underserved communities. In studio:

  • Jamal Rossi, dean of the Eastman School of Music
  • Paul Burgett, chairman of the board of the Gateways Music Festival, and University of Rochester vice president and senior advisor to the president of the University of Rochester
  • Lee Koonce, president and artistic director of the Gateways Music Festival
  • Dalanie Harris, double bassist, and sophomore at the Eastman School of Music

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has unveiled their 2017/2018 season.

We sit down with Ward Stare and Jeff Tyzik to listen to some music and discuss how they put together the lineup. It's designed to appeal to all audiences and all ages, a crucial factor for the survival and growth of orchestras. 

The New York Times says Upstate New York is "unusually rich" in community orchestras. We're not talking about the RPO here; we're talking about Penfield and Finger Lakes and Brockport and Greece and more. How do they all co-exist? How do their missions differ?

We have some fun, listen to some music, and explore the often underappreciated scene. Our guests:

The United States has a long and rich music history, but here's a question: what is the American identity in classical and symphonic music? Even classical music lovers don't know much about Piston and his colleagues. Why not?

The RPO's Ward Stare has put together a series of events to showcase American composition. We talk about great American music -- the kind that tends to get ignored by professional orchestras. Our guests:

  • Ward Stare, music director for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Alan Fletcher, president and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival and School, and music administrator and composer

We explore how music can bridge cultural and political divides, how it can break down stereotypes, and its impact on violence.

The Little Theatre is showing The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. We talk to the documentary's director and we even explore a question raised by a musician in the film: can a piece of music stop a bullet? Our guests:

 

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