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Yo-Yo Ma takes your questions now

Thanks to Gerry Szymanski, Andrew Galbraith-Ryer, Christoph Sahar, Eric Fundin, RPO Music Director Christopher Seaman and my mom for coming up with great questions for superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma. I asked him all of your questions, and you can hear his answers in this interview.

Yo-Yo Ma talks about losing his cello, the upcoming Beijing Olympics, and playing with a robot conductor next month. He was warm, funny, and forthright. He’ll appear with the RPO on Monday, May 5th.


Castles Made of Sand

Do you remember those Tibetan monks who visited Rochester years ago? They made a painting in sand at the Memorial Art Gallery, working slowly and carefully, grain by grain, to create a detailed image over the course of several days. There was time allotted for public viewing, and I think there was some kind of ceremony.

Then they swept it all up and dumped it in the river.


Pride & Prejudice

It’s official!

October 21st is the date of the Pre-Broadway Premiere of Pride & Prejudice, the musical by Lindsay Warren Baker and Amanda Jacobs. Eastman Theatre, Rochester.


Have you seen the pics?

If you have a kid who is a Hannah Montana fan or if you watch the news, then you have probably seen or at least heard about the Vanity Fair pictures of Miley Cyrus. Cyrus is the 15-year-old actress who plays Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel show and the majority of her fans are younger girls in the 6-12 age range.

At best, the pictures taken by famed photographer Annie Liebovitz can be described as risqué - artistic in a sense, but risqué for a girl who is 15.


Yo-Yo, Robot

After Yo-Yo Ma leaves Rochester next week, he’ll play under the baton of a robot with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, according to Wired magazine.

A robot might have done a better job than guest conductor Alexander Mickelthwate, who made his first appearance with the RPO this past weekend. The D & C’s Stuart Low got it right: the hot, young conductor from Winnipeg was boring. Unnamed sources say local musicians concurred.


Rochester Radio Chorus of the Air

The other evening I was walking down Park Avenue, it was warm, windows were down in cars going by. Some loud inspired singing broke through the night air, crept up from behind and stopped at the adjacent corner’s red light.

Two young women completely committed to the moment and the song.

The half public, half private world inside a moving automobile has hosted probably more spirited renditions of popular song than any location outside your shower.

What songs inspire you to sing along?


Operatic interruptus

On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of opera lovers at Victor’s Regal Theatre missed significant chunks of Donizetti’s “La Fille du Regiment” during The Met at the Movies HD broadcast. The video broke up and the sound dropped out at the beginning of the second Act. We watched distorted faces and heard digitized squawks for about a minute. Then the screen went blue. We waited. A staff member rushed in and said they were working on the problem. About ten minutes later, the sound came back and the singers reappeared. Then it happened again. Audiences members groaned, since things were getting really interesting with the shocking disclosure of the Duchess’s illegitimate daughter!


Repellent for.....Teens?

Today I stumbled across an article entitled High-Pitched Device Serves as Teen Repellent. Prior to reading the article, I honestly thought that it was either a) cleverly titled to attract attention but not exactly about repelling teens or b) an article about a device with some other role that teens- for some reason- don't care for. I was wrong on both counts.


Boys Gone Wild

I made the questionable decision to bring two nine year-old boys to work with me yesterday, based on the idealistic assumption that exposing them to the world of music and ideas would fire their imaginations, expand their horizons, and change their lives.

By the end of the day, I needed a shot of whisky.

First, we set off for the suite of Entercom-owned commercial radio stations across the street, where my son and his friend met a bunch of charming, funny deejays. One guy put them on the air. This act turned out to be hard to beat.


Exciting Young soprano receives Warfield Scholarship

Today I was honored to attend the William Warfield Scholarship Fund Luncheon where we were all treated to several selections sung by 2007-2008 Scholarship Recipient Julia Allyson Bullock, a Junior at the Eastman School of Music.

This dynamic young woman from St. Louis has a sparkling personality and a clarity of voice that was captivating. Her voice changed from powerful to beautifully sensitive as she expressed the changing character of the music.
Photo by Gerry SzymanskiPhoto by Gerry Szymanski